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Invest in a world where everyone receives an education.
About the project
In this HUD housing project at Rancho Sespe, surrounded by farmland, parents are often away at work and kids have no transportation to other outlets for enrichment or entertainment. The summer program has heightened students' motivation to learn and has given the kids a sense of purpose in their lives.
How we help
Rancho Sespe is a shining light among Full-Circle Learning projects for its consistency and the way in which it has shaped the culture of a community over a generation. This project relies largely on the Mona grant largely for its sustainability. We are very grateful for past support and urge future support for this project, which serves children from preschool to high school as well as teachers who need summer jobs.
Support of the Rancho Sespe summer program changes lives. Kids of migrant workers who’ve grown up at Rancho Sespe and observe the positive effects of the summer school on their community often serve as volunteers throughout their high school years. They learn to aspire to greater things in their own lives and desire to see their community change for the better.
The Full Circle Learning curriculum used at Rancho Sespe supports students to become the helpers and healers of their communities. The summer program helps them academically and to meaningfully contribute to their community. The goal is that students will resist gang life, appreciate differences and become ambassadors of goodwill and peace. Students develop a vocabulary and a repertoire of strategies that help them practice habits associated with positive character and leadership (such as honesty, open-mindedness, forgiveness and humility) and to apply them in interpersonal and community-based applications.
Field trips and supplies help teachers customize the program each year and afford learners opportunities to broaden their horizons and explore meaningful opportunities for service. For example, this year, they had a chance to learn how their knowledge of earthquakes can help them save lives and how their paintings of the universe compare with the farsighted, telescopic views presented to them at a university’s astronomy department. Each unit expands their access to meaningful education and participation in community transformation, in ways they do not experience during the school year.
This year’s buses traveled greater distances than last year due to the inclusion of the observatory, where the students presented pictures they had painted about farsightedness and learned valuable lessons about science and inventions are improving our world.
At the senior center, they presented memory books for photos as part of their earthquake preparedness project, having seen how children in our wisdom-exchange school in Africa helped with cholera prevention and how their compatriots in Haiti learned to install hurricane clips last. They enjoyed hypothetical “rescues” of guest presenter Rainn Wilson and another visitor during their earthquake drill. The final humanitarian project helped them teach the importance of clean beaches for humans and wildlife. Reading projects helped them explore biology, history, and geology. Parents of the youngest children receive read-aloud books and guidance assisting their preschools.
Rancho Sespe provides a “home living opportunity” for families working in the agricultural area surrounding Fillmore and Piru, California. Sugey Lopez, long-time site director of the Full-Circle Learning Summer School, describes the initiative as a chance “to help the children of low-income families by providing a program that would keep the children on the right path while also being able to give back to the community themselves.”
Indeed, they just keep giving back, year after year. A visit to their mastery ceremony brings tears to the eyes as the parents universally attend, potluck dishes in hand, year after year, and the children showcase the service projects they have implemented, integrating character strengths with new academic learning, for the benefit of the human family and of all living things.
Each class conducts its own age-appropriate academic activities in the context of a habit-of-heart unit, culminating in a joint field trip at the end of the week. The projects lead students from personal to community transformation. For example, children as young as three learned about civic-mindedness through science experiments with water and then explored the importance of laws that protect the ocean. They practiced service when they visited the ocean to remove oil cans and other foreign objects from the beach.
As the students continue reading, conducting experiments, drawing and singing through their intensive summer school with the intention of applying their skills to improve the community, they recharge a sense of purpose that informs their school-year motivation as well as their current and future character development. For this reason, each class has a name. The youngest students go by the name of Peacemakers. The elementary school students are called the Rebuilders (as they specialize in how to rebuild connections that create peace); and the students of middle-school age and beyond call themselves Ambassadors. They become emblems of positive change in the community and leaders in mastering the habits-of-heart.
Hi my name is Axel Aguilar and I am 8 years old. I have been part of Full-Circle Learning since I was a peacemaker. What I looked forward to the most this year was learning more things. This year what I learned about is humanitarianism, farsightedness, and vision seeking. The habit of heart that stood out to me the most was humanitarianism because it means helping people and caring about them. The program has helped me be a better person because I help lots of people. I help my mom and dad carry the grocery bags and I also help my sister with her homework. The thing I liked the most was making art, learning and going on field trips.
Hello, my name is Jacqueline Arevalo and I am 12 years old. This year was my first year attending Full-Circle Learning. My thoughts about the program is that it is a good way for kids to get distracted and away from electronics. The thing that I looked forward to the most was arts and crafts and having lots of fun. Learning about the different habits of heart have helped me to be more reasonable and help others before coming to this summer I didn't know what being a humanitarian was, until I learned about it here. //
My favorite habit of heart to learn to learn about was humanitarianism because there is hardly people who take the time to help others. Before, my mom would tell me to go and help a person who we saw needed help and I didn't want to. Now I know the importance of being a humanitarian and helping others. What I liked about this year was learning new things that I didn't know about and the meaning behind each arts and crafts. For example, the sea shell cards were fun, but also important for the elderly. I also enjoyed fields trips because they were fun and exciting. I am excited and look forward to coming back next year.
2018 project goals
Meet the educational needs of the students (service learning projects, learning supplies, nutrition), $1,140
Provide operational support (Teachers, Assistants, Program Support), $14,820.