We're very excited to tell you about an exciting new program that began this fall at The Mariposa Center for Girls. For the past four months, volunteer Johannil has been teaching theraputic art classes to all 120 girls. Art therapy is very different from traditional art instruction. Art therapy is making art to enhance one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Art therapy uses the art making process to explore elements such as feelings, managing emotions and behaviors, increasing self-esteem and self-awareness, gaining self-empowerment, and reducing anxiety, with the goal of improving and restoring personal well being.
Under Johannil's leadership, the girls explored a variety of mediums: fabric, clay, paint, pencil, and recycled materials. Some projects included: creating personal journals, jewelry, paper flowers, dream sticks, wrap dolls, self-care boxes and self-affirming cards. Through these art projects the girls explored the following themes: self-care, self-empowerment, self-esteem, taking care of one’s body and consent, family and culture, and their role in their community.
By the end of this semester, many of the girls reported having a positive learning experience. When students were asked what they learned and appreciated about the class they responded, “How to take care of my body because I have to maintain my body healthy,” “ I liked sharing my work with my classmates,” “ The importance of doing things for others with love,” and “I learned how to make jewelry and other art activities, thought about my future, and ways to better care for myself.” Johannil also worked closely with our staff psychologist to integrate her curriculum into our overall health and wellness program, and convene a group of mothers to help them understand the value of what their daughters are learning and inviting them to participate as well!
In addition to independent projects, the girls worked together to create two pieces of community art, one of which is in the process of being permanently installed at the Dominican-Haitian border! Johannil's incredible work has helped the girls to recognize the power of art - how it brings people together, encourages learning from each other, and how it can create a space of healing. They used their leadership skills and vast creativity to make the murals a success, give importance and meaning to their personal art pieces, and learn how to use art as a tool to heal.
Amazing transformations are happening every day at The Mariposa Center for Girls and it is only possible because of thoughtful, generous people like you and we thank you for your support from the bottom of our hearts.
Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season!
The girls, volunteers, families and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
The fall has been action packed. Programs are in full swing and the girls have 34 different activities to choose from! At the end of October we hosted our 5th annual health fair. This year we were able to do 4 days full of eye exams, physicals, mental health evaluations, dental visits and more. We welcomed volunteer physicians so that we could expand the services to provide free pap smears, present birth control options and offer free HIV testing and counseling to all community members. Our volunteers saw more than 400 people in 4 days!
We work hard to create strong connections with volunteers, community resources and local NGO's to ensure that all of our girls' needs are met. This is especially important when it comes to their health. Our annual health fair is an opportunity for girls and their families to get their basic care needs met, learn about where to go for certain things in their community and how to take care of themselves in the long term. Empowering girls to be in charge of their own well-being is critical to our success. Healthy, happy girls stay in school.
This program is extremely important for parents as well. Maria, who has five girls in our program says "I am raising 5 girls and sometimes it is hard and expensive to make sure that they all go to the doctor. The health fair at Mariposa is great for my family because we can all come and make sure we are staying healthy, and if there is a problem, they can help us find where to go." Teaching girls how to navigate resources, and engaging the entire family, positions them to become leaders in their homes and their community.
These accomplishments are only possible because of thoughtful, generous people like you and we thank you for your ongoing support.
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
We're excited to tell you about a new addition to The Mariposa Center for Girls. The "Snack Shack" is a fully operating business, completely run by the Mariposa girls themselves! With the help of a dedicated group of students visiting from Lawrence Academy in Groton Massachusetts, this past spring we constructed a small roadside stand where the girls are selling fresh juices, smoothies, sandwiches and snacks. Many of the ingredients come straight from our on site permaculture garden and outdoor learning space where Mariposas are growing their own food. This exciting project at the Center provides a great opportunity for our girls to gain real world work experience in a safe, learning environment. Volunteers are working side by side with the girls, helping them to develop business skills including inventory managment, basic accounting, customer service, teamwork and leadership.
One Mariposa in particular has taken a very special interest in working at the shack. Vivianna is 13 years old and has discovered her passion for the restaurant business. "I learned how to garden and grow food here at the Center last year. I can now grow the food, make recipes and create the menu and I want to own a restaurant when I graduate - or run the cooking school right here at Mariposa!"
As we grow, our goal is to become more self-sustaining. The Snack Shack brings visitors to the Center, allows our girls the opportunity to earn their own income and provides them with great resume building experience. Because of your generosity we are creating an interactive learning environment and our girls are not just thriving, they are excelling. Amazing things are happening at The Mariposa Center for Girls and we look forward to sending you more updates soon!