Beyond Belief Network Guides: Starfish


BBNStarfish is Foundation Beyond Belief’s Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary, a program in the Humanist Giving program that combines all member donations into one high-impact capacity-building grant. As with all FBB beneficiaries, Starfish was chosen based on compatibility with the FBB mission, program effectiveness and evaluation, an innovative approach to solving a problem and devising a strong long range capacity building program. You can use this guide for service event ideas to help Starfish’s goals.

Starfish’s Work

Starfish is a powerful model of education and support focused within the native Mayan community in Guatemala. Throughout their history, they have a track record of empowering Girl Pioneers, increasing literacy in students and their parents, and encouraging traditional education and strong mentorship for girls after the sixth grade. Their mentorship program strengthens the bonds between different aspects of their community, education, students, families and mentorship. They take the successes and failures of their Girl Pioneers into account to advance their programs for the better.

Due to poor educational opportunities already available, Starfish is opening their first “high school” model program in the region that has state of the art teaching principles in place for the Starfish Girl Pioneers. With rental space secured for the school, they designed as strong of a teacher training process as possible.Teacher training includes a models and introduction to best practice teaching and teaching certification through programs in the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala.  Starfish has big dreams for capacity building, while piloting their first school in 2017 with 40 students (and adding another cohort or grade of students each year), they see this as a model that their strong organizational collaborative capacity building approach can use in the future, as well as launching a second location in the year 2020.

Event Ideas

These suggested ideas are intended to inspire Beyond Belief Network teams looking for potential events to support Starfish or their mission in your own community.

  1. Teaching the future. Since Starfish’s primary goal is about empowering girls through education, consider service events that extend Starfish’s mission. Collect school supplies for families in need. Consider a long-term engagement project such as a mentorship or school tutoring program.  

  2. Reading to the top. Plan a night where people read portions by books written by their favorite authors.  For each participant that pledges to read, collect a donation for Starfish or other education-based charity. Offer free admission or amenity to anyone who brings a book to donate to a local library or school. If your volunteer group is part of Beyond Belief Network and donates the proceeds to Starfish, the event would be considered as a Foundation Partners Program event, which means it will count as two events. Perfect for teams looking to quickly raise their BBN team level! Send the donation to Foundation Beyond Belief and we’ll include the donation in their grant.


  1. Knowing how to help. Education allows children and adults to reach their full potential. Consider performing some of these service events.Search for a charity in your local area that focuses on education, and raise funds for or volunteer with them. Teaching young children to read through a local education program or volunteering at an adult literacy center. Coordinate a book drive that raises money for Braille or audio books for visually impaired people. (Alternatively, you can volunteer to record books or the newspaper for visually impaired people.)

  2. Workout your mind and body. Education may provide a mental workout, but don’t forget to exercise the rest of your body. Host a sporting event and pledge a percentage of the funds to Starfish or another education-based charity. You can also raise additional donations during the event through a snack bar and/or raffle.

Follow Starfish and their work through their website and YouTube.