This year we had another successful summer camp at the Mariposa Center for Girls! We welcomed volunteers from around the world, hosted groups of students, scholars, teachers, athletes, artists and dancers, all of who helped enrich our programs with their skills and positive energy. We held camp activities from the beginning of June until the end of July, with days at the center filled with fun and educational classes, as well as weekly excursions and adventures.
This year our summer camp was special because we really had three separate programs—one for our younger girls ages 8-12, one for our older girls ages 12-15, and internship placements for our oldest Mariposas ages 15-18. The camp for the youngest girls, the Maripositas, was filled with exciting and educational classes. Throughout the summer, we worked on strengthening swimming skills and teamwork. For some of the girls, this was their first time in a pool! It will come as no surprise that swimming was one of their favorite classes—not only does it support healthy lifestyle through exercise, but it also empowers the girls to overcome fears and learn a new skill. In addition to swimming, the Maripositas worked on math skills, strengthened reading comprehension, practiced environmental stewardship in outdoor education class, expressed themselves through art and boosted their confidence through dance! The girls were able to learn from visiting artists such as Pepe Coronado, a Dominican silkscreen artist from New York, and Christal Brown, the head of the dance department at Middlebury College.
This summer, the Mariposa DR Foundation also debuted its new biking program! Through a generous donation, we now have 60 bicycles and helmets to use to teach our girls how to ride bikes and give them greater mobility. The summer camp for the older girls included daily biking classes in which the girls explored their community through various bike routes and learned basic bike maintenance. They also had English, reading, swimming and sports classes. A select group of Mariposa girls that reached the highest swimming level last summer were able to enjoy our surfing program! The girls spent two mornings a week on the beach learning how to catch waves and building their confidence in the water. The surfing program culminated in our 3rd Annual Mariposa Surf Contest on the last day of camp. All of the Mariposa girls attended the event, shouting words of encouragement and excitedly waving their posters of support! This year we had two winners, one in the beginner category and one in the advanced. It was a wonderful end to a successful summer to have the whole Mariposa family together, having fun, supporting each other, and soaking up the sun!
Our summer programs aimed to not only enrich the girls’ lives through academic support and the arts, but it also served as a safe place for them to spend their summer. By spending their days surrounded by friends and supportive staff, engaging in stimulating activities, the Mariposas continued on the personal journeys towards empowerment! Thank you for all the crucial support you give to girls’ education and empowerment, we could not have done it without you!
The girls, family, staff and volunteers at the Mariposa DR Foundation.
This summer our inaugural cycling program was an amazing learning experience, both for our girls and for the Mariposa team. The Mariposa girls ages 12-15 had cycling class four days a week in June and July, and the transformation during those two short months was truly incredible.
For some girls, like Detany (age 12), the cycling program represented a great physical and mental challenge. Many of our girls had never learned how to ride a bike or are not used to exercising, so going on bike rides in the summer heat represented a big physical challenge. Detany and others had to overcome their fear of falling and learn to believe in themselves and their abilities. Despite these challenges, by the end of the summer every single girl in the program learned how to ride a bike!
For other girls, like Viviana (age 15), the cycling program represented an opportunity to shine. Some girls that had a tendency not to want to participate in any activity or that frequently had negative attitudes suddenly shone as the leaders in their groups, motivated by their love of bike riding to become a positive example for the other girls.
This summer the Mariposa girls not only learned how to ride bikes, but also learned basic bike maintenance and safety skills. They engaged in fun exercise while getting to explore parts of their community they would not have seen otherwise, and had the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills through this sport.
We could not have had such a successful summer cycling program without the help of amazing volunteers like Myia, Elena, Emily, and assistants from Iguana Mama. Our flexible staff members Mary Jane and Rose Lourdes normally teach literacy and bike ride as a hobby, but this summer adapted to their role as cycling instructors with ease. And of course, we are extremely grateful for your support, which helped make this project possible! Thank you all for an amazing summer cycling program!
The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa DR Foundation
We are proud to announce that this year we are providing scholarships for ALL of the 150 Mariposa girls ages 7-18 to attend private schools! At the Mariposa Center for Girls, we work to remove the barriers that prevent girls in poverty from receiving a quality education. We not only provide scholarships to cover the cost of tuition at private schools, but provide an entire support system to keep girls in school.
Students are expected to buy their own textbooks, uniforms, and school supplies-even at the public schools. These costs are often prohibitive for families, and if a child is going to be left out of school for economic reasons it is often the girl that is forced to stay at home while her brothers get to study. Mariposa provides all of our girls with all of the books, uniforms, and school supplies that they need so their education doesn’t cost their family anything.
This year we had a surplus of school supplies, which we donated to local public schools so that all of the children of Cabarete can benefit from the generosity of Mariposa’s donors. Considering that the Dominican Republic ranks 143rd out of 144 countries in terms of quality of the primary education system (World Economic Forum, 2012), the public schools need all of the help they can get. We continue to support the improvement of local public school while making sure the Mariposa girls get the best education available at private schools.
Removing financial barriers to girls’ education is essential, but we believe it is not enough on it’s own. Our holistic approach includes providing safe transportation to and from school and the Mariposa Center for Girls to ensure that our girls won’t face street harassment while pursuing their education. We also provide year-round health care services and nutritious meals so that the Mariposa girls have healthy bodies to support their eager minds. An important part of our core programming at the Mariposa Center for Girls is academic enrichment, which includes academic tutoring for all of the girls.
Your continued support makes it possible for us to keep girls in school. Education opens doors and provides the opportunities for girls to lift their entire families out of the cycle of generational poverty. Thank you for helping to educate the world’s most powerful force for change!