Mar 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day!

This winter the Mariposa girls enjoyed an exciting assortment of courses including Mariposa’s first robotics classes! Technology has become the most powerful tool of this generation, which is why we think that having the girls learn the basics of programming will give them the tools to understand more about our current and future world. Through the robotics course we are introducing the girls to a new way of thinking and solving problems creatively.  

The older girls started off with learning the basics of coding through ScratchJr, an iPad application that teaches kids to code through a visual programming language. The girls all completed a set of challenges to test their coding skills. After weeks of working through the challenges they created their own video games using their imaginations and the skills they had acquired through the ScratchJr challenges. They then moved on to using the JavaScript Blocks Editor, software which they later used to program the micro:bot robots, to get a basic understanding of the interface. The software was all in English which added an extra challenge, but the girls powered through! After learning JavaScript, they assembled their own robots using micro:bot kits. These kits are designed to teach kids in developing countries the basics of coding, electronics, and robotics. The girls then constructed their cardboard box kits in unique ways, converting them into unicorns, ambulances, and more. Finally, using the JavaScript Blocks Editor, they put their skills to use and coded their robots to move!

The younger girls spent the winter semester in a newly offered Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) class. In this class, the girls used similar creative problem solving skills as the older girls did in their robotics class. However, the younger girls started by learning about basic engineering topics like: simple machines, states of matter, the five senses, and chemical reactions. The course ended with a short introduction to ScratchJr. Given that the robotics course was such a hit with the older girls, the robotics program will be expanded and offered to the younger Mariposas in the coming semester! The younger girls will go into the robotics course next semester prepared with an understanding of basic STEAM concepts, and an enthusiasm for the sciences.

For the older girls who want to continue their robotics journey, they will have the opportunity to do so as part of a weekly robotics workshop on Saturdays. In this Saturday club, the girls will have one-on-one time with an instructor who will guide them through the process of enhancing their micro:bot and its code. The girls will brainstorm, design, and code what they want their robots to do. Some girls may choose to make “roomba” robots that can clean rooms, while others make robots that can navigate a maze. No matter what robot the girls ultimately present, it will be one that they have designed, built, and coded themselves. They will finish the semester with a final robotics presentation at our Earth Day celebration!

Thank you for all your support. It was crucial in making this robotics program possible. We want to ensure that robotics classes will continue to be offered in years to come, so that our Mariposas can grow as engineers, scientists, designers, coders, and roboticists!

Jan 16, 2018

Mariposa Center Expands with Satellite Campus

This coffee gives back!
This coffee gives back!

Dear Friends,

The Mariposa DR Foundation is excited to announce that the Mariposa Center for Girls is expanding its campus to a new satellite location! Mariposa is now the proud owner of the Cabarete Coffee Company, our social enterprise and sustainable business! All profits from Cabarete Coffee benefit the Mariposa Foundation and the Mariposa girls use the cafe as a “real life” classroom. With expanded job opportunities, education and leadership training, the Mariposa girls are poised for success now more than ever!

Mariposa Founder, Patricia Thorndike Suriel, and her family opened Cabarete Coffee Company in 2009 as a small neighborhood business. Almost instantly it became a place where the community gathered together. The shade-grown organic coffee beans of the Suriel family farm became a fan favorite. Coffee shop regulars loved the flavor, the amazing health benefits from high-quality joe and keeping their business local. 

From the start, Cabarete Coffee has remained committed to sustainable business practices and environmental stewardship. The Mariposa Foundation is proud to continue with this tradition and to educate customers on how a simple cup of coffee can support farmers, protect the earth, empower girls and lift communities out of poverty! Who knew that your morning joe or a coffee shop job in high school could hold such purpose?

This coffee shop is also where the Mariposa DR Foundation was born and grew its wings. Before Mariposa had the Mariposa Center for Girls, Cabarete Coffee served as the headquarters for staff, volunteers and invested community members to share ideas and create change. Now, almost ten years later, Cabarete Coffee has become the Mariposa Foundation’s latest innovation for educating, employing and empowering girls. Cabarete Coffee Company enables the Mariposas to learn and work in the hospitality and tourism business. Through barista and cooking classes, internships, marketing and business training, the Mariposas take part in hands on learning, gaining important and marketable work experience. 

In Cabarete and the Dominican Republic, one of the factors that can leave women and girls vulnerable is the lack of dignified, fair wage work. Sadly, far too many young women are trapped in the sex trafficking industry at a young age and never make it out. Other women and girls are relegated to selling used clothing, lottery tickets, or fruit and vegetables at a local stand. With these jobs, it is a constant struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table. Mariposa interrupts this cycle by educating girls. Yet, this is only half the battle if there is no dignified work in town. Cabarete Coffee Company creates new and expansive possibilities for the oldest Mariposas, who not only gain an experiential learning classroom, but a chance for meaningful work that sustains their family and the community. 

At Mariposa we know that any challenges we face must be met with creativity. We are so grateful to you all, our donors, who believe in the important work we are doing and continue to invest in change. Together, we are able to create jobs, spread our mission and give back to the community - all while empowering the world’s most powerful force for change! 

With gratitude, 

The Mariposa girls, family, staff and volunteers

Cabarete Coffee Company back in the day
Cabarete Coffee Company back in the day
Staff supporting the word's most powerful force!
Staff supporting the word's most powerful force!
Friends and family gather at the coffee shop
Friends and family gather at the coffee shop
Romely talks with fellow United World College alum
Romely talks with fellow United World College alum
Organic coffee & our sustainable tourism guide
Organic coffee & our sustainable tourism guide
Dec 27, 2017

It Takes a Village! A Mariposa Village

Artist Xavier Ringer with Mariposas & Volunteers
Artist Xavier Ringer with Mariposas & Volunteers

 

This fall, the incredible Mariposa girls led more than 500 children and 100 community stakeholders in a city-wide mural project entitled, “It Takes A Village.” In partnership with international artists, local educators, Cabarete public schools and the U.S.Embassy, the Mariposa Foundation sponsored two community murals and a series of workshops, transforming the city inside and out! This unprecedented collaboration brought the streets to life with color and united the whole community together in support of Cabarete’s young people.

 

Mariposa’s reach extended wide. Public school students across all grade levels joined the Mariposa girls and international artists in brainstorming ideas, creating designs and painting the murals. The result was a truly inclusive final product that everyone felt ownership for! The project ran during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. This initiative aimed to empower at-risk youth to use art as a tool for expression, creativity and voice. Through community workshops, centered on values and empowerment, Mariposa emphasized art as an alternative to violence and risk-behavior activities.

 

Muralist Xavier Ringer and mosaic artist Annemarie Zwack guided the Mariposa girls and the children of Cabarete in values-centered workshops in order to create a mural design that represented the community’s vision. The Declaration of the Rights of Children written in Creole, English and Spanish was featured in the mural. The trilingual narration reflects the unique make-up of Cabarete, which is a melting pot of Dominican, Haitian and other international cultures. In a country that has historically been unaccepting of their Haitian neighbors, the children’s high regard for their diverse heritage displays hope for a more peaceful and united future. The Mariposa girls’ pride in leading their peers into a different future is evident in their wide smiles!

 

This December, we reflect on how much the Mariposas have grown and accomplished. At the unveiling of the mural project, the Mariposas celebrated with a grand performance, featuring song, dance and theater. Artist Annemarie shared about a special part of the mural, “This mango tree and the fruit it offers represent the growth and cultivation that the Mariposas have undertaken in pursuing their education. ‘Siembra tu futuro!’ / ‘Sow your future!’ is a theme they identified for this mural.” In a town where a young girl is more likely to become a teenage mother or bride than finish high school, the Mariposa girls are changing that reality and reaping the rewards of their hard work.

 

It takes a village, but the future is bright for the Mariposas. Together, we can keep making this important work possible. Invest in a girl - she will do the rest!

 

With Gratitude,

 

 The girls, parents, staff and volunteers

"Education is the way to a better future"
"Education is the way to a better future"
The Rights of the Children held by Viviana, 16,
The Rights of the Children held by Viviana, 16,
Katiana, 16, shares her pride!
Katiana, 16, shares her pride!
Mango mosaic tree represents growth
Mango mosaic tree represents growth
This village is raising up its youth!
This village is raising up its youth!
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.