Building Confidence and Motivation Through a Kayaking Coastal Adventure

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To kick off spring, our Outdoor Explorers heading to Sausalito Bay for a beautiful day kayaking on the water. Participants were joined by Environmental Traveling Companion (ETC) guides and Earth Team Outdoor Adult Mentors.

Participants will all first-time kayakers, and a few of them were a bit nervous. After getting quality training and safety instruction from ETC Guides they were feeling a bit more prepared and ready to face their fears.

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Everyone was on a two-person kayak, and each couple was made up of students that attend different high schools. Having to work together to paddle was a great way for our interns to get to know one another!

As the group paddled along, guides and mentors informed the students about the surrounding area. The group learned about some of the native fauna and flora, the native history of the site and how native cultures are still active today, and the history of kayaking.

During lunch, the group stopped at a small beach for a beach clean up and team building exercises. By this time, the group was a lot more comfortable with each other and the whole kayaking experience.

Post-survey results showed that after participating on this trip…

80% of youth felt more confident in themselves

80% of youth felt a greater sense of belonging to the coastline

100% of youth felt more motivated to try new things

Thank you to ETC and our Outdoor Explorers Adult Mentors for making the trip such a wonderful experience!

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE 

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A Weekend Of Women’s Empowerment – Exploring California’s Coastline

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For the first time, our Outdoor Explorers Program lead an all female-identifying overnight kayaking trip to Santa Cruz. The weekend was filled with memorable coastal experiences along the shoreline. Participants learned how to set up camp, visited a marine sanctuary, went on a nighttime beach walk, heard from park rangers, and lastly kayaked through Santa Cruz Harbor.

More than ever participants felt empowered and inspired by the group itself. With an all-female leadership team, the young ladies had mentors to look up to. Students reflected feeling empowered by seeing such strong women in leadership positions.

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Many of the participants were nervous about being around all girls, but after some time passed, they reflected that this cohort made them feel accepted, loved, valued more than they ever have felt before.

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The vibes were great throughout the trip, and the adventure and thrill of kayaking just made everything better. All of our participants were first-time sea-kayakers, and many of them were very nervous to be in an open body of water. With support from each other, every student pushed through the uncertainty and had a blast out on the water.

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This weekend was a great way for these young women to connect with the coastline, each other, adult mentors, and themselves.

Check out what they had to say about the trip! 

“I really enjoyed this trip. I experienced a bunch of firsts during this trip like the first time camping and the first time kayaking and the first time in Santa Cruz. I had so much fun and this was such an amazing group to go with. I hope I’ll get to go back sometime in the future” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

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Cece (left) and Leilana (right) enjoying beach time together.

“I enjoyed how the trip turned out. It was a very empowering experience for all of us especially since we had a group of strong females and strong female leaders. I loved the fact that we helped each other out and had fun. I really enjoyed everything that happened this trip and I would love to do it again. I’m very thankful. There is nothing I would change and my favorite part was spending time with everyone.” – Leilana, Outdoor Explorer

“Overall, I feel like this trip was an opportunity for personal growth. Being able to challenge myself and knowing I had the support of the group to do it is really what ultimately pushed me to take risks that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At first, I didn’t think having an all-girls group would mean or change much, but when we got to the kayaking place and I saw the male instructors I could feel a shift in my emotions that let me know how great the effects of being surrounded by powerful women all weekend had been. All of the volunteers/chaperones were very inviting and felt more like older wiser siblings than just supervisors. I really enjoyed this trip and will cherish the memories and friendships I formed forever.” – Gracy, Outdoor Explorer

I absolutely loved this trip! It really got me thinking about how we should really limit our trash for the ocean. I made new friends too that I absolutely love! Kayaking was just a plus it was really nice to experience kayaking in the ocean. And it was great seeing all us women do all of the “manly” things ourselves #wedontneednomen!” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

“I think this is a really amazing trip. I learned a lot of things that I never knew before. And also in this trip help me get over my fear of water after I felt down the water. So this is a memorable trip.” – My, Outdoor Explorer

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June (left) and My (right) posing for their beach pic!

“I enjoyed the trip a lot. I’ve learned a lot: self-care, setting up tent, team-working, communicating, and kayaking. I felt more mature after the trip. Kayaking becomes my favorite thing. The adults in the team have empowered and inspired me to become a more independent and strong woman. Thank you so much for planning and carrying out this event. It’s been a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next trip.” – June, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a lot of fun on this trip meeting and bonding with everyone. I was nerves at first to come but I’m glad I did because it has been memorable. Even though I seemed to have bad luck on this trip It was a really great experience overall.” – Isabella, Outdoor Explorer

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Allison enjoying the ocean waves! 

“I had an amazing time with everyone the volunteers were the best. This trip helps me realize that females are very powerful and could do amazing things and make everyone feel included and not be embarrassed. The vibe and trust and bonding reminded me why I go on these trips.” – Allison, Outdoor Explorer

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Guadalupe taking a stroll on the beach. 

“The kayaking trip was amazing it was a wonderful experience. I would do it again. I had an amazing day with people I knew and with the new faces I met and talked to. I also liked how we were all girls and we were helping each other out and taking care of one another. This trip was fun, and peaceful since it gave me space to think and talk to people about college and other personal stuff. Love the communication and how we trust one another! Hope to go again and learn more about kayaking!” – Guadalupe, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was an experience like no other. The ambiance was amazing being able to relax and hang out with other females. I am very appreciative towards you and our other mentors and fellow interns. It’s going to be something I’ll never forget” – Diana, Outdoor Explorer

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Leilana (left), Ahriyana (middle) and Guadalupe (right) practicing paddling and communicating with one another! 

“I really enjoyed the trip. Kayaking was easier and not as scary as I expected. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I also hope to do it again.” – Ahriyana, Outdoor Explorer

“It was great and had a lot of fun meeting new people and hanging out there” – Arlette, Outdoor Explorer


Special thank you to Kayak Connections for providing our team with excellent instructors and all the kayaking gear we needed to get our youth out on the water! 

Shout out to our volunteers, Sadie, Andrea and Analucia for being so fabulous! You were great additions to the team and we can’t wait to have you back! 

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Volunteers Sadie (left) and Andrea (right) paddling through Santa Cruz Harbor 
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Volunteer Analucia enjoying the Santa Cruz sunshine! 

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE 

Challenge at China Camp State Park – A Mountain Biking Adventure!

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On Cesar Chavez Day, a group of our outdoor explorers joined together to spend their day off school charging up mountains and souring down hills at China Camp State Park. The team was accompanied by Trips for Kids Marin, who provided incredible staff and high-quality bikes to support the ride.

The team was faced with a lot of physical challenge, matched with a lot of adrenaline and thrill. Students pushed themselves, took breaks when they know they needed it, and overall learned a lot about what they are capable of.

A total of seven high schools were represented, with participants coming from all over the East Bay Area. Students had a blast getting to know one another and reconnect with some people they have met on previous trips. Overall, the trip was amazing and we are excited to go on another one soon!

Hear from what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about the day! 

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“I enjoyed this mountain biking trip very much. I had such an amazing experience of mountain biking for the first time and meeting new interns from other schools. It’s great to meet people who do the same things as me and have fun with them. Being out in nature also gave me a sense of liberty, and I got to have a thrilling ride at the same time. These trips bring excitement to me, and I left this one wanting to go back.” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

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“I learned that mountain biking is harder than it seems, but it’s very fun. I got really dirty, but I didn’t mind it felt cool like it shows we put in work. Id do this again it was fun” – William, Outdoor Explorer

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“Today, I went mountain biking and met a couple of new people. It was nice getting to know everyone while we were biking in the mountains. I’ve learned lots of new things while having fun with the most amazing people. I’ve learned new biking techniques specifically for riding mountains, and I’ve learned that no matter how challenging things may get, I will always get through it. Mountain biking was definitely a challenge and something I’ve never done before, but in the end, I’ve conquered it.” – Kyla, Outdoor Explorer

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“Today I had a great time mountain biking. It was my first time doing something like that, and I had so much fun. There where times where I had a hard time riding the bike up hills but I told myself that I could do anything, so I kept going until I was comfortable riding the bike again. I met so many amazing people, and I even became friends with some of them. Everyone was always supportive, and that kept me from not giving up easily when I felt like I couldn’t ride the bicycle anymore. Mountain biking was a great experience, and I would definitely do it again someday so I would like to thank everyone for everything.” – Norma, Outdoor Explorer

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“Today was super fun I was able to meet new people and enjoy something that seemed terrifying at the moment. I met amazing and motivating people.” -Diana, Outdoor Explorer

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“ I always figured those people zipping by on trails spraying mud on me had to be having a lot of fun. I was right.” – Rocky, Outdoor Explorer

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“I really liked going on the trip because I had lots of fun and met cool people and I’d love to go on another Mountain Biking trip.” – Bradley, Outdoor Explorer

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“I really enjoyed being able to make new friends and learning how to bike better. This really helped me get my mind off things, and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me be able to experience this.” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

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“I really liked this trip because I was able to see China Camp for the first time & absolutely loved it, will be coming back with Richmond Composite. Thank you for allowing me to come!” – Daphne, Outdoor Explorer

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The trip was super duper fun, the people there were amazing. 10/10 would do this again.” – Jeremy, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to Trips for Kids Marin and China Camp State Park! We had a wonderful day and are so excited for future trips!

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ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE

How Did Being By The Coast Make You Feel?

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This past weekend, our Outdoor Explorers took to Point Reyes National Seashore for a communal coastal experience. The group enjoyed lunch, solo time, and team building activities on the beach. Pre/post survey results showed 93% of students felt an increase in their relationship with the coast and/or a strong sense of belonging to the coastline after participating on this trip.

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Hear from our Outdoor Explorers on how the beach makes them feel! 

“I liked being at the beach and finding rocks. It was pretty fun being on the coast” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“Relaxed and at ease” – William, Outdoor Explorer

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“It made me feel at one with nature” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt closer to nature and good positive energy” – Julius, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel happy & it gave me a sense of belonging” Marianna, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt very calm and relaxed” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

“It was soothing, just staring at the ocean and hearing it” – Ashly, Outdoor Explorer

“I was very relaxed while I was sitting at the beach. I did not feel stressed and all my worries flowed away like the ocean waves. The beach waves were beautiful and peaceful” – Hillary, Outdoor Explorer

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“Good, it was really relaxing” – Munachi, Outdoor Explorer

“I haven’t been to the beach in a bit so I really enjoyed it” – Katheline, Outdoor Explorer

“I liked seeing the ocean, it made me feel happy” – Jaiden, Outdoor Explorer

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“It made me feel inspired” – Carson, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel relaxed, I wouldn’t mind doing it again.” – Ayden, Outdoor Explorer

“It was really calming” – Andrew, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to the California State Coastal Conservancy for helping us provide coastal experiences for our youth. We and the students appreciate you immensely! 

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RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE 

Bonding through Challenges and Coastal Views

A35AEB38-0829-4870-B5DD-7049D0890DA4This past weekend, a team of eighteen outdoor explorers braved the rainy morning and set out on a coastal hike along Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Participants were lead by Point Reyes National Seashore Association staff Brandon and Isaac, who were extremely knowledgable about the area and great “tour guides.”

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The team met up at the BART station from all over the Bay Area. Unfortunately, BART had a system-wide shut down which complicated students morning plans but together the group stayed positive and kept a solutions mindset. While staff drove to opposite sides of the bay to pick up stranded students, the group was able to play lots of icebreakers and get to know one another. We headed out a bit later than planned, but it ended up working out great. Right as we arrived at Point Reyes the clouds separated and the sun came through, welcoming us to explore our coastline.

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Many of our participants experienced hiking for the very first time, with many other students paying their first visit to Point Reyes. The group participated in team-building trail games throughout the hike and slugged their way through big puddles and mud. Throughout our walk, we even got to see Tule Elk and learn about the history of conservation efforts in the area. Before no time we were on the beach breaking for lunch!

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Participants had some free time on the beach, and most of them used it for solo time. After relaxing, the group joined together again for an “active” game that required students to sprint across the sand! It was a blast getting to play games together and get closer as a team.

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On the way back to the vans, the students participated in a solo-hike where they were asked to reflect on their experience and what about the day they can take home with them. It was great to escape the city and the rain, and our team was sure great for the opportunity.

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Upon arriving back to the van, the group was presented with yet another challenge. This one indeed took teamwork to overcome. Both of our 15-passenger vans were stuck in the mud and required all hands on deck to be pushed out. While this wasn’t ideal, it ended up being a great bonding activity, and it took no time before we were laughing about it together.

Check out what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about the day!

“I really like the Point Reyes trip, I really liked the hiking, the people there, our guides were awesome too and I had a lot of fun being there getting muddy. I found it a great opportunity to just get out there and go somewhere I’ve never been too. I plan to visit it again for the hike and all the sights to see it was great.” – Eduardo, Outdoor Explorer

“I think that this trip was a great experience and it really helped me to relax since I didn’t have to think of any of life’s stresses while I was there. It was super fun and the little games we played were fun as well. Overall I had an amazing time and am looking forward to more trips.” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

“I enjoyed the trip very much and it was an eye-opening experience. I’m glad I got to make relationships with other Earth Team interns and meet new people who have a passion for the same things as me. Being in nature and going to the beach made me feel at one. I’m glad to have been able to go on this trip, and I am excited about the upcoming trips.” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

“Today was a relaxing and nice day. It was nice to be away from technology and the modern way of living. I enjoyed being out in the outdoors.” – Elly, Outdoor Explorer

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“I enjoyed going to the beach and finding those cool rocks. I had a lot of fun today on this trip.” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“Although it was rainy at first and when we got there the sun was coming out which made me more excited to hike. The hike up was muddy but fun!! I got to meet a lot of the other kids and it was cool to get to talk to them while on the hike. The beach was pretty, I found some cool rocks and a seashell and it was really beautiful. Walking back to the van was tiring but very fun the view was really beautiful and I got to hang out with my friends which was fun” – Kathy, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a great time today on the hike at Point Reyes. I was prepared for the worst because I brought multiple jackets and raincoats but I was happy that we ended up with pretty perfect weather. I really liked that we got to see the elk and I’m pretty sure I saw a whale tale which is pretty cool. Overall it was super fun and I have a new place on my list of favorite places to hike. Also, I got the experience of pushing a van out of the mud which I’d never done before.”  – Jaiden, Outdoor Explorer

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“I thought that this trip was overall a really fun experience. It was fun to get dirty and wet from all of the huge puddles and mud. I really liked going to the beach because it was very calming. I think that I bonded more with the people on this trip. I really liked our tour guides. They were really nice and fun to talk to. The hike itself was a challenge at times especially going uphill. I liked that this trip challenged me to push myself outside of my comfort zone and have fun” – Andrew, Outdoor Explorer

“This was simultaneously the worst and best experience of my life. I enjoyed the hike because I got some exercise but it was extremely uncomfortable to have my shoes filled with water, mud, and sand. Next time I plan on having better shoes” – Kaitlin, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a really good time hiking in point Reyes today. I learned more about the natural history as well as the beauty of Point Reyes itself. While I really enjoyed speaking to new people around me from different schools, sometimes I think nature it best taken and absorbed at one’s own pace. Being in a group can be sort of challenging with multiple stops. I will definitely be returning to point Reyes as soon as I can” – Ariana, Outdoor Explorer

“The hike was a cool experience. It was way cooler being in a muddy environment, despite my shoes and socks getting soaked.” – Carson, Outdoor Explorer

“I thought this trip was pretty good, I had a good time with the games we did and appreciated all the food you bought us. Even though the whole Bart thing messed up our schedules overall this was a good experience and I look forward to my next trip” – Ayden, Outdoor Explorer

“I learned about hiking today because I finally got to do it. I met new people and talking to them was nice. The entire experience was very calming and I had fun.” – William, Outdoor Explorer

“I enjoyed the Point Reyes Hiking Trip. Despite my feet getting a couple of blisters, I really enjoyed the hike because I was able to befriend a couple of interns and experience hiking for the first time. I felt at peace and relaxed, especially while I was at the beach. I didn’t have any worried thoughts.” – Hillary, Outdoor Explorer

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“I wish I would have experienced hiking in the rain but it was fun. I enjoyed going back to Point Reyes” – Ashly, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was unexpectedly fun. I had a great time bonding with my friends. My favorite part of the trip was the bonding game we played while walking up the hill. I enjoyed this game because it allowed me to connect with people that I did not know and people from my school whom I know but do not talk to. Overall, the trip was great, and I want to sign up for the Tahoe Trip.” – Munachi, Outdoor Explorer

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“Overall the hiking was really an amazing experience. I was able to establish closer relationships with my friends and establish new acquaintances with the other fellow interns from other schools. Also, I was able to feel a new sense of energy when I was exposed to nature. It definitely fun and I enjoyed the food that was provided. Thank you so much!” – Julius

“I had a very nice, relaxing and bonding time, I made connections and look forward to the next trip” – Marianna, Outdoor Explorer

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RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE 

 

Riding into the New Year, Mountain Biking at China Camp State Park!

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Earth Team youth welcomed in the new year with a mountain biking trip with Trips for Kids Marin. The winter sun came out for a beautiful trip to China Camp State Park.

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The day started with everyone getting equipped with the proper gear for the day. Helmets, gloves, and bikes were on and soon after the team started learning bike basics and going through equipment checks to ensure a safe ride. The group followed up their biking basics clinic with a few practice rounds around the parking lot.

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Before no time, the group was off on the trail, enjoying the beautiful scenery of China Camp State Park. Participants did a fantastic job picking up mountain biking, and Trips for Kids Marin staff commended them for their coachability.

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For lunch, the group stopped off at a bayfront where they confronted a recently past shark body on the beach. A few students were particularly fascinated with this rare site and spent the rest of their stay on the beach searching for more critters and wildlife.

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After fueling up with some packed lunches, the group tested their communications skills in a group activity. Individuals worked in small groups utilizing each other’s senses to complete a simple task along the shoreline. Students reflected that the game was a great way to emphasize how important and complicated communication can be, and it was also an excellent way for everyone to get to know each other a little bit better.

Overall, the youth had a great time exploring nature and experiencing a new outdoor activity. Climbing hills were tough, and we all are a little bit sore, but it was unanimous that this collective adventure was worth every challenging moment. All participants expressed a desire to bike again in the near future!

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Thank you Trips for Kids Marin for providing such welcoming and knowledgable staff! We had a great day biking with you!

Please support our efforts to get youth outdoors by donating to Earth Team today! DONATE HERE

Alhambra High Closes the Year Strong

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Last Thursday, Alhambra High Earth Team closed the year stronger then ever.  This team has been faced with many challenges this semester and has over came all of them.  They are the smallest earth team within the program, yet one of the strongest.  An all female team, each young lady has had to step up to the plate taking on more responsibility to account for the smaller team, and each one of them succeeded with flying colors.  The team continued to engage the San Pablo community raising awareness about the many effects of litter on our bay, reaching over 1,600 peers in the community and their own campus in the second semester alone.  In addition to the increase in awareness and education, the team was able to prevent nearly 17,000 pieces of litter from entering the local watersheds and harming our Bay habitats and wildlife.  All interns have developed tremendously as professionals and can speak about their project to the public with ease and grace.

In celebration of all of their hard work, the interns were awarded certificates of achievement by their program coordinator, Jordan DeSilva, and Earth Team board president, Michele Korpos.  Seniors were decorated with green Earth Team cords to wear during graduation, and the team spent the afternoon enjoying the near by Martinez Marina and reflecting on their many great experiences throughout the semester.  There is no doubt that these humans will continue to enact change in the communities that they thrive in.

LEADERSHIP | STEWARDSHIP | SERVICE

Interns Present to the San Pablo City Council

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With the year coming to an end, our Alhambra High interns were eager to present their accomplishments to the San Pablo City Council.  Joined by three other teams that were focusing their efforts in the San Pablo/Richmond area, our interns were able to paint a story of the outcomes all their hard work produced.  Shradha Shakya, a junior at Alhambra High, spoke to the council about the goals the team had set for the semester and their allignment with the City’s Complete Green Streets Project. Arianna Aguilera, a senior at Alhambra High, followed speaking to the council about the many methods the team used to engage the community in their efforts to reduce waste and continued to use data to prove to the council how effective community engagement can be in reducing litter.  Dhzyia Miller-Ford, a senior as well, closed the presentation by speaking on the many methods the team has developed to reduce waste both in the Rumrill Blvd. community and on their own campus and the challenges the team overcame when planning for each event.

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After the presentation it was clear the interns were feeling energized and proud.  Each council member made an effort to thank the students for their hard work and dedication.  It is through experiences like these that our students draw their inspiration, and the communities we work in realize the power of the youth.

Over 7,000 Pieces of Litter Removed During Rumrill Community Clean Up

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Earth Day weekend was a successful one for Earth Team interns across the East Bay. Youth from Richmond, Martinez, and Oakland came together joined by many members of the Rumrill community, to reduce litter in the area, that is known to be harming wildlife, polluting water resources, and destroying habitat.

Alhambra High interns led the event flawlessly, giving speeches to the crowd about the work they have been doing to reduce litter and guiding nearly 100 participants through a litter clean up.  Elizabeth White, a representative of CA EPA, joined the interns to speak to the crowd about the ways they can make a change and future opportunities in the STEM field for upcoming professionals.  Amanda Booth, Environmental Program Analyst for the City of San Pablo, came out to support the event and help lead participants safely through the clean up.  In just one hour, the group of 92 collected 7,190 pieces of litter.  Prizes were given to the group that collected the most litter and LPS Richmond Band played a delightful set to round off the celebration.

Alhambra High interns spent weeks preparing for the day, and can proudly say they have planned and executed a community event.  Event space was donated by Mac Arthur Community Baptist Church, and long time advocate for the Rumrill community, and generous donations were given by Murphy Flooring, Subway, Trader Joe’s, Pizza My Heart, and Patagonia.  With out these donations and the support of the community this event would not have been what it was.

Here is a reflection from Rebecca Jochum about the day:

“From this experience I learned that you should never procrastinate, and we as a whole, did not. I also learned that public speaking is very difficult and scary. Lastly, I learned that you should not procrastinate on preparation and studying.

Overall I had one major challenge, preparation. I am an on the spot and wing-it type of person but this project involved lots of preparation and planning. During this project I needed to overcome this part of me, I needed my team for that part. They taught me that winging it is good occasionally, but readiness is always better. My team taught me great skills that I will always remember in the future.

My overall favorite part of the day was near the end. My favorite part was the communities input and cooperation during this event. I loved when we all got back from making a difference in the community and then we all talked. The community gave us their opinions and we are using them to make a difference. My favorite part of Earth Day was the sharing of ideas and the connecting that we did as a whole community. I also enjoyed working with my team to create that event, to bring the community together, and connect as a whole.”

LEADERSHIP | STEWARDSHIP | SERVICE