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Oct 17, 2017

Spreading Hope and Change Through Art

The Mariposa Center Belongs to Them!
The Mariposa Center Belongs to Them!

At the Mariposa Center for Girls, we aim to create a space of inspiration and motivation for the world’s most powerful force for change. We are continuously “beautifying” our Center with art to spark new ideas, foster hope and encourage our girl change agents.

This fall, we faced two monstrous hurricanes, which left many in the DR homeless. Thankfully, the Mariposa Center was left without extensive damage. We were heartbroken to have lost most of our garden and a few special trees, but we know many are still struggling and feel fortunate that our community was spared. After a slow start to our school year, we are excited to unveil our latest projects and hit the ground running!

With the help of some dedicated volunteers, painted inspirational quotes were added in the breezeway outside of each of the classrooms. These quotes are the words of powerful Dominican, Haitian and North American female activist and leaders. Among the female legends featured at the Mariposa Center are Edwidge Danticat, Frida Kahlo, Julia Alvarez, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama and Myriam Merlet. Lyrics from the Mariposa Musical Group’s song “Solidarity” are also included, displayed in front of the music room.

The quotes, written in Spanish, English and Creole, serve as encouragement and strength for the Mariposa girls. They can see themselves in these woman as future leaders. They also recognize that they are already a part of the women and girl’s movement, when they see their own words painted on the wall. Sharlin, age 10, said “I got a little piece of paper to write down all the quotes and take them home.” Albelys, age 11, said her favorite quote was from Sandra Cisneros. She shared, “For me, the quote helps me to know that I am intelligent, strong, beautiful and sure of who I am.” These powerful words have a strong impact on the Mariposa girls!

As we beautify the Mariposa Center, we are creating a space that serves as the learning and inspiration hub for the world's most powerful force for change. The World Health Organization affirms that the positive impact of girls’ education has been shown to transcend generations, resulting in better health outcomes among women, their children, and eventually their grandchildren.* We are so thankful for your role in the fight to end poverty through girl’s empowerment. Your donations enabled us to purchase the materials and supplies needed to beautify our Center for the Mariposa girls.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

With gratitude,

The girls, families, volunteers and staff at The Mariposa DR Foundation

*World Health Organization, Integrating Poverty and Gender into Health Programmes: A Sourcebook for Health Professionals. 2005.

Albelys & Sharlin inspired for the school year
Albelys & Sharlin inspired for the school year
Girl Champions Transform the Breezeway
Girl Champions Transform the Breezeway
Mariposa Staff Member with Her Favorite Quote
Mariposa Staff Member with Her Favorite Quote
Empowering messages empower girls!
Empowering messages empower girls!
Volunteers show off the finished product
Volunteers show off the finished product
Jul 20, 2017

Mariposa Summer Camp: Sun, Fun & Lots of Learning!

Surfers collect trash after catching waves
Surfers collect trash after catching waves

Dear Friends, 

This summer, the Mariposas have been making a splash land, air and sea! Many new volunteers arrived for our Summer Leadership Camp to share their talents and passions, and the girls are thriving as they take on new endeavors. During camp this year, the butterflies practiced their math and reading skills, cycled around Cabarete, learned to swim or took their water skills to the next level surfing and stand-up paddling! With your support, we are able to provide this amazing programming for our summer camp.

The middle and high school Mariposas once again commenced their mountain biking program with triathlete volunteer, Myia, and recent Mariposa graduates. Biking gives the Mariposas the unique ability and freedom to explore parts of their town that they may never have visited otherwise. Together, they rode trails alongside beaches and mountains on their daily biking excursions. These strong young women biked as many as 20 kilometers in one day! As their endurance strengthens, we see their patience, grit and spirits growing as big as their muscles. 

Not only are the Mariposas dominating Encuentro Surf Beach as they catch the big waves, they are also setting an example for all by protecting the ocean. Each day, after their surf lessons, the surfistas use recycled cacao sacks to collect trash from the beach. This environmental stewardship helps to ensure that the Mariposas will be able to enjoy surfing at Encuentro for years to come. One of the Mariposa surfers, Viviana, age 15, shared, “When I surf I feel really powerful because when I catch a wave, I feel like I have the power to change the world!” 

Alongside summer fun, quality education is a key part of our Summer Leadership Camp. The Mariposas practiced their math and reading skills daily to prepare for the coming school year. In math class, the girls created bouquets of “multiplication flowers.” These flowers helped them to visualize multiplication sets and apply their math skills in a creative way. Our staff also used the extra time in the schedule to devote one-on-one time to those girls needing the most academic support.

Our summer programs also serve as a safe, nurturing place for the Mariposas to spend their summer. By spending their days surrounded by friends and supportive staff, engaged in stimulating activities, the Mariposas continue to develop as strong leaders. In addition, they are able to concentrate and take full advantage of all the opportunities with a full, happy stomach! Your generous contributions make it possible for our programs to provide breakfast and lunch to our girls each day during camp. Surrounded by a robust and holistic support system, we can’t wait to see the heights these butterflies fly to! 

Thank you for all the crucial support you give to girls’ education and empowerment. We could not have done it without you!

With gratitude,

The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa DR Foundation

Mariposa bikers exploring Cabarete
Mariposa bikers exploring Cabarete
Our girls also practice SUP in the river!
Our girls also practice SUP in the river!
A fun way to practice multiplication
A fun way to practice multiplication
Keirimi and Rosa Alva are excited for math!
Keirimi and Rosa Alva are excited for math!
Healthy snacks taste the best!
Healthy snacks taste the best!
Jul 18, 2017

A Story of Transformation: People Be Like "You Changed!"

Just like caterpillars, our girls grow and change!
Just like caterpillars, our girls grow and change!

Dear Friends, 

Thanks to supporters like you, the Mariposa Center for Girls is becoming more beautiful every day! The Mariposa Center, a home away from home for 150 girls, provides a refuge for Dominican and Haitian girls to learn, play and grow in a safe, nurturing environment. On our campus, we are educating the leaders of tomorrow. For this reason, we take special care in designing a dynamic learning center for our girls.

This summer, through a collaborative effort of more than 300 international volunteers, we created an interactive reading garden in a previously unused part of campus - the area between the back of the building and security wall. This new walking garden was inspired by the beloved children’s book by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. For the Mariposas, which translates to butterflies in English, this story of a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly is the perfect visualization of growth and transformation. Mariposas begin programs at age 8 and continue until they are 18. Throughout this decade, they undergo a number of changes, confront many obstacles and become leaders in their community. As the girls walk through the garden, they can see themselves evolving right alongside the very hungry caterpillar.

At the end of this summer, our Center is saying hasta pronto to nine of the original Mariposas who recently graduated from high school. When they first began programs, the Mariposa Center did not exist. After Mariposa purchased the land and dilapidated building that has become our beloved Center for Girls, these young women and their families helped to clean and renovate it. Mariposa graduate, Aritza, who will be attend United World College Costa Rica in the fall, remarks, “The Mariposa Center has been my second home, where I have developed as a person and where I came to know my second sisters. This garden for las chiquitas will be their safe place where they can reflect and express their feelings.”

As we say goodbye to the Mariposas who have found their wings, we continue to improve and beautify the Center for those that follow behind them. We send our gratitude to each one of you who make it possible for our Center to continuously transform and change into a place of inspiration, creativity and stewardship for the girls who call it home. 

With gratitude,

The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa DR Foundation

Esmelada and Beti show off the new walking path
Esmelada and Beti show off the new walking path
Bringing the storybook to life!
Bringing the storybook to life!
Before: Transforming this unconventional space
Before: Transforming this unconventional space
After: A renewed area for learning!
After: A renewed area for learning!
Young learners explore, reading the whole way!
Young learners explore, reading the whole way!
 
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