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
Mariposa  Center for Girls- 2014
Mariposa Center for Girls- 2014

Meet Nicole- a true testament of resiliency, determination, and success. Nicole joined the Mariposa DR Foundation at age 9, ready to take full advantage of everything it had to offer.  Now a freshman at Whitman College in the United States, Nicole’s journey is an inspiration and an example of what can happen when a young woman is empowered and given opportunities. 

Thanks to generous donors like you, many of our girls benefit from educational scholarships to attend local private schools in Cabarete. When Nicole began Mariposa, she was enrolled at Coral where she excelled until she received a scholarship to transfer to ISLA Academy at the age of 15.  ISLA Academy is a private, International school in Sosua that offers a high-quality, rigorous, and personalized curriculum taught primarily in English.  After graduation from ISLA,  Nicole’s post-secondary journey took her to United World College (UWC) in Costa Rica. UWC’s 18 schools and colleges are set on 4 continents and deliver a challenging and transformational education to over 10,500 students each year. UWC prepared Nicole for university-level curriculum and her continued diligence and work ethic paid off as she is now a four-year Davis Scholarship recipient, covering all expenses for her undergraduate degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, USA.  

A recent conversation with Nicole gave a glimpse into her life and her admirable educational journey:

What were your most significant challenges while attending school in Cabarete?

The most difficult thing was getting the necessary tools needed to keep up with my tasks and my homework.  For example, having a computer or even when I did have a computer, I did not have the internet at my house and it was very difficult to access.

 

Looking back on your educational journey so far, what are you most proud of?

I am very proud to be able to study what I like. I am also very proud of fulfilling my dream of being able to travel to other countries. 

 

What are the most essential skills you learned at Mariposa that have helped you get where you are now?

I feel that Mariposa always taught me very useful things. Math classes especially helped since this was an area that did not always come easy to me.  Developing my writing skills and learning how to construct an essay definitely helped me applying to United World College. 

 

What interested you about United World College and why did you choose to apply?

I was very interested in cultural exchange and I was determined to reach a higher educational level. I knew UWC was an avenue to achieve this goal.

 

What colleges did you apply to and why did you ultimately choose Whitman College?

In addition to Whitman, I applied to Furman College and College of the Atlantic. I decided on Whitman because of its science program.  I also got a very good academic scholarship. AND, my best friend came with me!!

 

What are you studying at Whitman?

I haven’t decided for sure but something related to science- most likely biology. I also like psychology. 

 

What has been your biggest challenge attending a university in the United States?

Adapting to a new culture.  The language barrier for sure because my English is still not fully fluent. 

 

What advice would you give one of our current 10-year-old Mariposa girls?

Never give up and keep going.  Dreams do come true!

 

Our donors and volunteers are the backbone of the Mariposa DR Foundation.  Opportunities like Nicole’s are possible because of the support received.  A tremendous thank you, for Unleashing the Leader in our girls, and helping make their dreams come true!

Learning and mastering!
Learning and mastering!
United World College-2021
United World College-2021
Nicole- Mariposa Summer 2022 Volunteer
Nicole- Mariposa Summer 2022 Volunteer
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Class of 2022 Beginning Middle School (2016)
Class of 2022 Beginning Middle School (2016)

The Mariposa DR Foundation is full of pride and celebration as eleven of our special young women completed their studies and graduated from the Mariposa Center for Girls. For many of these young women, their graduation marks the end of over ten years participating in Mariposa programming. These graduates experienced a magnitude of academic enrichment, environmental education, arts, culture, health & wellness, vocational training, and recreational activities that have allowed them to discover their own strengths and interests.  

Over the past year, these young women increased their English acquisition, learned necessary computer skills, volunteered at our mountain school in Jarabacoa, traveled to Santo Domingo to visit museums and local universities , had a class bonding swim/pizza party at the Center, toured local businesses in Cabarete to become aware of necessary job skills, and together planned a fantastic culminating party to celebrate their graduation.  

One of our recent graduates, Arianny, summarized her experience at Mariposa beautifully:

“Today is a very special day for all of us.  It is one of those long-awaited days and that is later remembered with great nostalgia. Today- Friday, June 17, 2022- ends a very important stage of our lives for all of us. We have finished our butterfly stage and we will begin to fly.

Together we were able to face the problems that arose and we learned to take care of each other. I feel a combination of feelings-joy and nostalgia. Joy because we have accomplished what we set out to do and nostalgia because the great butterfly season is leaving us where we shared joy, sadness, challenges and above all, triumphs.

We are here today because we have worked with effort and perseverance overcoming each of the challenges and obstacles we have faced. We have learned, among other things, that punctuality and determination are important, that rules should be honored, that we must show solidarity with one another, that we must be firm and make our voices heard, that we are not going anywhere without effort, and that what we achieve today is only a small part of what we can still achieve. Today begins the flight that will never end, we will always be butterflies.”

As these young women become Volandos* entering adulthood with confidence and empowerment, we honor and support them as they continue their education or enter into the workforce. They have broken barriers, exceeded expectations, and touched the lives of those around them. Congratulations Andrea, Aida Maria, Arianny, Kimberly, Maria Angelica, Mika, Niurka, Osmeiris, and Yenidel! And thank you to all who have contributed to their success!  

*In 2015, in response to our girls breaking barriers and completing their high school education, we started the Mariposas Volando Program to offer internships in various fields and scholarships for continuing education.  More information about our Volando program can be found here.

Class of 2022- Graduation Day (June, 2022)
Class of 2022- Graduation Day (June, 2022)

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At the Mariposa DR Foundation, we are committed to developing life-long, healthy habits while protecting the environment and respecting the abundant resources the Dominican Republic has to offer.  We are proud to announce that as of this year, all of the food that is prepared at our Center is entirely plant-based!

Shifting to a whole-food, plant-forward diet is not only beneficial to our girls’ health, it’s a tribute to their culture and an acknowledgment of the extraordinary life-giving resources that their country has to offer. The Dominican people have lived off the land for generations and our cooking classes focus on learning new and exciting ways to prepare familiar, local produce (and some new ingredients!). The girls’ palettes are expanding while developing the necessary skills needed to improve their eating habits and influence the people closest to them.

We know that when girls take ownership of what they eat and their health, it will have a ripple effect throughout the entire community. As large contributors to household responsibilities, most young girls in the Dominican Republic are at least partially responsible for preparing meals for their families. In an effort to focus on creating healthy habits that last a lifetime and pay homage to the incredible place they call home, we continually educate the girls and their families on local, affordable, resources and generate easy-to-follow recipes.  The girls are becoming involved and taking ownership of the food being served. They look forward to programs and coming to the Center every day because they love the food and are learning how to prepare it themselves.  

One of their favorites is our homemade granola!   Growing and roasting our own macadamia nuts has put an extra special spin on this breakfast treat.  By using seasonal macadamias from our farm in Jarabacao, our girls are a part of the process from start to finish.  They visited the farm, saw the macadamia nut trees, picked the harvest, and brought them down to Cabarete where we dried and roasted them before adding them to the granola.  They were definitely able to reap the benefits of their labor and appreciate the different ways we incorporate the granola into our plant-based menu. Esmeralda reports that the best days are the ones we serve fresh fruit kabobs with a side of granola. Filled with quinoa, organic oats, and natural honey- it is a perfect-HEALTHY- treat!

Healthy eating leads to healthy living and Mariposa’s commitment to a localized plant-based menu has been a tremendous step in educating our girls about wellness and proper nutrition. We continue to experiment with seasonal ingredients and new recipes and look forward to expanding our menu throughout the year!

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Surfista!
Surfista!

She is a reader.  She is a ballerina.  She is a swimmer.  She is a mathematician.  She is a seamstress.  She is a yogi.  She is a cyclist.  She is a surfer.  She is… anything that she wants to be! 

 

What a year it has been at the Mariposa DR Foundation. Since the return to campus this fall, our girls have been busy learning and exploring through creative programming made possible by donors like yourself. 

 

Aurora immersed herself in the books of our new Primeros Lectores Reading series. Leah learned how to plie and leap during her first ballet class.  Ashly proudly tread water during Ocean Safety. Yorelis confidently counted to 20- forward & backward- in Spanish AND English! Nicole practiced mindfulness and our oldest Mariposotas presented to local boys about empowering and treating women with respect. 

 

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, our girls persisted and flourished. They exhibited flexibility and gratitude as we adapted our programming and provided needed services.  All of us at the Mariposa DR Foundation cannot thank you enough for your consistent contributions that kept our girls active and engaged.  


Here is to a happy, healthy and Being Anything You Want To Be year!!

Cyclist!
Cyclist!
Mathematician!
Mathematician!
Yogi!
Yogi!
Ballerina!
Ballerina!
Seamstress!
Seamstress!
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Mariposa Class of 2032
Mariposa Class of 2032

As the 2021 school year gets underway, The Mariposa DR Foundation is excited to welcome a new group of 40 Maripositas to our Center. Wide eyed, curious and excited to begin their transformative journey, these new Mariposa girls are on their way to change the course of their lives and the future of their families. Always first on our list to serve are the siblings and relatives to active Mariposa girls. Once these spots are filled, we begin to reach out to the community at large. All new girls go through an orientation process which includes home visits and intake information with parents and families to get a better understanding of their individual needs. 

As our largest group to enroll to date, the need to serve the girls of the Cabarete community is more and more overwhelmingly apparent. The lack of instruction due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the increased demand of taking on full responsibility of domestic chores in their households during the lockdown, have left girls further behind in their academics. Yet at the same time, it is clear that parents are increasingly more desperate to get their girls into a safe environment to learn, grow and thrive. 

Reflective of the growing greater needs in our community and the local and global situation we find ourselves in, we are presented with new challenges as an institution. While these higher demands could be seen as taxing, they have also helped to encourage and open up more opportunities for us to work with an even greater variety of learners, some of which have never attended school. In addition, we continue to be cognizant of young girls who might normally be excluded or marginalized within the public educational system due to their learning or cognitive challenges. As always, The Mariposa DR Foundation is committed to educating ALL girls, despite their differences, as we continue to work diligently to meet the growing needs of our local community in providing quality holistic wrap-around services year after year.   

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Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
$276,926 raised of $500,000 goal
 
5,404 donations
$223,074 to go
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