Dominican Republic 2015: Day 6 — Working and fundraising

We learn that 38 of the girls at the center are recipients of the expansion funded by our grant. That makes the time spent with them even more meaningful.

By Karen McCune
Portland OR

Today was our second day of working at the Mariposa Center. On the days we walk to the center, we gather as a group under a thatched tiki-style shelter, count off and head to the beach for our morning walk. The mornings are the calmest time of day with little to no wind and a beautiful time of day to be walking on the beach; much different than our walk home in the afternoon when we face a very strong headwind and LOTS of kites. There is a reason our beach is the kite surfing capital of the world!


Mariposa girls get a taste of pizza – some for the first time

This morning we were met with quite a sight…a group of stray horses walking up the beach heading who knows where! We had to give them the right-a-way of course!

Patricia Suriel, executive director of the Mariposa Center met us when we got to the center to thank us for our participation in the GlobalGiving’s Youth Spark day which is an online challenge for non-profit groups from all over the world to get donations. Microsoft matches the first $100,000(which as you can imagine goes fast!) and those who get the most unique number of donors get additional $$.

On Tuesday, with iPads, computers and mobile phones ready we began donating right at 9am EST ( we couldn’t donate a minute before or the matching funds wouldn’t count). The day was a great success for Mariposa with a total of $13,000 raised which included $4,000 for placing 2nd with unique donors. The money raised will support the summer program and help with medical costs for one of the young girls who was in a serious accident requiring extensive hospitalization.

The other joy and surprise of the morning was learning that 38 young girls in the morning group were “Our Dining for Women Girls”! It was because of the DFW grant, the largest they have received to date, that the program could expand to accept these girls. Having the opportunity to actually be with “our girls” and work with them in small groups made our experience even more relevant and meaningful. The grant also helped fund a volunteer coordinator position, pay for breakfast and lunches and pay for school uniforms.

Running a center for 100 active girls requires a lots of upkeep so today was project day! We painted bathroom doors, scrubbed and painted a wall, worked in the garden, sewed curtains for their theater production, gave ideas on classroom management and curriculum, made Rice Krispie treats with the older girls, taught the girls to make origami figures and helped make the first pizzas for their new pizza oven. Everyone loved being involved and active and ended the day a little grubby and tired but happy and content.

Our experiences have drawn the 18 of us together to form a camaraderie and friendship that is only possible by working together, sharing a sense of purpose and a desire to provide opportunities for “our girls” that will expand the options and direction in their lives. Truly an amazing experience!

Featured image: Patricia Suriel, second from right, fills some of our travelers in on the progress of the Global Giving challenge they participated in.