Unleash the Leader in a Girl

by The Mariposa DR Foundation
Vetted
Mariposas play role models from the US, DR & Haiti
Mariposas play role models from the US, DR & Haiti

Dear Friends,

Since September the Mariposa girls ages 15-18 have been participating in a comparative study of Dominican, Haitian, and US women role models called the Girl Workshop Series. This interactive study has included research, field trips, and workshops with some of the women they studied, including Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez and Native Americans Radmilla Cody and Mary Kim Titla.

In April the study culminated in a final event created by the Mariposa girls titled “Celebrating Our Similarities.” This event was attended by all the Mariposa girls, US Embassy representatives, members of the local community, and two of the women from the study. The event included circus and musical performances by the Mariposa girls that wowed the guests.

The main performance was a theatrical piece in which the Mariposa girls each represented one woman from the comparative study and participated in an imaginary women’s conference that unified these leaders and activists from different times and places. The featured women included Haitian activists Myriam Merlet and Sonia Pierre; Dominican activists and educators Aniana Vargas, Julia Alvarez, Mamá Tingó, Salome Ureña, Paulina Pérez, Margo Suriel and Minerva Mirabal; American activists and author Maya Angelou, Lucy Burns, Alice Paul, and Harriet Tubman; and Native Americans Anacaona, Mary Kim Titla, and Radmilla Cody.

The presentation was a combination of spoken word, poetry, music and dance. It brought together rich elements from three different countries and over 500 years of history. Creating the presentation solidified the girls’ understanding and enthusiasm of the many connections that weave the lives of these women together, as well as how the lives of these women are not so different from their own.

A powerful way to unleash the leader in a girl is to teach her the stories of the amazing women that came before her, because empowered role models lead to empowered girls! Thank you for your essential support of our girls’ education and empowerment programs. 

With gratitude,

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

Odalissa as environmental activist Aniana Vargas
Odalissa as environmental activist Aniana Vargas
Mariposa girl Jafreisy starring in the circus show
Mariposa girl Jafreisy starring in the circus show
Mariposa musical group performing original songs
Mariposa musical group performing original songs
Mariposas Jafreisy and Victoria as US suffragists
Mariposas Jafreisy and Victoria as US suffragists
Julia Alvarez and Margo S. w/Executive Director
Julia Alvarez and Margo S. w/Executive Director

Links:

The Mariposa girls on the beach in Punta Cana!
The Mariposa girls on the beach in Punta Cana!

Dear Friends, 

This February the Mariposa Girls had the experience of a lifetime – they were invited to perform in front of 1,800 people at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana to spread the word about the world’s most powerful force for change, girls!

Most girls in poverty will never have the chance to visit a 5-star hotel, but tourism is the number one industry in the Dominican Republic and therefore the largest job market. This trip was only the beginning of our hospitality program, in which the Mariposa girls will gain the necessary skills to work in the industry. The girls got a full tour of the hotel and took advantage of the pools, magic shows and other activities they never knew existed. These girls are the stars of the Mariposa Girls Leadership Program and one day will be leaders in the field of hospitality.

After months of hard work rehearsing song and dance routines, 30 Mariposa girls went on an all expenses paid field trip to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. When they strutted out onto the huge stage in front of the large audience they didn’t falter, they wowed the crowd with their performance and brought staff and guests alike to tears. To see one of the songs they performed, check out this video

The girls shone as the rock stars they are: singing and dancing and leading the crowd participation. They later had the chance to mingle with the guests in a smaller setting, practicing their English and overcoming cultural barriers to talk about Mariposa’s work. You couldn’t tell that the girls had never been in this environment before as they laughed and enjoyed the resorts amenities. Many of them had never been on an elevator before or seen so much food available to eat.

The Mariposa Girls were grateful for the opportunity to shine and discover new possibilities for their future. It just goes to show what can happen if you unleash the leader in a girl! Thank you for making this possible.

With gratitude,

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

The Mariposa girls wowing the crowd!
The Mariposa girls wowing the crowd!
Rock stars!
Rock stars!
Enjoying the pools!
Enjoying the pools!

Links:

Cultural Exchange
Cultural Exchange

Dear Friends,

Cultural exchange and education is a core component of our program at Mariposa. We believe that by exposing our girls to other cultures, we can help them grow to be global citizens with a greater understanding of the world around them. This November, during Native American Heritage Month, we were fortunate enough to host two amazing representatives from the Navajo and Apache Nations right here in the Dominican Republic! Radmilla Cody, of the Tla'a'schi'i' (Red Bottom People) clan, is a Grammy award nominee and domestic abuse survivor and advocate and Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache, is a Native American youth advocate, 20 year veteran TV newscaster and former school administrator.

Radmilla and Mary Kim spent a week at The Mariposa Center sharing their cultures with the girls. It was an extremely enriching experience for both parties as the parallels between the struggles of indigenous people on reservations and the struggles of growing up in poverty in Cabarete created powerful connections. The Mariposa girls of all ages participated in identity and coming of age workshops, crafting circles and music and dance classes. Together, they shared recipes, music, dances, language, traditional clothing and cultural practices. 

It was an amazing week full of sharing and understanding of indigenous cultures in the US with the Mariposa girls. They were left with a greater understanding of the situation of indigenous people in the US and the power of Radmilla and Mary Kim's personal struggles. Our visitors' final day at the center was very emotional as we say farewell to both of them and to an incredibly rich, cultural experience. An unforgettable week for everyone involved.

Experiences like this empower girls by showing them that they matter, and that they too have the power to build solidarity and support for all girls and women across the globe. These life changing experiences are only possible because of your generosity and we thank you for your support.

With gratitude,

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

Radmilla and Mary Kim
Radmilla and Mary Kim
Group Photo
Group Photo

Links:

Summer Camp!
Summer Camp!

Dear Friends,

This summer has been full of many great accomplishments and some challenges. We have seen remarkable personal growth in all of our girls and have had the privilege of working with so many talented and dedicated volunteers. Summer programs were in full effect from June 8th to July 30th, offering more than 20 different activities for all 150 girls. From theater to pottery, swimming, reading, math, gardening, sports, surfing, sewing, kayaking, hiking, field trips and more, our girls were extremely busy! In addition to all of the group activities, private one on one tutoring sessions were available for the last three weeks of the program to ensure that all of the girls who need extra help are ready to keep up when the school year begins.

Keeping the older girls, ages 15 and up, engaged is always one of our greatest challenges. It is much easier to get younger girls to participate in group activities, but as we all know, things get a bit more difficult as they grow up. Our staff and volunteers work extremely hard with our older girls to ensure that they are able to pursue their individual passions and discover their strengths. The older girls were able to participate in an urban art workshop, culinary classes, book clubs, mediation workshops and intense English courses throughout the entire summer. More often than not, these specialized activities are a great success, however sometimes we struggle with finding the time, resources and talent to do it all. Most importantly, we continue to try new things, listen, and learn from our successes and our failures. We listen to each individual girl and do our best to create a unique plan for her that will keep her motivated and attending regularly.

The summer ended on a high note with the 2nd Annual Mariposa Surf Competition where 20 of our girls participated in a spirited, healthy competition. All of the girls, and many community members and partners came out to the beach that day to cheer them on. It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, there were virtually no Dominican or Haitian girls that even knew how to swim, let alone compete in water sports. Now, we're hosting our very own girls' water sport event! 16 year old Yafreisy says, "With Mariposa I learned to swim and now I love to be out on the ocean. It's the only place I can feel completely calm and free". It's the small wins like this that give us the confidence that what we're doing is working, and that because of our work together, lives are changing. More than anything, we are beyond grateful for your partnership in continuing to serve the girls in our community.

Happy summer!

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

Surfer Girls
Surfer Girls

Links:

Earth Day - Photo by: Amy Martin
Earth Day - Photo by: Amy Martin

Dear Friends,

It's been a very exciting Spring at The Mariposa DR Foundation. Joined by some very special local and international guests, we spent an entire week celebrating Earth Day with some spectacular performances, presentations on solar panels and the importance of sustainable energy, and various art projects, all done by our Mariposa girls!

Acclaimed author and Mariposa honorary chairwoman, Julia Alvarez and her family, joined us for the week as volunteers to help with the preparations for the big performance. The girls worked hard preparing costumes and skits on composting, waste and environmental consciousness, crafting costumes made entirely from recycled materials such as newspapers and plastic bottles. The older girls did a presentation on solar energy and what they have learned from the solar panels installed at The Mariposa Center for Girls. Part of the program for the past year has been understanding and explaining how this technology works and how it can benefit the entire community.

The girls performed a series of skits, highlighting the differences between organic and inorganic materials and how we can preserve the earth by reducing our use of inorganic material because it does not decompose quickly and can hurt our natural resources. All of the girls painted ceramic pots filled with dirt and seeds to bring home to their families so that they will all have a plant growing in their home to reflect on, and be proud of what they have learned. 

A returning volunteer, Tori, who joined us for the festivities wrote in her blog "I was lucky enough to sit in on one of their renewable energy classes and saw how much passion and determination these girls have. The Mariposa girls know their potential; it is clear by how they talk about wanting to go to university to be pediatricians, seismologists, flight attendants and a whole host of ideas. The older girls have really taken to this renewable energy course, as it offers possibilities for sustainable energy in their town, which so desperately needs it. They have also been able to see the positive effects of the solar panels in their own Center on a daily basis, so this develops their interest in bringing sustainable energy to Cabarete.

Thank you for supporting our passion for environmental education!

Sincerely,

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

Photo by: Amy Martin
Photo by: Amy Martin
Musical Mariposas
Musical Mariposas

Links:

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

The Mariposa DR Foundation

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mariposadrfoundation.org/​
Project Leader:
Jessica Lawson
Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.