Starfish Search Task List

1. [14 points] There is someone in your life who has taught you something. Using the social media platform of your choice, thank them for what they have taught you. Be sure to tag them in the post. To earn points, submit a screenshot of your post to your team’s album.

2. [49 points] Have a twitter account with more than 2,000 followers tweet their support of the Starfish Foundation. They must mention your team name and tag @starfishchange. Upload a screenshot of the post to your album and put a link to the tweet in the description. The tweet must be active at the time of judging to receive points.

3. [40 points] Each person on your team must take a picture wearing or holding something that represents where they live (city, state, or country). Collage all the pictures into one image and add your team name.

4. [10 points] Put on your Starfish shirt and write a letter or e-mail to your favorite teacher from high school or middle school and send it. While we cannot know whether or not you actually sent the letter / e-mail, karma will catch up with you if you do not.(If you cannot mail or e-mail your teacher, but can connect with them via Facebook, you may send them a FB message instead).

5. [36 points] Take your pet to work (or school) day. This must be a picture of an actual live pet in your place of work (or education). Show your pet hard at work and working well with others.

6. [36 points] Find a quote about the importance of helping others in the religious text of your choice. Write it as large as humanly possible in chalk (or some other removable substance) in a public place. It must be at least 20 feet by 10 feet when completed.

7. [19 points] Carve a starfish into a pumpkin, squash, or other gourd of your choice.

8. [45 points] Have the social media account of another organization share one of Starfish’s blog posts to their account. Upload a screenshot of the post and include a link to the post in the description. The post must still be active at the time of judging.

9. [10 points] All you ever need is in arm’s reach. Find a personally impactful quote that, when printed, perfectly fits your wingspan (fingertip to fingertip). Quote must be legible in the photo.

10. [30 points] Find something (book, movie, tv show, CD) created by an Ecuadorian and read/watch/listen to it. Write a review for it on Amazon. Submit a screenshot of your review.

11. [61 points] Find a person on another team who lives in a different country from you. Send them something that they cannot find/buy where they live. Caption your photo (when uploaded) with the name and team name of the person you sent it to, as well as what country you both live in.

12. [35 points] [Video – up to 1 minute] Explain why you love the Starfish Foundation in English. Wear your starfish shirt.

13. [35 points] [Video – up to 1 minute] Explain why you love the Starfish Foundation in Spanish. Wear your Starfish shirt.

14. [66 points] Ecuador is the home of the equator – the line that separates the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In honor of this “dividing line”, take a friend and stand on the border between two states, provinces, or countries. You may also stand on the Equator or the Prime Meridian. One of you must be holding a sign that says “Starfish crosses borders and unites us”. Bonus points if at least one person in the picture is doing a handstand.

15. [52 points] Create an image of a famous Ecuadorian from history using only objects found in nature. Caption the photo (when uploaded) with the person’s name and why you chose them.

16. [55 points] Create a survey with the following text at the top: “The Starfish Foundation believes in the importance of education as a catalyst for future success. It provides scholarships and mentoring to students in financial need.” Your survey must determine the favorite school subject of your followers and friends. The exact wording of your question and the choices you provide are up to you. You must have at least 100 respondents. Submit the results.

17. [49 points] Gather at least 5 friends. Each of them must paint their nails in the Starfish colors (blue or yellow). Using your hands (or feet) create a starfish shape. We must see the painted nails on each hand or foot.

18. [20 points] Wear your Starfish shirt while donating canned goods to a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or immigration center in your home town.

19. [68 points] Hold a book drive and collect at least 10 books for children or young adults. At least 2 of the books must be written by Hispanic or Latino authors. If in the United States, donate them to Better World Books or the Pajama Program. If in Ecuador, donate them to the Starfish Foundation. If no one on your team lives in either the US or Ecuador, you can donate them to the children’s charity of your choice. Submission should be two pictures collaged together – 1 of the stack of books with the titles facing out, and 1 of you dropping off the donated books in a designated location.

20. [29 points] Paint a picture of the Starfish logo on a bald human head.

21. [54 points] Using chalk or removable non-toxic paint, write a math or physics equation on the rump of a horse, llama, goat, camel, donkey, or other four-legged pack animal. (Remember to never stand directly behind any animal.)

22. [56 points] [Video – at least 30 seconds; no more than 1 minute] Create a stop motion video telling the Starfish story.

23. [16 points] Have an elementary school aged child write down why they love school. Take a picture of what they wrote and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #educationchangeslives and tag @starfishchange… To receive points, take a screenshot of your post and upload it to your team’s album on the Facebook page.

24. [40 points] The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to raise awareness about food allergies. Collect a series of non-food items that can be given out to trick-or-treaters on halloween, then paint a pumpkin teal and put it outside your door. Submit 2 pictures side by side – 1 of your non-food items to give out at halloween and 1 of your painted pumpkin.

25. [47 points] Put on your favorite halloween costume and help a neighbor out with a chore – raking the leaves, doing dishes, walking a dog, hanging up the laundry – the choice is yours!

26. [57 points] [Video – 5-10 seconds] Find individuals playing futbol (soccer) or another team sport in a public park or field. Create signs and cheer for them. Make them feel like all-stars!

27. [55 points] [Video – 10 seconds] Give a friend a handlebar ride on a bike, sing Bicycle Race by Queen or La Bicicleta by Carlos Vives together whilst doing so.

28. [26 points] [Video – 15 seconds] Make a commercial for Starfish.

29. [21 points] Every year, the Starfish Foundation participates in March Madness with a bracket challenge. A lot of participants were disappointed when Villanova was knocked out early. Standing in a basketball court hold up a sign that says “We’re sorry Villanova. Maybe next year.”

30. [18 points] Put on your Starfish shirt and take a picture with an Ecuadorian flag. If you are taking this picture in Ecuador you must take the picture with at least one person under the age of 5 or at least one person over the age of 65.

31. [58 points] Find 2 people who support different teams for the same sport. (ie, one Ravens fan, one Cowboys fan or one El Nacional fan and Barcelona Sporting Club fan). Both people must be wearing a jersey from the team they support. Have them compete in an arm-wrestling competition. Once a winner is determined, the loser must hold up a sign cheering for the other team. Collage your pictures – at least 1 of the arm-wrestling competition and 1 of the losing side holding up their sign.

32. [45 points] For Ecuadorians: Find a place that serves food from a European country. Ask the owner (or server) what their favorite dish is. Try it. Post a picture of you eating the food and caption it with the name of the food and whether or not you would recommend it.
For non-Ecuadorians: Find a place that serves food from a South American country. Ask the owner (or server) what their favorite dish is. Try it. Post a picture of you eating the food and caption it with the name of the food and whether or not you would recommend it.

33. [40 points] Wearing your Starfish shirt take a picture with a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or other emergency responder. You must both be giving the thumbs up sign.

34. [47 points] Put on a costume and bring happiness to a child or children with special needs (student submitted)

35. [47 points] Create a dress made entirely of recycled materials. Put it on and take of picture of in front of a busy market or shopping center. (Adapted from a student submission)

36. [47 points] Make a human pyramid with at least 5 people (student submitted)

37. [10 points] Eat a chili pepper (student submitted)

38. [19 points] Place 1 finger on the ground and spin around 6 times, and then try to kick a soccer ball into a goal. You must be wearing your Starfish shirt in this video. (student submitted)

39. [50 points] The bird represented on the Ecuadorian flag is the Andean Condor. Find out some interesting facts about the Condor and share them with a stranger. The video must be taken in either a mode of public transportation (bus, train, plane, etc) or in an elevator / on an escalator. You cannot know this person ahead of time.

40. [45 points] Throughout the hunt carry a trash bag and collect trash and recyclables as you go. Take a picture in the final 3 hours of the hunt with what you’ve collected, then make sure it ends up in the correct receptacles. Bonus points if you take the recyclables to a place they can be returned for cash and you donate the earnings to the Starfish Foundation.

41. [54 points] Donate blood while wearing dracula teeth.

42. [15 points] Watch a sunrise. Take a break and enjoy the moment.

43. [46 points] Colada morada is a traditional spiced berry drink prepared for the Day of the Dead celebrations in Ecuador. Make some and share it with a friend. Your friend must rate your drink in three categories: taste, appearance, and service. Have them write each down. Submit 2 pictures together – a picture of them drinking beverage as well as a picture of their scorecard. If you cannot find all of the ingredients, just make it as close to the original as you can.

44. [39 points] Find someone who has the same name as someone on the Starfish Board of directors. Take a picture of their ID. Be sure to block out the important info (their ID number and address) before uploading the picture.

45. [70 points] [Image or Video] Have a local newspaper or tv station mention The Starfish Foundation.

46. [68 points] [Video – 15 seconds] Have an octogenerian (someone who is at least 80 years old) teach you how to dance Swing or Sanjuanito.

47. [43 points] It’s Medieval Battle Time! Huzzah! You and a friend or loved one must dress up in your battle gear / armor made entirely of kitchen ware. Strike a dueling pose.

48. [56 points] Ask a child under the age of 10 what they want to be when they grow up. Take them to meet someone who has this profession.

49. [25 points] Find one grantmaking org or corporate foundation that is aligned with Starfish mission and share contact information with Upload a screenshot of your email.

50. [40 points] Ask someone (a person or a business) to donate an item we can use in the Starfish Benefit Dinner Auction. (If it is an individual this can be something they own, something they’re creating, or something they’re purchasing specifically to donate.) Submit a picture of your sent email, text, or letter or a picture of you asking in person. 10 bonus points if you make 3 or more asks. 25 bonus points if you get a response, before the end of the hunt, committing to donating something to the auction.

51. [10 points] Find our 1,000th follower! Our Instagram account is currently at 976 followers. Encourage your friends and family to follow the account (@starfishchange) and comment on the Benefit Dinner Save the Date post with your team’s name. (It was posted in the last week). Any team’s name who is in the comments will receive the points. If your person is follower number 1,000, you’ll receive an extra 10 points.



Lista de búsqueda de tareas de Starfish

1. [14 puntos] En tu vida hay alguien que te ha enseñado algo. Usando como plataforma la red social de tu elección, agradece a esa persona por lo que te haya enseñado. Asegúrate de etiquetarlos en la publicación. Para ganar puntos, toma una foto de pantalla de tu publicación y envíala al álbum de tu equipo.

2. [49 puntos] Debes tener una cuenta en Twitter con más de 2.000 seguidores que tuiteen su apoyo a la Fundación Starfish. Deben mencionar el nombre de tu equipo y etiquetarlo @starfishchange. Carga una foto de pantalla de la publicación en tu álbum y coloca un enlace al tuit en la descripción. El tuit debe estar activo en el momento de que los jueces hagan la evaluación para poder recibir puntos.

3. [40 puntos] Cada persona en tu equipo debe tomarse una foto sosteniendo un objeto o con algo puesto que represente el sitio donde vive (ciudad, estado o país). Coloca todas las fotos en un collage y pon el nombre de tu equipo.

4. [10 puntos] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y escribe una carta o correo electrónico a tu profesor favorito de la escuela secundaria o intermedia y envíala. Aunque no podemos saber si realmente enviaste o no la carta/e-mail, el karma te alcanzará si no lo haces. (Si no puedes enviar una carta o un correo electrónico a tu profesor, pero puedes conectarte con él/ella a través de Facebook, entonces puedes enviarle un mensaje a través de FB).

5. [36 puntos] Día de llevar tu mascota al trabajo (o escuela). Debe ser una foto de una mascota verdadera en tu lugar de trabajo (o escuela). Muestra a tu mascota trabajando fuertemente y llevándose bien con los demás.

6. [36 puntos] Encuentra una cita sobre la importancia de ayudar a otros en un texto religioso de tu elección. Escríbelo tan grande como sea humanamente posible con tiza (o alguna otra sustancia removible) en un lugar público. Debe medir por lo menos 20 pies por 10 pies (6 m x 3 m) en su totalidad.

7. [19 puntos] Talla una estrella de mar en una calabaza de cualquier tipo.

8. [45 puntos] Logra que la red social de otra organización comparta en su cuenta una de las entradas de blog de Starfish. Carga una foto de pantalla de la publicación e incluye un enlace a la publicación en la descripción. La publicación debe estar activa en el momento en que los jueces hagan la evaluación.

9. [10 puntos] Todo lo que necesitas está al alcance de tu mano. Encuentra una cita que te impacte personalmente, y que cuando se imprima, se ajuste perfectamente a tu envergadura (desde la punta de un dedo al otro dedo). La cita debe ser legible en la foto.

10. [30 puntos] Encuentra algo (libro, película, programa de televisión, CD) que haya sido creado por un ecuatoriano y léelo/míralo/escúchalo. Escribe un comentario sobre eso en Amazon. Envía una foto de pantalla de tu comentario.

11. [61 puntos] Encuentra una persona en otro equipo que viva en un país diferente al tuyo. Envíale algo que no se pueda encontrar/comprar donde él/ella vive. En la leyenda de la foto (cuando la cargues) escribe el nombre de la persona y del equipo a quien le enviaste el objeto, además del nombre del país en el que ambos viven.

12. [35 puntos] [Video – hasta 1 minuto] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y explica en inglés por qué amas a la Fundación Starfish.

13. [35 puntos] [Video – hasta 1 minuto] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y explica en español por qué amas a la Fundación Starfish.

14. [66 puntos] Ecuador es el hogar del Ecuador – la línea que separa los hemisferios Norte y Sur. En honor a esta “línea divisoria”, lleva un amigo a la frontera entre dos estados, provincias o países y párense allí. También se pueden parar en el Ecuador o el Primer Meridiano. Uno de ustedes debe sostener un letrero que diga “Starfish cruza fronteras y nos une”. Puntos de bonificación si por lo menos una persona en la foto está parada de manos.

15. [52 puntos] Crea una imagen de un ecuatoriano famoso en la historia usando sólo objetos que se encuentren en la naturaleza. Añade una leyenda a la foto (cuando se cargue) con el nombre de la persona y por qué la escogiste.

16. [55 puntos] Crea una encuesta con el siguiente texto en la parte superior: “La Fundación Starfish cree en la importancia de la educación como un catalizador para el éxito futuro. Proporciona becas y tutoría a estudiantes con necesidades financieras”. Tu encuesta debe determinar la materia escolar favorita de tus seguidores y amigos. La redacción exacta de tu pregunta y las opciones que proporciones dependerán de ti. Debes tener al menos 100 encuestados. Envía los resultados.

17. [49 puntos] Reúne al menos 5 amigos. Cada uno de ellos deberá pintar sus uñas con los colores de Starfish (azul o amarillo). Usando sus manos (o pies) deberán crear la forma de una estrella de mar. Tenemos que ver las uñas pintadas en cada mano o pie.

18. [20 puntos] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y dona productos enlatados a un refugio para personas sin hogar, un comedor de beneficencia o un centro de inmigración en tu ciudad natal.

19. [68 puntos] Organiza una colecta de libros y recoge por lo menos 10 libros para niños o adultos jóvenes. Al menos 2 de los libros deben estar escritos por autores hispanos o latinos. Si estás en los Estados Unidos, dónalos a Better World Books o al Pajama Program. Si estás en Ecuador, dónalos a la Fundación Starfish. Si no hay nadie en tu equipo que viva en los EE.UU. o Ecuador, puedes donarlos a la organización benéfica de niños de tu elección. La presentación debe consistir de dos fotos juntas puestas en un collage – una, de la pila de libros con los títulos hacia fuera, y la otra, de usted donando los libros en un lugar designado.

20. [29 puntos] Pinta un cuadro del logotipo de Starfish en la cabeza de una persona calva.

21. [54 puntos] Usando tiza o pintura no tóxica que se pueda remover, escribe una ecuación de matemáticas o física en la rabadilla de un caballo, llama, cabra, camello, burro u otro animal de cuatro patas. (Recuerda que nunca debes pararte detrás de ningún animal.)

22. [56 puntos] [Vídeo – al menos 30 segundos; no más de 1 minuto] Crea un video de cuadro por cuadro que cuente la historia de Starfish.

23. [16 puntos] Pide a un niño en edad escolar que escriba por qué le encanta la escuela. Toma una foto de lo que escribió y publícala en Instagram con el hashtag #educationchangeslives y etiqueta @starfishchange … Para recibir puntos, toma una foto de pantalla de tu publicación y súbela al álbum de tu equipo en la página de Facebook.

24. [40 puntos] El Teal Pumpkin Project tiene como meta crear conciencia sobre las alergias alimentarias. Recoge una serie de objetos no alimentarios que se puedan dar a los niños en Halloween; luego pinta una calabaza de verde azulado y ponla en frente de tu casa. Envía 2 fotos lado a lado- una de tus objetos no alimentarios para regalar en Halloween y una de tu calabaza pintada.

25. [47 puntos] Ponte tu disfraz favorito de Halloween y ayuda a un vecino con una quehacer – rastrillar las hojas, lavar los platos, llevar al perro de paseo, colgar la ropa – ¡la elección es tuya!

26. [57 puntos] [Vídeo – 5 a 10 segundos] Encuentra individuos jugando futbol (soccer) u otro deporte de equipo en un parque o campo público. Crea letreros y dales ánimo. ¡Haz que se sientan como estrellas!

27. [55 puntos] [Video – 10 segundos] Dale a un amigo un paseo en la manilla de una bicicleta; canten Bicycle Race de Queen o La Bicicleta de Carlos Vives mientras dan el paseo.

28. [26 puntos] [Video – 15 segundos] Haz un comercial para Starfish.

29. [21 puntos] Cada año, la Fundación Starfish participa en March Madness con un desafío de la tabla de clasificación. Muchos de los participantes se sintieron decepcionados cuando Villanova fue eliminado temprano. Ponte de pie en una cancha de baloncesto y aguanta un cartel que diga “Lo sentimos Villanova. Tal vez el próximo año.”

30. [18 puntos] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y toma una foto con una bandera ecuatoriana. Si estás tomando esta foto en Ecuador debes tomar la foto con al menos una persona menor de 5 años o al menos una persona mayor de 65 años.

31. [58 puntos] Encuentra 2 personas que apoyen a diferentes equipos del mismo deporte. (es decir, un fanático de los Ravens, y un fanático de los Cowboys o un fanático de El Nacional y uno del Barcelona Sporting Club). Ambas personas deben tener puesta una camiseta del equipo al que apoyan. Pídeles que compitan en una “lucha de brazo” . Una vez que se determine el ganador, el perdedor deberá sostener un cartel animando al otro contendiente. Haz un collage con las fotos: al menos una de la competencia de pulso y una del perdedor sosteniendo su cartel.

32. [45 puntos] Para ecuatorianos: Encuentra un lugar que sirva comida de un país europeo. Pregúntale al propietario (o servidor) cuál es su plato favorito. Pruébalo. Publica una foto tuya comiendo el platillo y escribe una leyenda indicando el nombre del plato y si lo recomendarías o no.
Para los que no son ecuatorianos: Encuentra un lugar que sirva comida de un país sudamericano. Pregúntale al propietario (o servidor) cuál es su plato favorito. Pruébalo. Publica una foto tuya comiendo el platillo y escribe una leyenda indicando el nombre del plato y si lo recomendarías o no.

33. [40 puntos] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish y tómate una foto con un oficial de policía, bombero, Técnico de Emergencias Médicas (EMT pos sus siglas en inglés) u otra persona que responda a emergencias. Ambos deben estar dando la señal de aprobación con el pulgar.

34. [47 puntos] Ponte un disfraz y bríndale felicidad a un niño o niños con necesidades especiales. (enviado por un estudiante)

35. [47 puntos] Crea un vestido hecho completamente de materiales reciclados. Póntelo y tómate una foto frente a un mercado lleno de gente o un centro comercial. (adaptado de lo que presentó un estudiante)

36. [47 puntos] Crea una pirámide humana con al menos 5 personas. (enviado por estudiantes)

37. [10 puntos] Come un ají picante. (enviado por un estudiante)

38. [19 puntos] Ponte tu camisa de Starfish. Coloca un dedo en el suelo y gira tu cuerpo 6 veces; luego trata de patear un gol con un balón de fútbol. (enviado por un estudiante)

39. [50 puntos] El pájaro representado en la bandera ecuatoriana es el cóndor andino. Averigua algunos datos interesantes sobre el cóndor y compártelos con un extraño. El video debe hacerse en una forma de transporte público (autobús, tren, avión, etc.) o en un ascensor o escalera mecánica. No puedes conocer a esta persona antes de tiempo.

40. [45 puntos] Durante la búsqueda, lleva una bolsa de basura y recoge basura y materiales reciclables. Toma una fotografía durante las últimas 3 horas de la búsqueda mostrando lo que hayas recogido; luego asegúrate de colocar la basura en los recipientes correctos. Habrá puntos de bonificación si llevas los materiales reciclables a un lugar en el que se puedan entregar a cambio de dinero y después donas las ganancias a la Fundación Starfish.

41. [54 puntos] Dona sangre mientras lleves puestos los dientes de Drácula.

42. [15 puntos] Mira un amanecer. Tómate un descanso y disfruta del momento.

43. [46 puntos] Colada morada es una bebida tradicional a base de bayas que se prepara durante las celebraciones del Día de los Muertos en Ecuador. Prepárala y compártela con un amigo. Tu amigo debe evaluar tu bebida en tres categorías: sabor, apariencia y servicio. Pídele que escriba cada puntaje. Envía 2 imágenes juntas – una foto de tu amigo bebiendo la colada, y otra donde esté sosteniendo la tarjeta con el puntaje. Si no puedes encontrar todos los ingredientes, simplemente prepárala lo más parecido posible al original.

44. [39 puntos] Encuentra a alguien que tenga el mismo nombre que alguien en la Junta Directiva de Starfish. Toma una foto de su identificación. Asegúrate de bloquear la información importante (su número de identificación y dirección) antes de cargar la imagen.

45. [70 puntos] [Imagen o video] Logra que un periódico local o una estación de televisión mencione a la Fundación Starfish.

46. [68 puntos] [Video – 15 segundos] Pídele a un octogenario (alguien que tenga al menos 80 años) que te enseñe a bailar Swing o Sanjuanito.

47. [43 puntos] ¡Es hora de la Batalla Medieval! ¡Hurra! Tú y un amigo o un ser querido deben vestirse con su vestimenta de batalla/armadura hecha completamente con artículos de cocina. Pónganse en pose de duelo.

48. [56 puntos] Pregúntale a un niño menor de 10 años qué quiere ser cuando crezca. Llévalo a conocer a alguien que tenga esta profesión.

49. [25 puntos] Encuentra una organización de subvenciones/donaciones o una fundación corporativa que esté alineada con la misión de Starfish y comparte la información de contacto con

50. [40 puntos] Pídele a alguien (una persona o empresa) que done un artículo que podamos usar en la Subasta de la Cena Benéfica de Starfish. (Si se trata de un individuo, podría ser algo que posee, algo que cree o algo que compre específicamente para donarlo). Envía una foto del correo electrónico, texto o carta que hayas enviado o de ti preguntando en persona. Recibirás 10 puntos extra si haces 3 o más peticiones y 25 puntos de bonificación si obtienes una respuesta antes del final de la búsqueda, con el compromiso de donar algo a la subasta.

51. [10 puntos] ¡Encuentra a nuestro milésimo seguidor! Nuestra cuenta de Instagram se encuentra actualmente en ### followers. Anima a tus amigos y familiares a que sigan la cuenta (@starfishchange) y a que comenten en la publicación de Guardar la Fecha para la Cena Benéfica (Benefit Dinner Save the Date) con el nombre de tu equipo. (Fue publicado en la última semana). El nombre de cualquier equipo que se encuentre en los comentarios recibirá los puntos. Si una de tus personas es el seguidor número 1000, recibirás 10 puntos adicionales.

Two New Scholars Share Their Story

This past year, the Starfish Foundation served 150 students from 110 families offering supplemental learning sessions, tutoring, leadership development, and professional development, while encouraging healthy choices and community service.

Here is some insight from two of our newer scholars:

Cristhian Vega
Cristhian Vega

Starfish: Hey guys how are you? Can you introduce yourselves to the blog?
Emerson: Hello, my name is Emerson Ponce. This is my first year with the Starfish Foundation
Cristhian: My name is Cristhian Vega. I live in Flor de Bastión in Guayaquil. I’ve been attending Starfish since the beginning of the year.

Starfish: Welcome to both of you. How did you hear about Starfish and decide to apply?
Cristhian: Some of my friends around my house talked to me about this and that it helps a lot with school work.

Starfish: That’s great. What sort of things do you work on and learn at the Foundation?
Cristhian: We do workshops and they help us to complete tasks. I like the Foundation because we also do really cool activities.
Emerson: As Cristhian said, the educators give us workshops that help us to learn more. The most interesting thing that I learned, I learned one day at the Foundation when the educations held a workshop on natural sciences. They talked a lot about animals and I liked that a lot.

Emerson Ponce

Starfish: And Cristhian, and what’s the most important or most interesting thing you learned this year?
Cristhian: Something very important that I learned this year is math. I think it will help me in the future.

Starfish: Absolutely. What do you guys enjoy doing when you’re not in school or at Starfish?
Cristhian: In my free times, I love to ride my bike with my friends. We really like to race each other. And now that they fixed the streets a bit, we can ride a bit better. I also play on my dad’s cell phone.
Emerson: I spend a lot of time studying; I like to learn things that I don’t already know and I also have to study for school exams. When I have free like to play soccer on the court near my house – that’s the best way to have fun in my community.

Starfish: Sounds like you guys are smart cookies, and keeping yourselves busy! Thank you for meeting with us to answer a few questions!

Starfish Scholar Spotlight: Jack Neira

This week, we sat down with Jack to talk to him about his education, Starfish, and his hobbies in his free time.

Neira_Jack_2017_preview.jpegHi Jack! Where do you go to school?
Jack: I study at the school known as the Philanthropic, whose full name is the Benemérita Philanthropic Society of Guayas. Yes, it is a rather long name.

What makes your school interesting?
Jack: This school, which is located in Guayaquil, is a technical school. I learn different subjects than students who choose to get a general baccalaureate.

Awesome! And you’re also a Starfish scholar?
Jack: Yes, I belong to the afternoon session at the Starfish Foundation.


What have you learned from your time with the Starfish Foundation?
Jack: At the Starfish Foundation, I have learned many good things. During these last months, the most interesting thing that I learned was: periods of history, in the classes given by the educators. Also, I have learned how to use Microsoft Word, which has been very important because it has helped me to complete my research.

Sounds like you’ve gained a lot from this. When you’re not busy with school and Starfish, what do you enjoy doing?
Jack: In my free time, I really like to read books and other documents. I also like music also and one of my hobbies is playing the guitar. I know that I am not a professional, but I practice a lot in order to play well. In terms of sports, I practice basketball with my friends, but this activity is done just for fun.

We can’t thank Jack enough for spending time sharing his story with us.

Want to support scholars like Jack? $30 provides a month of programming for a Starfish Scholar! Or, you can join our StarfishSearch Scavenger Hunt to help raise funds and awareness for the organization.

A Day in the Life of a Starfish Scholar

Ever wonder what a typical day is like for one of our Starfish Scholars? Well… we asked and they answered:


Juleysi, age 12:juleesi.jpg

Right after my school day ends, I return home, hand in hand with either my mom or my dad, who come to pick me up from school. I attend the Starfish Foundation but when I do not have to go, I do a lot of housework with my mom. I love music and during the day I listen to music, even when I do homework. Also, I like to read and on occasion, I’ll go out and play with my friends who are very fun, after I’ve finished my homework.


Leonardo, 10th grade:

When I have free time, I spend it at home, listening to music. I like reggaeton music and watching TV programs. The coolest thing that I do during my free time is play soccer. I really like playing soccer. Last year, I was even part of a soccer training group at the Foundation.



Milena, age 14:

When it comes to my hobbies, I always mention that I like to sing, dance, chat, and listen to music. These are the things that I do when I don’t have homework and the days when I don’t go to the Foundation.


Ponce_Emerson_carnet_2017Emerson, age 12:

When I am not in school, I have a great time with my friends, playing soccer, freeze tag, and many other games. Also, my friends and I like to sing, dance, jump, etc. We have a lot of fun like this.




Josselyn, age 14:

When I get out of school and arrive at home, the first thing that I do is quickly go to see my youngest little sister. I am the oldest of three siblings. At home, when I have free time, I spend it watching TV, chatting, and sometimes I get hungry so I go to eat something. I also play soccer with my neighborhood friends.


Are You Ready for Starfish Search?!

In exactly one month the 2nd annual Starfish Search will be upon us!

If you participated last year, you know that the Starfish Search is a time for you to gather your friends, embrace your creativity, and have a Ton. Of. Fun. while raising awareness (and funds) for the Starfish Foundation.


This year we’re making a few changes to make this years hunt bigger, better, and bolder than ever before.

  1. We’re upgrading the hunt from 12 hours to 72 hours … that means you’ll have 6x as much time to complete items. The list will be published at 8am EST on the morning of October 28th. You will have until 8am EST on October 31st to complete and submit your tasks.
  2. More items! There will be more chances to express your creativity, more chances to do service for others, more smiles and laughs, and more opportunities to share your love for the Starfish Foundation. Ah, the memories we’ll make!
  3. Teams can now be compiled of members from around the world! That’s right – You don’t have to live in the same town (or even same country) as your teammates. So gather up your friends and family and see how well you can do!
  4. New prizes – Don’t have the time or energy to be super competitive and go all in? No worries! You can still win amazing prizes. Pick you favorite items and focus on making your submissions as thoughtful/creative/funny/impactful as possible, and you may be chosen for a special prize!2

Are you sold yet? If so, there are TWO ways to participate:

  1. Create your team. Find 1 – 4 other people who want to compete alongside you (from anywhere in the world), pick a team name, and sign up today.
  2. Make new friends! When you sign up, indicate that you don’t have a team and we’ll connect you with Starfish supporters and friends around the globe.31.jpg

So how does the whole thing work?

Each team member will need to pay $20 per person (or $90 if registering five people at one time for a team). All members registered by October 14th will receive an official Starfish Foundation t-shirt (while supplies last) – you may be asked to wear this shirt throughout the hunt at various times.

On the morning of the hunt, we’ll post a list (in English and Spanish) right here on our blog that will have a number of fun and weird tasks for you to complete – 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. Once you sign up, you’ll receive additional information and hints in the time leading up to the hunt. Team captains will receive instructions on how to submit items and tips for organizing their teams.

How exciting is that?? We know this year is going to be even more awesome than last year (And that’s saying something), so go on… Get your friends and family in on what may be the most fun they’ll have this fall!

Any questions, feel free to email Amanda at


Things I’ve Learned (Part 2)

When you talk to the students at the Starfish Foundation about what they’ve learned this year, you’ll hear everything from math to geography, the importance of plants to the finer points of accounting. They are dedicated to their work, and excited to continually learn new things through both school and the Starfish Foundation.

But in addition to the reading, writing, and arithmetic that everyone is expected to learn, the Starfish Scholars are all learning another important lesson: the importance of relationships.

“The most interesting thing that I have learned this year is the value of friendship with my classmates at the Foundation. I have also learned about many very good subjects that help me in school, such as history and language”
– Emerson, a 12 year old scholar.

Time and time again, this lesson is echoed by the students who are reflecting on their experiences with Starfish – in addition to safe place to learn and grow academically, the Starfish Foundation is fostering team building, healthy relationships, and a sense of community – something essential to emotional and mental well-being.30389139440_e827dfeb47_z

“The most important thing that I have learned this year is to be respectful with my classmates and my seniors, because it is with these people that I coexist. With respect, you can live in a good environment anywhere you go. Another very important thing that I learned is about companionship. Along with respect, fellowship is one of the values that are important to everyone and we should all try to improve.”
– Josselyn


Milena adds, “This year, I have met many new people that have become my friends. I have had a lot of fun with these new friends doing activities that take  place at the Foundation,” showcasing how the Starfish Foundation not only brings bright young minds together, but encourages them to thrive in social spaces.

It has been proven, over and over again, that friendships are vital to learning, self-confidence, life skills, priority setting, emotional health, and empowering people of all ages to make societal changes. That our scholars are able to develop relationships, and recognize their importance, through their participation in the Starfish Foundation, is vital to their current and future happiness and success.

We close today with a Maori proverb:

“What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people”. ( He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata).

Education: A Catalyst for Change

Guest Blogger: Jane Lorenzi is a senior at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, studying International Affairs and Spanish. She has been part of the Starfish family since 2014 and has volunteered both in Ecuador and the United States. She has also spent time in Chile, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic and is fiercely passionate about justice issues in Latin America.

Jane photo - credit Anna Jordan
Photo Credit: Anna Jordan

I’ve come to realize that material things rarely, truly empower people. Rather, it is the intangible things, such as education, that garner the most transformation. Education does not create dependencies; it sustains and empowers, allowing women in particular to be independent.

In a society where theft is a constant fear, education is a beacon of hope. What you learn in and outside of the classroom cannot be taken from you. Education is the catalyst for change, for development, for dreams that become realities, for peace.

Education allows individuals to empower themselves. With knowledge, they can make informed choices — about their health, about their relationships, about their futures. And it is perhaps the greatest hope that this knowledge will translate to understanding and tolerance, which in turn will work to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate world. A world in which every human being is given the opportunity to grow and evolve and improve and empower himself/herself and others, where every person is treated with dignity, respect, and love.

That’s what makes Starfish so cool.

It empowers its students to become leaders in their communities by supporting their academic needs. Focusing on education is a grass-roots approach, which puts power in the hands of locals who more fully understand the complex nature of the injustices that exist in their own communities.

That is not to say simply going to school will fix all the problems. The education system in Ecuador is broken in countless ways (I’ve yet to hear a positive anecdote about the Ministry of Education). Poorly trained teachers, ill-equipped classrooms, and relatively ineffective curriculum based mainly on rote memorization can deter children from being passionate about learning and/or interested in going to school. It’s often hard to explain to the students how important education is when their school day is more or less miserable and boring.

There are rays of hope though — that despite broken systems, going to school is definitely not all for naught. That education really does ignite change.

Like when Mikey beams about how much he loves English class and practicing his English with us volunteers.
Or when Cristhian talks about his passion for the sciences, biology especially, and how he doesn’t need help with science homework because he understands it.
Or when Maria Belén, one of Starfish’s first students to graduate high school, attends university to study medicine, pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a pediatrician.

These remarkable students represent the beginnings of a new generation: a generation of passionate, inspired leaders and doers and shakers.
That sounds like a pretty beautiful future to me.

A future that Starfish is shaping, poco a poco.

10 Moments I’ll Never Forget

Guest Blogger, Mikki Spangler, is the Volunteer Coordinator for Starfish.

It has been such an honor serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for The Starfish Foundation the last three months. I have learned countless valuable lessons about both my personal and professional lives. I have made more special memories than I can fit into one blog post but here are a few of my favorite…

  1. The first day I arrived back at The Foundation after a long year away, my host brother and new staff member Julio and I both started crying as soon as we saw each other.
  2. The first time that one of our volunteers, Mia, conjugated a verb in the past tense everyone in the room started cheering for her. She is relatively new to Spanish speaking so this was a very exciting accomplishment.
  3. One night, after working at The Foundation all day, I mentioned to my host brother, Anderson, that I have my Spanish grammar lessons with me. He was so excited and immediately had me pull them out. We took turns testing each other on how to conjugate different irregular verbs. He was much better at it than I was.
  4. At one of the regular Saturday movie nights at The Foundation, it was really cool to see Starfish Scholar Arelisa take charge. Arelisa was one of the first students I felt close to last year and coming back a year later I have been able to see so much growth. She stood at the main entry collecting money, making change, and maintaining order (not always an easy task when working with a bunch of kids!).
  5. This hilarious moment when a street vendor was trying to sell me candy that embodies many of my experiences in Ecuador:
    Vendor: Try this candy!
    Me: What is it?
    Vendor: Just try it.
    Me: Ok, but what is it?
    Vendor: Yeah, try it, it is delicious.
    Me: Ok… Wow it actually is really good.
    Vendor: Yes, I know.
  6. After my host niece’s first birthday party the whole family was exhausted and no one wanted to cook. So Andres, my host brother, and I cooked Salchipapas. AKA French fries with fried hotdogs on top. We all ate on the couches (something we NEVER do) and watched a movie together. It was a perfect family day.
  7. In June, I had the opportunity to meet three Peace Corps volunteers at a different nonprofit here in Guayaquil. I am graduating from university in a year so Peace Corps has been one of my options for post-grad. After meeting them, I felt so inspired and excited by the work that they are doing. In July, I applied for the Peace Corps!
  8. My host mom is a Evangelical Christian so her family has some different customs and rules that I am not accustomed to. I often got teased and told on (in a fun, family way) when I painted my nails, wore makeup, and joked about my fake boyfriend. One of my favorite moments was with my host siblings when our mom was at church. As soon as she left, my host sister plucked my brother’s and my eyebrows. We felt so naughty and it was super fun. Lo siento mamá!
  9. A new and recurring moment that has been happening in my host home is Paula, the one year old, says “hola” and waves to me every time she sees me. Even if it is only five seconds later than the previous time. The whole family cracks up every time and it makes me feel so loved and included.
  10. At the end of the day, what excites me about this work is seeing the change that is made in our students’ lives. One very tangible moment of this was when one of our students, Maria, ran over to another volunteer and me with happy tears in her eyes to tell us that she was chosen to receive one of our scholarships. She told us how hard she has been working and how life has not been easy for her lately. These are the moments that matter.

Thank you to all the staff and students of The Starfish Foundation for making my summer so memorable. Los quiero por siempre.

Noche de Talentos

Every August the Starfish Foundation holds a “Noche de Talentos” or Talent Show. This spectacular night is a favorite for many. “The whole talent show was wonderful because each child could share their talent with the audience,” says Julio, former Starfish Scholar and current volunteer.

Administrators, staff, and volunteers work hard for about 3 months leading up to the event to make sure everything is ready. Some things that need to be taken into account include arranging decorations, attendance, audio, staging, and lighting. Misael, one of our educators, says, “We know that it is hard to do, but it’s not impossible.” The employees receive help from the parents as well who provide sandwiches or volunteer in another capacity.

The talents presented range from singing and dancing to acting to magic tricks and even tongue twisters! “This event is good because it allows the students to demonstrate what they like to do,” explains Misael.

Some performers had never performed in the event before, while others had done it in previous years’ Talent Nights. Ismael, a 14 year old scholar and first year performer showed his unique drawing talent. He says that although he was a bit afraid of how others may critic his skills, his favorite part of the show was going on stage and presenting his artwork.

Nayeli, also fourteen years old, had performed once before, and returned to the stage for her second year. “I have stage fright,” she admits, “I get very nervous before performances.” Still, she had a great experience: “We presented a pretty dance to all of the spectators and they seemed to like it because they applauded a lot”.

This year there were 20 acts total, several of which the audience particularly enjoyed. Among those included an amazing ballet performance between Pamela and Edison. Dancing was a common talent, and dancing acts included a mixture of tropical rhythms, artistic dance, and romantic and urban styles.

Other notable acts included 2 skits, the “Three Families” sketch and the “Everything is Coincidence” skit, a new act organized by the School for Parents which is led by our psychologist, Karen. When asked about their favorite acts from previous years, students and staff alike agreed that last year’s staff rendition of “Yo Nací aquí” was a hit!

At the end of Noche de Talentos there is an award – which was the highlight of the evening for scholar Jordy. “The uncertainty of knowing who won is exciting for everyone.” Whether they won or not, everyone did a fantastic job. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the show – it truly was a Noche de Talentos.