Feb 11, 2021

Ocean Accessibility During the Pandemic

Over the years you have supported the young women at the Mariposa DR Foundation to become leaders in their community. Through our programming they have emerged as scholars, environmentalists, vivid storytellers, artists, citizen scientists, mentors, talented athletes, and competent makers. 

These young women, these incredible leaders of our community, are facing the biggest obstacles they have seen in their short lives. Their schools are closed, they have food insecurity, accessing healthcare is challenging, and they face the risk of increased gender-based violence. They have to stay distanced from their friends and they feel isolated. There is also the mental stress of living in close quarters with family members who may not be taking precautions. They have a lot going on in their lives.

For this reason we believe that ocean accessibility is one essential element to maintaining the mental health of the Mariposas as they feel more and more isolated. As is true in every community, stress levels are high as they try to cope with the challenges they face. Many of us can relate to the need to be near water to center us, to offer us a respite from the world, to give us perspective, and to move our bodies. Now more than ever it is vital to get the Mariposa students safely to the beach and out on the water surfing, SUPing or swimming.  This requires significant planning and logistics to make sure the Mariposas can remain physically distant in vans and that we have more qualified staff for the much smaller groups, but it is absolutely worth it.

While the Mariposa DR Foundation ship is currently hove-to, we have learned a lot about this storm and are ready to start navigating again (with a reef in the sails for sure).  We plan to keep this momentum so that even if we are moving slowly, we are not moving backwards. In order for the Mariposa students to continue to break the cycle of generational poverty, it is essential for them to have the physical and mental capacity to be leaders during this challenging time.  The basic needs of the young women must be met first and foremost. It is essential for us to protect the investment we have made until these young women can take the helm again when this storm has passed. 

Dec 9, 2020

Take a Tour of Our Mariposa Center for Girls

The Mariposa Center for Girls is the only safe space for girls in our community, so it devastated us to have to shut it down in March. The young women in our community are facing the biggest obstacles they have seen in their short lives. Their schools are closed, they have food insecurity, accessing healthcare is challenging, and they face the risk of increased gender-based violence. They have to stay distanced from their friends and they feel isolated. There is also the mental stress of living in close quarters with family members who may not be taking precautions. They have a lot going on in their lives. When we closed our doors we promised that on the day that we could safely open our Center again, we would.

Safely reopening is a large financial burden due to the need for PPE, transportation logistics, safety and health protocol implementation, and the increased staffing necessary to run programming in smaller groups. But in September, thanks to many of your support, we were able maneuver the complicated logistics of safely starting up our high quality programs again. The girls love being back, and participating in programs at our Center and out on the water is helping their academics and their mental health.

Since the pandemic is keeping us apart, we wanted to bring our Mariposa Center for Girls to you. Join Nicole, Detiny, Marlin and Alexandra and see what our Center is like in our video tour! Of course, we hope when it is safe to do so you can come visit so we can give you a tour in person!

As 2020 comes to an end, we want to thank all of you who have supported our work over the last ten years; not just on sunny days but also through hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and a pandemic. We hope you and your families are safe and healthy and we are holding you in our hearts.

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Oct 29, 2020

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

Volunteer Keara with Mariposa Miranda
Volunteer Keara with Mariposa Miranda

At the Mariposa DR Foundation part of our mission is to inspire the international community to join the global girls movement.  One of the many ways we have done that is by hosting international visitors.  Through their experiences and their advocacy work, the Mariposa girls demonstrate to the visitors how girls are the world’s most powerful force for change and create lasting friendships.  Since traveling is not feasible amid the pandemic, we are continuing this aspect of our mission through the newly created Mariposa Virtual Volunteer Program.

The purpose of the Mariposa Virtual Volunteer Program is to continue to foster that important link of international volunteers that makes our programming so unique, giving individual support to Mariposa students virtually, while simultaneously reengaging past volunteers. As of now, 17 volunteers and 28 Mariposa girls (our complete 5th and 6th grade class) are registered to participate in the program, which will focus on our Eco-Heroe book about the ocean and the environment. The program includes two ½ hour sessions per week, per girl. We launched this unique, exciting program on International Day of the Girl 2020!

In the first few weeks we had pairings that talked about CO2 and about trees in different parts of the world, with Mariposas using their phones to show different trees in their backyards and volunteers in the US doing the same (some with beautiful fall foliage!).  Volunteers shared their expert knowledge and the Mariposa girls showed patience as volunteers sometimes searched for words or expressions in Spanish. One challenge that we do face is that sometimes is just that initial step of connecting. The internet can be unstable and it means we must regularly add data to all of the girls’ phones.

We are excited to be able to continue these connections, even as we can’t be with our volunteers in person. 

Volunteer Abby with Mariposa Dahiana
Volunteer Abby with Mariposa Dahiana
 
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