As you walk through the corridors of the Mariposa Center for Girls, you can’t help but be inspired by the beautiful artwork throughout. We are proud of our conscious decision to create an inspirational space where the art on our walls reflects the power of our mission. Throughout the years, we have worked with mosaic artists, painters and graffiti artists to create a visual, artistic hub of girl empowerment that tells a story and teaches the importance of sharing their voice and their perspective.
Inside the Center is the Women Activist Portrait Project- a perfect example of how we have successfully engaged our visitors and girls in a visual learning experience. This project features portraits of women or girl activists who have proven to be agents of change in their communities or on an international scale. Puerto Rican artist Rosenda Alvarez Faro and Dominican artist, Shak, recently completed four additional portraits at our Center; Elizabeth Acevedo, Amanda Gorman, Malala Yousafzai and Naomi Osaka. All four portraits beautifully embody the strength of these powerful women. Overall, we have completed 15 portraits, uniquely telling their own story and adding to the richness of the Mariposa Center experience. The portrait series project has served as a starting point for conversations and program development, as we delve into establishing courses that focus on identity, race relations and the important work that these women and girls have done for their own communities. Within the series, there is a full-length mirror that echoes the Mariposa motto, “I am the Most Powerful Force for Change,” reminding the girls that they too are part of a lineage of women activists that have the capacity to change the face of their future.
Each piece of art on our walls has been an opportunity for valuable lessons, gained leadership skills and visual messages of empowerment. Here, at the Mariposa Center for Girls we firmly believe that creating a beautiful space filled with art that reflects our values has the power to radiate that message to our community and to the world. There is valid opportunity and a learned experience with every glance of the art. It is a visual landscape that has the potential to change the minds and hearts of those who see it.
By Aislinn Doyle - Development & Volunteer Relations Coordinator
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
By Aislinn Doyle - Development and Volunteer Relations Coordinator
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.