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Starfish Impact School: First Year Reflections

In January 2017, we took a huge leap of faith and opened the Starfish Impact School. Over the past year, our first cohort of 47 students modeled perseverance, resilience, and the ability to adapt to a new style of teaching and learning. With each new school day, each Girl Pioneer demonstrated her dedication to the…

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Do What Matters

“Do What Matters” is a reflection from Starfish board member Susie Rinehart on her recent visit to Guatemala. Susie is a writer and educational consultant ( She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and two children. I am home after two weeks traveling in Guatemala. A year ago, when I was recovering from multiple skull surgeries,…

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Photo Credit: Kate Lord Photography

Stand With Girls. Become Their Ally.

Millions of voices have come together in recent years to amplify this simple fact: Girls’ education is the lifeline to global development. When you educate a girl, you don’t just educate an individual; you lift up her family, her community, and future generations. Yet an astounding 130 million girls worldwide remain out of school. Without…

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13 Messages for Women Around the World

At Starfish we celebrate women everyday, but March is a particularly special month for women across the planet. The US celebrates Women’s History Month, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, and (in the spirit of things) our staff members have some words of wisdom to share. We asked them, “What messages do you have for women…

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7 Ways Our Small Business Program Fosters High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Women face significant obstacles and inequalities in the workplace—we know this—and indigenous women in Guatemala face even more disadvantages. Ninety percent of Guatemalan adolescents receive no job-readiness training. In a country where roughly half the population is Mayan, only 12 percent of small businesses’ employees are indigenous. We call the young women in our program…

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How the Starfish Impact School is Revolutionizing Education in Guatemala

In January 2017, we will launch the Starfish Impact School—a free, all-girls secondary school that will differ dramatically from any existing school in Guatemala. According to a recent report by the Malala Fund, 32 million girls are currently missing out on the first 3 years of secondary education, and millions more who start never graduate.…

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GALS Movement Training

During the last week of July, Starfish received some special visitors! Representatives from Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) spent an entire week sharing professional development training with the Starfish Impact School educators. GALS is an all-girls charter school in Denver, Colorado, that is built on the idea of movement in educational settings. Based on scientific…

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Introducing: Escuela Estrellita

  For the past several months, our team in Guatemala has been working tirelessly to prepare for the opening of the Starfish Impact School in January 2017. A critical part of this process is recruiting students for the school. Between February and April, recruiting mentors Beverly and Mayra conducted visits to the eight previously selected…

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The United State of Women Summit: A Chat with Norma Baján Balan

Norma Baján Balan, In-Country Director of Starfish, recently returned from a trip to Washington DC with two of her fellow Starfish team members, Vilma and Travis. In DC, they had the honor of attending and participating in The United State of Women Summit, where leaders from all backgrounds convened to celebrate women’s achievements and to…

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My Experience in the United States: A Guest Blog by Vilma Saloj

  One of our Guatemala Starfish staff members, Vilma Saloj Chiyal, recently returned from a two-month trip to the United States. Formerly the coordinator of the Sololá mentorship office, Vilma was recently selected to become Director of the Starfish Impact School, opening in January 2017. In addition to attending professional development sessions with our team…

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