For the past few months, many of the Mariposa girls have been putting their artisitic talents to use in urban art workshops to deck out the center! Working with four local graffiti artists, the girls learned technique in spray painting, brush painting and stenciling. Together, they created 50 foot mural featuring Anacaona, a Taino female chief who fought for her people's rights against colonizers, with a modern twist. They finished off the scene with the quote, "Anacaona lives within us, because they didn't kill her, they multiplied her" to honor her legacy. The girls did research on Anacaona and then created this masterpiece to bring her story to life!
Art is just one of the many ways we empower our girls by giving them outlets to express themselves and physical space to claim as their own. It is important to us to foster the creative process in our girls as this can help them self-manage behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.
Throughout the year we will be welcoming more visiting artists to work with the girls on some exciting projects and we look forward to sharing more with you soon. Special thank you to Raquel Rios for supporting this special workshop!
None of this would be possible without the support of all of you and we thank you.
The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa Center for Girls
This summer has been full of many great accomplishments and some challenges. We have seen remarkable personal growth in all of our girls and have had the privilege of working with so many talented and dedicated volunteers. Summer programs were in full effect from June 8th to July 30th, offering more than 20 different activities for all 150 girls. From theater to pottery, swimming, reading, math, gardening, sports, surfing, sewing, kayaking, hiking, field trips and more, our girls were extremely busy! In addition to all of the group activities, private one on one tutoring sessions were available for the last three weeks of the program to ensure that all of the girls who need extra help are ready to keep up when the school year begins.
Keeping the older girls, ages 15 and up, engaged is always one of our greatest challenges. It is much easier to get younger girls to participate in group activities, but as we all know, things get a bit more difficult as they grow up. Our staff and volunteers work extremely hard with our older girls to ensure that they are able to pursue their individual passions and discover their strengths. The older girls were able to participate in an urban art workshop, culinary classes, book clubs, mediation workshops and intense English courses throughout the entire summer. More often than not, these specialized activities are a great success, however sometimes we struggle with finding the time, resources and talent to do it all. Most importantly, we continue to try new things, listen, and learn from our successes and our failures. We listen to each individual girl and do our best to create a unique plan for her that will keep her motivated and attending regularly.
The summer ended on a high note with the 2nd Annual Mariposa Surf Competition where 20 of our girls participated in a spirited, healthy competition. All of the girls, and many community members and partners came out to the beach that day to cheer them on. It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, there were virtually no Dominican or Haitian girls that even knew how to swim, let alone compete in water sports. Now, we're hosting our very own girls' water sport event! 16 year old Yafreisy says, "With Mariposa I learned to swim and now I love to be out on the ocean. It's the only place I can feel completely calm and free". It's the small wins like this that give us the confidence that what we're doing is working, and that because of our work together, lives are changing. More than anything, we are beyond grateful for your partnership in continuing to serve the girls in our community.
The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa DR Foundation
The past few months have been extremely busy at The Mariposa Center for Girls. In April we welcomed families, community leaders and members, and special out-of-town guests to officially inaugurate the Julia Alvarez Children's Library and the Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen. Acclaimed author, Julia Alvarez and her family joined us for a a very special week of celebration and volunteering with the girls, reading, doing crafts and helping to prepare them for a spectacular Earth Day performance. Representatives from the US Embassy, the Mirabal Family, donors, community leaders and friends of Mariposa all came together for a ribbon cutting ceremony and special performances by the Mariposa girls.
The Julia Alvarez Children's Library is painted with beautiful murals depicting memorable scenes from Julia Alvarez's stories and features hundreds of the best Children's books in both Spanish and English. This cozy, inviting space helps girls in our programs to foster a love of reading and encourages creativity and imagination. During this week of celebration we also officially opened the Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen. Tourism and hospitality is the biggest contributor to the local economy in our town of Cabarete and we want our girls to be prepared for success in the workplace. Many of them grow up with basic cooking skills as this is one of their many responsibilities in the home. In the teaching kitchen we can inspire and teach them to think outside of the box, further develop a skill many of them already have and inspire them to learn about nutrition and how to prepare international cuisine from all over the world!
The Julia Alvarez Children's Library and Minou Mirabal Teaching Kitchen are just two of the many dedicated spaces we have at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Each area of the Center is named after a Dominican or Haitian woman who is a positive role model for young women. Some of the women featured are famous and some of them are extraordinary local community leaders and parents. As girls learn and play at The Mariposa Center for Girls, they will be surrounded by imagery and information about powerful women to inspire them to become agents for positive change in their families, communities and the world.
We have lots of exciting updates planned to the Center in the coming months and we look forward to sharing more with you soon.
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation