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Jan 30, 2019

Meet Naomi

The original babysitters club
The original babysitters club

About the same time that the Mariposa DR Foundation began working with GlobalGiving, we opened up a space for the littlest sisters of our Mariposas who would not be able to come to programs if they didn't let them tag along, since they were their caretakers. We called this little group "the babysitter's club."  Fast forward to today and they, the little girls of the babysitter's club, are now thriving Mariposas. We would like to thank all of our donors for your consistent and important support, because as you'll see below, it is paying out major dividends.

When Naomi began her days with us she was just seven years old, brought to the Mariposa Center for Girls by her sister who was in charge of babysitting her. Now at 16 years old and a junior in high school,  Naomi has tried out almost every activity Mariposa has to offer. A natural athlete, she has decided to focus on her acrobatic skills and on surfing. She is already earning an income performing at circus shows at local hotels and was on the cover of the Cabarete Responsible Tourism and Investment Guide surfing the perfect wave.  But her ride has not been that simple.

Born into poverty, Naomi spent time back and forth between her mother and father as they were separated for many years. Unfortunately, when they finally got back together her father was killed. Naomi has been through a lot, but it is not her resilience that makes her so special. That is a given for a kid who had the odds stacked against her. Naomi is special because she is a kind, sweet, caring young woman. She enjoys being with her peers and loves her family. We could not be more proud of this little girl who has grown into the most amazing, powerful young woman.  We look forward to seeing what she does next!

Paddling out (photo by Jianca Lazarus)
Paddling out (photo by Jianca Lazarus)
In school with a smile (photo: Amy Martin)
In school with a smile (photo: Amy Martin)
Performing at the Mariposa Center
Performing at the Mariposa Center
With her dad after a performance (Photo: A.Martin)
With her dad after a performance (Photo: A.Martin)
Cabarete Guide Cover (Photo: Jianca Lazarus)
Cabarete Guide Cover (Photo: Jianca Lazarus)
Dec 19, 2018

Our Butterflies are Bookworms

In our literacy program at Mariposa, trained teachers work with students to develop strong reading comprehension skills and a passion for literature. Our elementary school spelling and reading classes emphasize the development of foundational oral-visual competencies, recognition skills, and comprehension. We know the importance of reading to and with the girls from the moment they enter Mariposa.

In many schools throughout the Dominican Republic, overcrowded classrooms and a lack of resources often result in a large percentage of students falling behind academically.  In the Dominican Republic, low reading proficiency in primary schools, 25% of which are performing below national metrics, coupled with schools graduating underprepared students has led to staggering attrition rates. More than 30% of students do not even reach high school, and of those that do, roughly 65% fail to achieve grade-level reading proficiency.

Our goal at MDRF is to ensure that each of our girls graduates 3rd grade with a mastery of basic spelling and reading, as well as a love for books. We reinforce core competencies in literacy both inside and outside the classroom through our library lending system, innovative reading classes, and one-on-one tutoring sessions. We devote several years to literacy  classes, tutoring and engagement so that our girls are able to excel in their studies and develop a love of learning.

Our youngest Maripositas learn to read books bothin print and on the murals painted around the center. As our Maripositas grow into Mariposas, they enjoy participating in book clubs and having independent reading time. Finally, as Mariposotas, they take part in writer’s workshops, writer’s retreats, and book discussions with notable authors.

We know that we can only achieve our mission of educating, empowering, and employing girls by establishing a strong foundation of literacy skills at a young age. That is why we place such an emphasis on reading and why all of our students are enrolled in school full-time. By the time our girls graduate high school, they are reading at or above grade level. They are now Mariposas Volando (“Flying Butterflies”) intent on graduating college and achieving their professional goals.

Nov 15, 2018

Leadership on the Basketball Court

In July of 2018 the Mariposas participated in the first ever summer basketball camp, led by former collegiate athlete and Princeton Varsity Basketball Captain Vanessa Smith.

After inaugurating our newly paved basketball court, the girls spent 8 weeks playing games, learning teamwork, new skills, and developing a newfound love for the sport. Our camp was offered to close to 70 girls and our court was filled every day with cheers and laughs! The girls loved playing against each other as well as showing off their skills to visiting volunteer groups and even staff members. We ended the summer with a final All-Star game between 12 of the most improved players competing in front of a crowd of their peers. All of the girls left camp with memories of laughter, certificates to celebrate their accomplishments, and pictures to commemorate their success.

For many of the girls, this was their first exposure to basketball and the first opportunity that they were invited to learn the techniques and skills of a sport traditionally dominated by boys and men. A culture of machismo has made basketball courts and other sports inaccessible to girls here in DR. However, our court is different. Our court stands as one of the few on the entire north coast that is exclusively accessible to girls. In line with our mission of empowerment, we are thrilled to be opening these types of opportunities up to our girls and our community and inspire the future basketball stars of the DR. 

Our basketball camp along with our other summer sports programs (surfing, cycling, swimming and softball) are all designed to empower, challenge, and inspire our girls; igniting a passion for fitness and body positivity that aligns with our mission here at the center. MDRF is dedicated to experiential learning and offering a holistic education, which includes physical education. Our sports programs have always been a source of fun, learning, and empowerment for all of the girls. 

 
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