Mariposa Center For Girls

by The Mariposa DR Foundation
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:

Ana Iris sewing an Upcycled bag.
Ana Iris sewing an Upcycled bag.

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to share the successes of our Upcycled Sails Project with you! This project takes used racing sails destined for the dump and gives them new life by upcycling them into fashionable bags and accessories. In order to create the bags, we are teaching Mariposa girls and mothers sewing skills that will provide them with a sustainable source of income and allow them to lift their families out of poverty. We pay the seamstresses to make the bags, sell the bags, and reinvest the profit into Mariposa’s environmental education programs.

To date we have trained two Mariposa graduates, Ana Iris and Rose Lourdes, to make the bags, and will soon be training three Mariposa mothers. These girls, along with the lead seamstress Mama Mason, have created several different bag sizes and began production. We have a huge shipping container full of sail material, which will allow them to make many, many bags. Even the scraps will be used, for stuffing pillows, so nothing will go to waste. Soon the bags will be available to purchase in Cabarete and online!

This entire program is based in the sewing room at the Mariposa Center for Girls that your donations helped to outfit with the machines and other equipment needed to make this project possible. Ana Iris says “For me the sewing project is extremely important because through this project I have learned to sew….and I earn money that allows me to do many things.” Rose Lourdes had this to say about the Upcycled Sails project:  “Sewing is my passion, and through this project I learn something new every day.”

Your continued support makes it possible to provide job skills training programs at the Mariposa Center for Girls. These programs in turn make it possible for girls and women to lift their families out of the cycle of generational poverty. Thank you for helping to educate the world’s most powerful force for change!

With gratitude,

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

An Upcycled Sails pencil bag.
An Upcycled Sails pencil bag.
Women of the Upcycled team.
Women of the Upcycled team.
The container of racing sail material.
The container of racing sail material.
More Upcycled bag samples.
More Upcycled bag samples.

Links:

Elidania shows off her backpack of school supplies
Elidania shows off her backpack of school supplies

Dear Friends,

We are proud to announce that this year we are providing scholarships for ALL of the 150 Mariposa girls ages 7-18 to attend private schools! At the Mariposa Center for Girls, we work to remove the barriers that prevent girls in poverty from receiving a quality education. We not only provide scholarships to cover the cost of tuition at private schools, but provide an entire support system to keep girls in school.

Students are expected to buy their own textbooks, uniforms, and school supplies-even at the public schools. These costs are often prohibitive for families, and if a child is going to be left out of school for economic reasons it is often the girl that is forced to stay at home while her brothers get to study. Mariposa provides all of our girls with all of the books, uniforms, and school supplies that they need so their education doesn’t cost their family anything.

This year we had a surplus of school supplies, which we donated to local public schools so that all of the children of Cabarete can benefit from the generosity of Mariposa’s donors. Considering that the Dominican Republic ranks 143rd out of 144 countries in terms of quality of the primary education system (World Economic Forum, 2012), the public schools need all of the help they can get. We continue to support the improvement of local public school while making sure the Mariposa girls get the best education available at private schools.

Removing financial barriers to girls’ education is essential, but we believe it is not enough on it’s own. Our holistic approach includes providing safe transportation to and from school and the Mariposa Center for Girls to ensure that our girls won’t face street harassment while pursuing their education. We also provide year-round health care services and nutritious meals so that the Mariposa girls have healthy bodies to support their eager minds. An important part of our core programming at the Mariposa Center for Girls is academic enrichment, which includes academic tutoring for all of the girls.   

Your continued support makes it possible for us to keep girls in school. Education opens doors and provides the opportunities for girls to lift their entire families out of the cycle of generational poverty. Thank you for helping to educate the world’s most powerful force for change! 

With gratitude,

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

Our 3rd & 4th graders with the Executive Director
Our 3rd & 4th graders with the Executive Director
Some of our high school girls in uniform at school
Some of our high school girls in uniform at school
Mariposa Class of 2023 will start 6th grade soon
Mariposa Class of 2023 will start 6th grade soon
Ashly & Esmelada will go to private school
Ashly & Esmelada will go to private school

Links:

Creating a strong foundation for the building
Creating a strong foundation for the building

Dear Friends,

In February we received an incredibly generous donation of 65 brand new bicycles! With these bicycles we will be able to start the Mariposa Cycling program this summer, teaching our girls bike mechanics and how to safely ride around town.

When we first received the bicycles we did not have adequate storage space for so many of them, and had to temporarily fill different classrooms. Thanks to your support of infrastructure projects at the Mariposa Center for Girls, we were able to build a bike storage building on our property!

Student groups from Lawrence Academy and Education First worked together with local construction workers to build a durable and secure storage facility that is large enough to hold all of the bicycles. Local cycling experts designed the building for proper bike storage and easy access for the Mariposa girls. Now we can rest easy knowing that our bicycles have their own building so they stay safe and in good working order.

Bicycles provide girls with independence, a fantastic form of exercise, and the ability to explore new areas of their community. Falande, age 12, starts every day by asking “When can I ride a bike?” and the other girls share her eagerness to start the new program. It is rare for a girl to have her own bicycle in our community, so we are excited to be able to provide the Mariposa girls with this cycling experience.

We couldn’t have done this without your support, so thank you!

With gratitude,

The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa Center for Girls

Volunteers and locals working together!
Volunteers and locals working together!
Volunteers having fun and working hard!
Volunteers having fun and working hard!
The finished building!
The finished building!
Properly stored new bikes!
Properly stored new bikes!

Links:

Jumping In!
Jumping In!

Dear Friends,

We began our swimming program over 5 years ago with intensive swim lessons for the “Nautical Nine,” nine girls who learned to swim in one summer. Since we opened the Mariposa Center for Girls, and have our very own pool, more than 300 local girls have learned how to swim. The Mariposa girls are making some serious waves in the Cabarete community. Girls that once stood on the beach, terrified of the water are now surfing, kite surfing, kayaking and more. More and more girls look forward to swimming classes as the highlight of their day.

In our beach town of Cabarete, swimming is not just a recreational skill, it is a matter of safety. One of our girls was able to save her younger sister from drowning with the water safety skills she learned in our program. Her younger sister has since become a strong swimmer learning at the Mariposa center.

Swimming for the Mariposa girls is about safety, but it is also about empowerment. Swimming allows them to participate in community activities and be proud of where they come from. The pool at the Mariposa Center for Girls is in the very center of our space and in some ways, the heart of our center. Not only do our girls learn to swim, but it provides a tranquil, peaceful environment to learn. Our girls love their pool so much that they find creative ways to incorporate it into other activities, such as theater. They recently created a synchronized swimming routine as part of a theatrical event for our annual Christmas celebration.

Our girls are swimming their way to success and we could not do any of this without your support. Thank you for your support in keeping our Mariposa girls swimming!

With gratitude,

The girls, families, staff and volunteers at The Mariposa Center for Girls

The Center
The Center
Theater Performance
Theater Performance
Theater Performance
Theater Performance

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mariposadrfoundation.org/​
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Ithaca, New York United States
$131,992 raised of $400,000 goal
 
1,914 donations
$268,008 to go
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