Thank you!

From the entire team at The Mariposa DR Foundation, we’d like to thank some very important and special individuals and community businesses for contributing to the success of our 4-week summer camp.

A big thank you to our camp volunteers for creating new and exciting programs for our Mariposas and for enriching their summer experiences through sports, song, dance, theatre and heart-to-heart conversations. Thank you Colleen Kavanagh, Lee Ann Evans, Ria Shroff, Kelly Banker, Anna Banker, Nelly Trejo and Aurora Garcia.

Thank you to our academic team of local teacher and international volunteers for their support with literacy and math programs during camp - Paulina Perez, Greicy, Joy Warrick and Tehka Bowen

We can’t forget to mention our parent volunteers for being ever-ready to help clean, supervise a class or run errands during the day. Thank you Orquidia Garcia, Claudia Martinez, Katy Martinez and Claribel Vasquez.

For volunteering their time and talents with the different programs in summer camp, we’d like to thank:

Judy Wicker-Briscoe, swimming coach

Arisela Santana, psychologist and family lawyer from CEPROSH, Puerto Plata

Coco Angel, for assisting the Dance group with art classes

Elin Brown, for helping with swimming lessons

Papon Bonilla, for taking the EcoEducation group on educational tours of the community

Ana and Belkis, for cooking nutritious and wholesome meals for the entire camp

Jonas and Nervyns, for assisting the Sports group with soccer lessons

For supporting the summer camp with financial donations and/or the use of facilities and resources, we’d like to thank:

Extreme Hotels

Chichigua Restaurant 

Laguna Park Hostels

Kaiceitos Circus

Cabarete Coffee Company

Monkey Jungle

Vela, Voy Voy, Agualina

Home Key Management

CMC Centro Medico

Natura Cabanas

Yamazato

Guzman Ariza

Sea to Sky

Seahorse Ranch

Iguana Mana

LIFE Is Good

Gorditos Fresh Mex

Amber Dune

Dominican Fisherman

Club Natalie Simon

Kayak River Adventures

Encargo

Miros

Juan Perdomo

Nanny Estates

Seguros Universal/UPS

Cabarete Real Estate

Ruth Plaut/Blue Moon

L’Agence

Janet’s

Naomi Day Spa

K’s Coffee Shop

El Magnifico

Mistral

Eze Beach Bar Restaurant

Otra Cosa

Garcia Blanco & Asociados, SRL

Bliss

Supermercado La Rosa

Dicks

Tip Top Tours

Guido Perdomo

Ojo Bar

And…it’s a wrap!

The 2nd Mariposa Girls Leadership Summer Camp culminated today in a heartwarming performance at Tropicoco where the girls made us laugh, cry, clap our hands and sing along with them as they celebrated and cherished one another and their role as young women in society today.

By 3.15 pm, every chair in Tropicoco was filled by a parent, a cousin, a sibling, an aunt or simply by a friend who had come along to witness the exciting acts that each of the four groups - Sports, EcoEducation, Theatre and Dance - had put together. The show opened with the youngest girls performing a circus routine together with the help of Paul from Kaiceitos Circus, affectionately known to the girls as ‘Papi Gallo’! They jumped through hoops, they somersaulted and leaped their way across the stage amidst cheers and laughter.

They were followed by the girls from the Eco Education group who performed a dance and an acrostic poem inspired by literacy and reading classes with teacher Joy Warrick.

The older girls from the Dance group  came on next with a series of three dances, two choreographed by Nelly Trejo and Aurora Garcia, and one by the girls themselves. The choreographed dances were in the bellydancing style, with the girls using colorful scarves as accessories and transporting us to another world. They had the crowd tapping their feet and dancing in their chairs, and it was a delight to see the girls having learned and performed a genre of dance nothing like anything they had seen before!

The highlight of the show was a 20-minute theatre performance directed and choreographed by Anna and Kelly Banker with the participation of the girls in the group, who contributed their ideas through written journals and group discussions. The performance was centered on allowing the girls to voice their opinions on vices that existed in Cabarete, such as drugs, prostitution and violence, and the ill-effects of these on the lives of adolescent girls. They shared personal stories through song and dance, monologues and spoken work performances. They were eloquent, confident and incredibly well-spoken, all characteristics of strong, young Mariposa women. The performance ended with a rendition of Oye by Beyoncé Knowles and Color Esperanze by Diego Torres, songs that brought tears to the eyes of many mothers and volunteers in the audience as well!

As a thank you to our amazing Mariposas for being committed to this summer’s camp, for bringing their thoughts and ideas to every session and for continuing to fight for the rights of young women everywhere, they each went home with a little present - picture frames that they decorated earlier in the year with portrait photographs of themselves during camp.

All in all, we had a wonderful afternoon with many members of the Mariposa family and the Cabarete community and beyond. All of our volunteers left with wonderful memories of camp and cannot wait to come back soon and spend more time with these young women!

Mariposas celebrate the end of camp in style! Thank you to Freddy from Freddy Tours, Cabarete for loaning us the use of his finca by the river in Islabon. An even bigger thank you to our moms Orquidea and Katy, and to the director of Puerto Cabarete, Paulina Perez for cooking us a lovely sancocho to commemorate the occasion!

The Butterfly Effect comes to Cabarete!

Today, a team of 15 Mariposas (volunteers, staff, young girls and friends of Mariposa) kayaked from Cabarete beach to Encuentro beach to participate in The Butterfly Effect, a worldwide event that honors and recognizes the role of women in watersports.To quote from the website:

The Butterfly Effect began in Hawaii in 2007. The founders, Tatiana Howard and Juliana Shelef, are avid water women who enjoy windsurfing, surfing, kite surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and tow in surfing. This is the 5th year the event has taken place and the third year that Cabarete has hosted a Butterfly Effect. Since its inception, it has flown to Brazil, New Zealand, France, Hood River Oregon, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Israel, Tahiti, Fiji, and Australia. The founders believe that water sports provide a healthy and fun lifestyle that give those who participate in them great happiness and self-confidence. They have been fortunate to be involved in these sports and want to share and instill the lessons they have learned with women worldwide.

Since Mariposa is working hard to build a strong watersports program, this event made complete sense and gave us the best venue to network and present ourselves.

The event started with a beach cleanup. Everyone who registered was present in their hotpink rashguards and travelled the length of Cabarete beach en masse to pick up trash. After that, we participated in a 30-minute yoga and stretching session to warm up those muscles for the long ride ahead! A good lunch and we pushed off at 2 pm. It was a little harrowing to get out to the reef and ride the waves in a tandem kayak, but the girls did a phenomenal job. Seeing the kayaks up ahead rowing in sync was a sight that we won’t forget for a while.

We are extremely proud of our girls for persevering the two hours it took to kayak from Cabarete to Encuentro and are grateful for the support from the Cabarete community to make this happen. A big thank you to Kayak River Adventures for providing us with tandem and single kayaks, to Laurel Eastman for her constant support of our girls in their watersports activities and to Judy Wicker-Briscoe, Meghan Fairbanks and Elena Ruiz Fleta for joining the Mariposa fleet out on the water!

Gearing up for the final show - August 4th!

This year, we are celebrating the end of camp with a final show at Tropicoco! For all those in Cabarete, please join us at 3 pm on Thursday, August 4th and support our Mariposas (students and volunteers) who have been working over these past 3 weeks on theater and dance events!

Thanks to Villa Taina for donating space and facilities for the Theater group to rehearse their short performance titled ‘Entre Nosotras’. The girls have been working with Kelly and Anna to create individual and inspiring monologues that they will perform on Thursday. These monologues are the result of weeks of self-exploration, expression and growth.

Our oldest Mariposas have been shaking away the summer to exotic tunes and they are finally putting everything together for the show! Thank you to Ojo’s for letting our girls use the space during the day and really take advantage of the excellent dance instruction by Nelly and Aurora. Their costumes look great, the music is catchy and we can’t wait to see them all perform very soon!

Mariposas meet the monkeys! The Eco Education group went out on a field trip today to Monkey Jungle in Sosua and relished the chance to let it all out ziplining through 200 acres of pristine land. Thanks to the owners and extremely friendly and careful guides, even the most scared of our girls were zipping through the jungles calmly.

After the ziplining, we entered the monkey sanctuary and were privileged to catch glimpses of beautiful mother-baby monkeys, peacocks and other animals. The girls were definitely a little nervous when the monkeys began jumping all over them, but a few instructions from the owners and they calmed down enough to feed the beautiful animals and enjoy their company. Thank you Monkey Jungle!

New Mariposas fly over!

We were delighted to have a visit today from the Blue Moon Butterflies, a satellite Mariposa group that is currently running out of La Mina, the hometown of Ruth Plaut Kindergarten - a longtime friend of The Mariposa Foundation. The Blue Moon Butterflies started out as students in a computer class run by one of the owners of the Blue Moon Restaurant in La Mina. As they spent more time together, they began participating in community projects. This summer they are working with professors and students from the University of Massachusetts-Boston on a video project.


Their visit to the Mariposa Summer Camp was a busy, but exciting day! They met with the Theatre group and presented the project they are currently working on, and later in the evening they participated in a workshop/simulation with the Eco Education group. The activity involved students from both groups introducing themselves and their communities, talking about the issues they considered to be the most important. The focus of the activity was to understand every individual’s responsibility in society without resorting to blaming government officials and other levels. The girls participated in a role-play and in the discussion that ensued from the topics that they had raised. Several interesting points of discussion arose, especially for a group of girls aged 12-14, and it was encouraging to see their awareness of local issues, cycles of blame and potential solutions to break these cycles.


Here’s to more reunions with the Blue Moon Butterflies and to more opportunities to work together with the Mariposas of Cabarete!

Volunteers visit The Mirabal Museum

The rain hasn’t let up the past couple of days, but that hasn’t stopped our intrepid volunteers from discovering the sights and sounds of this country! What better trip to take than to visit the Museo de Las Hermanas Mirabal, the inspiration for The Mariposa DR Foundation! Associate Director Jessica Lawson took the volunteers on a tour of the museum, where they received a guided tour of the one-time house of the Mirabal sisters and their family.

The past, present and future seemed to come together as the volunteers from the Mariposa Foundation visited the house of the DR’s strongest women, and brought back messages of hope and inspiration to our girls!

Almost at the halfway point!

We are almost at the halfway point in our Summer Camp here at The Mariposa DR Foundation and there have been some incredible experiences all around in each of our programs, both during and outside of camp, that have truly shown the power of working together with young women to fight the cycles of poverty and social inequalities.

Our first week was full of introductions and getting-to-know-each-other activities. We begin each day with a morning circle and announcements, followed by a group activity. Yoga has been a pretty popular one over the past two weeks, with some of the girls volunteering to lead the yoga poses!

The Sports Group has taken full advantage of the combined energy of 15 dynamic young Mariposas by providing them with a wide variety of games, physical activities and sports to teach them important skills in teamwork, persistence and fun! Thanks to our sports group volunteers Colleen Kavanagh, Lee Evans, Julia Swijters, our intern Fernanda Garcia and our partners at Extreme Hotel, Kaiceitos Circus and Chichigua Restaurant, the girls spend two days a week at Kite Beach learning how to use the trapeze, balancing techniques and swim lessons! They return exhausted but with stories and excitement to share with everyone.

       

The Eco Education Group has stayed busy by discussing the natural resources found in and around Cabarete. By engaging the girls in interactive learning environments, the volunteers Ria Shroff, Alexandra Milian and intern Yonairiz Zayas Garcia have been able to introduce them to concepts and ideas about environmental protection and conservation in innovative ways. This week, the girls in the Eco Education group wrote their own songs and poems about the environment and took part in an exciting scavenger hunt in and around Puerto Cabarete, the location of our summer camp, to understand garbage disposal and contamination, and to appreciate the local beauty around us. We also had a guest lecture by Arisela Santana, Family Lawyer and Social Worker with CEPROSH (Puerto Plata) who talked about community values and the importance of teamwork and youth leadership. The girls enjoyed her visit and learnt a lot in that one hour!

Thanks to Wilson Zapete, a longtime Cabarete resident and tour guide, the girls also enjoyed a wonderful ride down the Yasica River to La Boca, learnt more about marine ecology and met some interesting friends along the way!

                        

Kelly and Anna Banker have been working extremely hard with our 15-16 year olds in the Theatre group to produce a piece of theatre that comes from deep within and touches upon many of the local issues and social situations that exist here in Cabarete. Some of the topics are very delicate, but the volunteers have worked extremely hard at creating a safe space and a comfortable environment within which to explore these issues and are definitely seeing the fruits of their labor! For more information on the activities of the Grupo de Teatro, check out: http://www.emotionalcreaturesdr.blogspot.com/

And last but not the least, our resident bachata and merengue experts have been experiencing the joys and frustrations of learning new styles of dance, such as bellydancing, samba, cumbia and salsa thanks to Aurora Garcia and Nelly Trejo! Aurora has patiently introduced the history and culture of belly dancing and has been instrumental in bringing a new appreciation for their bodies and for the culture of this dance. Nelly has worked hard at introducing the right breathing techniques through daily yoga and several partner dances besides the local favourites of bachata and merengue. It’s truly a beautiful sight to walk by their classroom and see the girls swishing their colourful scarves around in step to the beat!

Joy Warrick and Tehka Bowen have been supervising the academic side of camp by having literature and math classes every day for the different groups and tailoring the activities to their literacy levels. The girls have enjoyed reading different stories and articles related to sports, dance, theatre and environmental themes and are very concentrated during their math sessions! Joy and Tehka are supported by Paulina (the director of Puerto Cabarete) and Gracy, a teacher during the year.


We have a little over two weeks left, and we’re excited to see the development of our previous Mariposas! Thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors, donors and community partners. Thanks also to our group of dedicated mothers who are here early in the morning and always around to lend a hand, clean up a mess and make coffee for those of us who need a pick-me-up during the day!


We’d love to meet anyone who would like to visit our camp during the week, please get in touch with us at info@mariposadrfoundtion.org for details and information!

Kelly and Anna Banker are running the theatre program for the Mariposa Summer Camp and have been keeping a blog to chronicle their adventures and experiences. Read their blog to understand the subtleties and nuances involved in working with a group of adolescent girls from Dominican and Haitian backgrounds in the process of creating a piece of theatre based on individual expression, creativity and internal growth!

Seeds donated by Corey Donney, from Taino Organic farms. One of the activities planned for the EcoEducation group is teaching them some basic gardening, growing their own fruits and vegetables in little plastic containers, and then hopefully transplant them to more permanent soil. I don’t have much experience in doing either, but it’s exciting to be a student again! If anyone has tips/suggestions on how to go about this, please get in touch!

Seeds donated by Corey Donney, from Taino Organic farms. One of the activities planned for the EcoEducation group is teaching them some basic gardening, growing their own fruits and vegetables in little plastic containers, and then hopefully transplant them to more permanent soil. I don’t have much experience in doing either, but it’s exciting to be a student again! If anyone has tips/suggestions on how to go about this, please get in touch!

Summer camp volunteers Joy Warrick, Kelly Banker and Anna Banker planning their sessions in our office. It’s a busy day planning for camp here at the Mariposa Office in Cabarete!

Summer camp volunteers Joy Warrick, Kelly Banker and Anna Banker planning their sessions in our office. It’s a busy day planning for camp here at the Mariposa Office in Cabarete!

9 days to camp!

All of us here at The Mariposa DR Foundation are very excited for our 2nd Girls Summer Leadership Program! Our office has been buzzing with activity in preparation for the start of camp on July 11th. We have 54 young Mariposas enrolled in camp, and they will be participating in four different programs led by volunteers and Mariposa staff. The themes for each program were chosen based on feedback from last year’s camp, and have been designed based on the model of experiential education - hands on learning to provide a rich and diverse learning environment. Our four programs will focus on Sports, Environmental Education, Theater and Dance/Arts.

This past week, we met with the mothers of our young girls to go over their commitment as parents during camp. Many of the mothers also volunteer during camp to help Mariposa staff members clean the school, maintain discipline and chaperone field trips and other activities. We’re excited for a new year, new activities and continued support from all members of the Mariposa family - the girls, the mothers, the volunteers and staff as well as local businesses that have helped sponsor and support this year’s program.

Truly, it takes a village to raise a child