Our goal is to positively and powerfully impact our students in the following ways:
1) Improved Academic Performance
Vida Verde’s lessons and activities are linked to California state education standards, and help bring to life what students have only read about in textbooks. Learning becomes more relevant and connections are made in the classroom long after the trip is over.
With a strong focus on teamwork, group process, and communication skills, the Vida Verde experience helps students work together and trust each other back in the classroom; this is beneficial for achieving academic goals, particularly as they relate to the new Common Core Standards’ focus on collaboration.
2) Character Development
While at Vida Verde, students are pushed to try dozens of new things and are given achievable challenges at every turn. As a result, their self-confidence, determination, and persistence grow by leaps and bounds.
Students are given jobs to do during each activity at Vida Verde, and are held to high expectations. This leads to an increase in personal responsibility that goes beyond their three days in the program.
Positivity is a central value that is fostered and encouraged at Vida Verde. Along with a strong focus on positive behavior management, the Vida Verde Instructors are constant role models of positivity in every activity from washing dishes, to their use of educational music, to milking the goats.
3) Increased Environmental Awareness and Connections to Nature
First-time, positive connections to nature occur constantly throughout the Vida Verde experience. These experiences are essential to engaging urban youth as environmental stewards: they help the students build context, and inspire them to take ownership and responsibility. Further, we intentionally introduce students to a wealth of public parks and beaches, and teach them that these places are theirs to enjoy – and care for.
Outcomes based on post-program evaluations from teachers over the last five years are as follows:
- 95% reported "A Marked Improvement" in students’ teamwork, self-confidence and personal responsibility.
- 89% reported "A Marked Improvement" (highest possible rating) in students’ classroom learning and science test scores.
- 87% reported "A Marked Improvement" in students’ overall experiences when they return to school.
- 89% reported "A Marked Improvement" in students’ awareness of and interest in environmental issues.
- 95% rated the overall benefit to students “Exceptional” (highest possible rating).
- 96% rated student enjoyment “Exceptional”.
Improvement in students’ teamwork, self-confidence & personal responsibility
Read What Teachers Have To Say
“Each year has been remarkable and wonderful in a unique way. Apart from having a great time learning, students develop life skills such as responsibility, cooperation, and time management by planning, cooking, and cleaning together. The trip transforms them. I have heard many a testimony from parents that their children have returned home to teach them new things; they are more helpful, and they have become more environmentally aware. Vida Verde is truly a remarkable experience started and fostered by an amazing group of people. If only the Vida Verde model was the paradigm for the way all educators teach children!”
- Andre Brunetti, Teacher, Richmond, CA
(10 consecutive years bringing students to Vida Verde)
“I work as an Elementary Science Specialist in the Oakland Unified School District. In my 12 year career as a science educator in high-poverty public schools, I have worked with dozens of science museums,outdoor education programs, and science outreach organizations across the greater San Francisco Bay Area. There is no other program that compares to Vida Verde. Vida Verde is the only one I volunteer my time with and encourage friends and family to support.
While other programs may offer scholarships to low-income students, Vida Verde’s specialization has enabled it to tailor its program to the unique social-emotional and learning needs of low-income, urban students. The impact of Vida Verde on students is profound. The impact is deep, lasting, and doesn’t end with the students who get to attend a three-day Vida Verde program. The impact spreads through their families and their communities."
- Brenda Tuohy, Elementary Science Specialist
“Children are different at Vida Verde. Rambunctious kids who cannot sit still get the chance to run and lead. The incredibly quiet shy child gets to be in a small enough group that they feel comfortable enough to speak out. The smart kid gets to be challenged by the kid who never answers a question in class but who knows everything about banana slugs. Everyone is growing and challenging assumptions about themselves and their classmates. It has made a difference in the lives of my students. They all grew and matured because of their camp experience. They found things that they were good at doing which was a school first for some of them. They are all more self-aware. These are things that they can never lose.”
- Adrianne Ahnstedt, Teacher