Thursday, December 31, 2015

Metas para el Año Nuevo= New Years' Resolutions!

Our students share their resolutions for the 2016! We are so proud of them, especially as they continue to set, and achieve, their goals.

Jerico Acuña: 
"My goal for this year is to finish with good grades."
Mi meta para este año es pasar con muy buenas notas.

Arelisa Rodriguez
"I think that for this year, my goals are: to do well in school, and to conquer problems that life presents me." 
Creo que mis metas de este año es transcurrir mi año escolar y superar los problemas que se dan en la vida.

Briggitte Bravo:
"My goal is to be in good health, and to be able to apply myself in my studies."
Estar con salud y poder aplicarme en mis estudios.

Joselin Cevallos: 
"My goal for this year is to be able to finish the school year with excellent grades and to be able to continue sharing my time with people whom I love most." 
Mi meta para este año es poder terminar con excelentes notas el año lectivo y poder seguir compartiendo con las personas que mas quiero.

Milena Mora: 
"My goal for this year is to be able to continue with my studies, and this way, also be able to continue being a scholarship student at the Foundation."
Mi meta para este año es poder continuar con mis estudios y así tmb poder seguir siendo becada en la Fundación.

Ariana Sosoranga: 
"My goal for this year is to get good grades and to be able to continue being a Starfish scholarship student."
Mi meta para este año es tener buenas notas y poder seguir siendo una de las becadas de starfish.

Maria Loor:
"My goal for this year is to finish with good grades and to be a top high school graduate, and to spend the year with people who I care about the most."  
Mi meta para este año es pasar con buenas notas y ser una buena bachiller y terminar el año con las personas que mas quiero.

Diego Barrezueta:
"My goal for this year is to be able to finish high school, and attend university." 
Mi meta para este año es poder terminar el colegio y seguir la universidad.

Jean Carlos:
"My goal for this year is to get good grades in my exams, and to be able to graduate and to start university off on the right foot." 
Mi meta para este año es que es sacar buenas notas en mis examenes de grado y asi poder graduarme y comenzar con pie derecho la universidad.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Feliz Navidad!

To offer a glimpse into our communities in Flor and Guasmo, here is what we've been up to recently!

A few months ago, we introduced a workshop for our educadores, the purpose of which was to cultivate technology and communication skills, thus enhancing our educadores' confidence and abilities in the professional world. We've been continuing these professional development workshops, which have so far been a great success! Furthermore, as we mentioned previously, our new psychologist, Karen, has been creating more workshops, which strive to further inform, educate, and empower our students.

In terms of more exciting news, we recently took the students on a field trip to a water park as a Christmas present! Our bingo event held this past November provided us with these funds, and we and the students are grateful for this opportunity to receive such a gift.

The Advent season, a period of four weeks in preparation for Christmas, is a time of hope, faith, joy, and peace, each theme represented by one candle on the advent wreath. These virtues are visibly present in our students, who continuously demonstrate these beautiful virtues.

Christmas, especially, is a time in which "We must give cheerfully and accept gratefully" (Maya Angelou). Our students bring us hope, faith, joy, and peace, and they teach us how to give and receive with open and happy hearts. We are grateful for our students, our educadores, and all of the support we receive in the forms of donations and volunteers.

Below are some photos from our Fiesta de Navidad where both of our Starfish communities from Flor & Guasmo came together to have fun & celebrate.  Also a big thanks to Colegio "Domingo Savio" and "Big Cola" for providing donations to make this event even better!! i

It looks like Santa joined us for our fiesta!

In addition to our games and gifts, our Christmas festivities included face painting!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Responsibility as a Community

This week, we feature a short blog post by two of our educadores, Pamela and Jasmin. In this honest reflection, we learn that small actions, when an entire community participates, can have a great impact.

Pope Francis's recent encyclicals about ecology and climate change beckon us to open our eyes to the natural world around us, and to take actions towards truly caring for the environment. As a worldwide human community dependent on the world's resources, we should work towards integrating ourselves with our nature: on caring for and protecting our environment. Pope Francis invites us to participate in the "the divine harmony between beings and creation."

During his visit to Ecuador (July 7, 2015) and meetings with political, business, and community leaders of the country, Pope Francis boldly and truthfully proclaimed: "We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it!” Pope Francis calls us to claim responsibility for our actions, and to realize that future generations will have to address the environmental problems that we have created. Furthermore, the Pope asserts that "We are not God. The Earth was here before us and given to us."

And here, our very own Ecuadorian youth share their thoughts about community and the environment: 


If we begin today, helping with the small things in our community, then in the future, we will see results. 
Today there exist many problems within society. 
One of these is the lack of communication about things that affect our environment. Thus, our objective is not only to strive for a general academic and economic improvement, but for our youth to help, to do, and to be informed about the environment we live in so that they may work themselves towards improving it. For this reason, we learn how to creatively reuse materials on a daily basis, so that we may contribute in the smallest way to caring for the environment. Do you want to help us change the world?

~Pamela and Jasmin~ 

Pamela Rodriguez 

Jasmin Tumbaco 

en español: 


Si empezamos hoy ayudando con pequeñas cosas a nuestra comunidad en el futuro veremos los resultados.
Hoy en día existen muchos problemas dentro de la sociedad.
Uno de ellos es la falta de comunicación sobre cosas que afectan al medio ambiente. Nuestro objetivo no es solo ayudar académicamente o económicamente sino también a jóvenes y a niños una manera de ayudar y hacer conocer a las personas de su entorno que se pueda hacer por mejorarlo y es por eso que aquí aprendemos a utilizar material reciclable de una manera creativa y dinámica.
Quieres ayudarnos a cambiar el mundo?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pursuing Your Vocation

Victor E. Frankl, a neurologist, psychologist, Holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning, declares that "Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Then he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated; thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it." This message affirms the value, dignity, and importance of the individual, emphasizing that each person has their own personal and distinct role to play in the world. This quote beckons us to boldly and courageously pursue our calling.

As a college student surrounded by highly motivated and talented peers, I feel the constant pressure  to secure for myself a stable, sensible, profitable career, which can lead to my own disregard of my true desires and talents, and instead prioritizing financial affluence. While striving for a career that brings financial stability isn't a negative aspiration by any means, I believe there are a few more important things to first consider.

Before this semester began, I participated in a retreat rooted in the idea of taking a step back to reevaluate your actions and choices, specifically focusing on the theme of vocation. During this retreat, we discussed the discernment question of Fr. Michael Himes, a Professor of Theology at Boston College. He poses three central questions for discerning one's vocation:
  1. Is this a source of joy? 
  2. Is this something that taps into your talents and gifts- does it engage all of your abilities and use them in the fullest way possible? 
  3. Is this role a genuine service to the people around you- to society at large? 
Focusing on these questions helped me be brutally honest with myself. What brings me happiness? What am I actually good at? (Not what I wish I was good at- but what are my true talents?) And lastly, what does the world need me to do? 

I think vocation discernment is often undermined in the lives of many young people. Vocation discernment doesn't just pertain to those considering a religious vocation, but to each and every individual. And it's important for us to remember, and to be reminded, that there are thousands of career options out there, and that society desperately needs what each of us has to offer. Moreover, each profession carries with it an opportunity and duty to do good and be fully rooted in love. I believe that it is our two-fold duty and delight, as humans, to uncover our talent, and discover our place in this always-moving, imperfect yet wondrous world. Choosing to joyfully live out our vocation- to employ our talents in tandem with others' talents in order to add just a tad more light to the world- this is our mission, as individuals and as a community. What we really need- in all professions- is people dedicated to people

Furthermore, it's our responsibility to help others discover their own vocations- and this mission is at the core of Starfish. I stand behind this objective, as I think that discerning one's vocation is central to being human. Enabling students to discover their own talents and vocations provides them with confidence, and helps them recognize their own dignity. As the Dalai Lama proclaims, "With the realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." 

 In whatever way we use our talents, I believe it's important to remind ourselves that our first and foremost calling, as humans, is to open our eyes, to be fully present, and to live in solidarity with others: to acknowledge those around us as fellow brothers and sisters, realizing that each individual before us has a set of goals, hopes, and desires as complex and unique as our own. As soon as we do this- recognize the humanity of ourselves, and others- then we are able to be fully alive and choose to allow our lives to be governed by agape- a love that seeks nothing in return. 

How do you live out our vocation? What does it mean to use your talents and time to live in solidarity and kinship with others? 

"What is it you plan to do with this one wild and precious life?" 
~Mary Oliver~ 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

How do you form a leader?

This week, two of our educadores, Maria Salazar and Joel Baque, collaborated to write a blog about leadership. Maria and Joel are both noteworthy leaders in the Flor and Guasmo communities, respectively.  They serve as models of hope and inspiration for the current Starfish scholars, and we are thankful for the reflection they share with us! 

How is a leader formed? 
"A leader includes others, helping them to discover essential skills they can put to use to achieve a common goal." 

One of the experiences that can form us as a leader occurs during the period of our schooling, during which we acquire knowledge and learn from our challenges and experiences that develop from our interactions with others and group work. During group work, we are able to discover the different abilities that each person possesses. 

The different talents that we possess make us unique and special, and together, we can combine our different talents to help us reach our proposed goal. For this reason, we, the Starfish Foundation, help high school aged students to polish and refine their talents and in some cases, discover them, in such a way that converts them into leaders capable of being guides and examples for the younger students. 

Will you help us to form leaders? Join us, and become a part of our family! 

With love, 
Maria Salazar & Joel Baque 

Maria Salazar 

Joel Baque 

en español:
"El líder incluye a los demás y ayuda a descubrir aptitudes esénciales para llegar a una meta en común."

Una de las experiencias que podemos tener como un líder, es en la etapa de colegio, en  el cual se adquieren conocimientos en base a retos y vivencias que en grupo se desarrollan, en ella podemos descubrir las diferentes aptitudes que cada persona posee.

Aquellas diferencias son las que nos hacen personas únicas y especiales, que en conjunto y equitativamente alcanzaran el objetivo propuesto; Por eso en la Fundación Estrellitas del Mar, ayudamos a los chicos de colegio a pulir sus aptitudes y en algunos casos a descubrirlas, de tal manera que se conviertan en líderes,  capaces de ser guías y ejemplos para los más pequeños.

¿Nos ayudarías a formar líderes? Se parte de nuestra familia…

Con cariño,
 María & Joel