Happy New Year, Friends of Life Lab!
Ten years ago, Life Lab started down a new path when we built our site, the Garden Classroom. Originally, we thought it would be a nice place to visit, teach children about the outdoors, and maybe hold a workshop or two. Little did we know that the Garden Classroom would launch a new era for kids in our local community, and for garden-based learning advocates around the world!
To honor the 10th
birthday of the Garden Classroom (and Life Lab’s 32nd
birthday), we’d like to share our top ten accomplishments from last year.
None of the following would have been possible without generous contributions from so many Life Lab supporters, so please take a moment to celebrate all that you have made possible. And of course, these are also the top ten reasons to donate to Life Lab this year.
“This is the best day of my whole life—so far!” exclaimed a third grade boy after his fall field trip to the Life Lab Garden Classroom. Every day we witness children’s eyes light up as they explore the Garden Classroom.
Over 3,300 children and youth visited the Garden Classroom
last year for field trips, summer camps and youth programs.
Teenager Abel Johns
, a star of the Food What?! youth empowerment and food justice program, vows to take what he’s learned back to his Paiute tribe. Abel told us, “I can now expand to be a person that I could have never dreamed to be … I am ready to really stand up for what I believe.”
7. Food What?!
employed 80 youth and brought 788 more youth to the Garden Classroom to learn where their food comes from. Life Lab pays youth intern wages, making the program accessible to those who need it most. (By the way, Food What?! Director, Doron Comerchero, is scheduled to receive a Santa Cruz Nextie Award this month for his amazing work.)
ife Lab curriculum, which is incredible, will be a valuable asset to me as an instructor … The most important thing I received from your workshop was inspiration!” wrote a teacher from Nevada after participating in a Growing Classroom workshop. At a time when we hear so much about teacher burn-out, we delight in reinvigorating teachers’ enthusiasm.
Through our educator workshops
, Life Lab reaches across the country and even around the world. Really! We had visitors from as far away as Japan, India, Russia and Brazil last year. We gave workshops and presentations to 1,194 adults this past year, offering over 13,000 hours of programming. If each of the educators trained by Life Lab reaches just one class of 30 students, we will have inspired over 35,000 students to explore and enjoy the natural world this year. We know that our teachers use our curriculum for years, even decades, reaching hundreds of thousands of students.
The Kids’ Garden Activity Cards
, our newest publication, won FOUR national awards! Congratulations to Life Lab Education Director Whitney Cohen for her hard work on these fun cards.
Life Lab shares the magic that happens in the Garden Classroom through our publications
. This year, in addition to the Kids’ Garden
, we created a new resource for early childhood educators called Sowing the Seeds of Wonder.
Curriculum orders come in almost every day from far-flung locations like Miami, Texas, Australia, Korea, and even India!
We streamlined our operations this year, reducing Life Lab overhead to just 16%. That means that for every $1.00 donated, $.84 goes directly to improving the lives of children and teachers, as well as to maintaining the beautiful Garden Classroom.
Life Lab is still here! The economic storm of the past two years has dealt fatal blows to many nonprofits, and Life Lab has been buffeted as well. There were times in the past year when we were unsure of our future. We couldn’t have made it through the past ten years, and particularly through the last year, without your support.
Please consider donating to Life Lab in 2011 to ensure that the Garden Classroom thrives for the next ten years! If you have thought about making a more significant contribution to Life Lab and wondered when to make the leap, we would like to suggest that now is the time. Thank you.