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Apr 21, 2017

Our Butterflies Are Bookworms!

Erika, age 15, reads aloud during book club
Erika, age 15, reads aloud during book club

Dear Friends, 

At the Mariposa Center, we are creating a deep love for reading, writing and books! Reading and literacy is one of the main points of emphasis in our programming because with strong literacy skills, our girls are more equipped to interrupt the cycle of generational poverty. As the United Nations reports that two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female, we believe this is one of the most foundational, yet transformational skills with which we can equip our girls.

This year we welcomed 14 new girls into our programs. These eight-year-olds arrived  from public school with little to no experience reading and writing. Most struggled to correctly identify letters of the alphabet. To meet their needs, educator Mary Jane works to create dynamic and holistic lessons that get the Mariposas excited about learning. She says, “Many of our visitors and volunteers express that they are impressed with the love and connection to the books that Mariposas have. Through books, are girls our discovering how to learn, how to feel, and how to do.” Mary Jane is not afraid to use unlikely strategies to help her students develop a passion for learning. Her focus is learning through play so that alongside reading and writing, the Mariposas develop other important values and skills. This year, seven Mariposas who were previously illiterate learned to read and write. We are so proud of their hard work!

Some of the games the literacy teachers use as educational tools are actually games the girls play in their home and neighborhood. Activities such as Bingo reading, tongue twisters and hangman become ways of teaching both academic content and key life skills. Esmeralda, age 11, reveals the many things she learns in literacy classes: “I love literacy class and reading because I learn about so many important things like tolerance, how to treat a person with respect, diversity and friendship.” By using already well-loved games as a means to learn, the Mariposa teachers accelerate the learning process and plant the seeds in the girls for a life-long love of studying, exploring and learning.

We see that our model is working. The Mariposas excitement for literature continues long after their first literacy classes as eight and nine year olds. With the help of their teachers, the oldest Mariposas organized a bi-weekly book club after each submitting a letter about their desire to be in the club. Our pride beams for their initiative, enthusiasm and continued commitment to literacy! 

We are so grateful to all you who make this project possible through your donations. Thanks to your generous support, our butterflies are bookworms! 

With gratitude,

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

Teacher Mary Jane and her book lovers
Teacher Mary Jane and her book lovers
The newest and youngest Mariposas
The newest and youngest Mariposas
Fernanda inspires her class with a new story
Fernanda inspires her class with a new story
Kenia, age 12, volunteers at local preschool
Kenia, age 12, volunteers at local preschool
A Mariposa mother reads to girls
A Mariposa mother reads to girls
Feb 7, 2017

Empowerment Takes Center Stage!

Rosa Emilia shares her story with poise and pride
Rosa Emilia shares her story with poise and pride

Dear Friends,

We had a very exciting winter full of empowering and inspiring projects for the Mariposa girls! In December, the Mariposa DR Foundation was honored to receive special guests Elizabeth Acevedo and Laura Peña, two artists with Dominican-American backgrounds. These vibrant women served as incredible role models for our girls and shared their crafts through dynamic workshops and mentoring.

Liz, an acclaimed spoken-word poet and inspirational speaker, has garnered much success for her work in the areas of identity and reclamation of word and story. As a descendent of the Dominican diaspora, through her writing she has worked to preserve her heritage and roots, while affirming her own unique space in the world. Similarly, the Mariposa girls are carving out room for their identity as an unprecedented generation of educated, empowered Dominican and Haitian girls interrupting the cycle of poverty. Liz helped the girls to transform their personal histories into powerful pieces of spoken-word poetry. At our year-end presentation in December, the high school aged girls were able to present their new written works with pride, affirmation, and strength!

We were also very excited to host Laura, a motion art designer and founder of a NYC-based design lab which is focused on storytelling through motion graphics, design, and technology. The oldest Mariposa girls learned and applied this cutting-edge art technology in their various workshops with Laura. With her help, the girls created imagery, wrote dialogue, and recorded videos of themselves to produce a short film. Their final product complemented the oldest girls’ activism campaign #nosoytumamcita in their affirmation of identity and empowerment. Katiana, aged 15, said, “The experience making the video was so cool and educational. I loved it because I was able to learn more about animation. With my photos and expressions, I got to show my strength and independence.” We are so excited to unveil this creative video, made by girls, for girls!

Seeing the girls embody their work so passionately on the stage and on the screen in December was incredible. The video produced with Laura will help share the Mariposa story for years to come, and empowering the Mariposa girls to know the value of their own stories and voices is priceless! Thanks to your generous support, empowerment takes center stage in our work!

With gratitude,

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

Liz Acevedo performs her spoken word poem "Hair"
Liz Acevedo performs her spoken word poem "Hair"
Jafreisy & Laura Pena hug after inspirational week
Jafreisy & Laura Pena hug after inspirational week
Laura & Liz support the #nosoytumamacita campaign
Laura & Liz support the #nosoytumamacita campaign
Sory's personality shined through in the spotlight
Sory's personality shined through in the spotlight

Links:

Feb 2, 2017

Talented Girls Can Change the World!

Singing and dancing to the alphabet!
Singing and dancing to the alphabet!

Dear Friends,

This December, all of the Mariposa girls had the opportunity to showcase their numerous and varied talents at our end-of-year celebration. Each age group chose a different activity to show off all that they had learned throughout the semester. The show had a great turnout with many members of the community, including the girls’ families and friends, in attendance. It was an exciting day at the Mariposa Center for Girls!

The show began by awarding the “Miss Values” ribbons to the girls that exemplified December’s values of activism and fighting for your rights. Nominated by their peers and teachers, Mariposa girls from each age group proudly accepted their awards.

The 7 and 8-year-old Mariposa girls had been working very hard on basic literacy skills since September, when they did not know how to recognize any letters. They stunned the audience by singing and dancing to the whole alphabet! When asked about what she learned after participating in her group’s first Mariposa event, Dahiana, age 7, shared, “To be in the show, you have to always work together and practice a lot! We did a good job to show everyone that they would love to be part of this beautiful group.”

Event attendees were also able to enjoy several dance recitals, and seeing the multi-talented Mariposas put on an energetic and dynamic dance recital is always a crowd favorite. This was followed by a comical adaptation of Julia Alvarez’s Tia Lola stories, which the 12 and 13-year-olds have been reading all semester long. Our girls did a magnificent job playing the spunky characters of Tia Lola, the kooky Dominican aunt, and her American nieces and nephews, whom she comes to visit in the United States. The audience couldn’t stop laughing at this show!

We also enjoyed excellent presentations from our science classes, who have been studying the local waterways and ecosystems. Groups from the middle school aged Mariposas presented on aquatic species found locally with their detailed posters. Others acted out skits to help raise consciousness about the negative effects of trash pollution. The Mariposas are hopeful that through their educational campaigns at Mariposa and in local schools, their fellow Cabarete citizens will take action to preserve the environment!

Lastly, the oldest Mariposa girls shared spoken word poems that they had created in workshops with Dominican-American poet Liz Acevedo. They highlighted themes of personal identity, culture, and empowerment. None of this would have been possible without you generous support of the Mariposa Center for Girls. Thank you!

With gratitude,

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

Environmental activists promote clean waterways!
Environmental activists promote clean waterways!
Viviana, 15, proudly displays her new title
Viviana, 15, proudly displays her new title
Showing off their dance moves!
Showing off their dance moves!
Tia Lola has arrived! Played by Alexandra, age 13
Tia Lola has arrived! Played by Alexandra, age 13
Erika, 15, shares her spoken word piece
Erika, 15, shares her spoken word piece

Links:

 
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