My husband and I made our first trip to Guatemala in February 2013 to visit Starfish one by one, I can say that we were blown away. We visited classrooms and were delighted at the quality of the education, mentoring and interaction between the young ladies. Home visits made us realize that these girls would not have an opportunity for education without help. The barriers of illiteracy, remoteness, language and discrimination are insurmountable for these beautiful women.
I am convinced with the help of the mentoring and support received from Starfish, these ladies can lead the way for their families, sisters for years to come.
My Rotary club is currently working with Starfish to support a group of girls in a mentor circle. From the first time we connected with Starfish, we have been so impressed by their mission, organization and communication. The structure of their program is built for sustainability and long-term success for the girls that they support. In addition, a group of our members visited Guatemala and our sponsor group in March of this year. The trip was truly life-changing for our travelers. We had the opportunity to get to know the Starfish team in Guatemala, interact with families and get a true picture of the challenges that families face. We also got to see the true benefit of this program first hand. I consider it a true honor to work with this organization and will tell anyone who will listen all about it!
A kind group of people with a purpose that makes a big difference. Connects donors to recipients with personal letters, pictures and drawings. Great for my children to have these to make the connection.
Starfish One-by-One supports the education and empowerment of young girls in rural Guatemala to break the cycle of poverty and contribute to their families and communities. They provide scholarships so that girls can continue their education in high school and give them mentors from the community. The girls meet with their mentors once a week and receive training on a number of subjects, including job skills, handling money, and running a business. I was able to spend a day with a group of girls in Panajachel, Guatemala, and their dedicated mentors. There is no doubt that these girls have overcome difficult circumstances and made sacrifices to continue their education. They are dedicated to their studies and so eager to learn; it is so inspirational to see how they have been empowered by their mentors. The mentors I spoke with hope to inspire and empower the girls become active and outspoken in their communities so that they can become agents of social change. The girls took turns explaining how different their lives are now that they have been able to continue their education. Reina started and said that before receiving a scholarship, she never spoke up in class. She was shy and intimidated. Now, she regularly participates in class and has become active in her community. She discovered her love of singing, and her new-found confidence shone through as she proudly displayed to me the scarves and shirts she made for her family. She hopes to graduate from high school, attend a university and pursue a career that will allow her to help her family and her community. Rosa is the first person, male or female, in her family to attend school past primary school, and is now tutoring a group of children from her community in Spanish. My experience with Starfish One-by-One was truly unforgettable. These girls have become inspired and now empowered to know that they can make a difference in their communities.
I had the pleasure of being hired to produce a short promotional film for Starfish One by One on location in Guatemala. It was the most rewarding experience of my working life, and one I will never forget. The organization is doing great work with an inspiring group of young people. I hope they can continue to offer support, and grow as an organization, helping more young people get the education they rightly deserve. Thanks to everyone at Starfish and good luck to all of the students!
I first heard of the Starfish program from a friend who serves on the Board and immediately loved the concept of the work being done by this organization. Then, I visited Guatemala myself and met some of the girls (including the one I get to sponsor), as well as their in-country mentors, parents and siblings. After that first-hand experience, I am blown away by the difference Starfish is making in the lives of these children, their family and the greater community. The Mentorship Program enhances their current public education, offers them the skills of clear communication, sound judgement and self esteem. The difference made to one child's life in this program is truly amazing, and ripples through the family and community. I highly recommend getting involved with Starfish in any capacity you desire. In addition to making a difference in a child's life, you will gain much personally.
Starfish One by One demonstrates a continual focus on quality over quantity. Through its unique blend of scholarship and mentorship, it really does promote and develop leaders that will change the landscape of their communities. I have been impressed by the dedication and heartfelt expertise of the Guatemalan staff.
Starfish is truly unique! I was glad to support the program to provide mentorship and education to girls from rural areas to enrich their lives knowing they may not otherwise be able to continue their education. It was comforting to exchange letters with Brenda, the girl I sponsor … then I made the trip to Guatemala to witness firsthand the change Starfish is making in the lives of these girls. We first attended a mentoring and education class. The class focused on the value of family. Each of us were asked to speak to our family circumstances, siblings, parents, lifestyle, etc. I was in awe to find out that everyone of the girls in the class were dedicated to coming to class, despite the poverty and need for their help at home. This program gives them hope for change and encourages them to dream. I was struck to learn that everyone in the class was the child of two illiterate parents, most of whom don’t speak Spanish but only their native language. It was this moment when I realized the potential that Starfish offers these girls … how does one escape poverty under these circumstances? Starfish truly changes one life at a time. I suggest volunteering time to witness it first hand, meet the girls and wonderful contributors to the program, and experience the natural beauty of Guatemala!
This is a fabulous organization that helps educate young Mayan girls that show great promise for continuing their education after public school ends at a young age. The mentors for the girls are Mayan women who discuss life skills + school work, etc. It is very exciting to see the change that takes place in their self esteem, etc. after just one year in the Starfish program. Before the girls are enrolled in the program, there are in depth interviews with the families to ensure the parents' full support for educating their daughters.
I firmly believe that education is the key to changing lives. Starfish offers that possibility for Mayan girls and boys who would otherwise not have an opportunity to continue past grade school. I personally support 4 children and receive letters from them with explanations of their family and school lives that also include charming drawings. My most recent letters speak of job goals( for example, Victor wants to be a skilled accountant) and I hear increasing levels of confidence in their voices. I am so uplifted by what the mentors and students do together. One example is a field trip students took to a museum in Guatemala City. This is a common occurrence for students in our country but not so in rural Guatemala. Just the experience of being on a bus riding to the city was educational. Imagine what they saw and learned at the national museum! In my opinion the linch pin in this organization is the indigenous mentors and the help, love and guidance they give to their small groups of students weekly. They give that helping hand of friendship and hope to these wonderful children and enable these kids to believe in themselves. I think so highly of Starfish One by One that I am now on the advisory board. I encourage others to support this wonderful organization that offers a hand up and not hand out. One of my favorite expressions comes from Thornton Wilder who said " Money is like manure. It doesn't do much good unless it is spread around for young things to grow."