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.

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.”

Senior Project Final: Informe Adultos Mayores

Hey everyone! I hope you’re enjoying some nice, Spring weather, wherever you are! This week, it’s time to check in with our Senior students and find out about one of their senior projects! Over the weekend, I met with members of the team “Adultos Mayores,” Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.53.17 AMincluding:Joselyn C., Jordy L., Julio P. and Ariana S. Let’s find out what they did during their five week project!

The team members began by telling me that the goal of their project was to visit the elderly home, Damien House, over the course of five Fridays, to bring residents happiness and to show that they are valued. Before attending the home, the team members fundraised by selling jello! The students raised $9, to cover the cost of snacks that they would provide to the residents.

During their first visit on January 20th, they had breakfast with some of the residents. They helped some of them drink their oatmeal drink, as it wScreen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.54.40 AMas challenging for them. After breakfast, they went to the patio, explained their project to the residents and invited them to participate. The residents were very excited and decided to start off with an icebreaker, to get to know each other. Finally, when it was time to go, the students gave the residents bananas as a snack. Then, the residents told the students that they were very excited about their visit!

January 27th was the students next visit. As the students arrived, the residents were waiting on the patio with very excited expressions. The students handed out badgesScreen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.55.17 AM to the residents, they played another icebreaker and then they played dominoes. Since some of the students didn’t know how to play, the residents taught them. Finally, they caught up for the week and then gave the residents an oatmeal beverage as their snack.

The students visited the residents for a third time on February 3rd. They said, “this day, we were surprised with the excitement of the adults, which was greater with each visit!” For the visit, they passed out badges played an icebreaker named “cow tail” and then discussed the residents’ lives from when they were young. The residents gave the students advice and in return, the students gave them sandwiches as a snack!Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.56.29 AM

Their fourth visit to the home was very rainy and the residents were worried that the students weren’t going to show. So, when they arrived, the residents were still in the dining room eating their breakfast. After breakfast, they played another icebreaker, called “the spider web.” Then, the residents taught the students how to weave hammocks and told them that they make handicrafts and sell them to people who visit the home. Finally, the students gave orange juice as a snack and said goodbye.

February 17th was the final visit for the students. They said, “this day we felt a bit sad to think that it would be our last visit with our new friends. We wanted the end of the project to be unique, so we brought picture frames with pictures that we had taken with them.” The students also included a lot of balloons to decorate the home and make the residents happy. The morning was filled with emotions from both the students and the residents. The residents expressed their gratitude toward the students for their visits and let them know that they would miss them every Friday. For their final visit, the students gave the residents an oatmeal drink with bread as their snack.Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.57.09 AM

Looking back at their time with the residents, the students said, “We were able to understand the value of solidarity and love because each time we arrived at the Father Damien House, we were filled with happiness, feeling that our presence was important for them. We understand that each person that we encountered in the home needs us, so that they do not feel alone. The environment in the home makes them feel a deep sense of solitude.”

I am so proud of these students for their accomplishment. Not only did they complete their Senior project, but they formed new bonds that will last a lifetime. Great job Starfish Scholars!

2017 So Far

Wow everyone, I can’t believe it’s already April! Now that we’re three months through 2017, I think it’s time to take a look back at what we’ve accomplished so far!

January:

  • In January, our volunteer Ellie continued with the English classes with both the students and educators. Also, the students were able to hold a party for Three King’s Day, on January 6th. The party involved playing and having a grab bag for each student. Next, there was a meeting held on January 15th, in which scholarship recipients completed activities related to the leadership school. The students had a great time and enjoyed it a lot!

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.56.53 AM

  • We have also continued our tutoring classes! This month the classes were focused on nouns, sentences, comma usage and other grammar points.
  • Finally, we held a Community Service Workshop. Overall, January was a great month for the Starfish Foundation!

February:

  • In February, our volunteer Ellie completed the English classes with the students and educators. Great job, Ellie!
  • Students presented their final projects at Starfish, where they were able to demonstrate the skills they learned at our new and improved classes these past 5 months. Their project was called “Around the World,” and each group was to pick a country they had never researched previously. Then, they were to research, make a PowerPoint and present to the class, while including a creative piece such as traditional dress, traditional food, etc.Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.58.11 AM
  • The high school students also carried out three projects with the community in February, which they’ve planned throughout the year. Stay on the lookout for our upcoming blog posts to get an update on their projects!
  • This month, our tutoring classes were held in conjunctions, upper and lowercase letters and public communication.
  • Finally, the Leadership School held their second workshop this month, where the topic was how to be a good leader. Activities were created for students to find out their flaws, virtues, interests and values and then how these attributes make them a good leader.

March:

  • This month was the end of the school year for students!
  • In March, we received over 100 scholarship applications and are excited to welcome 54 full scholarship recipients and 16 conditional scholarship recipients!
  • We also held our year end ceremonies in March. In Guasmo, the ceremony was on March 12th and in Flor de Bastion, the ceremony was held on March 17th! For the students with the best grades, we went on a field trip to Bucay at the end of the month.
  • Coming up, we have a new summer reading initiative! Starfish students are expected to read daily, complete a reading log and attend weekly sessions for 1 month to discuss what they’re reading, with our educators.

These past three months were absolutely great and we can’t wait to see what the next three have in store!

Until next time,
Henry

Interview with Julio Ponce, Starfish Student

This week, I traveled to Ecuador to speak with one of our senior Starfish students, Julio Ponce, who is 18 years old. I decided to talk with him about what his daily routine looks like. I wanted to know how much time he takes to complete certain tasks, how he gets from point A to point B and finally, hear about what parts of the day he really likes.

Julio began by telling me how his day starts, “I wake up at 7:30am and then I begin to tidy up. My mom prepares breakfast and serves it to me. After that, I get my notebooks ready to go to the foundation, which is on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. At 8:00am I arrive at the foundation, where volunteers and the educators help me with homework and we do dynamic activities and workshops until 10:00am. At that time I go back home and I start to help with the household chores.” I was impressed that Julio not only attends school for the day, but still has time for his household chores! Go Julio!

Julio continued by saying, “I gather my notebooks to go to school and after that, around 11am, I eat lunch. Then I bathe and put on the uniform for that day. I leave home at 11:40am and walk for about 15 minutes to catch the bus that takes me to school. I arrive at school after 18-25 minutes on the bus, depending on if it goes quickly or not. I enter the school at 12:20pm and then I greet my classmates, friends, and teachers. The first thing we do is work on English. I don’t understand it very well, but I do everything possible to understand it, whether it is doing some activities, going to workshops or reviewing my notebook.” I was very impressed with Julio’s determination to learn English, even though he says he doesn’t understand it. We always love hearing that our Starfish students are working their hardest!

Julio next told me that his day takes him through biology, math, investigation class, recess and then citizenship education class, language class, chemistry and then finally, physical education. He had a lot of great things to say about each of these courses, but he seemed to really like his citizenship education class, “ This class is very interesting because we study the articles of the constitution or we work with activities from the book.”

After Julio’s school day is done, it’s time for him to head home. “Then the school day ends and I leave and start to walk and walk with my friends. We eat bread with cola until I arrive at the place where I catch a car and then I catch the bus which then takes me home.” After getting home, Julio has a snack, prepared by his mom, works on his personal cleanliness and then enjoys watching a fighting program. After the program ends at 10:00pm, he says, “I become tired and I tidy up my bed to go to sleep. And so I sleep until the next day, when I go through the same routine.”

Wow, that’s quite the day! I am so glad that I had the chance to speak with Julio and learn more about his day-to-day in Ecuador. I am very proud of our Starfish students and can’t wait to find out who I will interview next!

Until next time,
Henry

Original Interview:

Cuéntanos sobre tu rutina diaria para llegar al colegio. ¿Cuánto tiempo demoras en llegar al colegio? ¿Cuántos buses tienes que coger?

“Mi nombre es Julio Ponce tengo 18 años, me levanto a las 7:30 am luego empiezo a asearme, mi mami me prepara el desayuno y me lo sirve, después alisto mis cuadernos para ir a la fundación que son los días lunes, martes y jueves, mi entrada a la fundación es las 8:00 am donde los educadores y voluntarios me ayudan con las tareas, hacemos dinámicas y talleres hasta que sean las 10:00 am luego llego a mi casa y empiezo ayudar con los quehaceres del hogar.
Alisto mis cuadernos para ir al colegio, a las 11:00 am almuerzo, luego me baño y me pongo el uniforme que toque ese día. La hora de salida de mi casa es a las 11:40 am, me demoro 15 minutos para ir a coger el bus que me lleva al colegio. Llego al colegio en unos 18 a 25 minutos depende del bus, si va rápido o no, entro al colegio a las 12:20, llego saludo a mis compañeros, amigos y profesores, a la primera hora nos toca ingles claro que no lo entiendo, pero hago todo lo posible para entender, si es de revisar cuaderno revisa o hacemos alguna actividad o talleres.
Luego empezamos con biología, es una profesora que, si sabe explicar y con ella podemos hacer bromas, ella hace las clases muy divertidas. Luego viene el profesor de matemáticas es nuestro tutor, me gusta su manera de explicar la clase, también es divertida y me gusta mucho. Luego nos toca investigación, las clases son muy bien explicadas y bien expuestas por nosotros mismos.
De ahí salimos al recreo que dura 30 minutos, en este tiempo camino con mis amigos, conversamos y comemos helado, se nos hace muy cortos esos 30 minutos. Luego empezamos con la clase de educación para la ciudadanía, sus clases son muy interesantes por que estudiamos los artículos de la constitución o trabajamos los talleres del libro. De ahí empezamos con la clase de lengua, con ella siempre trabajamos con el libro, realizamos lectura, o los talleres y también nos aburre con sus anécdotas que nos cuenta ella. Luego nos toca la clase de química la profesora es súper chévere, también la clase son divertidas porque con ella si nos reímos mucho, bueno yo también me rio o hago relajo hasta que llegaron al punto de cambiarme de puesto, aparte de que explica bien las clases.
De ahí viene educación física que ya es la última hora del día, aunque en algunas ocasiones no tenemos clases a esa hora con el profesor, porque en la ultima hora nos bajan al patio para formarnos y hacer el acto cívico.
Luego se termina el tiempo de estudio, en ese día salgo del colegio y empiezo a caminar y caminar, con mis amigos y amigas, comemos pan con cola hasta que llego al lugar que cojo el carro y después cojo el bus que me lleva a la casa. Llego a casa, y mi mama a preparado la merienda me sirve y como, luego empiezo con mi aseo personal, veo el programa combate del que yo soy fanático, el programa termina a las 10:00 pm cuando el programa termina me da sueño y arreglo mi cama para irme a dormir y así duermo hasta el siguiente día que es la misma rutina.”

Interview with Lucy Vargas, Starfish Student

Hello again and welcome to the month of March! This week, my travels to Ecuador led me to an interview with Lucy Vargas, one of our very own Starfish Foundation students. I love discussing a wide range of topics with our students, but this week I decided to discuss the future with Lucy.

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-9-26-38-pmI asked Lucy to tell me what she wants to be when she grows up. Being a very dedicated and determined student, Lucy replied, “My dream is to be a Commercial Engineer when I grow up. However, there are also other careers that I am interested in, like being a veterinarian or a pediatrician. I know that these are three careers that demand effort and dedication. Nevertheless, I will try very hard in order to achieve my goals.” I was instantly impressed with Lucy’s answer and had to know more!

Lucy told me that she has different reasons she is drawn to each of these careers, but that, “behind each of these careers is something that inspires me.” When it comes to commercial engineering she said, “Commercial Engineering fascinates me a lot because my dad worked in a company alongside other engineers. Their goal was to design homes that would later be built, in which several people would be able to live.” I loved Lucy’s enthusiasm to not only design buildings and homes, but to help the people who would live in those homes.

Lucy’s passion for helping didn’t stop there. Her reasons behind becoming a veterinarian or a pediatrician are both based on her desire to help living creatures. “I like the idea of being a veterinarian, because I love animals, especially dogs. In fact, I have a dog named Tobby, who is brown and white and handsome. Finally, being a pediatrician appeals to me because children are my inspiration. They are like little angels. I have two little siblings, who I consider to be little angels sent by God to brighten up my family.”

Thank you again for the great chat, Lucy! Everyone at Starfish is so proud of you and we can’t wait to see what your future holds, either as a commercial engineer, as a veterinarian, as a pediatrician or even something else!

xx
Henry

Original Interview:

“Yo de grande quiero ser una profesional de Ingeniería Comercial. Sin embargo, también me gustaría estudiar otras carreras como veterinaria y pediatría. Se que son tres carreras que exigen esfuerzo y dedicación. No obstante, me esforzaré mucho por conseguir mis metas.

Detrás de cada una de las carreras que pienso seguir, hay algo que me inspira. Por ejemplo, de Ingeniería Comercial me fascina mucho porque mi papá trabajó en una compañía junto con otros ingenieros que se trazaron como meta construir viviendas para que puedan vivir algunas personas.

Veterinaria me gusta también porque me encantan los animales y en especial a los perros. De hecho yo tengo uno que es hermoso de color café y blanco y se llama Tobby.

Finalmente, Pediatría porque los niños son mi inspiración. Ellos son como unos angelitos. Yo tengo 2 hermanitos. Considero que son unos angelitos enviados de Dios para alegrar a mi familia.”

Senior Project Check-In: Ruddy Figueroa

Hi everyone! This past week I decided to check in on some of our senior students. As they enter the halfway point of their final year, a lot of them are making great progress on their Graduation Projects! So, I met up with one of our students, Ruddy Figueroa to discuss the theme and status of her project, both before and after she accomplished it!

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-10-53-39-amWhen I met with Ruddy a couple of months ago, the first thing I asked of her was to give a little introduction and description of her project. Ruddy told me that her project, “consists of hosting a little Christmas party for the boys and girls of my neighborhood: Guasmo Sur Coop. Julio Potes Jiménez, in the city of Guayaquil, based on the needs and scarce economic resources of the families who live in the area.” I was immediately intrigued, as this project sounded like a success already!

But, I wasn’t only impressed with the the project itself, I was impressed with Ruddy’s reasoning behind it. She said, “these families are made up of little kids that often can’t receive any gifts from their parents because of their financial situation. I want to organize this party to help and contribute to the happiness that doing community service generates.” Ruddy continued by telling me how she was going to achieve this goal. “I’ve decided to do a few different activities in order to be able to complete my project on time, including sending letters asking for donations and collaboration. I won’t need a building for the event because I plan to do it outside on a street with low a low volume of traffic. For my project I have the help of several community members who are available to help and collaborate.”

Flash forward to a week ago, and it was time for me to follow-up with Ruddy after she accomplished her Christmas party. I asked Ruddy to reflect on the project and let us know how she achieved her goal and how it made her feel. First, Ruddy said,

          “Not long ago, we started to work on a project, supervised by our foundation, the Starfish Foundation. In this project, many people close to me got involved. These people, in addition to my parents, helped me so that my idea could become a reality. Really, we started this project without knowing a lot about how to do this, but so many people were willing to help. Once we saw how abundant the help was, we decided to make the event even bigger.
When I sent letters to businesses, I received overwhelming and encouraging responses. This motivated me to keep moving forward with the idea to make the event bigger and reach out to more children than I had planned for in my project. The toys came in by the hundreds. I never thought that I would receive so much help. It really outdid my expectations.
The happiness kept growing when my classmates at Starfish offered to help me with the face painting activities for the children. Furthermore, around 250 children were able to receive gifts, and this included the younger brothers and sisters of my classmates from Starfish. I must admit, it was tiring and hard work, but the feeling of being able to was very comforting.
I also had the support of a school from my area, the “Escuela Fiscal Mixta Blanca Goetta de Ordoñez”. They lent me chairs, even though since we had a lot of children we still needed more chairs! In spite of this small challenge, the kids had a great night and had lots of fun with the activities we prepared for them. The skills of many were of great help to me in setting up the decorations for the party. My neighbors also helped me by lending me some lights, and my dad helped me to install them, so that the area was well lit for the event.”

It was so great to hear how many people and organizations were willing to chip in to help Ruddy with her party. She was so appreciative of their support and said, “That same night, at the end of the event, those who helped me with the party came over to my house where I had also prepared a meal for them to thank them for their enthusiastic efforts in making this event a success.” Well done Ruddy! Lastly, I asked her for one final thought on both the party and the project. Ruddy said, “There are so many ways to help someone who needs it, and so many ways that we can collaborate to help.”

I am so proud of Ruddy and all of our Starfish students!

Until next time,
Henry