This fall, our intergenerational community co-learners (K-12 student participants, undergraduate facilitators, graduate student coordinators, faculty project leaders, and partnering educators) worked across in-person and virtual contexts to connect and learn with one another while carefully adhering to safety guidelines for preventing viral spread. It has been a challenging but rewarding first term of in-person programming for our community youth who have experienced so much since March 2020. Students and educators across K-20 contexts are making up for the remote isolation that so many of us experienced.
CBL “college buddies” worked and learned alongside their young co-learners at the Goleta Boys and Girls Club, Harding Elementary School, the McEnroe Reading Family Services, and Santa Barbara Junior High School as they engaged in both hands-on exploration and various related literacy activities. As I visited group sites, I saw active engagement across all co-learners as they read, viewed, and explored with focused attention on key concepts and issues like the importance of our kelp forests in the Channel Islands. Overall, it was a very successful start towards coming back together, giving me hope that a bright light awaits us at the end of this pandemic tunnel.
Within this issue, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about CBL projects and programs that took place this fall as well as the various ways we engaged in community efforts to support the basic needs of students and families facing our local housing crisis. You will also learn about our efforts to engage in a Native American Heritage Retrospective, one that honors the truth about the past and is contextualized within the language of love and understanding. Our team has also offered ideas for holiday activities to do with family and friends over the coming break, and our undergraduate students, who represent various cultures, share some of their own holiday traditions. I hope you enjoy this issue and I wish you a wonderful holiday season! -Dr. D
LEAFY/NNY Goleta Boys & Girls Club
This quarter we were excited to return to the Goleta Boys & Girls Club in person! In addition to restarting our hands-on environmental literacies program, LEAFY, we also adapted our remote program Nature Near You, which began as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, our expert facilitator Estefanía shares videos of explorations of diverse natural spaces throughout California. Students ranging from 6 to 12 years old participate in both NNY, experiencing these spaces, and LEAFY, building hands-on literacies related to gardening and reflection on relationships with the local environment and issues of sustainability. Through this work, we have also challenged a diverse group of undergraduate facilitators to take on leadership roles planning and delivering activities. This has allowed youth to form bonds with undergraduate peers, and further the strong connection between UCSB and the surrounding community.
We assist Harding Elementary students in designing and building a planter for a pollinator of their choice. Key goals of SEED are guiding students through the process of building these containers, while integrating a curriculum that involves engineering solutions and pollination/pollinators. Through this project students have the opportunity to work hands-on, expanding their knowledge beyond the classroom; creating a more impactful experience. We find that the youth are more engaged in activities when they are allowed to provide their own creative input like designing their own pallets, and decorating their name tags.
The Reading Clinic/Critical Reading Assessment Project
This quarter we were able to bring students and families back on campus! Our instructors have been working closely with students in accessing their reading through the new Critical Reading Assessment. Not only do students have adequate texts to read, they have been building their own projects. We had a team of instructors and students learn all about slime and making some from scratch and other teams read about origami and build their own creations. The Reading Clinic has taken reading in different directions this quarter, from creating things to competitively playing “Apples to Apples’‘ and sounding out hard and tedious words on the cards to make a funny joke. We are so happy to have our students back and to make new discoveries with them!
St. George Youth Center
At St.George we learn with the youth and teach with them not at them. We build connections with the youth, and our collaborations such as helping students with their homework or playing games, highlights the importance of that connection between students and teachers. We also create informational videos to share with the students about the college application process, financial aid, college essay writing, and getting good grades.
Youth Innovation Club/Community Science at SB Junior High
The Youth Innovation Club is currently piloting the “College Buddies Program” at Santa Barbara Junior High school. College Buddies is an intervention program that focuses on both social skills and academic skills. After a year of online school, some students need to re-learn how to be students in the classroom. As part of this program, a group of volunteers from UCSB are working alongside a group of 8th graders during their science class. The college buddies have many hats to wear - mentors, role models, coaches, and community builders. Through meaningful interactions with their College Buddies, students practice conversation skills, see education from a different perspective, and benefit from the encouragement and individualized help that the College Buddies bring.
Homework Help at the Boys & Girls Club
The main goals of this program are to help and engage with the youth via their homework assignments. We works as mentors and guide the youth who are struggling with their homework. The main goals of this program is to immerse ourselves in the setting with the youth and be their support system when helping them. If they can not figure out the answer we go over anything they do not understand. Besides also helping the youth with their homework, this program allows kids to connect with college students and also find a mentor. Working with the students as co-learners the students are able to help us with some of the information we may have forgotten. It is valuable making connections with the students and learning about their lives.
At Club Proteo our focus is on promoting global and digital literacy application while co-learning and collaborating with the youth. We communicate and learn through dialogue helping young learners find their interests. We encourage them to introduce their interests to others as together we worked towards the end goal of the Club Proteo festival that featured youth presentations.
Virtual Reality Project
The project is working on developing a program using VR technologies that would help students who struggle with the foundational skills of decoding, comprehension, spelling, and composition. The students share their interests and that information is used to develop projects like multiplayer games. We work on writing and story creation within the VR context, using MultiBrush, Rec Room and other programs. Working with our students allows us to observe the different leadership qualities that one can carry. There are a variety of educational opportunities in mediums like video games.
Social Media Projects & Newsletter
We create social media posts that promote activities and resources for the youth and the community including information on food banks and food resources, tips for studying, campus resources, as well as information on events happening in the community. Our newsletter like this one here, provides us with a greater outreach to the community with more in depth information on community events and resources. In this issue we cover programs that are helping with the housing crisis, highlight the celebration of Native American Heritage Month, promote local businesses and hidden gems in our community, provide holiday activities to do at home, and present the different cultural holiday traditions of the students working on this edition.