Highlights from March and April 2019

The students were on vacation from school throughout much of March and April, but that doesn’t mean they took a break from learning! During the vacation period, our educators shared their knowledge through fun Vacation Clubs that challenged the students and gave them the chance to try new things. Pamela and Cecilia ran a jewelry-making club, where the students made beautiful bracelets and earrings out of thread. Jordy taught a Rubix Cube club where students figured out how to solve the classic brain-teasing puzzle. In Lili and Diego’s cooking class, students learned to make pasta salad, enrollado de atún (a traditional tuna dish) and even made cake without using an oven!

Cooking Club

CEA Volunteer Lindsay taught an English club with lessons about parts of the body, clothing, fruits, colors, and more. Diego and Josue’s videography club gave students the opportunity to take and edit photos and videos. Mirka taught students how to cure wounds and offer first aid. The Vacation Clubs were a big success and a delight for everyone involved!
First Aid Club

In April, we had our Scholarship Ceremony, where new and returning scholars were honored and presented with new backpacks and uniforms!

Scholarship Ceremony

The new school year started the week of April 22nd, which means that the students started again at the Foundation, too. The students created SMART goals for themselves to work on all year to improve personal and academic skills, and our staff put together individualized student logs to help each student reach their goals. Fred, our Education Manager, designed a new and improved curriculum to better serve the students. With so much preparation by our students and staff, the school year is definitely off to a great start!

In the United States:

Food and fun to benefit the Stars? Yes, please! The 2019 Evening for the Stars, Starfish’s annual benefit dinner, held on April 27, 2019 was a huge success. Thank you to the 172 supporters who traveled from near and far to The Red Lion Hotel in Timonium, MD for an evening to support Starfish and its programming. At the dinner, guests could view silent auction items in-person, purchase Ecuadorian crafts, pick a student to sponsor and get their fortunes read by a fortune teller.

For the first year ever, co-founders Beth and Jenn were at the event together, now that Jenn has moved back to the USA from Ecuador. It was also the first year for our inaugural VIP reception held before the event. During a delicious dinner featuring Ecuadorian inspired cuisine, guests enjoyed being welcomed by Beth, hearing stories about our students from Jenn, and learning how to get more involved from board member, Casey.

Our generous donors and sponsors helped Starfish raise $107,559! Thank you for helping the event be so successful, and we look forward to seeing you at The Evening for the Stars in 2020!



StarfishSearch Item List

Please note … unless it says otherwise, all videos should be less than 15 seconds.
Please only submit once per item.

  1. 73 points: (Image) Create a Facebook Fundraiser for the Starfish Foundation. Get at least 5 different people to donate.  
    Note: If Facebook fundraisers are not possible in your country, choose another way to support the organization – can you host a drive for school supplies? Ask friends and family for a monetary donation? The choice is yours.
  2. 14 points: (Image) Sign up to attend or host a Giving Tuesday event in your area. Submit a screenshot of your registration. 
  3. 38 points: (Image or Video) What advice do you wish you had gotten (or at least listened to) when you were younger? Pass on your current wisdom. Your #StarfishSearch máscot should make an appearance. 
  4. 22 points: (Email) Every November, Starfish makes a post sharing what we’re thankful for. Have each person on your team finish the sentence “I am thankful for…” and send the compiled list to amanda.benton@thestarfishchange.org with “Team Name is Thankful for” in the subject line. Double points if you translate the list so it is in both English and Spanish. 
  5. 17 points: (Image) Giving Tuesday is on November 27th this year, and we need your help. Make a post on the social media platform of your choice (photoshop, canva, or other editing tools are okay), sharing why you support the Starfish Foundation. Tag us in it, and provide a link to our giving page. Submit a screenshot of your post. 20 bonus points if you get more than 50 reactons (likes, loves, etc.) 
  6. 32 points: (Image) Not all scarecrows want to stand around outside all day. Let’s see a scarecrow in interview attire applying for their dream job. 
  7. 27 points: (Image) Your pet is looking for love. Show us what picture your pet would use if they had an online dating profile 
  8. 49 points: (Image) Frankenstein. Ghosts. Vampires. Werewolves. Witches. The traditional monsters don’t get as much love anymore. Let’s see a classic Halloween monster shopping for fruits or veggies. 
  9. 59 points: (Image) A Disney princess confused about public transport. 
  10. 72 points: (Video – up to 20 seconds) Let’s see the 5th grade science project you always wish you had done. Final video must show both the hypothesis and the conclusion. 
  11. 40 points: (Video) Create a commercial for Winommutio. Don’t know what Winommutio is? That’s because I just made it up. I hear it’s super helpful when you’re hiking or camping. 
  12. 82 points:(Video) Last year we asked you to learn a dance from someone over the age of 80. No one accomplished that task so we’re bringing it back, but with a twist: Learn a dance that is traditional to your country from either a grandparent or a professional instructor. Costumes required. 
  13. 95 points: (Image) Pumpkin spice is all the rage this time of year. Create your own never-before-heard-of coffee or tea flavor and get it on a menu at your local coffee/tea shop. 
  14. 56 points: (image) There are lots of people who never get thanked for doing their job. Find one of these people and give them a flower and a note thanking them for their hard work, and let them know you appreciate them. If it is not clear from the photo, write in the comments what their job is. 
  15. 29 points: (Video) Gather 4 or more friends and choreograph a dance to Despacito. Wear “creative” clothing. Make us laugh. – Pamela 
  16. 61 points: (Video or Image) What do superhero sports look like? Show us. (Photoshop and SFX / video editing are okay for this item) 
  17. 21 points: (Image) US participants: Find someone who is not registered to vote, and register them. (Based on deadlines, they most likely will not be able to vote in the 2018 midterm election, but their registration is for life)
    If Team has No US Participants: (Video) Create the largest paper airplane we’ve ever seen. The plane should be AT LEAST 3 feet long. We must see it fly. 
  18. 30 points: (Video) Do a dramatic reading in front of a school or courthouse of your favorite poem. Hold your team’s #StarfishSearch máscot. 
  19. 32 points: (Image) Two young aliens in love walking across a bridge 
  20. 35 points: (Image) Beth, one of the co-founders of Starfish, got married this year. Using only recyclable material, design and model the beautiful wedding dress and veil she could have had if she had asked you to make it for her. Bonus points if the photo is taken in front of a church or other place of worship. 
  21. 26 points: (Video) Jenn, one of the co-founders of Starfish, moved back to the United States this year from Ecuador. But sometimes she still misses it. Record a video, in Spanish of course, telling her about your favorite Ecuadorian from history. 
  22. 66 points: [Image or Video] Get your team on the news! Get a newspaper, radio, or tv program to cover one of your tasks from this year. 
  23. 57 points: (Video) Take your #StarfishSearch máscot for an adventure! Take them on the swings, teach them soccer, and/or watch the sunset – the choice is entirely yours. Be creative and make sure they have a great day full of activities. 
  24. 43 points: (Video) Find a song about the town, state, or country in which you live. Sing it in front of your local town hall, police station, or post office. 
  25. 19 points: (Video) Eat a plate of spaghetti with no hands. 
  26. 16 points: (Video) Write a limerick about the Starfish Foundation. Recite it. 
  27. 16 points: (Image) Mail a postcard to someone in a different country. It does not have to be another hunt participant, but it can be. 
  28. 12 points: (Image) Collect 10 or more pieces of trash along a hiking trail 
  29. 19 points: (Image) Convince a non-StarfishSearch participant to paint a Starfish Logo on their face. 
  30. 26 points: (Video – up to 20 seconds) Recommend your favorite book with a brief explanation why. Oh yeah, this one has to be in English. 
  31. 22 points: (Video) Introduce us to your favorite place. Tell us why it’s special to you. 
  32. 67 points: (Image)  Make a smoothie using at least 5 different fruits and vegetables. At least one ingredient must be native to Ecuador, and at least one ingredient must be native to the United States. List the ingredients in the comments when submitting. 
  33. 70 points: (Video) Last year we learned that the Andean Condor is the national animal of Ecuador. Mimic one while crossing the street in a crowded place. (Be safe! Use a crosswalk!) 
  34. 25 points: (Image) Donate healthy non-perishable food to the homeless shelter or food bank of your choice. Minimum two items per teammate. 
  35. 12 points: (Image) Skype, Hangout, or FaceTime with a family member or significant other. Tell them you love them, and tell them about your day. 
  36. 20 points: (Image) Perform a random act of kindness. Include a short text explanation in your comment. Do something meaningful and make it count! 
  37. 30 points: (Image) Make a puzzle with the Starfish logo. -Karen Q 
  38. 45 points: (Video) With a group of people you don’t know, make up a cheer for Starfish -Karen Q 
  39. 92 points: (Video) Complete the Mannequin Challenge. Be sure your #StarfishSearch mascot participates as well -Karen Q 
  40. 70 points: (Video) What is your favorite ice-breaker activity? Teach it to a group of 7 people (One person for each year Starfish has existed) -Karen Q 
  41. 45 points: (Image) Starfish turns 7 this November! Bake a starfish-shaped cake in it’s honor, and write a positive message on top. 
  42. 54 points: (Video – up to 30 seconds) Act out a scene from your favorite childhood movie as a silent black and white film – Christina M 
  43. 47 points: (Image) Create an origami of your favorite animal and place it in its natural habitat. Use perspective to make the origami animal true to its actual size in real life. – Christina M. 
  44. 23 points: (Video) Most of us born in the 90s and before had to find ways to entertain ourselves before iPhones were a thing. One thing I remember doing is talking into a fan to hear how it changed my voice. Bring back the old days and sing a current pop song into a fan while wearing your best 90’s inspired gear. – Christina M. 
  45. 51 points: (Image) A popular tradition in a Hawaii that we often see in films and in real life is natives placing a lei on the neck of people stepping off the plane. Make the most outlandish lei you can think of from materials other than flowers and lay it on an unsuspecting person. They don’t have to be stepping off a plane but maybe someone leaving a grocery store or stepping out of their car. – Christina M. 
  46. 18 points: (Image) The work day can be so boring! Hang up a sign or poster at your place of employment with a rule that would make your day so much better. – Inspired by Marybeth M. 
  47. 20 points: (Image) Your ideal pet – Marybeth M. 
  48. 28 points: (Image) Sunrise yoga 
  49. 36 points: (Image) Sunrise yoga is overrated. Let’s see you doing something that really gets the blood pumping at sunrise. A kickboxing class or dance party perhaps? The choices are endless. Have your #StarfishSearch mascot join you. 
  50. 80 points: (Video) Trash Street Hockey: Clean the streets of all trash, then play broom hockey with what you’ve collected. Trash cans or dumpsters should be your goals. 
  51. 56 points: (Image) Foamhenge. (No, that’s not a typo) 
  52. 77 points: (Image) Channel your inner Picasso and recreate the Starfish Logo 
  53. 50 points: (Image) Collage together a picture of each member of your team dressed as what they wanted to be be when they grew up if we asked them when they were seven. 
  54. 84 points: (Image) Your house, school, or place of employment is haunted. Prove it. 
  55. 51 points: (Video – up to 45 seconds) Ask someone aged 7 or younger their favorite food and how to make it. You must follow their directions exactly. 
  56. 56 points: (Image) There’s a children’s song that says “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver the other gold.”  In the spirit of this, gather one old friend and one new to pose with you, BUT the new friend must be all silver, the old friend all gold. 
  57. 64 points: (Image) Amanda/Benton has been putting this list together for 3 years now, so hopefully you have an idea of what she looks like. Using only things found in a kitchen (condiments, spices, coffee, etc.) “paint” her portrait. 
  58. 34 points: (Image) Make a sign that says “Starfish is…” and include at least 3 words to describe the organization. Hold your sign while standing next to a motorcyclist (must have their bike) who is holding your #StarfishSearch máscot. 
  59. 24 points: (Image) Get a business card from someone who has the same first name as someone on the Starfish Board of Directors 
  60. 94 points: (Image or Video) Last year, UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) beat Virginia in the 1st round ruining everyone’s March Madness brackets. But hey, we like rooting for the underdog. Show “True Grit”, UMBC’s máscot (a golden retriever), playing basketball and winning against the máscot of another school/university of your choice. Don’t have a golden retriever who can play basketball? Dressing up in costume is fine. 
  61. 68 points: (Video – up to 45 seconds) Find a quote, story, or teaching about education that is impactful to you. Create a stop motion video with your chosen quote/story/teaching as the main theme or plot.

La Búsqueda:

Toma nota … a menos de que se indique, todos los videos deberán ser de menos de 15 segundos.

  1. 73 puntos: (Imagen) Crea una Recaudación de Fondos en Facebook para la Fundación Starfish. Encuentra al menos 5 personas que donen.
    Nota: Si en tu país no es posible hacer una recaudación de fondos en Facebook, encuentra alguna otra forma de apoyar a la organización – ¿Podrías recaudar fondos para útiles escolares, o pedir donaciones de dinero a amigos y/o familiares? Tú escoges.
  2. 14 puntos: (Imagen) Inscríbete para asistir o ser anfitrión(a) de un evento de Giving Tuesday (Martes Para Dar) en tu área. Presenta una captura de pantalla de tu inscripción. 
  3. 38 puntos: (Imagen o video) ¿Qué consejo hubieses querido recibir (o al menos escuchar) cuando eras más joven? Comparte tu actual sabiduría. Tu máscota de #StarfishSearch debe hacer una aparición. 
  4. 22 puntos: (Email) Cada noviembre, Starfish publica una lista para compartir las cosas por las cuales estamos agradecidos. Pide a cada persona de tu equipo que complete la oración “Doy gracias por…” y envía la lista de oraciones a amanda.benton@thestarfishchange.org. Escribe “Nombre del equipo está agradecido por”  en la línea de asunto. Los puntos se duplicarán si traduces la lista para que esté en inglés y español. 
  5. 17 puntos: (Imagen) El Martes Para Dar es el 27 de noviembre de este año, y necesitamos tu ayuda. Publica un mensaje en una plataforma de red social de tu escogencia (se permite usar photoshop, canva u otras herramientas para editar) y comparte tus razones por las cuales apoyas a la Fundación Starfish. Etiquétanos  e incluye un enlace a nuestra página de donaciones. Envía una captura de pantalla de tu publicación. Recibirás 20 puntos extras si te dan más de 50 reacciones (me gusta, me encanta, etc.) en tu publicación en Facebook. 
  6. 32 puntos: (Imagen) No todos los espantapájaros quieren estar parados afuera todo el día. Queremos ver un espantapájaros vestido para asistir a una entrevista para el trabajo de sus sueños. 
  7. 27 puntos: (Imagen) Tu mascota (animal vivo que es parte de tu familia – como tu perro, gato, gallina, chancho, etc.) está buscando amor. Muéstranos la foto que tu mascota usaría si tuviese un perfil en una página de citas en línea.
  8. 49 puntos: (Imagen) Frankenstein. Fantasmás. Vampiros. Lobos. Brujas. Los monstruos tradicionales ya no reciben mucho amor. Enséñanos un monstruo tradicional del Día de las Brujas (Halloween) comprando frutas o vegetales. 
  9. 59 puntos: (Imagen) Una princesa de Disney confundida acerca del transporte público. 
  10. 72 puntos: (Video – de hasta 20 segundos) Enséñanos el Proyecto de Ciencias que tu siempre deseaste haber hecho. El video debe mostrar tanto la hipótesis como la conclusión. 
  11. 40 puntos: (Video) Crea un comercial para Winommutio. ¿No sabes lo que es Winommutio is? Es porque yo lo acabo de inventar. He escuchado que es de mucha ayuda cuando vas de camping o de excursión a la montaña. 
  12. 60 puntos: (Video) El año pasado te pedimos que aprendieras de alguien mayor de 80 años un baile. Nadie logró cumplir esa tarea, así que la estamos trayendo de nuevo, pero con un  toque novedoso: aprende de un abuelo o de un instructor profesional un baile tradicional de tu país. Se requiere el traje tradicional. 
  13. 95 puntos: (Imagen) Comidas y bebidas con sabor a calabaza están muy populares en EEUU en esta época del año. Crea tu propia receta de café o te con sabor y logra que una cafetería o coffee/te shop local la incluya en su menú. 
  14. 56 puntos: (Imagen) Hay muchas personas que nunca reciben agradecimiento por hacer su trabajo. Encuentra una de esas personas y entrégale una flor o una nota agradeciéndole por su trabajo y haciéndole saber que tu la aprecias. Si no queda claro en la foto, escribe un comentario aclarando cual es su trabajo. 
  15. 29 puntos: (Video) Encuentra 4 o más amigos y hagan una coreografía de baile para la canción “Despacito”. Pónganse vestimenta creativa. Hágannos reír. – Pamela 
  16. 61 puntos: (Video o imagen) ¿Cómo lucen los deportes de súper héroes? Muéstranos. (Se permite usar Photoshop y SFX / edición de video para esto) 
  17. 21 puntos: (Imagen) Participantes en US: Encuentra alguien que no esté inscrito para votar e inscríbelo. (De acuerdo a la fecha límite, lo más posible es que no pueda votar en las elecciones de noviembre de 2018, pero quedará inscrito permanentemente)
    Si el equipo no tiene nada miembros en EEUU: (Video) Creen el avión de papel más grande que hayamos visto. El avión debe medir al menos 3 pies (91 cm). Debemos verlo volando.
  18. 30 puntos: (Video) Haz una lectura dramática de tu poema favorito frente a una escuela o un edificio de la corte. Sostén la mascota de tu equipo de #StarfishSearch. 
  19. 32 puntos: (Imagen) Dos jóvenes extraterrestres enamorados caminando por un puente 
  20. 35 puntos: (Imagen) Beth, una de las cofundadoras de Starfish, se casó este año. Usando solamente materiales reciclables, diseña y modela un bello vestido y velo de bodas que ella se hubiera podido poner si te hubiera pedido que se los hicieras. Puntos extra si tomas la foto en frente de una iglesia u otro sitio de culto. 
  21. 26 puntos: (Video) Jenn, una de las cofundadoras de Starfish, se regresó de Ecuador a los Estados Unidos este año. Pero a veces todavía extraña Ecuador. Graba un video, en español por supuesto, contándole sobre tu personaje favorito de la historia ecuatoriana. 
  22. 66 puntos: [Imagen o video] ¡Logra que tu equipo esté en las noticias! ¡Logra que algún periódico, radio o programa de televisión le dé cobertura a una de tus tareas de este año! 
  23. 57 puntos: (Video) ¡Lleva a tu mascota de #StarfishSearch a una aventura! Llévala a los columpios, enséñale a jugar fútbol o a mirar el atardecer – tu puedes escoger. Solo asegúrate de que es un gran día lleno de actividades. 
  24. 43 puntos: (Video) Encuentra una canción acerca de la ciudad, el estado o el país donde vives. Cántala en frente del ayuntamiento, estación de policía, u oficina de correos local. 
  25. 19 puntos: (Video) Cómete un plato de espaguetis sin usar las manos. 
  26. 16 puntos: (Video) Escribe un poema en forma de quintilla cómica” sobre la Fundación Starfish. Recítalo. 
  27. 14 puntos: (Imagen) Envíale una postal a alguien en otro país. No tiene que ser otro participante de la búsqueda, pero podría serlo. 
  28. 12 puntos: (Imagen) Recoge 10 o más objetos de basura en una senda para caminar. 
  29. 19 puntos: (Image) Convence a alguien que no sea participante de la Búsqueda Starfish para que se pinte un logo de Starfish en la cara. 
  30. 26 puntos: (Video – de hasta 20 segundos) Recomienda tu libro favorito con una breve explicación del por qué te gusta. Y sí, esto tiene que ser en inglés. 
  31. 22 puntos: (Video) Preséntanos tu lugar favorito. Dinos por qué es especial para ti. 
  32. 67 puntos: (Imagen)  Prepara un batido con al menos 5 clases de frutas y vegetales. Al menos un ingrediente debe ser nativo de Ecuador y al menos un ingrediente debe ser nativo de Estados Unidos. Cuando presentes esta tarea, enumera los ingredientes en los comentarios. 
  33. 70 puntos: (Video) El año pasado supimos que el Cóndor de los Andes es el animal nacional de Ecuador. Imita un cóndor mientras estés cruzando la calle de un sitio lleno de gente. (¡Mantente seguro! ¡Usa el cruce de peatones! 
  34. 25 puntos: (Imagen) Haz una donación de alimentos no perecederos a un albergue de indigentes o banco de alimentos de tu escogencia. Mínimo de dos alimentos por cada miembro del equipo. 
  35. 12 puntos: (Imagen) Comunícate por Skype, Hangout, o FaceTime con un miembro de tu familia o con tu persona especial. Dile que lo/la quieres y cuéntale sobre tu día. 
  36. 20 puntos: (Imagen) Realiza un acto de bondad al azar. Incluye en tu comentario un texto corto explicando lo que hiciste. ¡Haz algo significativo y haz que cuente! 
  37. 30 puntos: (Imagen) Haz un rompecabezas con el logo de Starfish. – Karen Q 
  38. 45 puntos: (Video) Inventa un barro para Starfish con un grupo de personas desconocidas  -Karen Q 
  39. 92 puntos: (Video) Completa el desafío de Mannequin. Asegúrate de que tu mascota de  #StarfishSearch también participe -Karen Q 
  40. 70 puntos: (Video) ¿Cuál es tu actividad de dinámica favorita? Enséñasela a un grupo de 7 personas (una por cada año que Starfish ha existido) -Karen Q 
  41. 45 puntos: (Imagen) ¡Starfish cumple 7 años en noviembre! Haz un pastel con la forma de una estrella de mar en su honor y escribe un mensaje positivo encima del pastel. 
  42. 54 puntos: (Video – de hasta 30 segundos) Realiza una actuación de una escena de tu película favorita de cuando eras niño(a). Hazlo como una película silenciosa de blanco y negro – Christina M. 
  43. 47 puntos: (Imagen) Crea un origami de tu animal favorito y colócalo en su hábitat natural. Usa perspectiva para que el origami del animal se vea como en su tamaño original en la vida real. – Christina M. 
  44. 23 puntos: (Video) La mayoría de nosotros los que nacimos en los años 90 o antes teníamos que encontrar formas de distracción antes de que existieran los iPhones. Una de las cosas que recuerdo haber hecho es hablar en frente de un ventilador para escuchar como mi voz cambiaba. Regresa a los viejos tiempos y canta una canción de la actualidad en frente de un ventilador y vístete con ropa inspirada en los años 90. – Christina M. 
  45. 51 puntos: (Imagen) Una tradición hawaiana popular que vemos con frecuencia en películas y en la vida real, es como los nativos le ponen a las personas un lei en el cuello cuando se bajan del avión. Haz el lei más extravagante que se te pueda ocurrir usando materiales que no sean flores y pónselo a una persona desprevenida. No se tiene que estar bajando de un avión, pero a lo mejor podría estar saliendo del supermercado o bajándose del carro. – Christina M. 
  46. 18 puntos: (Imagen) ¡El día de trabajo puede ser muy aburrido! Guinda un cartel o un aviso en tu sitio de trabajo con una regla que haría que tu día de trabajo fuese mucho mejor. – Inspirado por Marybeth M. 
  47. 20 puntos: (Imagen) Tu máscota (animal vivo que es parte de tu familia – como tu perro, gato, gallina, chancho, etc.) ideal – Marybeth M. 
  48. 28 puntos: (Imagen) Yoga al amanecer 
  49. 36 puntos: (Imagen) Yoga al amanecer es una práctica sobrevalorada. Queremos verte haciendo algo que realmente te ponga la sangre a bombear al amanecer. ¿Quizá una clase de kickboxing o una fiesta bailable? Las opciones son interminables. Tu máscota de #StarfishSearch debe hacer una aparición. 
  50. 80 puntos: (Video) Hockey de basura en la calle: Recoge toda la basura de las calles y después juega hockey con un palo de escoba usando la basura que recogiste. Botes de basura o contenedores deben ser la meta. 
  51. puntos: (Imagen) Foamhenge. (No. No es un error) 
  52. 77 puntos: (Imagen) Canaliza tu Picasso interior y recrea el logo de Starfish 
  53. 50 puntos: (Imagen) Haz un collage que incluya a todos los miembros de tu equipo con la vestimenta del profesional que hubiesen querido ser si les hubiésemos preguntado cuando tenían 7 años. 
  54. 84 puntos: (Imagen) Tu casa, sitio de trabajo o escuela está embrujada(o). Pruébalo. 
  55. 51 puntos: (Video – de hasta 45 segundos) Pregúntale a un niño(a) de 7 años o menos cual es su comida favorita y cómo hacerla. Debes seguir las instrucciones que te de al pie de la letra. 
  56. 56 puntos:(Imagen) Hay una canción que dice, “Haz nuevos amigos pero mantén los viejos. Uno es plata, el otro es oro”. Siguiendo este sentimiento, reúne un nuevo y un viejo amigo para que se tomen una foto contigo, PERO el nuevo amigo debe ser todo de plata y el viejo amigo todo de oro. 
  57. 64 puntos: (Imagen) Amanda (Benton) ha publicado esta lista por 3 años, así que esperamos que tengas una idea de cómo luce. Usando solamente objetos que se encuentren en la cocina (condimentos, especias, café, etc.) pinta su retrato. 
  58. 34 puntos: (Imagen) Haz un cartel que diga ‘Starfish es …” e incluye al menos 3 palabras que describan la organización. Sostén el cartel y párate al lado de un motociclista (debe tener la motocicleta), el cual esté sosteniendo tu máscota de #StarfishSearch. 
  59. 24 puntos: (Imagen) Encuentra la tarjeta de presentación de alguien que tenga el mismo nombre que alguien en la junta directiva de Starfish. 
  60. 94 puntos: El año pasado, UMBC (Universidad de Maryland, Condado de Baltimore) le ganó a Virginia en la primera ronda del campeonato de basquet, lo cuál negó las predicciones de muchas personas para el torneo. Pero, no importa, a nosotros nos gusta alentar al equipo no favorecido. Muestra a “True Grit” (la mascota o símbolo disfrazdo del equipo de UMBC quien es un perro cobrador dorado / Golden Retriever), jugando a basquet y ganando contra una mascota (símbolo disfrazado) de otro equipo de tu elección. ¿No tienes a un Golden Retriever que puede jugar basquet? Disfrazarse está bien. 
  61. 68 puntos: (Video – de hasta 45 segundos) Encuentra un dicho, historia o enseñanza sobre educación que sea influyente para ti. Crea un video de animación cuadro por cuadro (stop motion)en el que tu dicho/historia/enseñanza sea el tema principal o la trama.


#StarfishSearch 2018 Info


We hope you’re ready for the 2018 #StarfishSearch virtual scavenger hunt! This year, the hunt will take place from Friday, October 26th to Monday, October 29th.

What exactly is it? I’m so glad you asked! When the hunt starts, you’ll receive a list of tasks to complete, and have 84 hours to complete as many tasks as possible. Some will be about raising awareness, some will be about community service, some will be to learn more about Ecuador, and some will be just for fun or to test your creativity! You’ll earn points for each task that your team completes.

mischief 5If you participated last year, you should know that this year’s hunt comes with 12 whole extra hours of fun! More hours means more items and more ability for everyone to schedule around their other commitments. There also will be a few pre-hunt tasks on the week before the hunt to help your team bond and practice working together. Points from these bonus tasks will count towards your team’s total.

Everything else will be the same as last year.

Are you ready? Sign up here: https://www.jotform.com/82517314795160

Do you have no prior experience? No problem! Here’s everything else you’ll need to know:

Who: ANYONE! Teams can range from 2 to 5 people and can be comprised of team members around the world. (You won’t need to meet up in person to complete tasks, but you’ll need to be able to communicate virtually.) If you don’t have anyone with whom to compete, tell us when you register, and we’ll place you in a team with other participants.

Prizes: Top-scoring teams will win prizes, but we’ll also award prizes for particularly creative or popular submissions. This means if you don’t want to tackle the whole list, you can still win prizes just by choosing your favorite items and doing them well! Bonus points can be earned for exceptionally well-done items.fav 2

When: The list will be published at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 26th. You’ll have until 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 29th to complete and submit your tasks.

Where: Anywhere! You can complete the #StarfishSearch from anywhere in the world! However, someone on your team must be able to access Facebook and post pictures there for scoring purposes.

Why: To raise awareness (and funds) for the Starfish Foundation!

Cost: Each team member will need to pay $20 to play.

Whew! How exciting is that? Ready to take the plunge? Sign up here: https://www.jotform.com/82517314795160

We also want to make sure everyone you love gets a chance to participate in this year’s search, so we’re encouraging you to start recruiting others now. Let them know how great this is as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Starfish Foundation while having fun with your friends! So, go on… Get your friends and family in on what may be the most fun they’ll have this fall!

Questions? Just ask me at amanda.benton@thestarfishchange.org!
Thank you!
Communications Co-Manager, The Starfish Foundation


Introducing Stephanie Allen, Program Manager

As you may have seen in our last Ecua Update, we are lucky to welcome Stephanie Allen as the newest member of our staff. She started as our new Program Manager earlier this year.

Stephanie originally heard about Starfish through a year of Service with Rostro de Cristo,  a Catholic volunteer program that invites young adults practice a ministry of presence within marginalized communities in Ecuador.  While there, she met Beth, one of our co-directors and co-founders.

Looking back at that meeting, Stephanie says, “I was interested in working with Starfish because of their mission to empower Ecuadorian youth through education as I had seen first-hand during my time as a volunteer in Ecuador, the barriers that exist to pursuing higher education and breaking the cycle of poverty for young people in and around Guayaquil. I truly believe in Starfish’s mission and am grateful to have the opportunity to work with our team to serve our scholars!”

stephanie allen homeWith volunteer experience in Ecuador already under her belt, she already has great ideas for Starfish, and has enjoyed getting learn a lot about Starfish during her first two months in the position. “My hope is that in my position as Program Manager, I’m able to support our Ecuadorian staff to provide the best service we can to our scholars and their families. I also look forward to the opportunity to expand our programs to be able to serve even more students and pursue partnerships for Starfish here in Ecuador. Most of all, I hope to continue to learn and grow in this role!”

Before starting at Starfish, Stephanie spent 2+ years as the Director of Volunteer Programs and Medical Outreach at Make-A-Wish New Hampshire and had spent a few months working in intercultural exchange in Cuenca, Ecuador.

She also has extensive volunteer experience. “My previous volunteer experience includes volunteering with the elderly, a year of service in Ecuador working with youth, and currently, as a volunteer translator for Kiva. My volunteer experiences are what ultimately led me into a career in the nonprofit sector.”

Speed Round

Stephanie agreed to a speed round of “favorites” questions to help us get to know her better.

stephanie allen 2

Favorite quote?
“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

I love this quote as a reminder that everything that we do, from the big to the small, can have a positive impact on those around us if we act intentionally and give freely of ourselves.

Favorite food?
Ice cream!

Favorite beverage?
Lime Polar seltzer

Favorite hobbies?
Reading, hiking, traveling to and exploring new places, and spending quality time with my family and friends.

Favorite place?
Driving around and exploring the beauty of New Hampshire with my mom, a hammock in Ecuador on a lazy Sunday, anywhere where I am surrounded by good company!

Favorite game?
Puzzles – number, word, jigsaw – I like them all!

Spotlight on Volunteers and Educators

The Starfish Foundation relies on both volunteers and educators from Ecuador to run successfully. This week, we’re catching up with William (an educator) and Jhon (a volunteer), to learn a little more about them, their interests, and how Starfish has benefited their lives.

William- March 2Question: Please introduce yourself
William: My name is William Segura, and I am an educator in the Starfish Foundation.

Question: What is your average day like outside of Starfish?
William: After arriving home from work, I quickly get ready to go to the university. I eat and prepare my necessary materials. I really like my time occupied with things that are important to me; it makes me feel that my dreams are being accomplished.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
William: My friends and I like to go out to places in my city, Guayaquil, and enjoy what it offers. Of course, it’s quite hot here. Occasionally, we get together to celebrate someone’s birthday or to practice sports.

Question: What have you learned from working at the Starfish Foundation?
William: In the foundation, I have honed skills that I didn’t know I had. Speaking in front of students and patiently explaining assignments to them are things that I didn’t think I could do. I’ve also learned that with sacrifice and hard work, you can accomplish unimaginable things.

Jhon B - volunteer.jpegQuestion: Please introduce yourself
Jhon: I’m Jhon. I was a Starfish Scholar throughout high school and I graduated from the foundation; now I am a new volunteer.

Question: When you’re not volunteering with Starfish, what do like to do?
Jhon: In my free time, I practice sports. I like to have fun with my friends by playing board games, such as chess and checkers. In this way, we see who is the smartest, and we laugh a good bit.

Question: What’s a random fact that you want people to know about you?
Jhon: My favorite animal is a crocodile. I like them because most of the time they are solitary, but they are also seen in groups, and they’re really strong.

Question: What have you learned from the Starfish Foundation?
Jhon: In the foundation, I’ve learned about values and how to practice them each day. Putting one’s values into action is the most important thing. I know that I must be a good example for the rest and always do good deeds.

We’re so thankful for both Jhon and William for everything they do!

Ecuador Happenings

Over the school break, the students participated in various clubs including dance, experiments, entrepreneurship, make-up, hair styling, pastry-making, painting, and crafts. There were a variety of activities and the students participating showed great interest in the learning experiences.

In April we hosted our annual Scholarship Ceremony. It was an exciting morning for the students as well as for the Starfish group. The students were very happy to receive all their uniforms and school materials to kick off the new school year. In addition to receiving their needed items, it’s a chance to celebrate their successes from the previous year and congratulate them for the effort they put into their school work.

During the teachers’ vacation week, the administrative team took charge of updating the classroom to welcome the students back to a better-organized space. The students came in on different days to participate in integration activities and get to know each other.

To kick off the school year, we hosted a Math Workshop and a Language Workshop. In the Math workshop, we reviewed basic operations. Scholars were able to play games while benefiting from both visual and auditory learning techniques.

For the Language Workshop we started with the topic of how to write a letter; this is very important because it gives the students the opportunity to learn to express themselves in written form. These workshops will continue throughout the year. Future topics will include subject and predicate, adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and homographs.

This Year’s An Evening for the Stars was a Night to Celebrate

We celebrated our 5th annual benefit dinner and silent auction on April 21! So much fun was had by all – there was great music, great food, and tons of great individuals from all around the world!

“My favourite part of this year’s dinner was connecting with other like-minded people who believe in the Starfish mission. It was a night filled with inspiring conversations and wonderful demonstrations of support,” said Erica, a long time volunteer who traveled from Canada to attend this year’s event. “I traveled to the dinner from Canada because I’ve been a long time supporter of Starfish from a distance, and I wanted to meet everyone else who has also been donating their time, energy, efforts and resources to help further the cause of high-quality education in Ecuador. I am so happy to have met all these wonderful supporters at the dinner, and I can’t wait to go again,” she added.



If you haven’t already heard, the silent auction during the benefit dinner went incredibly well – Over 170 silent auction items were sold in person and online. This is 13% more than last year! WOW!

Here are some other key highlights from this year’s dinner:

  • Over $110,000 was raised from sponsorship, program ads, ticket sales, and silent auction proceeds. This is a 35% increase from last year!
  • We had 218 dinner attendees. It’s an all-time record, and well over last year’s tally of 150!

And that’s all thanks to you, our awesome supporters, volunteers, and friends!

When asked to describe this year’s event in just one word, participants said:

  • Inspiring!
  • Caring!
  • Connecting!
  • Heart-warming!
  • Uplifting!
  • Fun!
  • Motivating!
  • Impressive!

They also said they learned a lot from the event – hearing stories of various students who gained life-changing opportunities and access to education, as well as hearing stories from volunteers and staff who have had their lives changed for the better because of Starfish.

Did you attend this year’s benefit dinner and want to give feedback? Please fill out this survey so that we can improve next year’s benefit dinner and silent auction.

The End of a School Year

As we start the new school year in Ecuador, we want to take a few moments to recap some highlights from the end of last school year.

Every year, the Starfish Foundation offers a prize to scholars whose grades improve over the previous (year / semester). This March, a vast majority of students received the prize, so a trip was organized to Pisagua, a natural spring-fed water park. The students had a great time and enjoyed themselves.

Another “prize” trip was organized to Ayangue for parents who participated in meetings throughout the year. Ayangue is a small fishing village best known for it’s beautiful sheltered bays with calm waters. The parents had a lot of fun, took a lot of photos, and even went on a yacht. It’s a great opportunity for the parents from Flor and Guasmo to meet one another. Student members of the Therapeutic Group also joined them, enjoying the peaceful beach, burying themselves in the sand, and of course, the outing on the yacht.

Some Club Highlights:

  • Makeup Club: The students were very excited to learn to use different makeup products. It was incredible the changes they could bring about in the photography session.
  • Craft Club: Student members made foamy ice cream and string lanterns.
  • Science Club: Students carried out various experiments including making their own rockets, inflating balloons with vinegar and baking soda, making air fresheners. They also learned to create sound waves, and water that doesn’t spill.
  • Baking Club: Students made marzipan fruits, chocolate and coconut balls, and fruit pizza.
  • Painting Club: Students made landscapes on posters using colored pencils and charcoal; it was very interesting and the liked it a lot because they learned various techniques. In addition, they drew on shirts and painted glass containers with fabric paint.

Once the students left for their break, staff and volunteers worked very hard to prepare so that this school year is full of even more successful programs and opportunities for our students.

From Volunteering to Pen Pals to to Friendship

I met David Tomala my first summer at Starfish, summer of 2016. I was serving as a month-long volunteer and taught English, led professional development for the educators of Starfish, and learned a bit about the school system in Ecuador. David was one of my English students! He always came to class prepared, and eager to speak English. He’d say, “Hi, how are you,” even when we weren’t in English class!

IMG_3147After my month in Ecuador I wanted to sponsor a scholar, and David was one of the students who was without a sponsor. I chose David because of his work ethic, how pleasant and friendly his demeanor is, and his desire to learn. I got to witness David playing soccer and hanging out with his friends at the Foundation multiple times a week, as students would often hang around after class, listening to music, dancing, and playing sports together. The other volunteers and I, too, would hang out at Starfish until after the sun had set each night, running around, playing games, doing more homework help if kids needed it, and chatting, I truly appreciate the togetherness that Starfish brings to families, the Flor de Bastion community, and the togetherness it brought among Starfish scholars and volunteers alike.

David and I communicate via our pen pal letters, and we are also Facebook friends! This past summer of 2017 I went back to Starfish for one week. The timing of my trip aligned closely with the timing that sponsors were sending gifts to their scholars, so I took David’s glow in the dark soccer ball, took the air out of it, and brought it along with me to Guayaquil! I pumped it back up and hand-delivered his “regalo,” for which David was grateful, and the ball was being used within 5 minutes of presenting it to him!!

img_3081.jpgAbout an hour later, I was chatting with Mikki, the summer volunteer coordinator, and we were wondering if he knew that it was a gift for him to keep or not. My Spanish isn’t perfect, and at this point another girl was using the ball while David chatted with his friends. So Mikki went over to confirm that he knew that the ball was his. David’s response was that he knew that it was his gift and that his friend wanted to borrow it, so he was letting her use it. I remember being so humbled and impressed by his response; everything, even a brand new gift received that day, is for community. His attitude was so selfless. David wanted to share, so he did! I learned from David that day and carry that moment with me each day still.

I’m blessed to be David’s sponsor and to have known him for the past year and a half!

If you would like to sponsor a scholar and gain a Pen Pal you can! We have 4 different tiers of sponsorship, find out more at http://www.thestarfishchange.org/sponsor-a-scholar

This post was written by a guest blogger, Kaitlyn.