Meet our Dedicated Volunteers

Sherry HerdmanReturning Local Volunteer

Sherry is a nurse practitioner from rural Western New York. As a part-time resident of Cabarete and a champion of the girl movement, she created the Mariposa sewing program through collecting donated machines and teaching sewing classes. She has taught our girls how to use their sewing skills both practically and artistically, and continues to help out at the center year after year.

Sherry Herdman

Christopher PerryReturning Local Volunteer

Chris is a high school psychology teacher and swimming coach from Lancaster, PA. An award-winning, student-athlete while attending the University of Pittsburgh. Chris has a degree in secondary social studies education, Sociology and Women’s Studies. Chris has coached swimmers of all ages and levels, ranging from beginners to Olympic level swimmers. Chris comes each summer to help with the Mariposa swim program, often bringing much-needed donations of swimsuits, goggles, swim caps, and other supplies to keep our girls swimming!


Emma ShoafCurrent Volunteer

Emma graduated from Western Kentucky University with double major in International Affairs and Spanish, and a minor in International Business. While at WKU Emma volunteered within two refugee resettlement organizations where she focused on job development and cultural orientation. Emma continued to explore the relationship between forced migration and economics as a project intern within the NGO Cives Mundi in Spain, where she collaborated on development projects to promote economic recuperation in Lebanese refugee camps. She spent her last semester studying Latin American culture and economics in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she focused on the relationship between economic growth and wealth inequality. This year, Emma is excited to work with the Mariposa Foundation where she will focus on developing job training and financial independence courses for girls as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Sarah AndersenPast Volunteer

Sarah received her BS in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire. From there, she traveled for one year throughout Central and South America, practicing her Spanish and exploring different cultures. After traveling, she taught Spanish for three years at a small prep school in New Hampshire and brought groups of students to Santo Domingo, where they volunteered in the impoverished bateys outside of the city. Sarah joined the Mariposa staff as the Volunteer Coordinator, where she continued working with groups and spreading awareness of the importance of educating young girls and woman to end generational poverty.

Elisenda BassasPast Volunteer

Elisenda is a Catalan artist who currently lives in Barcelona. She trained to be a film and theater actor in NYC where she attended CAP 21, America’s musical theater conservatory, and graduated from the Tom Todoroff Conservatory of acting. She considers her time in NYC as the most defining years of her life where she realized the power of the arts to change the world. In her case, theater healed her from the type of loneliness that envelops in us when we lose hope, when we don’t think we are enough to achieve our dreams. Therefore, ever since, she is made it one of her many missions to invite children to enter a creative and safe space where they can trust, dream, and rediscover their hopes just as she did in NYC. Thanks to ASTEP (Artists Striving To End Poverty), she found out about the Mariposa Foundation where she’s been able to carry out the mission for the first time. Following her work at the Foundation, she wants to keep empowering children in her own country and acting in theater and film convinced that art is the most powerful tool to change the world.

Elodie BurtinPast Volunteer

Elodie is a Swiss-certified accountant who worked for seven years in one of the big 4 audit firms in Geneva before joining us as a volunteer. She is originally from France, and in 2006 obtained a Masters in Management from the Edhec Business School in Nice. During her studies she worked with at-risk children helping them do their homework, and she was also part of a humanitarian project to construct a cultural center in Madagascar. When she first arrived in Cabarete for vacation, to study Spanish and to practice her passion kitesurfing, she came across the wall of butterflies and starting asking around about Mariposa. She decided to get involved during the summer program as a swimming teacher, a sport she practiced for 15 years. Convinced that in a town like Cabarete, which lives on water sports tourism, swimming is a key knowledge for those girls, she came back during the first term as a full time swimming teacher with the objective of overcoming their fear of water and showing the girls the beautiful treasure of Cabarete’s beach.

Kierra CampbellPast Volunteer

Kierra Campbell is here with us from the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. Since the age of eight, Kierra has always held an interest in different cultures and languages other than her own, which led her to pursue a Bachelor’s of Arts in Global Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Hispanic studies. While enrolled in college, Kierra worked as a service coordinator for the Spanish Living-Learning Community, served as a member and Co-Director of the UNC Latin Dance Team, worked as a work-study student, and served as the Director of Outreach for the Social Justice Center. As a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she hopes that she can use her education and experiences to develop a career in sustainable development, while also ensuring that human empowerment and development are accessible to everyone.

Lauren ChinPast Volunteer

Lauren graduated Cum Laude from Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA and spent three summers as a camp counselor working with eight to twelve-year old children. She deferred her enrollment at Brandeis University to take a gap year. She first visited the Foundation briefly with her high school during a service trip to the rural mountain regions of the Dominican Republic. Passionate about Spanish, diversity, and feminism, she couldn’t wait to return to the Center to volunteer. Lauren hopes that her work at the Center inspired the girls to work hard in school and love learning. She was excited to immerse herself in the culture and empower the next generation. During the rest of her gap year, Lauren spent three months in Nepal volunteering and trekking and also interned in Boston. She is currently undecided about her college major, but knows that her experiences at the Mariposa DR Foundation will profoundly influence her decision.


Kate CorcoranPast Volunteer

Kate graduated from Wellesley College in May of 2015 with a degree in Environmental Studies and came to the Mariposa DR Foundation two months later to volunteer for the summer and the fall semester as the environmental educator and creator of the environmental curriculum, funded by an Albright Institute for Global Affairs Fellowship. Kate teaches about the environment on the principle that if you care about something, you have to protect it. She comes from a small, hot, dry, Texas town, and was raised knowing that we must work to conserve our water resources or we will lose them. She integrates a love of science with a desire to work with people in an interdisciplinary way to find solutions to complex environmental issues. Kate has pursued her passion for the environment in all of her work, from summers spent working at the US Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency, to studies in Siberia’s Lake Baikal, and now to sharing that passion for environment with the girls at Mariposa and working with them to discover that passion within themselves. Following her work at the Foundation, she is departing to Panama with the Peace Corps in February to serve in the environmental sector.

Keara Cormier-HillPast Volunteer

Keara grew up in Houston, Texas where she attended high school at YES Prep, which in name and practice, stands for Youth Engaged in Service. At YES she planned service projects in partnership with community development organizations in Ghana and Ecuador. Keara went on to graduate from Harvard University (2012) where she studied Sociology with a focus on the study of inequality. Through the Harvard College in Cuba program, she studied that nation’s tourist industry and its social impact on the island, and fell in love with the history and culture of the Caribbean. Since graduating, Keara has been an advocate for community-based initiatives that focus on the healthy development of children, especially those who are living in under-resourced communities through her work at KaBOOM!, the DC Social Innovation Project and the Bolivia Life Center. After completing a year-long Princeton in Latin America Fellowship with Yspaniola, an education based non-profit in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic, Keara returns to the country as a PiLA Senior Fellow, working with the young women served by the Mariposa DR Foundation.

Tori DunnPast Volunteer

Tori Dunn is currently a junior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT where she is an International Studies major with a focus on Human Rights. Tori graduated from the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC in 2014. She volunteered with Mariposa in the summers of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. During her time at Mariposa, she served as a translator and community liaison for the “Apple Juice Kid,” and crew, who taught electronic music and computer skills, created a music video with the Mariposa girls and created a short documentary. Tori also designed and administered math evaluations, coached sports and ran english learning games. In addition to volunteering with The Mariposa Foundation, Tori has also interned and worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic. Tori hopes to pursue a career in non-profits and communications.

Tori Dunn

Sarah FisherPast Volunteer

Sarah graduated from Middlebury College in 2013 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with Highest Honors for her thesis work after studying abroad in Spain and Argentina. After a one week service trip volunteering with the Mariposa DR Foundation her senior year, Sarah knew she wanted to come back and continue to fight the cycle of poverty in the Dominican Republic with this organization and spent 8 months working as the Administrative Assistant. She then spent 9 months in Brazil on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant. And later came back to work again for Mariposa as the Administrative Director.
Her passions are feminism and Latin American Studies and she strives to make a positive impact in these areas. Sarah is from Kansas and hopes to continue developing an international perspective through her work.

Victor Geraldo RodriguezPast Volunteer

Victor is a Puerto Rican born artist who currently lives in San Juan, P.R and came to Mariposa through ASTEP, Artist Striving to End Poverty. He studied Drama at the University of Puerto Rico, where he developed as an actor as well as a lighting and stagecraft designer. He became involved with theater at 15 years old, pursuing his passion and interest in the arts to make a better life for those in need. As an artist, he envisions new possibilities to create art within the realm of theater, reaching communities where children can grow in a safe and optimistic world. He recently worked in the National Theater of Fine Arts in San Juan as a lighting technician and as an actor for the International and National Theater festival for the fall season. He also taught at artsInsideOut in N’Kosis Haven, South Africa as part of ASTEP. Following his work as a theater instructor at the Mariposa DR Foundation, he aspires to work in his own country to help share the experiences he has had abroad, believing art is the key to change the world.


Noelia LoizPast Volunteer

Noelia is a Puerto Rican artist who is studying Drama in the Humanities Department of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. Noelia joined our volunteer program through ASTEP, Artists Striving to End Poverty, in the summer 2015. Since she was little, she showed interest in everything related to art as part of dance groups, theater, and pantomime. She became involved with theater at 16 years old when she began to be educated in the discipline of theater at the School of Fine Arts. In 2013 she had the opportunity to travel to Peru to hold mask-making, street theater and movement workshops with the Yuyachkani cultural group. Her main interest has been handling and making puppets. Her work with the Mariposas was directed towards the creation of puppets from recyclable materials to remind them of the importance of caring for our planet in a creative and fun way.

Chelsea MuirPast Volunteer

Chelsea graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis, where she was awarded the Dole Kinney Prize in Creative Writing and served as captain of the soccer team. She has worked as an educator in a variety of different capacities, most recently as a 2015 Princeton in Latin America Fellow at Yspaniola, an education non-profit in the Cibao Valley, Dominican Republic.

Johannil NapoleónPast Volunteer

Johannil, MAAT, was Mariposa DR Foundation’s Art Teacher/ Art Therapist. She led art/art therapy classes, was involved in community art projects, and helped with the psychology program. She is a Haitian Dominican born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After 22 years of living in the US she decided to return to the DR to reconnect with her roots and give back to her country by working with Mariposa. She received her Masters Degree in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Her interests are women’s health, women’s rights, women empowerment, and working with survivors of sexual trauma. During her time at SAIC, she founded SPEAK: Empowering Students to Use Their Voice- a student run organization of artists and leaders who create projects to educate and bring awareness about sexual violence to the community of SAIC. From 2012-2014 she worked at A Long Walk Home, an organization that uses art and the creative performing arts to end gender-based violence. Her passion is to continue to advocate for survivors of sexual trauma and create spaces where girls and women can gain a sense of empowerment through education, community engagement, counseling, social activism, and the arts.

Mikaela PerryPast Volunteer

Mikaela graduated from Middlebury College in 2014, where she earned her BA in Political Science, minoring in African Studies and Arabic. In 2013 she participated in a week-long service trip in Rio San Juan through the Mariposa DR Foundation, where she became passionate about women’s empowerment and ending generational poverty. This led her to African School for Excellence in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she developed and ran a women’s empowerment course for over 100 students, taught daily English classes, helping to raise students’ reading levels from the 1st grade level to the 6th grade level in a matter of 3 weeks, and co-developed a 6 year entrepreneurship program plan for the school. She then realized a passion for public health, becoming a fellow at Shelburne Farms where she led sustainability and environmental camps and explored farm-to-plate and nutritional programs for children. With experience at both start-up nonprofits and large nonprofits, she learned about nonprofit management at Mariposa as the administrative assistant, aspiring to found her own organization one day.


Ada SmithPast Volunteer

Ada graduated from Wellesley College as an Environmental Studies and Anthropology double major. As a Madeleine Albright Fellow, Ada came to Cabarete to help develop the environmental education and swimming programs at the Mariposa Foundation. Her interest and passion for experiential environmental education and the Caribbean region truly began in Vieques, Puerto Rico where she spent three months organizing summer “eco-camps” and learning about the unique environmental history of the island, a topic she explored in her senior thesis. Ada’s experiences with the Williams Mystic Seaport Program, a semester dedicated to marine studies, and her time spent working on organic farms and gardens in Costa Rica and France have instilled in her a passion for getting outside and learning-by-doing which she is eager to share. One of her greatest accomplishments at Mariposa was the creation of a permaculture garden that the Mariposa girls continue to maintain.

Ada Smith

Elyse TransonPast Volunteer

Elyse came to us through ASTEP, Artists Striving to End Poverty, and was very excited to implement and lead a dance program at Mariposa. Elyse started dancing at the age of 5 with the Cashel Dennehy School of Irish Dance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After having a successful competitive career, she gave up competition to start teaching dance and attend college. Shortly after, she had her first taste of professional dancing when she was asked to dance in a commercial for LG Electronics and was instantly hooked. During her final semester at the University of Minnesota, Elyse was contacted to tour the United States with Michael Londra’s new show Celtic Fire. After completing her BA in Spanish Studies, Elyse went on to tour Europe and the United States with various other companies including Gaelforce Dance and Raglan Road in Disney World. Elyse has taught dance for over 10 years in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Delaware and even taught a small class in Zambia.


Jessica VallesPast Volunteer

Jessica volunteered with Mariposa as a senior at Dartmouth College, pursuing a BA in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies, with a concentration in Geography and History. She is a Los Angeles, CA native of Mexican heritage. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies she plans to participate in a teaching fellowship in hopes of furthering her commitment for Education reform, prior to pursuing a Masters in Education. In the future, Jessica plans to work as a high school guidance counselor and higher education access coordinator for under resourced communities such as her own.


Emily WhitePast Volunteer

Hailing from Virginia, Emily graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College in 2013, where she studied Spanish and Sociology. Upon graduating, she decided to pursue her passion for the arts and followed a career in photography. Over the course of three years in the arts industry, she had several opportunities to lead classes and teach both children and adults. Through theses experiences, she decided that she wanted to engage more in teaching art and using it as a tool for empowerment, rather than simply working as an artist. Her dream has always been to use art as an agent in social change, and she saw an opportunity to engage in this by participating as a teacher at the Mariposa DR Foundation. Passionate about art, social change and female empowerment, Emily could not be more excited about the inspired work that the Mariposa DR Foundation is doing and the opportunity to contribute. After her time here, her plan is to attend graduate school to become an arts educator.

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