Unleash the Leader in a Girl

by The Mariposa DR Foundation
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl
Unleash the Leader in a Girl

Over the years you have supported the young women at the Mariposa DR Foundation to become leaders in their community. Through our programming they have emerged as scholars, environmentalists, vivid storytellers, artists, citizen scientists, mentors, talented athletes, and competent makers. 

These young women, these incredible leaders of our community, are facing the biggest obstacles they have seen in their short lives. Their schools are closed, they have food insecurity, accessing healthcare is challenging, and they face the risk of increased gender-based violence. They have to stay distanced from their friends and they feel isolated. There is also the mental stress of living in close quarters with family members who may not be taking precautions. They have a lot going on in their lives.

For this reason we believe that ocean accessibility is one essential element to maintaining the mental health of the Mariposas as they feel more and more isolated. As is true in every community, stress levels are high as they try to cope with the challenges they face. Many of us can relate to the need to be near water to center us, to offer us a respite from the world, to give us perspective, and to move our bodies. Now more than ever it is vital to get the Mariposa students safely to the beach and out on the water surfing, SUPing or swimming.  This requires significant planning and logistics to make sure the Mariposas can remain physically distant in vans and that we have more qualified staff for the much smaller groups, but it is absolutely worth it.

While the Mariposa DR Foundation ship is currently hove-to, we have learned a lot about this storm and are ready to start navigating again (with a reef in the sails for sure).  We plan to keep this momentum so that even if we are moving slowly, we are not moving backwards. In order for the Mariposa students to continue to break the cycle of generational poverty, it is essential for them to have the physical and mental capacity to be leaders during this challenging time.  The basic needs of the young women must be met first and foremost. It is essential for us to protect the investment we have made until these young women can take the helm again when this storm has passed. 

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Volunteer Keara with Mariposa Miranda
Volunteer Keara with Mariposa Miranda

At the Mariposa DR Foundation part of our mission is to inspire the international community to join the global girls movement.  One of the many ways we have done that is by hosting international visitors.  Through their experiences and their advocacy work, the Mariposa girls demonstrate to the visitors how girls are the world’s most powerful force for change and create lasting friendships.  Since traveling is not feasible amid the pandemic, we are continuing this aspect of our mission through the newly created Mariposa Virtual Volunteer Program.

The purpose of the Mariposa Virtual Volunteer Program is to continue to foster that important link of international volunteers that makes our programming so unique, giving individual support to Mariposa students virtually, while simultaneously reengaging past volunteers. As of now, 17 volunteers and 28 Mariposa girls (our complete 5th and 6th grade class) are registered to participate in the program, which will focus on our Eco-Heroe book about the ocean and the environment. The program includes two ½ hour sessions per week, per girl. We launched this unique, exciting program on International Day of the Girl 2020!

In the first few weeks we had pairings that talked about CO2 and about trees in different parts of the world, with Mariposas using their phones to show different trees in their backyards and volunteers in the US doing the same (some with beautiful fall foliage!).  Volunteers shared their expert knowledge and the Mariposa girls showed patience as volunteers sometimes searched for words or expressions in Spanish. One challenge that we do face is that sometimes is just that initial step of connecting. The internet can be unstable and it means we must regularly add data to all of the girls’ phones.

We are excited to be able to continue these connections, even as we can’t be with our volunteers in person. 

Volunteer Abby with Mariposa Dahiana
Volunteer Abby with Mariposa Dahiana
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In April of 2013, Nicole began programs with Mariposa and entered as a shy, introverted young girl, yet, always with a remarkable openness to learn and discover new things. As every girl who begins programming with us, Nicole first learned how to swim in our onsite pool and later, once comfortable in the water, she was taken to the ocean to learn how to navigate the sea and read the oceans currents. Nicole’s early exposure to swimming and our water sports programming at such a young age, allowed her to discover that her passion lies in the sea. After participating in our summer camp surf program for several years in a row, she has proven to be an incredible, innate surfer with a deep love and passion for the ocean. Through the Mariposa DR Foundation, Nicole had the unique opportunity to participate in a special surf program, where she spent a week surfing and mentored alongside with some of the top surfer women in the world. Most recently, she pushed her swim skills by taking an introductory lifeguard and water safety course in our community; giving her the opportunity to hone in on the development of her skills in a practical way.  

Today, Nicole continues to be a very well-rounded, active teen. As one of the founding members in our musical group, Nicole has developed a love for performing and shines on stage as she has learned to play several different instruments. In the summer of 2019, Nicole was a pioneer in our UWC Summer Short course program and pushed herself to begin to learn English as she befriended students from around the world. During the 2019-2020 school year Nicole received a full scholarship at a local international school where she sharpened  her English skills and developed herself more on both an academic and social level. Every semester her teachers commented on her continued progress and her notable drive to succeed. The pandemic did not stop her from learning remotely from home and advancing her technical abilities, ultimately preparing her for her next step in life.  

We are happy to announce that Nicole has been officially accepted to study at the prestigious United World College Costa Rica in the fall!  Raised by a supportive, single mother, Nicole has been taught to be persistent and to always rise after falling down. Most importantly, she has learned that she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to and that her openness to learn and try new things is the key to her success. We have no doubt that Nicole's embracing of new experiences will follow her as she begins her journey as a Rise Up Scholar abroad.  

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We wanted to share our promise, la promesa, to the Mariposas as they learn to lead in their community and throughout the world.  As always, thanks so much for your support of this project and for helping to unleash the leader in a girl!

The Promise – The Offer – Our Pledge

We will provide you with an education filled with experiences to last a lifetime. On field trips and through environmental education you will see, smell, and taste things that you never dreamed existed. You will learn skills that will land you jobs and some that will become hobbies. You will play sports, dance, sing and laugh.  You will be safe in our home, because it was built to be your home, too. 

You will learn about other cultures and about your own rich culture, knowledge you can pass to your children one day when you are gown up and if you decide to have them. You will attend a private school where you will stay until you are eighteen years old. We will provide tutors and academic assistance along the way. If you are committed to going to college we will help you to get there.

You will learn languages to enable you to communicate with people from around the world.  You will serve your community and communities with people you do not know. You will march for peace, for change, and for justice for all. You will be a leader who commands respect.

We understand that if your teeth ache or your mother is ill or your siblings are hungry you may not be present, and you need to be present, both physically and mentally. Therefore we will make sure you receive health care and learn to advocate for your health and wellness. If your family needs assistance, financial or emotional, we promise we will look for resources to help them, so that they will also remain determined to help you break the cycle of poverty by receiving a quality education that was not offered to them. We recognize that you cannot do it alone, none of us ever have.  

Our wings are fashioned by many hands.  

The Know

You began your life many miles behind the starting line, and that was not fair. But this has given you a better understanding of how to be compassionate and patient and we trust you will use this compassion and patience to help others who may stumble or need the wisdom of someone who has had to overcome so many obstacles. You will remain committed and will not give up. You may get used to hearing no, but you will never accept it when it is about your well-being or your own dreams or the well-being and dreams of your community, since we don’t belong to ourselves alone.

The Ask

To achieve these goals, you must show up.  You must contribute your time and devotion.  Dream big, work hard.

You must never forget your cradle, where you came from and that you will share your knowledge and love with all that you come into contact with.

You will care for your mother earth and for your mother who birthed you as well as the many mothers and fathers who helped raise you. You will be proud and remain a reader, a problem solver, and a good communicator. You will never stop trying. You will not condone violence or discrimination in any form or intentionally hurt others. You will not judge others as we did not raise you to be judges but to be peacemakers.  You will teach others to love the earth and the sea and the air. 

You are a Mariposa. Your wings were fashioned by many hands. Use them to soar.

------------------ 

La promesa, la oferta, nuestro compromiso

Te proporcionaremos una educación llena de experiencias para toda la vida. En excursiones y a través de la educación medioambiental verás, olerás y sabrás cosas que no imaginabas que existían. Ganarás habilidades que te ayudarán a conseguir trabajo y algunas que se convertirán en pasatiempos. Jugarás deportes, bailarás, cantarás y te reirás. Estarás segura en nuestro hogar, porque fue hecho para ser el tuyo también. 

Aprenderás sobre tu propia cultura y otras, conocimiento que pasarás a tus hijos un día, si tu decides y estés lista para tenerlos. Asistirás a una escuela privada donde estudiarás hasta los dieciocho años. Te proporcionaremos tutores y ayuda académica en el camino. Si estás comprometida para ir a la universidad te ayudaremos a llegar allí. 

 Aprenderás idiomas que te permitirán comunicarte con personas de todo el mundo. Servirás a tu comunidad y a comunidades de personas que no conoces. Marcharás por la paz, por el cambio y por justicia para todos. Serás una líder que inspira respeto.  

Entendemos que si te duele un diente o tu mamá está enferma o tus hermanos tienen hambre tal vez no estarás presente, y tienes que estar presente, tanto físico como mentalmente. Por lo tanto nos aseguraremos de que recibas atención médica y aprendas a defender tu salud y bienestar. Si tu familia necesita ayuda financiara o emocional, prometemos buscar los recursos para ayudarles para que ellos también sigan determinados a ayudarte a acabar con el ciclo de pobreza a través de una educación de calidad que no les ofrecieron. Reconocemos que no lo puedes hacer sola, nadie lo ha hecho solo. 

La Comprensión

Comenzaste la vida muchas millas atrás de la línea de inicio, y eso no es justo. Pero eso te ha dado un mejor entendimiento de cómo ser compasivo y paciente y confiamos que usarás esta compasión y  paciencia para ayudar a otros que pueden tropezar o necesitar la sabiduría de alguien que hasuperado tantos obstáculos. Seguirás comprometida y no te rendirás. Tal vez te acostumbrarás a oír “no,” pero nunca lo aceptarás cuando tiene que ver con tu bienestar o tus sueños o el bienestar y sueños de tu comunidad, porque no nos pertenecemos a nosotros solos.

Lo pedido

Para alcanzar estas metas, tienes que venir. Tienes que contribuir tu tiempo y devoción. Soñar grande, trabajar duro.

Nunca debes olvidarte de tu cuna, de donde vienes, y compartirás tu conocimiento y amor con todos con quien tengas contacto. 

Cuidarás la madre tierra y la madre que te dio la luz y todos las madres y los padres que ayudaron a criarte. Serás orgullosa y serás una lectora, una buena comunicadora y solucionadora de problemas. Nunca dejarás de intentar. No condonarás ni la violencia ni la discriminación en ninguna forma ni hacerle daño a otro a propósito. No juzgarás a otros porque no te criamos para ser jueces sino pacificadores. Enseñarás a otros a amar a la tierra y el mar y el aire. 

 

Eres una Mariposa. Tus alas fueron hechas por muchas manos. Pero solo tú puedes ponértelas y volar por todo el tiempo que estés en la tierra.

 

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Detiny and her ukulele
Detiny and her ukulele

Below is written by Detiny, a Mariposa who is currently in high school and has been in our programs since she was a small girl.  Detiny is a superstar at Mariposa.  A strong leader, she has incredible academic prowess and is an amazing mentor to the younger Mariposas.  From the beginning she has been involved in the music program at the Mariposa Center for Girls and as you’ll read below, it has had a big impact on her.  We are also impressed with her strong abilities in English, her second language! It is through the generosity of donors like you that we are helping to unleash the leader in a girl.

 

As long as I can remember, music has always been by my side; no matter if I was happy, sad, or angry. I remember the songs that my father and I used to listen together before he died. It is incredible how music is not only one thing, but how it has a lot of meanings at the same time. Music is memories, moments, feelings, a way to express yourself, a way to communicate, a way to have fun, and a way of life. Music has shaped part of who I am today. It has changed my life, my social environment, and my emotions. What I am trying to say is that music is not just lyrics and sounds;  music is the most powerful force in this world!

Feelings are often very complicated, and it is sometimes difficult to explain or know what you feel in certain moments, but fortunately, we have music to help us with this. When we play an instrument, dance, or sing these are often the best ways to express those emotions that are impossible to understand. Even this paragraph would be easier to comprehend if I take my instrument and sing a song about music. Music helps me to communicate each thing that I want to scream to the world, but am unable to. With it, I can tell the world how I am thinking, what do I feel, who I am, and, most importantly, that I have a voice that can be heard. Music helps me open my whole soul, and helps me be myself. When I am on stage playing my ukulele, or  playing my piano, or dancing, I show everyone, everything that I have inside me to share. In those moments of nervousness, adrenaline, and passion, the real Detiny comes out to take possession of every single thing.

My social life also has been impacted by music. In my experience at the Mariposa DR Foundation, I have had to socialize with different people around the world, and I had learned one important thing. The best way to make friends is through music because it is that special magical thing that can connect people that don’t even speak the same language. A fun group dance, a karaoke of a famous song, or playing instruments together, (even if someone may not know how to play well). This will create unforgetting moments, unforgetting feelings, and unforgetting friends. 

At last, music has given me a place in this world! Thanks to music I can have something that makes me unique and equal at the same time. Also, I have something that represents me, and I can say that I am part of. Now, because of music, I have one more magical thing living inside me, one feeling that makes me happier; more hopeful, more joyful, more human. I am a piece of something big that connects me with each person in this world, and I am a piece of one language called music. I am part of playlists, concerts, music videos, musicians, pianists, ukulele players, and I am part of one voice. I have one power, I can be noticed, I can say “I am here”. 

In music class
In music class
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Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
$251,376 raised of $500,000 goal
 
4,990 donations
$248,624 to go
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