We're excited to be able to share with you the result of a very special project that the Mariposa girls worked on last summer. For two weeks in July 2014, a small group of our oldest girls participated in a Beat Making Lab with Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin (www.beatmakinglab.com). The Beat Making Lab helps to unleash the creativity in adolescents through intensive training in an electronic music studio small enought to fit in a backpack. Equipped with a laptop, microphone and some software, the Mariposa Girls set out to write their own songs, make some beats and film their very on music video.
We're excited to share the result of their hard work with you. If you ever wondered what empowerment really looks like, watch this video, you won't be disappointed.
Mariposa Girls Music Video - Que Lo Que
16 year old Lola says, "Music has always been a love in my life. I never thought I would have the chance to make my own and now I'm a rapper. I can't wait to make more songs and I love the studio". Music is a powerful force. For youth, it has the power to build academic and social skills, foster creativity and teamwork and help them further develop self-confidence and self-esteem.
We hope you enjoy the video and we would like to thank you for your ongoing support. Giving our girls the chance to do things like this is only possible because of thoughtful, generous people like you. Thank you.
The girls, families, volunteers 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.
It's the first day of school this week for our youngest Mariposas! The opening of the public school in our town is delayed for an entire month due to construction, but thanks to you, our girls will not miss a day. For two years our scholarship program has consisted of sending all of our high school students to CADIN, a private school in the neighboring town of Islabon. This year we were able to expand the program and send 100 girls to three of our partner schools, CORAL, CADIN and 3 Mariposas Montessori.
We invest a tremendous amount of resources in sending our girls to private schools because we want them to have access to the best educational opportunities available. In the public school system, the classrooms are overcrowded and there are not enough teachers and staff to give each child the individual and small group attention they need and deserve. Girls are even more likely to get lost and fall through the cracks. By establishing partnerships with smaller, private institutions, we can provide each and every one of our girls with a higher quality education, more individual attention and instill them with pride.
At CORAL there are currently 225 students in K-9th grade of which 70 are Mariposa girls. Because we make up 30% of the student body, it has been beneficial for both the girls and the school to form a working partnership with the director to ensure that our girls are getting the support they need to achieve success. Not to mention, the parents of our girls are absolutely thrilled! Herodita, mother and aunt to three girls who are receiving scholarships to CORAL in the Mariposa program says, "I dropped out of school and never learned to read. I worry because I can't help them and I am afraid they will drop out too. With Mariposa, the girls in my family have the extra support and I know they will do much better".
Summer is coming to an end and we are so excited to kick off what is sure to be a great school year! Giving 100 girls the opportunity to go to private school is only possible because of thoughtful, generous people like you and we can't thank you enough for your ongoing support. We look forward to updating you on their progress soon.
We are thrilled to present to you our very first "graduates" of Unleash the Leader in a Girl. For the past few years, these girls have attended consistently, worked hard and grown into shining examples of what we believe Mariposa girls should be. We are often asked the question - what does success look like? Or, when do girls graduate from Mariposa? What kind of assistance will they recieve after they phase out of the day to day programs? What makes our program unique is that we treat each participant as an individual and help them develop personal goals. Success is different for each and every girl. While our graduates will no longer attend daily programs at the Center, they will always have trusted advisors and a strong network of support at Mariposa. Many of them will stay involved as part time employees and/or mentors to the younger girls coming up in the program. Below we are pleased to share some brief details on the class of 2014!
Elisa, 18 years old, is a scholarship recipient at Cadin, a private school in town. She is very active in sports and takes Jiujitsu classes 4 times a week at a local studio. She has taken a course to be a waitress, and will be applying for a yoga teacher training course in the fall. She has completed a water safety course and will form part of our surf group this summer.
Rosa Lourdes, 17 years old, will be graduating this year from high school. This last semester she finished a sewing apprenticeship with Sherry Herdman, our sewing volunteer. As an apprentice, she taught several other mariposa girls the basics of sewing. During our camp this summer, she will be teaching how to sew quilted pot holders to some of our more advanced sewers. She is interested in finding a part time job as a seamstress, while she studies to become a pediatrician.
Edileysa, 17 years old, will be graduating this year from high school. She is currently in the process of applying to medical school. Her goal is to become a pediatrician and work in a public hospital, where she can best treat the needs of her community. She is currently working as our on site secretary at The Mariposa Center for Girls, and learning basic computer skills that will help her to achieve her goals. We hope that she stays working with us part time as she continues her studies. She is also actively involved in water sports and kitesurfs regularly. She too, has completed a water safety course and will form part of our surf group this summer.
María Inés, 17 years old, will be graduating from high school this year. Maria Ines has found a part time job working at a local coffee shop, where she has proven to be an exemplary employee. Due to her new job, her English skills have improved, which will help her to achieve her ultimate goal, to become a flight attendant.
Ana Iris, 18 years old, will be graduating from high school next year. She currently works at The Mariposa Center for Girls full time as part of the kitchen and cleaning staff. She has proven to be a responsible, reliable team member at Mariposa and is extremely flexible in helping us with programs for the younger girls when needed. Her perspective as both an employee and an active Mariposa program participant is fundamental in understanding the needs of our older girls.
Ingrid García. 20 years old, is in her junior year at a local high school. She is interested in going to beauty school and her goal is to open up a small salon near her home. She is currently employed as a nanny.
Mabreidy Martinez, 17 years old. Mabreidy had a baby recently, but that has not stopped her to continue her studies. Throughout her years as a Mariposa, she has actively participated in water sports. She served as our summer life guard assistant during camp last year, and is an avid surfer and kitesurfer. She is currently working as a nanny and will be starting her summer job working at a kite school in town.
Because of your support we were able to treat our graduates to a very special trip! On May 6th we traveled to Santo Domingo to celebrate literature and the arts at the 17th Annual Book Fair. The girls went home with books, saw a Guloys theatre production in the national theatre, listened to a "conscious rap" performance and visted the pavillion dedicated to the late Dede Mirabal. For some of them this was their first time in the capital and first night being away from home! It was a spectacular adventure for these girls and it would not have been possible without your generosity.
We look forward to sending you more exciting updates from the field as we gear up for summer!
With love and gratitude,
Over the past few months our Mariposa girls have been involved in numerous experiential learning opportunities and job skill training workshops. The 25 oldest Mariposas, ages 14 and up have been participating in intensive job readiness and computer skills workshops. The goal is to use experiential learning methods to introduce girls to the knowledge, language, and skills they need to enter the job fields available to them and get them excited about finding work. The program has gotten off to an extremely successful start with more than one-fifth of the girls already steadily employed!
Yanaira is 15 years old, a full-time high school student, and is employed by one of our partner organizations, 3 Mariposas Montessori, a local bi-lingual preschool. "It is my dream to become a teacher and Mariposa is supporting me to achieve it. I love my work and it makes me happy to be able to contribute to my family," says Yanaira.
At The Mariposa Center for Girls we have three high school girls that are employed. Fernanda and Edileisa are developing their administrative skills as office assistants in our main reception area and Ana Iris is learning all about property maintenence and custodial management. Ana Iris who is 17 and lives on her own says "At Mariposa I like that I can stay in school, have the opportunity to learn new things like dance and art, but I also have a job where I can earn the money I need to support myself." Ana Iris is responsible for maintaining cleaning supply inventory at The Mariposa Center for Girls and making purchases for all cleaning supplies and coordinating additional maintenence staff.
This semester we also piloted a waitressing and hospitality course so that some of the girls could begin to explore employment opportunities in the tourism industry. For two months our girls trained as professional waitresses and were able to show off their skills to their guests at The Mariposa Center for Girls Inauguration Gala on February 8th.
Because of your support, our experietial learning and job training programs are enabling the Mariposa girls to explore opportunities that they can get excited about, keeping them motivated to stay in school and empowered to take charge of their futures. As each of our girls learn and grow we will continue to support them on their individual paths to becoming independent women and changing the course for future generations of their families.
Thank you all so much for your continued support and dedication to the girls of the Mariposa DR Foundation.
The staff, volunteers, and children of the Mariposa DR Foundation
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