Thursday, March 31, 2016

Moving to Wordpress!

The Starfish Social Media Team is excited to announce that we have officially moved our blog from blogspot to Wordpress! 

Click here to access our new Wordpress blog! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Since its birth several years ago, the aim of Starfish has been, and is today: to instill hope, inspire, and make change- one student at a time. Our movement, rooted in promoting education and development of the whole person in order to open opportunities for youth in Guayaquil, Ecuador- is certainly a grassroots movement. But it's a powerful one. We start small- by securing the education of one student, with the aspiration that they will then be the ones to affect change. Student, family, school, community, world. We begin with the student, and watch our movement grow from there.

And that is exactly the change that we have been blessed to see, time and time again. And it starts with our own scholars.

María Rivadeneira exemplifies the ripple effect of Starfish. A mother of three, including Ariana Sosoranga, a Starfish scholar, María has also been going back to school. María has always encouraged her children to dedicate themselves to their studies, and to never give up on their dreams. Ariana, a top student, completely involves herself in her extracurricular activities, and she assumes the role of a leader both in school and in after school projects here at Starfish. Watching Ariana achieve and succeed, María recognized how important it was for her children to have a role model to look up to, and she wanted to be that example of hard work and perseverance. María never graduated from high school, but took it upon herself to go back to school and complete her studies, with the hopes of eventually becoming a nurse.

After years of sacrificing to support her children and keep them in school, María has achieved her dream, and the one she still carries for her children. She graduated from high school this past Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

But María's education will move even beyond high school.

She scored high enough on her college entrance exam to secure herself a spot to start her university studies right away, with the dream of becoming a nursing assistant and eventually a licensed nurse! María told us that if it weren't for the help Starfish provides Ariana, she wouldn't have had the financial resources or the time to finish her own studies.

María embodies the values of Starfish, and serves as a role model not only for her own children, but for our entire Starfish community. We hope that our organization will continue to reach those beyond its direct impact. In all honesty, it's not really us that's affecting change- it's our students. We put our faith into our students- that they will continue this powerful grassroots movement in inciting change- one by one.

María and her three children

Ariana Sosoranga, a Starfish scholar

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Aprendiendo a Expresarnos: The first ever Starfish Debate!

We will be featuring a series of blog entries from our students, reflecting on the activities at Starfish during the February vacation period.  This year the vacation period started one month early due to heavy rain, so we took advantage of that by adding additional academic classes and extra-curricular clubs to our Starfish schedule! Today, some students share about their experience participating in our first ever debate.  4 groups divided to form teams for and against 2 topics: All students should have to wear uniforms to school and all schools should be mixed-genders.

Génesis Rivera: 
"What is important, in the debate that Starfish organized, is listening to others, and reciprocally, being listened to. We learned that it is important to debate topics that are truly interesting for us, and for the other side of the debate. My topic was: should all schools be mixed-gender? For us, it's important that they do exist as mixed gender, for that helps us develop our social skills, and we learn how to better interact among different groups of people. With regards to debating, I think it's very important to have debates about topics that are widely disputed between groups of people, but that it's even more important to choose a debate topic that doesn't have a clear solution; in that way, we debate and we hopefully find solutions, or at least justifications for our solutions. The art of debate helps us gain skills in interacting with our own team, and with those opposing our views, and through this, we learn how to dialogue successfully,  and respect each others' opinions while simultaneously holding on to our own, and not giving up on a topic we believe in." ~Génesis

"Lo importante es ser escuchado por medio de un debate de Estrellitas del Mar.  Aprendemos que es importante debatir en temas que son interesantes para ti y para los demás.  Mi tema era de que si debe existir las escuelas mixtas.  Para nosotros fue importante porque aprendemos a desarrollar nuestra capacidad de desenvolvimiento interactivo.  Es muy importante debatir sobre temas que tu crees que es muy debatido entre personas, pero que no hay solución.  Por eso es importante debatir para encontrar soluciones.  Te ayuda a interactuar con el equipo contrario y dialogar y aprender mucho más sobre el debate sin rendirse en un tema que tú crees que es necesario." ~Génesis

Luiggi Plúas 
"In 2016, we, the Starfish Community, began an activity called "Debate." This process includes defending a specific theme, and participating in groups. I the group that I participated in, we were discussing, why we should not wear uniforms in school.  We also had a group that opposed us, who defended why we should wear uniforms in school. My group prepared a Prezi slideshow. The debate went very well, and my group was chosen as the best. The process of debating will help us to further our talents, and enable us to better express ourselves." ~Luiggi

"En este 2016 iniciamos un proceso llamado "Debate".  Dicho proceso consiste en defender un tema específico.  El grupo en el que yo participaba, estábamos hablando sobre "¿Por qué no deberíamos usar uniformes escolares?"  Así que teníamos un equipo contrario, el cuál defendía sobre "¿Por qué sí deberíamos usar uniformes?"  Mi grupo preparó una presentación de diapositivos en "Prezi".  El debate salió muy bien, además fuimos escogidos como los mejores.  Estar debatiendo nos ayudará a desenvolvernos mejor y a expresarnos." ~ Luiggi

Alexander Lícoa
"To debate is to defend a topic given to us. In our debate, I learned to work in a group setting, to express myself clearly and efficiently, to listen, to formulate an opinion, and to respond to questions that the opposite side gives me. Moreover, I learned that, in order to achieve, you have to work as a team!" ~Alexander

"El debate es defender un tema que nos pongan.  En el debate aprendí a trabajar en equipo, a expresarme bien, escuchar, opinar y responder a las preguntas que me hacía el lado opuesto.  También aprendí muchas cosas especialmente sobre el tema que me tocó.  ¡Hay que trabajar en equipo para hacer las cosas bien!" ~ Alexander