Monthly Recap: clubs, service, mother’s day, and lessons in leadership

From camps to goal setting and from community service to soccer club, the Starfish scholars in Ecuador have been keeping busy. What exactly have they been doing?

  • A week long camp hosted by Peace Corp volunteer Bonnie where kids learned about HIV through hands-on games and soccer
  • Those scheduled to do community service this year met to share ideas about how they’d like to get involved and give back
  • The soccer club, a crowd favorite, started meeting again again
  • They held the first ever meeting of the new craft club
  • For Mother’s Day, students went to the homes of some of the mother’s to sing for them. It was a beautiful moment. The moms were completely surprised and very touched. “They could feel the affection that we all have for them”, reflected one participant.
  • The Leadership School is back! Students are back to partaking in a variety of learning opportunities that gives them the fundamentals they need to practice in their own lives and to prepare them for future professional careers.

It is an exciting time at Starfish, and we have even more activities planned for the future. Soon, we will formalize a computer club and dance club, and in August we’ll host our annual talent show.

If you are interested in donating items in-kind specifically for extracurricular success, you can support our teams and clubs, by purchasing an item off our Amazon Wish List.

Guest blogger Maria Belen is a student at our Flor de Bastión location. She is in 9no (8th grade equivalent) and has participated in Starfish for 2 years.

 

Hello, my name is María Belén and I think that I have changed a lot during my time at school in many different ways, like my way of thinking, how I get along with my friends. I’ve also changed because there are already so many things that I now know that I didn’t know before I started high school. But my change has not been alone as a lot of things around me have changed because I have started to go to the foundation since last year.

The foundation is very near to my house. Here I have met many new friends that before I had seen in school but never conversed with, perhaps because of shame. In the foundation we can mingle, create very good friendships and besides that also there we learn a lot with the workshops they give. All of this helps me to change and every day I learn more, which makes me very happy.

This year I was chosen as a conditional fellow, that is if I want to win the scholarship I will have to work hard and have excellent grades. I will also need to keep my notebooks up to date and well decorated.

These are the things in which I have changed.

Wherever you are…best regards!

//

Hola, soy María Belén y pienso que he cambiado mucho durante mi etapa en el colegio en muchas cosas como la forma de pensar y de cómo me llevo con mis amigos y también porque ya se muchas cosas que antes yo no sabía. Pero mi cambio no ha sido solo, también ha cambiado mucho las cosas a mí alrededor ya que desde el año pasado voy a la fundación.

La fundación queda muy cerca de mi casa, allí he conocido muchos nuevos amigos que antes los veía en el colegio pero no conversaba con ellos quizá por la vergüenza. En la fundación nos podemos relacionar, crear amistades muy buenas y aparte que también allí nosotros aprendemos mucho con los talleres que dan, eso también me ayudo a cambiar y cada día yo aprendo más, eso me alegra mucho.

Este año que entre me eligieron como becada condicional, es decir que si quiero ganarme la beca tendré que esforzarme mucho y tener calificaciones excelentes también tener mis cuadernos al día y bien decorados.

Estas cosas son en las que yo he cambiado.

Donde estés… Saludos!

Leadership School

leadership school 2Last year at the Starfish Foundation we implemented a new project related to the Leadership program, called The Leader’s School, where students learned concepts of how to be a good leader through a set of practice activities.

In the first class participants were able to draw on leadership concepts and see how different types of leadership can be applied in the different facets of life. The conclusion? There is no ideal type of leader. Everyone has different leadership skills and abilities, and the type of leadership required, varies depending on the situation. By the end of the session, almost everyone was eager to share their opinions.

“The Leadership School was excellent, because each one of us participated and we could also share in the group our opinions about how to be a good leader.” – Lucy

In the second class, participants were shown that in order to be a leader they need to know their own interests, weaknesses, and strengths. There was also a discussion about how moral values play a part in determining leadership style and success. To demonstrate this, we held an “Auction of Values”, where students were forced to rank the values ​​in order of importance.

“In my opinion the Leadership School has helped me a lot, because everything I have learned can be used in my daily life, for example, how to be a good leader at school, how to distinguish different types of Leaders and how to lead a group.” – Joselyn del Valle

Cecelia, one of our Starfish educators added, “The Leadership School has been a very enriching experience for the students because they have learned the qualities of a leader and have put them into practice, in addition to learning how certain types of leaders develop. This has allowed them to be more participatory and entrepreneurial in the projects they have carried out.” leadership school 1

As the leadership school continues to meet, we continue to improve the structure of the project – always looking for the best way for students to learn, to have fun, and, above all, to help improve their performance, both now as a student and in the future as professionals.

To help us continue to offer influential programs like the leadership school, support the Starfish Foundation today.

Spring Cleaning, Summer Reading

April was a busy month in Ecuador!

 

While students were on summer break, they embraced a new summer reading initiative! Throughout March and April, Starfish students read daily, completed a reading log, and attended weekly sessions to talk about what they’re reading with our educators! How fun is that?

During summer break, recent Starfish grad, Julio, joined our staff as a work-study volunteer! He’s a quick learner and has been a great addition to the team – we’re so lucky to have him!

April also included some fun for our staff! At the beginning of April they went on their annual staff field trip to nearby pool and outdoor complex to spend a Sunday of relaxation with their work friends. Later in the month, we began a new monthly tradition of staff incentives – or what many of us might have heard called “mandatory fun” at college. This month staff first enjoyed a breakfast prepared by ICD Jenn, and then participated in a lip sync contest, inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s lip sync contests on his late night show. Everyone had a blast and looks forward to future staff bonding opportunities.

The new school year started on April 24th. Two days prior, on April 22nd, we held a meeting and invited all the scholars to come and receive their backpacks, uniforms, shoes, and school supplies. Scholars then participated in the School for Leadership. This month’s theme was humanitarian action, as we took a look back on the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador in April 2016, and the world’s humanitarian response to that tragedy.

The next day (April 23rd), we held our first Bingo of the year!Games of BINGO are a popular way to raise money in Ecuador. This year we raised about $275 at the event.

The first week of school was spent getting to know each other. New and returning scholars worked together to set expectations and goals for the new year and to review material from the previous semester. The last few weeks have been a lot of fun – we’re keeping everyone busy with clubs, projects, and many small workshops. Tune in next week for more details!

“Summer” Vacation

29719927493_f784eb306d_bOn March 12th, We held our year end ceremonies in Guasmo; on April 24th, the new school year started. For the 43 days in-between Starfish staff and volunteers kept busy. Here’s some of what they were up to:

Staff in Ecuador started off the month of April purchasing all of the supplies for the new school year, as well as uniforms, shoes, backpacks, etc for our Starfish Scholars! We were also able to buy some fun new things for our classroom, like a giant whiteboard!

Once all the supplies were accounted for, they took to setting up and re-organizing our classrooms. Students and staff came together to put a new coat of paint on the walls to brighten the rooms up. The goal was a a better classroom environment and increased organization.

During school break, staff also participated in 3 professional development days. Topics included Teaching Strategies, Observational Skills & Growth Mindset.

Supplies bought? Check!
Classrooms organized? Check!
Walls painted? Check!
Professional development? Check!

So what’s next?

Staff also used April to get ahead on plans for this school year. Apart from our main programs – scholarship, tutoring & leadership development – we are also continuing with the therapeutic group run by our psychologist twice a month, our monthly school for parents, a soccer club, a new & improved community service club, as well as some new ideas for weekend clubs such as computer skills, chess, crafts, dance and more! Whew! We’re going to have a great school year!

We have 50 new students joining us in tutoring this year, with 140 students overall. We spent the first week getting to know each other, establishing classroom expectations for the year, reviewing material from last year, and setting goals for this year. We look forward to sharing updates for the new school year!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for day to day updates, stories, and photos from our students, staff, and volunteers in Ecuador and around the world.

Throw Back Thursday: Lessons from Ecuador

This week, we’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane to see what various scholars, educators, and volunteers have learned through their experiences with Starfish:

“There is a universal language spoken through hugs, smiles, and laughter.” – Martin, volunteer

527e6-dscn2461“It’s important to give kids more ways to shine than just the classroom or the soccer field” – Danny, volunteer

“My wonderful opportunity to serve as an intern at the Starfish Foundation provides me with a greater insight of issues and circumstances worldwide, and has truly made me more grateful for the everyday things I have access to instantaneously. I have been handed so much in my life and I am thankful for the opportunity Starfish has given me to give back.” – Katrina, volunteer

“I have become more responsible, my skills have grown which makes me proud because I feel that I am a very capable person.” – Joselyn, scholar

“Without the people of the Starfish Foundation, I wouldn’t have learned more Spanish and how to work with their students. Additionally, without the students of Flor, I wouldn’t have learned how to work with English language learners and develop more skills as an educator.” – Katie, volunteerIntegration Day...in the eyes of a volunteer.

“I’ve learned to express myself and am comfortable speaking in front of the other people on various subjects.” – Julio, scholar

“Community can’t be taught, it must be built with time, trust, and consistency.” – Martin, volunteer

“Through reading, I learn more about myself and the world around me, and it has helped me to become who I am today.” – Sara W., scholar

“We are all Children”: El dia del niño

“They say that all people, whether adults or seniors, carry a child inside them, and this is true,” say administrator Jasmin and educator William. I met up with them this week to talk about El dia del niño – an internationally celebrated day honoring the importance of children. Here’s what we found out:

No one can deny that the most notorious characteristic in children is happiness, often considered within the family as “the joy of home.” Children enjoy a truly pure personality, without malice, without bad thoughts, without problems, etc. This is reflected in their actions and it’s very likely you’ve even witnessed it, we have all seen a child sharing his or her food, delighting others with their tenderness, trying to make someone who’s sad laugh, among many others actions, which people over time lose without even realizing it.

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Today is El dia del niño (The Day of the Child). El dia del niño is a date where we are reminded of the important role children have in society, to improve children’s rights around the world, and to encourage education. Although this day is celebrated on different dates throughout the world, the symbolism of this day has the same message: The importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Primary goals of el dia include:

  • honoring children and childhood;

  • promoting literacy and the importance of linking all children to books, languages, and cultures;

  • honoring home languages and cultures, and thus promoting bilingual and multilingual literacy

  • involving parents in the lives and education of their children

It is a celebration where parents, educational institutions, and other organizations all work together. Here in Ecuador, this celebration is held as a tribute children on the first day of June. Organizations gather to do activities for and with the children by giving them gifts. Meanwhile, in schools, they put on historical reviews of children that are remembered throughout history.

While not the only day in which we celebrate and remember the value of children, it is an important day to remind all children how important they are for us, both today and for our futures. The children of today will mold our families, our communities, and all of humanity. 

 

Dia de la Madre – Celebrando a Mamá

Today we’re going to catch up on Mother’s Day in Ecuador. One of our educators, William, has provided us with a a great synopsis of how the day went. Let’s see what he has to say!

8208“No matter what your nationality is, where you live on the planet, or what your religion is, there are many different words to say it. But, the meaning will always be the same… Mom! Mom means so much. In thinking about this word, many other words or emotions come to mind: love, friendship, tenderness, happiness, understanding and more. Isn’t it incredible?

A mother is: a friend who you can trust, a person that will always be there for you despite your errors, and someone that fights to give the best to her children regardless of the effort. In summary, a mom is the most wonderful being that can exist. It is for this reason that a day exists every year in which people from many parts of the world join together in order to celebrate Mother’s Day. In Ecuador, this day is celebrated the second Sunday of May and many people celebrate this day by serenading their mothers, bringing them flowers, making cakes, preparing a wonderful dinner, etc.
The Starfish Foundation holds activities annually to entertain the mothers of its community and this year was no exception. The students put on an activity in which they visited some mother’s houses, sang to them and also brought them cards, in which they expressed their infinite love. Together with the students, the foundation was able to show the affection and gratitude that we have toward the mothers. Our gratitude is not only for the help they give their children, but also for the help that they provide the foundation, as a fundamental pillar for mutual growth.”

Thanks William!

xx,

Henry

 

Original Text:

No importa cual sea tu nacionalidad, en qué lugar del planeta vivas o cual sea tu religión, para decirlo las palabras serán muchas pero el significado será siempre el mismo. Mama! Pero mamá significa mucho, al pensar en esta simple palabra se nos vienen a la mente muchísimas otras palabras o sentimientos como; amor, amistad, ternura, alegría, comprensión… y mas. ¿Increíble verdad?

 

Una madre es una amiga en la que puedes confiar, es una persona que a pesar de tu errores siempre estara para ti, es aquella persona que lucha por darle lo mejor a sus hijos sin importar el esfuerzo en resumen es el ser mas maravillosos que puede existir, es por este motivo que cada año existe un día en que las personas de muchas partes del mundo se reúnen para celebrar el  dia de las Madres. En Ecuador este día se conmemora el segundo domingo del mes de Mayo y muchas personas celebran este día llevandoles serenata a sus mamitas tambien llevandoles flores, haciendo tortas, haciendoles una rica cena, etc.
La Fundación “Estrellitas de Mar” realiza anualmente actividades para agasajar a las madres de su comunidad, y este año no fue la excepción. Los estudiantes realizaron una actividad en la cual visitaron la casa de algunas mamitas, les cantaron y les llevaron una tarjetita en la cual expresaron su infinito amor. De esta manera, en conjunto con los jóvenes, la fundación  pudo demostrar el cariño y lo agradecidos que estamos no solamente por la ayuda que le brindan a sus hijos sino también la ayuda que brindan a la fundación como pilar fundamental para un crecimiento mutuo.

Julio Ponce: 2017 Graduate

26190743582_3eedcd05ef_bGraduation is always a time for celebration, reflections, and looking ahead. This week, I had a conversation with Julio Ponce about his education thus far, what might be next, and the people who inspire him to dream big.

Are you going to attend college? And, if you are going to attend, what do you want to study?
Julio: I plan to go to university to study architecture or nursing.

What are some of the most important moments you remember from school – your favorite memories?
Julio: The most important times were spending time with my friends. The most unforgettable date was when I took part in the flag ceremony.

What are some goals that you have for your experience and studies at university?
Julio: My goal is to get a degree in architecture and to create a building that is well known.

Is there a person who inspires you?
Julio: The person who inspires me is my mom since she has always worked hard for me. Now it is my turn to work hard for her.

Have you changed during your time at school?
Julio: Yes, I change my habits at school; now I’m more responsible. I’ve also learned to express myself and am comfortable speaking in front of the other people on various subjects.

How did you discover and develop your talents and skills during school?
Julio: I already had the talent but the more time I spent at school, the more those talents developed. I found I was also able to teach certain skills to my classmates and teachers.

What do you expect to achieve over the next five years?
Julio: Get a university degree and share it with my family so I can help others.

If you could change one thing about your educational experience so far, what would it be?
Julio: I would not change anything because what I’ve learned in school will help me in my life.

Wow! Now that’s a smart and highly motivated Starfish! With this kind of thinking, motivation, and desire to succeed, we know Julio will achieve great things.

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Senior Project Final – Proyecto de Alfabetización

Hey everyone and welcome to the month of May! We’re going to check back in with some of our Senior students and find out more about senior projects! This time, I met with members of the “Literacy Project,” which included John B., Julexi C. and Joselyn C.

To begin, I asked the students for a brief description about their project and how they got it started. They told me that their goal was to help a student with literacy and they said, “In an effort to obtain student materials for our project, we looked for donors. We were able to collect a pencil, a pencil sharpener, a notebook, an eraser, and a support book.”

They went on to say, “During our preparation for this project, we also did a little planning of what we would teach the student. We received help from the educator Pamela Rodríguez, who was very aware of the details of our project. She taught us how to prepare and helped with the courses given throughout this project.”

Then the Seniors gave me an idea of how each day went with their student. Here’s a look at their diary:

January 29
We started by passing out of all the materials (pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, “Nacho” textbook) to the mother who attended our class. Next, we carried out a dynamic integration activity so that the class would be very fun and nice for her. Then, we started our class with vowels, reviewing, writing, coloring, etc.Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 10.36.16 AM
February 5th
In the second week, we reviewed what we did the previous week. For that, we looked for a interactive game (make a vowel notebook). We started with a lesson about consonants
and reviewing her full name.
February 8
We started again with a small review of her name and vowels. The same day, we learned to identify uppercase and lowercase letters and we started to learn some easy phonemes (letters or a letter combination that distinguish the sounds of words). Then it was time for the culmination activity. We prepared some small snacks to share, to celebrate the participation and collaboration of our student.

Finally, I asked the seniors to give me their final thoughts on the projects. Here’s what they had to say, “Having completed this project, we realized that the classes were very short and should be a little more extensive. The classes should also be held during summer vacation, because other parents did not attend since the majority have children who study, which made it a little difficult to attend. Also, in the future we should offer an option for the literacy students to receive classes in their homes. That way, if the student cannot attend classes at our foundation or another problem arises, they can still receive class.”