Meet our Dedicated Volunteers

Maddie BruinsCurrent Volunteer

Maddie Bruins is a gap year student from Portland, Oregon. In July of 2015 she was introduced to the Dominican Republic, as well as the Mariposa DR Foundation. Within the first few days of her trip she had fallen in love with the Dominican Republic’s environment, music, food, and most of all its people. This love for the DR is why she’s been coming back ever since. This year at the Mariposa Center for Girls, she is teaching in the swimming and softball programs. Next year, she will go to college and pursue a career in international nonprofit work.

Georgia GallantCurrent Volunteer

Georgia is 19 years old and from New York City. Georgia is currently on a gap year before attending Brown University in the fall. Her main interests are robotics and computer science, which are interests that she will further pursue in college. Georgia is extremely excited to be teaching engineering and robotics classes to the middle and high school girls at Mariposa for the next four months!

Abby MelickCurrent Volunteer

Abby Melick is a year-long Mariposa volunteer through the Princeton in Latin America fellowship. She graduated from Princeton University this past June with a B.A. in English and minors in Theater and American Studies. She was born and raised in Washington D.C., but previously lived and studied in Santiago, Chile and the Sacred Valley of Peru. She’s thrilled to join the Mariposa DR Foundation team this year, and she’s looking forward to support the world’s most powerful force for change!

Luisa NilanCurrent Volunteer

Luisa is originally from Pereira, Colombia, but she was raised in Clayton, North Carolina. She recently graduated, class of 2017, from Harvard University, where she majored in neurobiology and minored in global health and health policy. She is excited to be teaching health classes to the Mariposa girls during this semester, and to promote youth development overall. After her fellowship year in the Dominican Republic, she will pursue a career in medicine as a pediatrician.

Vanessa SmithCurrent Volunteer

Vanessa Smith is a recent graduate from Princeton University. While in school, she majored in Anthropology and minored in Latin American Studies and Spanish. During her time at Princeton she was fortunate to be captain of the Princeton Women’s Varsity Basketball team, and to be involved in other creative student-led initiatives on campus such as mentoring programs and volunteering. She will be helping to teach Health, Softball, “Mi Centro Mariposa” class and spearheading a leadership class for the older girls at the Mariposa Center for Girls.

Emma WingreenCurrent Volunteer

Meet Emma Wingreen! As one of Mariposa’s year-long volunteers, Emma will be teaching a digital literacy course and helping out with the reading classes. She is originally from Princeton, New Jersey and graduated from Princeton University this past spring with a major in the Woodrow Wilson School and minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish. Emma first lived in the Dominican Republic during a gap year she took after high school. She is excited to be back in the DR and working at Mariposa DR Foundation!!!

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!


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