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