Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learning to Lead at our October Meeting

This month at our October monthly meeting we focused on leadership.  We learned about teamwork, communication, setting goals and working towards those goals in a group setting by completing various activities and reflecting on our experiences.  It was a blast!  See all of these fun activities and more, below!

Setting up for our first icebreaker in Guasmo!

"Dinámica" or IceBreaker where we we had to work together creatively to get everyone's feet
 on a sheet of paper when the music stopped...each time with less sheets of paper!

It was easy when there were a lot of papers on the ground still,
here our students try to figure out what to do now with less paper.
Group work solving some riddles.  Our students had quite the creative responses!

Lili presenting to the parents what we did during our meeting.

After the becado (scholarship student) meeting, we also had a parent meeting and the parents did some icebreakers as well.  It was great to see the parents uniting and forming new friendships as well.  This year has been a great year of growth for Starfish and we're excited for the possibilities when students and parents alike unite for the success of their families and Starfish!  While the parents met, our students prepared a delicious, healthy snack and then served it to their parents for an great end to a fantastic day.

Starfish moms Maria and Adelaida participating in our parent activity.

Preparing snack with new Starfish Employee, Karina (pink shirt).

Geovanny helping out with snack in Guasmo.
Flor de Bastión students united after preparing a wonderful snack for the Starfish group!

The perfect end to a perfect day - lots of smiles!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vacation Week at Starfish

As you may remember, this school year started in May instead of April and will continue through February.  Along with the shift in start/end date, the government decided to shift to a standardized 2-semester "quimestre" system instead of the trimester system formerly used in most schools.

One exciting side affect of this standardization of the schedule - All schools take exams during the same week, and consequently have vacation at the same time as well.  This gave Starfish the opportunity to have our first ever week of Vacation activities.  While schools gave the students 2 full weeks of vacation, we held special Starfish sessions for the first week with extended hours, giving the second week free for students to travel with their families.

Below, Argenis, Anthony and Arelisa from Flor de Bastión tell us about their week of vacation with Starfish.

Italian class with Sylvie!
"Our vacation was very fun because Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we were at Starfish.  The first day was Tuesday, it was great.  We made cards to respond to the ones our Pen Pal wrote.  We worked with Sylvie - She was teaching us Italian.  We also had another group of games where the kids had a lot of fun.  To finish this day, we had a snack (broccoli, carrots and other veggies).  Almost nobody liked it but we had to eat anyway :)

Pen Pal letters!
Anthony and friends playing our new Connect 4 Launchers game :)

The second day some students did crafts - some beautiful butterflies, and another group did jewelry - bracelets, pens with their names on it.  This day the snack was better - banana milkshake with strawberry and popcorn.  We finished that snack haha.

Prepping Wednesday's snack in Guasmo - thanks Steve and Isaac for the help!
Sylvie learned how to make bracelets on Wednesday in Guasmo - and taught David on Thursday in Flor!
The third day we began with an important meeting about the use of Social Media and about the consequences.  Later we played a fun game led by Starfish Employee Tyrone Tumbaco.  It was really fun.  And this day ended with a delicious snack - yogurt with granola, bananas and crackers.  It was fun, but not too much because it was Sylvie's last day :( "

Maricruz presenting on Social Media

Tyrone's hot seat game that was a huge hit with the kids!

"Nuestras vacaciones fueron muy divertidos por que los dias martes, miercoles y jueves la pasamos Estrellitas.  El primer día que fue el Martes.  Fue muy bonito.  Hicimos cartas para responderles a nuestros amigos de correspondencia.  Trabajamos con Sylvie - Ella nos estaba enseñando "Italiano".  Tambien había una sección de juegos en la cuál los chicos disfrutaron mucho.  Al finalizar este dia nos esperó un ansioso refrigerio (brocoli, zanahoria y muchos legumbres más).  Casí nadie queria pero de igual manera tenían que comer. :)

El segundo día algunos chicos hicieron manualidades, unas lindas mariposas, en otro grupo hicieron bisutería (plumas con nombre).  Bueno este día el refrigerio fue mucho más bueno, batido de guineo con frutilla y canguil.  Así finalizamos jaja.

Pamela teaching Milena and others how to make pens with your name in string!
El tercer día empezamos con una reunión importante sobre el uso de las paginas electrónicas (como Facebook, Twitter, etc.) y sobre las cosas malas y las consecuencias.  Luego hicimos un juego muy divertido dirigido por el ayudante Tyrone Tumbaco.  Fue muy divertido.  Bueno y este día lo finalizamos con un rico (!!!) refrigerio - yogur con granola, guineo y galletas.  Fue muy divertido.  Pero no mucho porque Sylvie se fue :( "

Escrito por: Argenis, Anthony y Arelisa

Snack on the last day :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Las Olimpiadas - Starfish Olympics, by Genesis

The winning team with their medals!

A few months ago, one of our Starfish scholars, Genesis, approached me with the idea of doing "Starfish Olympics".  You see, here in Ecuador all schools hold Olympics each year where students participate in many field day-like activities, almost always ending in a soccer tournament between all the classes.  Genesis thought it might be a good idea to have Starfish Olympics as one of our Integration activities between our 2 neighborhoods, Guasmo and Flor de Bastión.  And she sure was right, the first ever Starfish Olympics was blast!  Here's Genesis' version below:

Genesis and the rest of the yellow team!

"Olimpiadas was great because there was integration and fellowship amongst the kids from Guasmo and Flor de Bastión.  For me, the best was that we got to play and that the teams were made up of students from each sector of the Foundation.  The best was that there were boys and girls that I know on my team.  That was good.  Also I got stepped on while playing and then I couldn't play anymore.  Even though my team lost, it was awesome and fun.  It was great to spend the day with everyone from The Starfish Foundation.  I hope to see all my friends from Flor de Bastión soon.  I liked watching my friends play, and screaming for them to win!"

Sack Race!

Cheering on the rest of the teams!

Wheelbarrow race!

Break from the races to play some games :)

And let the soccer begin!

The Championship game (that ended in a Penalty shoot-out, so much suspense!)

Bueno, las Olimpiadas fue excelente porque hubo integración y compañerismo entre los chicos del Guasmo y los de la Flor de Bastión.  Para mí lo mejor fue que jugamos y que los equipos estaban compuestos de ambos grupos de integrantes de la fundación.  Lo mejor fue que me equipo tocaron chicos y chicas que conozco.  Eso es lo bueno.  Pues también porque al jugar me pisaron pero bueno no jugué más.  Aunque mi equipo perdió fue vacan y divertido.  Fue vacan al pasar un día con todos los chicos de la Funación Estrellitas del Mar.  Espero ver de nuevo a mis amigos de la Flor de Bastión.  Me gustó ver jugar a mis compañeros y gritar para que ganen!

Oh and...check out our new snazzy sign!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Juramento de Bandera - Pledging Allegiance to Ecuador

Every year at the end of September (coinciding with Ecuador's flag day on September 26th), students in their last year of high school must "jurar la bandera" or pledge allegiance to their flag/country.  This civil act takes place at all high schools in Ecuador and it is considered an important right of passage for all young people.  

Presentation of the flags - Ecuador, Guayaquil, and the banner of the High School.
Usually the students who carry the flags are chosen based on grades.  The students who carry the 3 flags (of Ecuador, Guayaquil and the school) are the "abanderados"(flag bearers) and are the 3 best students in the school.  Each abanderado is accompanied by 1-2 "escoltas" or escorts who are the next best students in the school.  The rest of the students line up facing the flags and during the ceremony each student pledges her/his allegiance to their country.  One by one they bow to kiss the flag of Ecuador.  The "abanderados" also give short speeches expressing pride in their country and gratitude for their studies and their family.  

A student honoring the flag of Ecuador.
This year Starfish has 2 graduating Seniors who participated in this act at their respective schools.  Congratulations to Betsabeth and Maria Belen!

Betsabeth and her classmate at the "Juramento de Bandera"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A surprise donation from our students!

Last week some of the Starfish students in Guasmo surprised me in the best way possible.  Last month we did a raffle to help support some of our programming and contribute to the renovation of our space in Flor de Bastión.  Last Wednesday, Starfish Employees Yuliana and Valeria told me that since we hadn't raised enough money in the raffle, they organized the afternoon "refuerzo" group and asked the students to raise more money by selling candy, crackers or some other similar product at school.  They told the students that they could keep part of the money for their hard work, and make a donation to Starfish with the rest.  Two students decided to participate and over the past month, raised a total of $15.75.  Congratulations Joel & Yesenia!  Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us.  Your selflessness and dedication to the foundation is a great example of what it means to be a Starfish Scholar!

Joel and Yesenia with their hard-earned donation for Starfish!