Today in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the weather forecast has a high 82 degrees. So, while those of us in the North East United States are facing below freezing temperatures, and even colder wind, we can cozy up, and think of Ecuador – and all the wonderful, amazing things, the Starfish Foundation has been up to over the second half of the last year.
In last week’s post, we shared our successes, accomplishments, and highlights from January 2017 – June 2017, so this week, we’ll pick up where we left off.
- We hosted a workshop, to help the students discover potential careers. Students wrote down possible professions they would like to have in the future, and we had professionals from those professions come in and give a presentation and explain their experiences. They also answered any questions and eased doubts that the students had about the profession.
- We brought the parents from Flor and Guasmo together to discuss the dynamic between parents and children and their behaviors. They did this through performing a play and the winning group was asked to perform at our annual Talent Show.
- Everyone’s favorite talent show! The students and parents demonstrated their talents in each of the following areas: dance, singing, theater, drawing, magic, and more. It was a night full of emotions in which everyone shined on stage. All the winners of the Talent Show were awarded with a movie night and ice cream!
– We began a dance club. For their inaugural class, the students met with great enthusiasm to learn break dance techniques.
- This month’s tutoring theme was “universal history”, where we touched on different eras from world history. At the end of the month, students formed small groups to present on an era that was interesting to them. Many students also dressed up and made their own props for their presentation. We really have a creative group of students!
- During September, the school for parents was led by psychologist Edwin. This month’s topic was the influence of music on the behavior of children.
- As you know by now, students in their second to last year of high school (U.S. equivalent of 11th grade) participate in a community service project at Starfish. One of our first groups of this school year chose to educate their peers and the surrounding community about the mistreatment of women as their project. They began this month with weekend workshops.
- This month as our tutoring thing we reviewed how to use the different centers that reinforce skills and expand on other topics that we have covered. Our centers include – reading, writing, technology, strategic games, and a rotating center based on the current month’s theme.
-Students and staff enjoyed one week of vacation between semesters. During that week, only a few staff members worked, while also supervising a “minga” or work day to clean up our facilities!
- Giving back to others and the community is at the heart of everything we do at Starfish. Scholars, educators, and volunteers from our community service club worked together to collect funds to help out, the garbage collectors of the Puerto Limpio corporation, some of the hardest working individuals in the city. We went through the streets of Mapasingue and the Las Monjas avenue to hand out snacks that we prepared with much affection for them.
- Students took an educational field trip to the Municipal Museum to learn more about the history of our ancestors and about Ecuadorian culture.
- We held our annual Olimpiadas which ends with an exciting soccer tournament!
- The weekend before Halloween, we hosted the 2nd Annual Starfish Search Scavenger hunt, where participants from 3 countries competed to complete fun, wacky tasks and raise awareness for Starfish.
- This month, ICD Jenn took some time to teach one of the tutoring groups one of her favorite subjects – reading! The “Tarde 1” group got to read James & The Giant Peach, and participate in fun strategic and book club type activities throughout the month. The educators continued to reinforce basic math skills in the other groups, while observing the reading group to learn new strategies to implement in the future!
- We went on our annual field trip for students who received good grades in school during the first semester to reward their academic efforts. Our field trip was to the Ayangue beach, a very beautiful and quiet place that students were able to enjoy.
- A month of service: MINI SAC completed its project “Paws up in the Air” for a local animal rescue organization. They volunteered at a fundraising event by helping to decorate and distribute food to the guests. Additionally, the Double R Group planned a Christmas party for the children with low resources that live in Mount Sinai.
- Two more tutoring groups got to enjoy James & the Giant Peach during tutoring this month, while the other groups are working on improving writing skills. Students are responding well to the new strategies that our educators are implementing!
- A month of celebrations and friendships! First our staff and students hosted a Christmas party for their younger siblings. It was set up like a fair with a bunch of different stands that had different activities for everyone to try (games, dance, a photo book, face painting, etc.). At the end of the day, each child went home with a toy donated by local university students!
- Our Therapeutic Group worked with the theme “values and strengthening o friendship” – bringing the Starfish Foundation members together with students from the Immaculate Conception and Sisters of Providence youth groups, as well as alumni from the Juan Martin Moye School. The completed in friendly games and sports matches, and ended with a lunch of arroz con pollo al horno (baked chicken and rice) and salad. It was prepared by a volunteer group of mothers.
- On December 22nd, our staff had a special dinner out together at a nice local restaurant. They really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together in a more formal setting, and share in the joy of the Christmas season.
Thanks for looking back on a great year with us. We can’t wait to see what the new year brings. We hope everyone has a safe, happy, healthy, and blessed 2018!