The Pool at the Mariposa Center for Girls is Open!
By Jessica Lawson - Co-Founder
Because of your generosity we met our goal and the pool at The Mariposa Center for Girls is open! We've just finished our first week of summer camp and the swimming program is a big hit. In Cabarete, a small beach town where water sports rule, swimming is one of the most important skills we can teach our girls. Teaching them to swim is empowering. They can learn to surf, kitesurf, kayak, windsurf and feel more like a part of their unique community. The economy in Cabarete thrives on water sports related tourism. If a girl learns a water sport this will enable her to participate in community events and could possibly lead to gainful employment opportunities.
We've seen the impact this can have on several girls that have learned to swim through our programs over the years. We've had girls who started out being afraid of the water who are now strong swimmers and are now surfing and kite boarding. Just last week, a 15 year old named Carola was able to save her sister's life because of the swimming skills she learned at Mariposa. She saw her nine year old sister sinking to the bottom of the pool and was able to save her. She has become a hero in her family and her community and most definitely a powerful force for change!
Because of you, the Mariposa girls now have their very own pool. A place where they can learn, grow, feel safe and have fun being together. This will be an unforgettable summer for the Mariposas and it's only possible because of you.
Our 4th annual Girls Summer Leadership Program has just ended and we had an amazing few weeks. Our first summer on our very own land! In our last update in May, we were raising funds to get our pool open for swimming lessons in time for the summer. Well, we have great news! We were able to fund the project and our pool opened in time for camp!
This summer all the Mariposa girls were able to have swimming lessons and enjoy their very own pool every day. Swimming is an important life skill that builds confidence. Our community is a beach town where learning to swim is critical to ensuring that every child is safe.
We'd like to tell you an amazing story about 15 year old Carola. Carola was one of the original 15 Mariposa girls when we began the group almost four years ago. When we first started our swimming program, Carola was terrified of the water. Over the past three years, thanks to donor support and hours of volunteer dedication, she has conquered her fear and become a great swimmer.
On the first day of camp this year, Carola passed out from post-traumatic stress. The stress was brought on because she was worried about her younger sister who had almost drowned the day before at a local hotel pool, and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was 15 year old Carola who saw her sister sinking to the bottom, pulled her out and saved her life, using the skills she learned from the Mariposa swimming program. You'll be happy to know that Carola's sister is okay and was able to join our program this summer and begin learning to swim.
The next few weeks we will be focused on getting our center ready for fall. We're hoping to finish the electrical wiring and windows and doors. It will be our first full academic year in our very own space and we have so many exciting things planned. None of this would be possible without you and we thank you again for your support.
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!