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Homeless Children At Villages At Cabrillo Take Part In Science Camp

Published: August 1, 2013

CSULB’s Science Education Department

Kindergarten through middle-school children from homeless families in Long Beach had the opportunity to learn about science for two weeks during the sixth annual summer science education camp hosted by CSULB’s Science Education Department.

Called “See Us Succeed” (Science Education Experience to help Underserved Students Succeed), this year’s event took place at Long Beach’s Mary McLeod Bethune Transitional Center at the Villages at Cabrillo, a community facility serving homeless populations. After the camp, afternoon activities were offered by the Long Beach Community Action Partnership.

This year’s major funder was the Earl and Loraine Miller Foundation, which has been among the program’s past supporters, said CSULB Science Education Department Chair Laura Henriques.

The children, who are recommended for the program by Long Beach Unified School District teachers and counselors, were taught grade-appropriate science topics by teams, which were led by a credentialed science teacher and CSULB students earning science teacher credentials.

“Kids in kindergarten did ‘Science of the Human Body,’” Henriques explained. “First- and second-graders did ‘Amazing Animals’ and ‘Creepy Crawlers,’ which included studying insects and how animals move and use camouflage. The third- and fourth-graders did ‘It’s Not Magic, It’s Science,’ which has been a fun topic. There were engineering classes for the fifth- and sixth-graders, and the middle school kids did ‘Crime Scene Investigation.’”

Additionally, children received free dental screenings provided by the Smile Bright Foundation, which took part in prior camps. New partners this year were the Lion’s Club along with St. Mary Medical Center’s Low Vision Center, which provided the children with free vision screenings and eyeglasses if needed, Henriques said.

Having an all-day program is essential, according to Henriques, since homeless families must vacate shelters during the day. Taking care of the children through the camp also provided time for parents to seek employment or other social services.

In addition to this program, the CSULB Science Education Department will host its annual Young Scientists’ Camp, a paid summer science camp for any child in second through eighth grade, plus high school girls in any grade. The high school girls’ portion is partially funded by the American Physical Society in an effort to get more young women interested in studying physics or physical sciences, Henriques said. Previous high school physics coursework is not required.

Young Scientists’ Camp takes place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays from Aug. 5-16 on the CSULB campus. For more information, visit the Young Scientists’ Camp website.

–Anne Ambrose