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!

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  • 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

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More Than a Magic Night – a Talent Night!

Henry here, and have I got news for you! Our little starfish recently hosted their second annual talent show at the main Starfish site in Flor, Guayaquil. Over 100 students participated in the show as well as 11 staff members and 8 international volunteers. You can watch the show yourself here, and be amazed by their performances.

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“The objective of this event is to showcase the talents of each and every one of our members, this way they can secure the interpersonal relationships, own the stage, and increase self-confidence”, explain Jessica Párraga and Maria Salazar, Starfish teachers, when I ask them why the Talent Show is important to The Starfish Foundation.

“Many values learned in the talent show night were responsibility, closeness, and fellowship among the kids in the foundation. These helped them be more open, have self-confidence, and to make decision that will help them become active leaders in their families and communities. They also learned the true meaning of teamwork,” adds one of their teachers, Pamela Rodriguez.

The show was open to students, teachers, volunteers, and international visitors – each showcasing their skill and sharing a piece of themselves and their culture. Family and friends of students and volunteers, as well as host families to our international volunteers, came out to enjoy the day.

The students practiced for over a month, improving the details of their performances: choreography, acting, painting, singing, and so much more.

I checked in with Luiggi Pluas, one of the student performers to find out about his participation in the show:

“For talent show night I had 3 songs. The first one I sang with my friend Ronny, “Me Voy Enamorando,” (I’m falling in love). The second one I did solo.

When it was show time I was very nervous, but when the music started I tried to do my best; it seems I did a great job because I waited a long time for the cheering to end. I had so much fun! In my last performance I danced to traditional music of Guayaquil with a few other dancing partners. We put so much effort into it, and we did a great job.

The end of the event was nice because everyone started telling their experiences getting there. We all took pictures with the North American volunteers. We made unique memories that will be hard to forget.”outside

WOW. What an unforgettable experience. I also talked to Joselyn del Valle, who acted as the emcee for the night, about her thoughts on the Talent Show:

“In the talent show night I was cheering and introducing every single one of my classmates according to the talent they were going to perform. It was an incredible night!

I also danced to the song “Guayaquileño” with my dance team. For this dance we practiced 4 or 5 times so everything would be perfect and we could all learn our choreography.

My favorite part was the performance by the teachers. They went on stage, dressed in white, the lights were off and the cellphone lights were on. They sang the song “Yo Nací Aqui,” (I was born here). It was a beautiful and moving performance.”

With all this enthusiasm and talent, I know these scholars will continue to do amazing things inside and outside the classroom.

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xxx Henry

Vacacionales and First Ever Starfish Open House!

Hola again from Guayaquil, Ecuador.  We’ve had a few really exciting weeks here.  Last week we shared about the graduations of our 6 seniors, but that’s not all we’ve been up to!

For the last 3 weeks we’ve held vacacionales, sort of like day camp, for our students with a wide range of activities planned mainly by our educadores.

Some of our female students were able to participate in community service at a local shelter and school for young girls who either don’t have families or have suffered some sort of abuse and have been removed from their homes.  Our students were able to share some activities and friendship with them several days during vacation.  We hope this partnership can continue so that our students can continue to give back to their community!

Other activities included spiritual retreats, teamwork activities, a treasure hunt, and more.  On the last day we also thought about our dreams for Starfish and created this poster (above, right) so that we may keep our dreams in mind always.

  

In Flor, the main activity was learning how to make various things from recycled materials (above).  Spearheaded by educadora María, the students learned how to make many items using just plastic bottles, newspaper, empty toilet paper rolls, and other materials found around the home.  On the last day we held an open house where parents and other family members came to learn about the projects the students had been working so hard on over the past few weeks.  We concluded the open house with the first ever “Miss & Mr. Starfish” where students modeled various outfits – including their very own dresses & suits made from recycled material. Congrats to Oscar & Itaty for winning this year due to their hard work on their recycled outfits as well as their confidence in expressing themselves!

Towards the end of our camp, we also held our closing ceremony for the 2014-15 school year, recognizing our students, employees, and parents for their efforts during the year.  We started off with some inspiring words from Milena’s mom, Mariana & Scholars Geovanny & Mirka.  Then we recognized all of our employees with some awesome Starfish hats and awards.  Educadores Tyrone from Flor and Cynthia from Guasmo were recognized by their co-workers as “Educador del Año” or Employee of the Year.  Jordy’s mom Norma was recognized as “Parent of the Year” for always going above and beyond what is asked of her.  Yesenia from Guasmo and Jordy were recognized for earning the most stars on our star chart that tracks grades, attendance, behavior, community service and more.  Our 6 graduates also received framed graduation pictures as our special gift to them!

Scholars who have been with us since the first year!
Mariana, Milena’s mom

Flor Scholars with their families!
All of our students acting a little loco to celebrate their hard work!