On August 14, 2016, Center for Farmworker Families joined with two other organizations, Food Empowerment Project and Belinda Schmahl Science, at the Oaxacan shed to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Lauren Ornelas, Executive Director of Food Empowerment Project and her staff did an amazing job of collecting school backpacks and supplies from drop-off locations all over the Bay Area. Belinda Schmahl, Ellen Hilbrich and their science team brought a variety of fascinating age-appropriate science experiments/activities to share with farmworker children in the shed parking lot on tables supplied by our Admin. Assistant, Julio Molina.
Farmworker children from all over Central California came to the site and lined up to receive school supplies and engage in science activities. Over 300 farmworker children and family members participated in the event, and over 200 backpacks plus school supplies were passed out to the children, ages pre-school through high school. Once the children received the school supplies, they could choose to participate in science activities at any one of several tables. Whereas we expected the event to last less than two hours, there was so much demand and enthusiasm for science activities that the day extended well into the afternoon.
Children engaged in experiments with electricity, chemistry, physics, and biology. Many asked probing questions of the scientists hosting the experiments at each table. As the children moved from one table to the next, they began talking among themselves about science as they related the experiments to themselves, their homes and the world-at-large.
The backpack/school supply distribution/science fair offers children the materials that they need to be academically successful while validating the importance of education in the Slug Tutoring Program. UCSC now supplies student mentors and tutors to farmworker children needing academic assistance of any kind. The assistance is only a small part of the benefit garnered from the relationship between UCSC tutors and their tutees. The children have an opportunity to work with academically successful young people who act as role models for their own lives. Without the competent organization of the Slug Tutoring Program by admin. assistants, Julio Molina and Diane Flores in matching farmworker student tutees with UCSC tutors, the program would not be possible, and the children of farmworkers would miss out on an opportunity to develop a new, inspiring vision for their lives by pursuing an education.
How You Can help:
Donate materials. If you have clothing, baby diapers in all sizes, baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, rice, beans, shampoo, bath soap, laundry detergent and dish soap, you want to donate , please fill out please fill out our donation form, located at the bottom of the Community Shed page.
One-Time and Monthly Donations. This helps us make sure we can keep the Community Shed stocked every month, so we can continue to offer the tutoring program, and to continue to raise awareness about these issues. You can make a monthly donatation here.