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

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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Do you remember that feeling when you first learned how to ride a bike? The wind in your hair, the empowerment you felt. We are so excited to share that moment with the Mariposa girls again this summer. Though biking has been a part of our summer camp programming for the last 5 years (thanks to the generous donation of bikes from Red Robin), for many of our girls this will be their first experience on a bike. We know now more than ever our girls need to feel this sense of freedom. After such a challenging year on so many levels, it is crucial not only for their physical well being, but for their mental health as well. We know that exercising in the open air, in a sport that naturally provides social distancing is the perfect solution. 

We are taking the next few weeks to revisit our trails, train our staff and prep our bikes for the summer camp adventure that awaits them. Included in our Women on Wheels biking program staff this year is Mariposa volunteer and triathlete, Martina, who will be paired up with Mariposa Volando, Yaritza. Yaritza has flown back to support our programming from the College of Idaho, where she has currently completed her second year as a Davis UWC Scholar. This powerhouse team is led by our Executive Director, Patricia Suriel, who carries with her decades of biking experience in the Dominican Republic and around the globe.

Patricia has designed a program that both challenges the girls, helps to increase their biking skills, all while exploring their community in a fun, active way. The girls will safely tackle our hillside trails, ride along our beautiful coastline and get to know the countryside all on their bikes. Their coordination and balance will be tested in a supportive environment that will make them feel safe and in control. Every year, we look forward to this program and to see their bright faces full of joy and accomplishment as they cycle back to our Center from their ride!

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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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Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
$272,567 raised of $500,000 goal
 
5,307 donations
$227,433 to go
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