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,
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
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
It's been a very exciting fall here at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Because of your support we have been able to provide tuition scholarships, uniforms, books and supplies to all of our high school age girls! For the 2013-2014 academic year we have enrolled 16 girls in Cadin, a local Dominican private school, run by long time community leader and educator, Flavia Vidal. There are no day time high school programs in the town of Cabarete where we live so we provide transportation and resources to get our girls to our neighboring town of Islabon so that they can succesfully continue their education.
As a pioneer for education for poor children in her small, rural town, Cadin Director, Flavia Vidal, is thrilled to welcome the Mariposa Girls to her school. For more than 20 years, Flavia has worked tirelessly to provide quality education to children in her community. After seeing many girls slip through the cracks, drop out and get pregnant, she knows how critical it is to keep girls in school. Flavia is personally committed to the success of the Mariposa girls and we are grateful for her leadership and support. The Mariposa DR Foundation is also committed to making sure that Flavia has the resources she needs at her school to ensure that all the children at Cadin have access to quality education. This is just one of the ways that we form strong partnerships with great organizations and schools in our community, weaving a tight web of support for our girls that will enable them to succeed.
When girls are given the opportunity to pursue more education, this brings well demonstrated benefits for them and related benefits for the whole society. Girls with higher levels of education on average marry later, have smaller families, are more likely to survive childbirth and experience reduced incidences of HIV/AIDS.
These girls are the most effective means for ending generational poverty and we have you to thank for ensuring that our Mariposa girls have a bright academic future.
Summer is here and we are excited to update you on the success of our job skills training program for Mariposas ages 15 and up! We have been working hard to expose the girls to many career and job opportunities in the local community so that they can plan for their future. Throughout the recent school year, the 25 oldest Mariposas participated in mobile job fairs, career days and field trips throughout the community to learn about employment possibilities.
To date we have placed 10 girls in part time jobs at kite schools, coffee shops, hotels, schools, and at The Mariposa DR Foundation! In addition to specific vocational training, our girls have developed skills in areas such as work ethic, self-confidence and professionalism.
Unleash the Leader in a Girl contains community, educational and professional components to address the challenges young girls face, and improve their social and economic conditions. For boys, adolescence means independence, for girls it often means isolation as they have more household responsibilities than boys, making it harder for them to find gainful employment outside of the home. Providing girls with the tools they need to become economically empowered women is absolutely critical.
We thank you for your continued support of this project and look forward to updating you with more success stories soon!
In the fall we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase land to create the Mariposa Center for Girls. This January we officially moved in and are settling into our new home. Although we have a long way to go before the building is all fixed up and ready to go, the girls are thrilled to finally have their own safe space where they can learn, play, grow and be together in peace.
Saturday mornings have always been a very important time for the Mariposa girls. The girls are busy during the week with different school schedules, Mariposa extracurricular activities, family obligations and jobs. Saturday mornings are a sacred time where we can all just be together as a unified group. Every Saturday morning all of the Mariposa girls arrive at the center at 9am and start the day with a healthy breakfast of either cereal and yogurt, or eggs, fruit and bread. The girls are then broken up into smaller groups by age to participate in activites including jewelry making, art classes, pottery, theatre, games, sports, field trips and more. The girls work with many local artisans and volunteers each week and often welcome guest speakers and activity leaders.
The Mariposa Girls Group was started just three years ago with only 15 girls meeting every Saturday morning. Because of your support we have grown to include 100 girls in our many programs throughout the week. Most of the girls are involved in activities up to six days a week! Saturday mornings continue to be a special time for the Mariposas to come together as a unified group, share and reflect on the week and just have fun being girls. We thank you all for your continued support to "Unleash the Leader in a Girl" and look forward to sending you more updates from the field soon!
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