Thursday, December 26, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

This past weekend we celebrated Christmas as a Starfish family.  As a way to give back this holiday season, our scholars hosted a party for their younger brothers and sisters so they could enjoy some Christmas cheer.



Money is tight for a lot of Starfish families, and this is especially tough around the holidays.  To help out, our scholars helped raise some money to buy toys for their siblings.  They also prepared a dance, face painting, contests and much more so that everyone could have a great time.


Best of all, our students lived out the true spirit of Christmas - giving of themselves so that their siblings could enjoy a day of Christmas fun!

On Monday & Tuesday the students got to enjoy their own mini Christmas celebration with all of the new friends they made this year at Starfish.  It was a time of reflection, dancing, games and fun for all.

One of the icebreakers: look in this box and tell us what you see
- Hint: it's the best gift God has given us (you!)

¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Tutoring = Better Grades and More Fun!

For the month of December we decided to experiment with adding an extra day of "Refuerzo" or Tutoring in each neighborhood in response to parent suggestions during our latest round of evaluations.  So far, it's been a huge success!!

An extra day of tutoring means more time to dedicate the school subjects that our Scholars find difficult.  Our "Ayudantes" or employees have been busy helping students review some tough material so that the next time they have exams they're all set to get even better grades!

Employee Tyrone presenting to the morning group in Flor
This has also allowed us more time for the group presentations on topics important to teens that we told you about in last week's blog.

Lili & Milena
Dayanna presenting on Effects of Drug Use
Since it's December we've also used the time to bring some Christmas joy to our classroom space too - everything pictured below is hand-made by our Starfish Scholars!!

Happy Holidays a little early from all of us at Starfish!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tutoring update - Group Presentations!

At Starfish we not only give scholarships, but we promote a well-rounded education for our students.   One way we do this is through a new activity we started a few weeks ago during our tutoring sessions.  In addition to the regular homework assigned by their schools, each table was assigned a topic to research and later present to the rest of their classmates.

Cristhian, Dayanna, Samantha and Anthony
The first set of topics dealt with some very important topics to today's youth - dangers and prevention of drug use, as well as puberty, sexuality, etc.  Over the course of 2 weeks 1 group presented each day, with an open discussion afterwards to answer any other questions.

This presentations serve another purpose as well - it's a great chance to practice research and public speaking skills in a friendly environment.


Each month we will assign new topics so that our students continue to learn from each other and excel in the classroom!

Ariana, Cristhian, Dayanna, Anthony

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Starfish Incentives: Field Trip to the Pool!!!

Maria, Juliana and Dayanna
At the end of the first semester of school, we rewarded those students who achieved at least a "B" average with a field trip to the pool!

Pamela, Yuliana, Geovanny, Cynthia, Joel, Nagelhi and Genesis!
Our goal is that all Starfish scholars will achieve at least a B average by the end of their first year with Starfish.  Last year, 32% of of our scholars achieved at least a B average.  This year after the first semester, 54% of Starfish Scholars, and 61% of all of the students we work with are have a B average through the first semester.

Gema, Arelisa, Eddy, Abigail, Milena, Cristhian and Pamela
This increase in grades is due in large part to the help of our 6 part-time employees or "ayudantes".

Starfish Employees Jasmin and Karina

Check out some more pictures from the fun-filled day at the pool!

Sofia, Briggette and Andreina

Cristhian and Pamela

Scholars Joel and Geovanny with Employees Yuliana, Cynthia and Marcos

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday is TODAY!

Today is #GivingTuesday - Donate to the Starfish Giving Tuesday campaign to support these scholars and more for the upcoming school year.

Our campaign this year is Thanksgiving-themed, encouraging people to give $25 or the amount you would spend on a Thanksgiving pie to support education and youth empowerment in Ecuador.

"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else's life forever." ~ Margaret Cho

"Freedom can only come through education." ~ Eugenio Espejo