Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition Pedal Power Program

In partnership with multiple area educational organizations, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition offers the Pedal Power program for children ages 10 to 16. A sort of “driver’s ed” for cyclists, the program teaches children how to operate their bikes safely on city streets and share roadways with cars. Lessons include signaling intentions to other bikers and drivers, as well as basic bike handling skills. Students also have the opportunity to explore bike mechanics and learn how to care for their own bicycles.

After children understand the basics of maneuvering on a bike, they can explore Santa Barbara together through guided field trips that give them practical, firsthand experience. Pedal Power ultimately aims to give children the skills and confidence they need to get around the city on a bicycle.

For students using their own bikes, Pedal Power teachers provide a checklist to ensure that the bicycle is in proper working order and that no components need to be fixed or replaced. Participants who do not yet have their own bikes have the chance to earn a refurbished bicycle from the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition Bici Centro project when they finish the course.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Lotusland Fourth-Grade Outreach and Education Program

 As part of its work to preserve the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska, Lotusland cares for a unique array of plants and elaborate gardens. The organization seeks to recognize the importance of plants in the daily lives of humans and nonhumans alike. Keeping education as a central focus, Lotusland invites all fourth-grade classes in southern Santa Barbara County, California, to participate in an environmental outreach program that ties directly into life science lessons taught as part of the public school curriculum.

The educators at Lotusland work closely with each school to design an educational program that will meet the expectations of teachers and engage students. Schools incur no cost by participating in the program, which includes classroom presentations on basic concepts of botany followed by tours of Lotusland. The latter half of the program emphasizes hands-on learning experiences that reinforce the lessons taught in the classroom. As students leave Lotusland, each receives a succulent plant and instructions on how to care.                            

Friday, April 10, 2015

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities at Storyteller Children’s Center

 Located in Santa Barbara, California, Storyteller Children’s Center offers early childhood education for at-risk and homeless youth at no cost. In addition, the organization provides a wide range of support services for the families of these children. The center relies on the teachers and volunteers to keep its programs running. Volunteers can use their skills in a wide range of positions, from hands-on work with children to committee positions and other leadership opportunities.

Many volunteers choose to work directly with children served by the center. These high-risk children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years require individualized attention to help increase their development. Other volunteers engage children with reading and writing exercises in English and Spanish during story time. Volunteers also encourage creative development by guiding children through various art projects.

Working with Storyteller provides individuals with the opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of children in their community. Those interested in volunteering can learn more at StorytellerCenter.org.