Thursday, November 18, 2010
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF MONTEREY COUNTYYear Founded: 1989 | Paid Staff: 3 full-time, 1 part-time | Budget: $200,000 | 655-9231 | www.bbbsmonterey.org
The Big Idea: Mentoring relationships improve learning, lower drop-out rates, lessen the likelihood of gang involvement and drug and alcohol use, and increase self-confidence in “Littles,” the youngsters matched up with mentors called “Bigs.” Big Brothers Big Sisters now serves more local kids with its High School Bigs Program and, as a result, needs more funding. High School Bigs help elementary school students with homework and engage in a variety of games and activities that promote relationship development and life skills. The High School Bigs meet once a week, for approximately two hours, during the school year in a supervised setting to work with the young students. They’re mentors, role models and coaches – and needed in more schools throughout the county.
Bigs’ Difference: “BBBS mentors become trusted friends, to whom Littles can turn in times of difficulty at home, in school or in life.”
BIG SUR LEARNING PROJECTYear Founded: 2008 | Paid Staff: 0 | Budget: $18,000 | 667-0203 | www.bigsurlearningproject.org (coming soon)
The Big Idea: Half the kids living in Big Sur speak Spanish as their primary language. Big Sur Learning Project plans to hire a bilingual programs coordinator to work with local families and artists to start creative-arts programs for local youth. These weekly afterschool programs will be held at the Big Sur Spirit Garden, engaging artists and teachers with a focus on multi-cultural arts education.
The Lost Coast: “Big Sur, though beautiful, is an under served part of Monterey County. Public transportation is limited to the weekends during the school year, which makes it difficult for middle – and high-school students to participate in sports, classes or other social activities. This year, our organization provided the only local enrichment program for youth ages 7-17: StageKids! Theater Arts Summer Camp. We are currently the only organization, outside of the schools, providing programs for youth in Big Sur.”
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF MONTEREY COUNTYYear Founded: 1698 | Paid Staff: 68 | Budget: $3,064,384 | 394-5171 | www.bgcmc.org
The Big Idea: Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County has long-term plans for local teens: helping them get into college, find jobs and be successful adults. Its new Teen Success Academy inspires teens about their futures and helps them successfully transition into young adulthood through four interrelated programs: College Bound, providing homework assistance, tutoring, college advisement and field trips to colleges; Career Launch and Teen Internship Program, helping teens build workforce skills; Skills for Life, ranging from cooking classes to public speaking to financial literacy; and Teen-Led Activities, allowing youth to create new programs based on their own interests.
Cum Laude: “As affirmed by our Youth of the Year, Erika Matadamas, who will be a first-generation college student at UC-Santa Barbara this fall: ‘The Club is a place where I discovered my passion, where I learned the importance of obtaining a higher education, and where I learned to be myself and believe in myself.’”
CASA OF MONTEREY COUNTYYear Founded: 1997 | Paid Staff: 11 | Budget: $845,000 | 455-6800 | www.casamonterey.org
The Big Idea: CASA of Monterey County needs community support to fund its new Family Finding and Engagement Program, which will identify, search for and locate adult relatives who might be a permanent connection for a child. This program will train advocates to help search for family members though in-depth study of case files, interviews with neighbors and family friends, and Internet tools. Introducing lost family members helps youngsters develop a sense of self-identity and learn about family traditions, culture, religion and values. Developing deeper family connections and working through losses gives kids a better chance at forming healthy, lasting relationships and attachments.
Security Blankets: “We provide a sense of safety, constancy and hope for children who have been abused, neglected and forgotten. As social workers, foster parents and schools change, the CASA advocate remains the same. That familiar face can make a world of difference.”
CHARTWELL SCHOOLYear Founded: 1983 | Paid Staff: 43 | Budget: $4,167,419 | 394-3468 | www.chartwell.org and www.newhighschool.org
The Big Idea: For many students, the difference between academic success and a lifetime of failure is financial aid. With many Chartwell School parents losing jobs or being forced to take furloughs and reduced salaries, more low – and middle-income families need assistance to afford annual tuition. Last year, Chartwell, which specializes in helping students with dyslexia and other language-based learning issues, awarded financial aid to 43 percent of its students – more than twice the national average. The school wants to match or exceed that number in 2011. Financial aid helps students pay for summer school, day school and high school, along with counseling, speech and language therapy and/or occupational therapy.
Blossom and Grow: “We all gain when children grow up as contributing and creative citizens. Our students are living testimony that children who learn differently can learn well.”
CHOICES FOR CHILDREN, A BRANCH OF CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT, INC.Year Founded: 1976 | Paid Staff: 4 | Budget: $143,000 | 408-297-3295 | www.choices4children.org
The Big Idea: Eating patterns begin in infancy and early childhood. During this critical time – between 6 months and 5 years – youngsters develop eating behaviors that influence later risk for obesity. Infants and toddlers can’t feed themselves, however, so it’s up to caregivers to instill healthy eating habits early on. But there’s no consistent nutrition training for parents or childcare providers, which is why Choices for Children developed an early childhood feeding series: “Five Keys to Raising Healthy, Happy Eaters.” The program covers nutrition and family feeding, as well as picky eating, refusal to eat and bad behavior during meals. CFC needs funding to expand its program in Salinas.
Heart-Healthy Foods: “CFC partners with FIRST 5 to provide resources in the Alisal area. Our work strengthens essential nurturing relationships between caregivers and children, especially during the child’s first three years – a period of rapid social, emotional, health/physical and cognitive development.”
DANCE KIDS OF MONTEREY COUNTY AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTHYear Founded: 1993 /1991 | Paid Staff: 1/1 full-time 30 part-time | Budget: $186,500/$551,852 | 622-9008 and 394-4279 | www.dancekids.org and www.cpy.org
The Big Idea: It’s total immersion music, song and dance. Dance Kids and Community Partnership for Youth will collaborate with Camilo Ortiz, director of Pied Piper Music Academy, in a four-week training program based at the Carmel Academy of Performing Arts. Forty lucky youngsters will experience hands-on tango, salsa, cha-cha and reggae music through lessons in concepts such as melody, harmony and rhythm, along with related dances and songs. By the end of the session, the students will be able to read and write simple musical notations, preparing them for further musical instruction. They’ll also learn to play musical instruments such as guitar, keyboard, bells, recorders and percussion. Olé!
Traveling Steps: “Dance Kids has produced three international dance tours since 2002. Over 80 dancers visited The People’s Republic of China on two separate dance tours, and 40 dancers attended an international dance convention in Italy.”
FRIENDS OF PARENTS’ PLACEYear Founded: 2002 | Paid Staff: 0 | Budget: $25,000 | 646-6623 | www.pgusd.org/parents
The Big Idea: First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced a federal task force aimed at reversing childhood obesity. Meanwhile, a Monterey County nonprofit is already working on a solution. Parents’ Place, a program of Pacific Grove Adult Education, has two unique classes that teach parents with children under age 3 the value of nutrition and movement: Tots in Motion and Fun with Food. But because of funding cuts, Parents’ Place may not be able to continue these programs. There’s no fat left to trim. The group needs community support.
Old School: “Parents’ Place provides parents with information needed to nurture their children in a positive, healthy and loving environment. It offers support, comfort and encouragement while building a community of parent-to-parent relationships. It honors family in all its forms while promoting a sound educational curriculum that increases parents’ confidence.”
GIRL SCOUTS OF CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL COASTYear Founded: 1924 | Paid Staff: 34 | Budget: $3,176,305 | (800) 822-2427 | www.girlscoutsccc.org
The Big Idea: Girl Scouts needs help funding daily activities at its East Salinas program center, which reaches girls who are severely at risk of joining gangs, abusing drugs and alcohol, engaging in early sexual relationships, becoming obese and failing academically. Community support will enable Girl Scouts to keep the program center open every day after school, providing approximately 120 disadvantaged girls with a safe place to work and play, connections with adult role models/mentors, a supportive peer group and the chance to participate in an array of projects and activities focused on academics, health and exercise and leadership development.
More Than Cookies: “Girls become stewards of their environment through outdoor education programs and camp, confront the rising childhood obesity epidemic by learning how to choose the right foods and exercise daily, gain interest in academic subjects where girls are typically underrepresented such as science and technology, and develop tolerance and respect for the world around them through travel opportunities and cultural literacy.”
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MONTEREYYear Founded: 1998 | Paid Staff: 36 full-time, 2-part-time, 2-8 seasonal part-time | Budget: $2,883,835 | 583-2165 | ISMonterey.org
The Big Idea: The K-8 charter school, working to “educate all children toward becoming conscientious, compassionate and responsible citizens of the world,” wants to replace its old, creaky desktop computer lab with two Apple MacBook Learning Labs that can easily roll into any classroom, incorporating the latest technology into the teaching and learning experience. With 25 notebook computers housed in each of the two rolling carts, each lab will provide a workstation with Internet capabilities, allowing students to engage with their international counterparts around the world. Plus, an on-board LCD projector will allow for on-screen teaching.
It’s a Small World: “ISM teaches toward its vision of ‘a world of understanding’ though its academic commitment to internationalism, broad-based curriculum that includes the arts, Spanish, character development and inquiry-based instruction model that fosters student initiative and develops lifelong learning skills.”
LIFE IS FOR EVERYONE, INC.Year Founded: 1998 | Paid Staff: 3 | Budget: $72,500 | 757-6504
The Big Idea: These L.I.F.E. goals are biggies: prevent gang involvement, improve students’ nutrition, provide safe recreation opportunities, tutor kids in English language skills and help students with math, geography and science homework. But first, the basics. L.I.F.E. needs community support to develop a website, making the group more visible and facilitating more entry-level testing of students. It plans to put the tests online, which would allow students to continue to assess their progress throughout the school year. The nonprofit also wants to establish other locations in Salinas; its current spot has hit maximum capacity.
Life Lessons: “I was failing elementary school and didn’t see the value of an education. L.I.F.E. helped me set goals, improve my schoolwork by turning in my homework, and boost my self-esteem. Today I am attending Hartnell and working, and I return to tutor.”
THE LYCEUM OF MONTEREY COUNTYYear Founded: 1960 | Paid Staff: 0 | Budget: $146,000 | 372-6098 | www.lyceum.org
The Big Idea: Lyceum’s first-ever space-camp-like program in July was such a hit that it wants to expand Space Adventure in 2011, offering a two-week program designed to inspire and excite students about science and math. Considering that U.S. kids rank the lowest in science test scores compared to their European and Asian counterparts, it doesn’t take a NASA-trained scientist to figure out that science summer camp for kids is sorely needed. Speaking of NASA: in 2011, participating students will take a field trip to NASA Ames Research Center and Challenger Education Center, where they’ll get to do a simulated space walk. Plus, they’ll build robots, tour the Naval Postgraduate School, talk to astronauts, check out an $85 million satellite, learn about the solar system at the Hartnell planetarium, and view planets and the sun at MIRA.
Ground Control: “Our focus is on interactive, hands-on learning to assist students’ understanding of certain subject areas.”
SPECIAL KIDS CRUSADEYear Founded: 2007 | Paid Staff: 12 | Budget: $300,000 | 372-2730 | www.specialkidscrusade.org
The Big Idea: About 7,000 children with disabilities – from newborns to age 22 – don’t have sufficient services in Monterey County. Special Kids Crusade, founded by parents of developmentally disabled children, has come up with a way to better serve these kids: the Center of DREAMS (Dedicated Resources for Empowerment, Advocacy, Mentoring and Support). The nonprofit’s ideal building will house a family empowerment center, a community center, an early-start center, day care and after-school programming, adult education programs, other complimentary direct services, and a headquarters for administrative staff. The center will employ youth and adults with disabilities. Parents, advocates and service providers will have vital information and support, all under one roof.
Dream Weavers: “We are shattering fears and breaking down barriers, so that all people will be respected, appreciated and valued, and all are given the opportunity to live, learn, work, and play in Monterey County.”
SUN STREET CENTERSYear Founded: 1968 | Paid Staff: 75 | Budget: $4.14 million | 753-5144 | www.sunstreetcenters.org
The Big Idea: With the Sun Street Centers’ STEPS (Safe Teens Empowerment Project), students age 14-17, both paid and volunteer, learn peer-to-peer counseling and education. The students work with cops at DUI checkpoints, doing “shoulder taps” and “decoy operations;” go to middle schools to teach life skills and give gateway drug presentations; and hand out information at health fairs. Students who participate in the countywide program also help create TV, radio and big-screen ads, helping prevent drug and alcohol education by educating the community – and themselves.
Friends and Neighbors: “We have community centers in Seaside, Salinas and King City, serving the entire county. Our staff mirrors the cultures that make up this county; cultural diversity is extremely important to us. We serve over 2,500 individuals and families a year. We bring families together, empowering them to have a healthier and happier future, drug and alcohol free.”
THE WAHINE PROJECTYear Founded: 2010 | Paid Staff: 0 | Budget: $60,000 | 236-4642 | www.thewahineproject.org
The Big Idea: The Wahine Project uses surfing as a catalyst to bring together a diverse group of girls, ages 10-17, from all parts of the county, breaking down barriers and forming unity and sisterhood in the ocean. Additionally, it helps kids stay healthy and creates young environmental stewards. The group wants to be the first nonprofit to run a full summer program allowing girls from all over the county to come to the beach and surf, regardless of ability to pay. Activities will include surf lessons, kayaking, stand-up paddling, yoga and other exercise programs, nutrition and education.
Ola Chicas: The Wahine Project seeks to break down the barriers that prevent the participation of young girls in the sport of surfing. The project provides them the opportunity to not only become proficient surfers, but as a result of surfing, increase their awareness of their global citizenship.