Thursday, November 8, 2012
: : DONATE ONLINE now until midnight Dec. 31, 2012 : : www.montereycountygives.com
BAY VIEW ACADEMY
Year Founded: 2011
Paid Staff: 25
THE BIG IDEA: When it comes to getting jobs – or simply carrying on intelligent, interesting conversation – creative, independent thinkers are in high demand. This is why BVA aims to spark imaginations and provide interactive learning for kids, beyond the state standards. All students are scientists, artists and writers, according to BVA, and education means developing the whole child. In addition to reading and math, its curriculum includes Spanish, science, art, music, social studies, physical education and health. The K-5 school also emphasizes character traits and focuses on community, within the school and in collaboration with local community partners. The school works with businesses and art, history and research institutions to provide hands-on learning opportunities for its kids. But these types of instruction aren’t supported by the state’s per-student funding BVA receives as a public school, so it needs additional money to meet its mission to educate the whole child.
School of Life: “Although the school can subsist at state-funded levels, it cannot thrive without some financial help during this start-up phase of its first year.”
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF MONTEREY COUNTY
Year Founded: 1968
Paid Staff: 82
THE BIG IDEA: The Boys & Girls Club needs help funding its Be Great: Graduate program, which provides homework help and mentors who teach teens time-management skills and study techniques so they can graduate from high school and find a job. Plus, Be Great: Graduate’s after-school programs keep kids off the streets – and out of trouble – which also leads to better performance in school and a diploma. More than 4,800 local youth (ages 6-18) participate in Club programs at its Seaside and Salinas locations, with daily attendance as high as 1,200 kids. Help the Club help Monterey County teens stay in school and graduate on time.
A’s for Effort: Says parent Athena R.: “My boys are doing really well in school because they get their homework done every day here at the club.”
Year Founded: 1983
Paid Staff: 35
Budget: $3.46 million
THE BIG IDEA: Not all great minds think alike – or learn alike. Medical research shows that learning challenges arise from physically based variations in the ways brains process visual and auditory information and handle tasks related to perceiving, sequencing, memorizing and retrieving information. Because of these brain variations, between 15 percent and 20 percent of students find learning extremely difficult. Chartwell helps these students discover ways they learn best. Local donations help provide financial aid for low-income students who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend the school. The curriculum includes language skills, language arts, assistive technologies, math, science, hands-on and project-based learning, art, music and wellness classes. Chartwell also offers on-site speech and language therapy, counseling and occupation therapy.
Beautiful Minds: “When I started at Chartwell I was scared, broken and had no self-confidence,” Katey Fry says. “Now, I have grown into the person I always dreamed about.”
COMMUNITY OF CARING MONTEREY PENINSULA
Year Founded: 1998
Paid Staff: 2
THE BIG IDEA: CCMP’s countywide programs connect students with community members who mentor the youth and serve as role models to help kids develop life skills. This year, CCMP wants to launch Pursuit Youth Expo, an event with interactive workshops that encourages exploration, promotes self-discovery and inspires action among high-schoolers. It will connect them to resources and organizations with volunteer and internship opportunities – and inspire our future workforce to get involved in the community and develop their own talents and abilities.
Life Lessons: “I will forever cherish the support and guidance you gave me,” says Nicole Onuska, Pursuit Prodigy.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH (CPY)
Year Founded: 1992
Paid Staff: 30
THE BIG IDEA: Healthy family communication is crucial in reducing youth substance abuse and aggressive behavior. CPY’s big idea is to build healthy families with its Strengthening Families curriculum and monthly family outings. These could include attending a PacRep Theater play, refurbishing a computer together with Loaves, Fishes and Computers; picnicking at the beach; hiking or whale watching; visiting a convalescent home or Candy Cane Lane during the holidays – or whatever else CPY families say they would like to do together. Local dollars will fund these activities, strengthen families and keep kids off drugs and off the streets.
Secret of My Success: “I’m who I am because of Community Partnership for Youth,” Ben Bruce says. “I’ve had amazing mentors who’ve given me direction. I owe much of my success to them.”
VOICES FOR CHILDREN – CASA OF MONTEREY COUNTY
Year Founded: 1996
Paid Staff: 11
THE BIG IDEA: When Child Protective Services removes an abused or neglected child from his or her parents’ home, a judge can order that the child gets a court appointed special advocate (CASA) to provide support and guidance. But support services disappear as the child grows older. CASA needs support for its after-18 mentors. Sixty-one teens ages 15 to 17 will potentially be eligible for extended foster care after they turn 18 – but only if there’s sufficient funding for CASA’s Voices for Children program. With local dollars, Voices for Children will match older foster-care youth with trained mentors who will help the teens become self-advocates, working with them to identify their needs, access services and voice their opinions.
Teen Speak: “Without my CASA in my life, I wouldn’t have made it as far,” Amber says. “Thanks to CASA, myself and other foster youth believe in ourselves.”
FRIENDS OF MONTEREY ACADEMY OF OCEANOGRAPHIC SCIENCE
Year Founded: 1994
Paid Staff: 1
THE BIG IDEA: Friends of Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science sums up its big idea in four words: technology today, success tomorrow. MAOS, located at Monterey High School, is moving students beyond the traditional setting – rows and rows of teens, working on assignment – and engaging them with real-world problems with the necessary technology to solve them. Its students learn from oceanographic experts, hands-on labs, field studies and internships. Last year it used Monterey County Gives! funding to expand its biotechnology lab and resource center. This year it wants to equip a student center with both hardware – computers, 3D scanners, 3D printers, DNA assaying instruments and interactive learning media – and software that prepares students for careers in science and technology.
Keeping Brain Power Local: “Many MAOS students return to the Monterey Peninsula to pursue careers after graduating from college. In addition, all MAOS students complete an 80-hour internship in the field of math or science, and many students return to the organization where they interned for a paid position upon graduating from college.”
FRIENDS OF THE SALINAS PUBLIC LIBRARY
Year Founded: 1978
Paid Staff: 0
THE BIG IDEA: Snappy, a leopard tortoise and a fiendish reader, is the mascot of the Salinas Public Library who wants every child in Salinas to love reading. He’s popular – more than a million hits online – and now that Snappy’s viral, he’s ready to go mobile. A $10,000 award from the National Council of Family Literacy bought the tortoise a Snappy Mobile; the Friends are asking the community to help Snappy buy gas and put his new wheels on the road. Your donation will help take Snappy to Natividad Medical Center, health clinics, community and day care centers and other places where children need his literacy activities.
Double Down: “My children have heard about Snappy, and they want the Snappy Mobile to visit Hebbron Family Center,” Salinas mom Laura Dominguez says. “They want to read more books.”
GIRLS INC. OF THE CENTRAL COAST
Year Founded: 1999
Paid Staff: 29
THE BIG IDEA: Beyoncé said it best: “Who run the world? Girls.” The trouble is, sometimes they don’t know it. Enter Girls Inc., which delivers a host of programs focusing on leadership and self-empowerment for girls. And now the nonprofit wants to start something new. The Strong, Smart and Bold Summer Camp is a two-week day camp, 8:30am-5pm, for girls ages 9 to 14 with sessions on topics including goal setting, being money wise, self-defense, having a positive body image, dealing with media and peer pressure, drug and alcohol use prevention, stress management and social skills. Girls also learn fun ways to stay healthy (may we suggest dancing to Beyoncé?). The camp’s goals: continue Girls Inc.’s programming into the summer months, reach girls outside the nonprofit’s usual service area, learn – and have fun.
Disrespect Us No They Won’t: “We used [last year’s Monterey County Gives! funds] to provide workshops for girls in our Smart Choices summer program on bullying and self-defense. The girls enjoyed participating in the activities and learned to be part of the solution.”
HARTNELL COLLEGE FOUNDATION
Year Founded: 1979
Paid Staff: 7
THE BIG IDEA: NASA is kind of a big deal. So is encouraging kids to do well in science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM). Hartnell’s NASA Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy program combines the two, providing K-12 student free access to STEM education through a hands-on NASA curriculum with state-of-the-art technology at the college’s Alisal campus. This nationwide project only has one location on the West Coast, and it’s right here in Monterey County. Its goal is to expose students to STEM at an early age and help them to overcome challenges – language barriers, access to technology, parental involvement and the like. This summer, about 1,000 kids attended the program. NASA funding allows Hartnell to reach a limited number of students, but it needs local money to cover the huge need in our community.
Satellite Learning: “This program serves as a pipeline to careers in science, technology engineering and math for low-income, under-represented students so they can achieve better lives for themselves, their families and the community.”
LITERACY CAMPAIGN FOR MONTEREY COUNTY
Year Founded: 2010
Paid Staff: 2
THE BIG IDEA: About 17,000 Monterey County kids, in kindergarten through third grade, do not read at grade level. Research shows that a child’s educational success is directly tied to the ability to read by the end of third grade. The Literacy Campaign plans to develop resources within the community to meet the needs of our youngest learners with its Read Together program. Local donations will fund outreach programs to engage the community and the more than 200 early-learning service providers countywide in a grade-level reading initiative. Its goal: bring the community together to chart a path for youngsters’ academic success. The Literacy Campaign also plans to hold a literacy summit, bringing together all area literacy-service providers to exchange ideas, in 2013.
Story Time: “The Literacy Campaign will serve as a hub in the community to facilitate collaboration and the pursuit of best practices and funding in support of literacy in our community.”
LOAVES, FISHES AND COMPUTERS
Year Founded: 2009
Paid Staff: 2
THE BIG IDEA: Loaves, Fishes and Computers is changing lives, one computer at a time. It has provided more than 600 computers to low-income folks in the community, and it’s asking for Tech Angels to help more families overcome the digital divide. For every $200 that LFC receives, it will provide a complete computer system to a low-income family with school-age children. This includes a one-year warrantied desktop with operating system and software, flat screen, keyboard and mouse. The funds will also support lunch and travel expenses ($15 per day) for volunteers, many of whom are currently unemployed and work with the nonprofit every day to gain job skills.
Angel Investors: “If you are a low-income family, elderly or disabled, then you are most likely unable to participate in today’s global society.”
MEDIA CENTER FOR ART, EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY (MCAET) FOUNDATION
Year Founded: 1984
Paid Staff: 1
THE BIG IDEA: The current educational system leaves behind thousands of youth who aren’t good at memorizing and testing. MCAET, a program of the Monterey County Office of Education, will soon offer another option for these kids: a state-of-the art multimedia, video production and performing arts school. The 14,000-square-foot facility, located in Salinas, includes two professional production studios, two control rooms, an audio-recording studio, computer classrooms and a radio station. Opening in fall 2013, free to Monterey County students, the Millennium Charter High School (MCHS) will train teens in visual and performing arts and digital media technologies education with a college preparatory curriculum. MCAET has raised $1.5 million to begin construction; it’s asking the community to help equip the school with studio-quality lighting systems, sound systems, HD video equipment, editing suites, HD cameras, dance floors, green screens and more. For every $1,000 received, MCHS will purchase lighting and sound design equipment to fully outfit the production studios as performance, recording and learning centers.
Calling Future Spielbergs: “It really hit home! He just made his first movie,” says MCAET participant mother Diana Croslin. “This is his passion. This opportunity was a godsend.”
MONTEREY COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & RURAL LIFE MUSEUM
Year Founded: 1982
Paid Staff: 4
THE BIG IDEA: King City’s MCARLM wants to implement a weekend reading and craft program for the park and museum’s young visitors, focusing on agricultural and rural life history. This program would consist of a set time each weekend in which a tour guide would read a book and lead kids through a craft project relating to its mission: disseminating knowledge about the history of farming, agriculture and related cultural services in the Salinas Valley and adjacent areas, and promoting interest through programs and education. Through Story Time at the Museum, MCARLM aims to instill an interest in the area’s heritage, and help increase literacy among local youth. But it can’t afford the program without local donations.
Day at the Museum: “Thank you for our tour,” Cappy Culver Elementary student Camryn says. “My favorite part was going to the old school. I am going to work in a museum.”
MONTEREY COUNTY YOUTH MUSEUM
Year Founded: 1997
Paid Staff: 13
THE BIG IDEA: About one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African-American and Latino communities, where nearly 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, says First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, a third of all kids born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. In partnership with Let’s Move!, MY Museum will host a series of classes (free with admission) called Movers & Shakers, where kids, parents and teachers can participate in classes and programs, learning fun ways to get moving. Though Yoga Fun, Zumba, Jazzercise, obstacle courses and more, kids of all ages, shapes and sizes will learn new ways to exercise.
Families that Play Together: “With childhood obesity rates at an all-time high and families stretched for quality time, MY Museum’s new Movers & Shakers program will provide an excellent way for families to have fun together.”
MUSEUM FOUNDATION OF PACIFIC GROVE, INC.
Year Founded: 2009
Paid Staff: 9
THE BIG IDEA: The migration of the Western monarch is endangered with total population sizes throughout the California Central Coast decreasing annually. To help restore the winged beauties to their former glory, the museum wants to launch a citizen science program. The Monarch Program would train middle school, high school and adult volunteers how to use numerical estimation techniques to count the monarchs in the Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary and collect other data such as information on the weather. To ensure consistent data collection, the museum would train participants on the data collection protocols already established by the Xerces Society. It would also transport sixth – through 12th-grade students to the monarch sanctuary to conduct this field research. Participants would then enter the data into a website for any scientist to freely utilize. The numbers would also inform tourists and residents on the current monarch count, ultimately encouraging people to visit the sanctuary.
Wings of Wonder: “The Monarch Citizen Science program would emphasize authentic hands-on learning experiences that inspire discovery and wonder while fostering stewardship of Monterey County.”
NATIONAL COALITION BUILDING INSTITUTE MONTEREY COUNTY
Year Founded: 1993
Paid Staff: 1
THE BIG IDEA: Most schools have multiple programs that work to reduce discrimination, encourage diversity and understanding and otherwise make campuses a better place to be for kids of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, etc. But – as in life – they’re often so busy doing their own thing that they’re unaware of the work being done by others. NCBI Generation Diversity 2.0, a leadership summit, aims to improve communication among groups and make all of them more effective by harnessing their collective energy in support of one major event. The nonprofit wants community support to help students at high schools with NCBI programs organize a leadership workshop that brings together student government, school clubs and sports and examine how they can make their schools more welcoming and safe for all. Possible activities include a Use Another Word campaign to eliminate the use of racist/sexist/homophobic words, International Awareness day, anti-bullying projects and more.
Daily Diversity: “NCBI taught me to be more aware of my environment and the diversity that is in it,” says My Pham, class of 2006. “I use what I learned from NCBI in my daily life.”
NATIONAL STEINBECK CENTER
Year Founded: 1998
Paid Staff: 21
THE BIG IDEA: The majority of high school students in the U.S. now graduate without the critical writing skills needed to succeed in college and the workforce. The Steinbeck Young Authors (SYA) Program addresses this need, helping between 2,000 and 4,000 Monterey County middle school students improve their writing skills each year, serving more than 20,000 students in the last decade. It starts with an in-class writing curriculum based on Steinbeck’s The Red Pony that builds self-esteem and encourages creative writing. Then 100 nominated students attend a Day of Writing at the National Steinbeck Center. Students compose an essay, meet one-on-one with writing coaches from the community, then edit, revise and submit their finished essays for judging. The awards ceremony acknowledges writers’ work at multiple skill levels, and the Gabilan Journal publishes all nominees’ work.
Winning: “I never thought I could win,” SYA winner Selene Rangel says. “Getting that award really boosted my confidence and made me feel like I could accomplish anything.”
Year Founded: 1983
Paid Staff: 49
Budget: $1.99 million
THE BIG IDEA: Some 6,000 youth leave the California foster care system at age 18 each year with no home and no support. These youth experience higher rates of homelessness, unemployment and incarceration than their peers. Peacock Acres provides housing, case management and life coaching to help foster youth transition successfully to independent adult life. The Peacock Express project, if funded, would allow Peacock Acres to acquire a van that would travel up and down the South County corridor, transporting foster youth and providing them with access to the educational support services such as the Learning Center at Peacock Acres, which provides mentoring and tutoring to Monterey County youth in foster care. The youth receive free tutoring, help with homework and mentoring, and also participate in field trips and art projects. Although youth from South County are eligible for services, they frequently lack transportation to get them to the center. A daily van to and from South County would reach more foster youth and contribute to their educational success.
Do Your Homework: “If I was at home right now, I probably would have stopped around question number three.” says Mario, a 16-year-old at the Learning Center.
RANCHO CIELO (RC)
Year Founded: 2000
Paid Staff: 15
THE BIG IDEA: Living in neighborhoods filled with drugs and gang violence, many young men in low-income communities say they expect to be dead or in jail by the time they are 25. In response, Rancho Cielo has developed programs that help disconnected youth learn job skills, earn a high school diploma and hope for a better future. Typically, only 40 percent of youth coming out of incarceration do not reoffend for one year; among RC youth that number jumps to 80 percent. RC graduates represent a 200-percent increase in positive outcomes for Monterey County at only 10 percent of the cost to incarcerate a juvenile for one year in a county jail. After losing two of its own students to gang violence within the last few months, RC says it was rudely reminded of its biggest gap in services: overnight safety. And with Monterey County’s 2012 crime rate on pace to surpass 2011’s, there’s a huge, urgent need for safe housing. Rancho Cielo has developed a master plan for an Independent Living Village: five transitional houses that will provide 30 young men with a safe place to call home. The nonprofit’s big idea is to furnish each housing unit and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Raising Hope: “Rancho Cielo helped me to become the person I always wanted to be, but didn’t know how to become,” says Kevin Onate, 2012 YouthBuild graduate.
SALINAS POLICE ACTIVITIES LEAGUE
Year Founded: 1991
Paid Staff: 0
THE BIG IDEA: Gang members recruit Salinas kids every day. Salinas PAL intercedes. It offers positive, free programs such as ballet, karate and the Salinas PAL Youth Leadership Council, and builds bonds between kids and cops, thus preventing crime. But the nonprofit has never had its own building. Renovating and rehabilitating the historic Salinas National Guard Armory for use as its home base would allow Salinas PAL to serve more than 3,000 Salinas youth annually and expand its free programs to include basketball, indoor soccer and a computer lab, just to name a few.
Police Academy: “Being part of PAL helped me develop leadership skills, personal responsibility, and strength, and gave me the courage to go far in life,” says Antoniette Turcotte.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MONTEREY
Year Founded: Incorporated 1998, opened 2001
Paid Staff: 46
THE BIG IDEA: ISM’s big idea – becoming an International Baccalaureate World School – carries over from last year (it’s a three-year process). In its second year of candidacy for the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), which covers grades K-5, and Middle Years Programme (MYP), which covers grades 6-8, the school will focus on refining its assessment practices to give kids meaningful feedback and show data-driven improvement for the free, open-enrollment school. All the while, ISM continues its project-based international curriculum and inquiry-based teaching and learning. It’s a big idea for the school, which offers smaller classes, specialists teaching Spanish and the arts and differentiated learning in the classroom that meets kids at their current ability. And becoming Monterey County’s first IB World School will be a big deal for the whole community.
Multicultural Studies: “International School makes it easy for students to feel at home,” ISM grad Sara Karaki says. “The school is a great environment for students who want a culturally diverse experience.”
LYCEUM OF MONTEREY COUNTY
Year Founded: 1960
Paid Staff: 3
THE BIG IDEA: The Lyceum opens doors to new areas of knowledge and turns on lights of insight and curiosity in the minds of highly motivated young people – more than 5,000 a year. It does this by providing academic programs and challenges that have been reduced, or completely cut, from most schools. It’s asking the community to support the Lyceum Enrichment Education Project, which funds the nonprofit’s major events: Monterey County Mock Trial, Spelling Bee, Model United Nations, History Day and the Lyceum Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP), which offers a variety of classes in arts, sciences and humanities. It also offers a summer program for middle-schoolers, and scholarships for more than 150 students who otherwise couldn’t afford the programs.
Lighting Minds: “Our program’s continued success will ensure that such a program exists beyond the regular school day and school year.”
OASIS CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL
Year Founded: 2001
Paid Staff: 24
THE BIG IDEA: Oasis Charter Public School in Salinas is asking the community to help educate Salinas Valley kids. Oasis’ K-8 curriculum is based on Constructivist learning theory, the belief that learning always builds upon knowledge that a student already knows. Based on students’ strengths, interests and curiosity, teachers create integrated-project-based lessons for their multi-age, multicultural classrooms, incorporating music, art, dance and drama. Through this nontraditional approach, children learn basic skills and a love of learning. This creates autonomous, inquisitive thinkers who question, investigate and reason – in other words, exactly the type of people we want in our community.
Building Blocks: “Oasis was a safe place I could grow and learn to be successful without the distractions of a large school.” says Mallory, a former Oasis student.
YOUTH ARTS COLLECTIVE
Year Founded: 2000
Paid Staff: 4
THE BIG IDEA: More than 60 students receive after-school visual arts mentoring, six days a week, four hours per day, year-round because of YAC. The nonprofit also exhibits art in at least 10 shows each year, and hosts events open to the public. It needs local donations to support its core program and provide more public outreach. New in 2013: YAC plans to host its second signature LiveArt event in the spring. It’s an entertaining night of live art-making, and offers a fresh, provocative venue for artists and musicians. YAC also wants to further weave the artist community into the YAC experience by continuing its artists/mentors in residence, Andrew Jackson and Jim Dultz, as well as hosting informal talks and workshops with visiting artists as it did in 2012 with painter David Ligare and printmaker Jennifer Anderson.
YAC’s the Inspiration: “YAC continues to be a source of support and inspiration in my life and my art, even as an adult,” says YAC alumni Logan Parsons.
: : DONATE ONLINE now until midnight Dec. 31, 2012 : : www.montereycountygives.com