Visit to Girls Center a Next Step Travel High Point
By Erica Burman on Friday, May 31st, 2013
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Janice Jorgensen (Dominican Republic 1966-68) is the membership director for the Friends of the Dominican Republic and is currently in the Dominican Republic, serving as the NPCA’s host for our Next Step Travel trip. While there, she is acting as a resource about the NPCA and also providing us with photos and updates on this trip that takes participants beyond the usual tourist destinations. Here she shares a few highlights from the trip:
Kate Mathis of San Antonio, Tex. said one favorite event thus far was a visit to the the Mariposa Foundation Center for Girls, where she met some of the girls and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Amanda Bucci. Kate loved the holistic approach that has evolved to help girls and their families build productive lives. And she was delighted to hear that the Mariposa Foundation had just recently won a global competition called Girl Effect. Out of the 12 projects for 2013, the Board of AIDS LIFE chose four which are the most closely linked to HIV and AIDS — and the Mariposa Center for Girls was one of them. The founder was preparing to fly to Europe to receive the award and mingle with celebrities for the celebration known as the LifeBall.
To break the cycle of extreme poverty, the Mariposa Center promotes girls health and educated young women about physical and mental health and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The thinking goes that if girls stay healthy, they will stay in school, marry later, have safer pregnancies, and ultimately end generational poverty. According to the Mariposa website, the “girls have weekly health education classes that cover an array of topics from sex education, basic hygiene and sanitation, food preparation, physical education, hand-washing and disease prevention and more.”
“I just loved the whole concept of rescuing girls from typical life paths of prostitution, having babies in their tweens and early teens, and/or cleaning hotels,” said Kate. “The target age of enrolling in the Center is 9 years old. They remain until 19. The Center provides education, HIV-AIDS education and a variety of skills tapping into the creative talent of each: sewing, music, cooking, drama, art, dance and crafts. The Center also offers a health clinic to the entire family.”
The program began with one girl and now has a waiting list of 100+. This program gives Kate hope for girls throughout the island. Save girls. Make them strong, independent and smart.
Learn how you can join future Next Step Travel programs in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/resources/next-step-travel/.
NPCA Next Step Travel program features small group travel (up to 20), educational and cultural programs, hands-on service projects, and a close-up view of the impact of volunteer service. Our all-inclusive trips are operated by Discover Corps, a program of Terra Education, an experienced leader in educational travel. Their CEO, Andrew Motiwalla, is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras 1996-98)! Most trips offer both a 14-day and a 10-day option, unless otherwise specified. All trips are accompanied by an NPCA Host.
Join our Next Step Travel (NST) country group, a place to ask questions, get program details, & meet other Next Step Travel travel-with-a-purpose travelers. This group is a place where alumni, future NST participants, and those who are interested in NST can have an open forum to share photos, videos, discuss programs details, and make new friends!
Dominican Republic: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NextStepTravel.DominicanRepublic/