It's been a very exciting Spring at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Joined by some very special local and international guests, we spent an entire week celebrating Earth Day with some spectacular performances, presentations on solar panels and the importance of sustainable energy, and various art projects, all done by our Mariposa girls!
Acclaimed author and Mariposa honorary chairwoman, Julia Alvarez and her family, joined us for the week as volunteers to help with the preparations for the big performance. The girls worked hard preparing costumes and skits on composting, waste and environmental consciousness, crafting costumes made entirely from recycled materials such as newspapers and plastic bottles. The older girls did a presentation on solar energy and what they have learned from the solar panels installed at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Part of the program for the past year has been understanding and explaining how this technology works and how it can benefit the entire community.
The girls performed a series of skits, highlighting the differences between organic and inorganic materials and how we can preserve the earth by reducing our use of inorganic material because it does not decompose quickly and can hurt our natural resources. All of the girls painted ceramic pots filled with dirt and seeds to bring home to their families so that they will all have a plant growing in their home to reflect on, and be proud of what they have learned.
A returning volunteer, Tori, who joined us for the festivities wrote in her blog "I was lucky enough to sit in on one of their renewable energy classes and saw how much passion and determination these girls have. The Mariposa girls know their potential; it is clear by how they talk about wanting to go to university to be pediatricians, seismologists, flight attendants and a whole host of ideas. The older girls have really taken to this renewable energy course, as it offers possibilities for sustainable energy in their town, which so desperately needs it. They have also been able to see the positive effects of the solar panels in their own Center on a daily basis, so this develops their interest in bringing sustainable energy to Cabarete.
Thank you for supporting our passion for environmental education!
The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation
We're excited to tell you more about the new space we have been working on at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by the Garretson family and volunteers from Lawrence Academy, the Minou Mirabal teaching kitchen is almost ready! In March a group of enthusiastic volunteers from Lawrence Academy brought us one step closer to finishing the Minou Mirabal Tavarez Teaching Kitchen by building our very own pizza oven! With help from a local expert they constructed an oven where we will be able to make our own delicious pizza. What girl doesn’t love a pizza party? Besides making special treats for our girls we hope to have the oldest girls utilize the pizza oven as part of our restaurant training program to gain valuable job skills.
This summer we will expand our job skills development opportunities and provide cooking classes and hospitality training to girls that are intersted in pursuing this path. Tourism and hospitality is the number one industry in the Dominican Republic and is growing rapidly. This can be a great career option for many of our girls. In additional to cooking classes teaching girls to prepare international dishes, training for this track will also include English classes, administrative management and other skills that would enable girls to work in a leadership position or start their own business.
Many of the girls in our program have been cooking since a very young age, as adolescent girls take on many of the domestic responsibilities at home. Strengthening the skills they already have and helping them understand how to leverage them to create a viable career is very empowering. 14 year old Vivianna says "Cooking is my favorite chore that I have to do at home. At Mariposa I have learned to grow food and I can't wait to learn how to prepare different dishes from around the world. I would like to own my own restaurant one day".
We look forward to updating you on the final touches to the teaching kitchen and the kickoff of our culinary program this summer. None of this would be possible without your generosity and we thank you for your support.
We're excited to be able to share with you the result of a very special project that the Mariposa girls worked on last summer. For two weeks in July 2014, a small group of our oldest girls participated in a Beat Making Lab with Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin (www.beatmakinglab.com). The Beat Making Lab helps to unleash the creativity in adolescents through intensive training in an electronic music studio small enought to fit in a backpack. Equipped with a laptop, microphone and some software, the Mariposa Girls set out to write their own songs, make some beats and film their very on music video.
We're excited to share the result of their hard work with you. If you ever wondered what empowerment really looks like, watch this video, you won't be disappointed.
Mariposa Girls Music Video - Que Lo Que
16 year old Lola says, "Music has always been a love in my life. I never thought I would have the chance to make my own and now I'm a rapper. I can't wait to make more songs and I love the studio". Music is a powerful force. For youth, it has the power to build academic and social skills, foster creativity and teamwork and help them further develop self-confidence and self-esteem.
We hope you enjoy the video and we would like to thank you for your ongoing support. Giving our girls the chance to do things like this is only possible because of thoughtful, generous people like you. Thank you.