Friday, July 6, 2012

Martin's journey with Starfish

Hi, my name is Martin Garcia and I am excited to be interning for Starfish this summer. I will be a senior at Villanova University. It was at Villanova that I first learned about Starfish. I was taking Professor Klingler’s Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship class and we were asked to work with Starfish to help raise funds. 

Martin and his group presenting their semester's worth of ideas on fundraising for Starfish.

Our group decided a Benefit Dinner at Villanova would be a great idea because Starfish was Co-founded by Villanova’s own Beth Awalt. The Villanova community is always looking to help support their own. 

Our more creative fundraising idea was to start a photo project with our wonderful scholars in Ecuador. Our hope is to emulate what was done in the documentary “Born into Brothels.” We are hoping to help the student’s raise their own funding for school supplies, books, and uniforms by selling photographs of their home-life environment in their own artistic representations of life. I also see this photo project as giving something tangible to the kids. They’ll be keeping their photos and making their own memories. For many of the kids, it’ll be the first camera they have ever used.

Martin, pictured here with The Starfish Foundation co-founder and Villanova University alumna Beth Awalt (front right), along with the rest of the group from the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship class.

I feel blessed that Villanova’s President, Father Peter Donohue, and the Center for Global Leadership of the School of Business gave me financial support to make this internship possible. 

So I am back from my training in Guayaquil. Jenn prepped me on everything from which busses to take to how to put money on my cell phone. I was lucky to have Jenn training me because she knows everything there is to know about Starfish, its partners, and most importantly the student scholars and their families. Hands down, Jenn is Awesome!! 

I now feel confident about returning to Ecuador on July 5th and being able to get to where I need to go and do what I need to do to make my stay a success! The best part about orientation was meeting all the Starfish Scholars! Walking into their homes, they were instantly friendly offering food and whatever else they could despite their disadvantaged economic conditions. The scholars are also very smart and responsible. I am leaving tomorrow to go back to Ecuador and I am really excited to go back!!

--Martin Garcia, Villanova University Class of 2013
The Starfish Foundation, Inc. summer intern

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