Children & Youth

STEAM Dream Team Seeds Lifelong Student Learning Passion

by Catholic Charities – June 15, 2021

Amazed seventh-graders watch water “walk” from one cup to another and become a rainbow on their desks as they observe this experiment. These enthusiastic and awed youth are part of a Catholic Charities five-week Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) summer camp for 95 Half Moon Bay public school rising fifth through seventh graders in partnership with the Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD).

A new partnership born out of the pandemic, the camp is a positive outlet for these students after months of sheltering in place. “We have created a fun, interactive, hands-on program that will help seed in students a lifelong passion to learn through the wonders of STEAM and literacy activities,” says Patty Clement, Catholic Charities Director of Client Services who oversees the program. “We have an amazing, very dynamic group of teachers with diverse experience – a true STEAM dream team.”

Arranged by grade into six small class cohorts of 14-16, campers receive individualized attention in a COVID-19 safe environment. Teachers help students advance academically, provide a safe, friendly environment to promote healthy cognitive, social, and physical development – and have a whole lot of fun through facilitated outdoor games, arts and crafts, and other inspiring activities.

“We are very grateful for the work of Catholic Charities and also for their spirit of service that guides it,” says Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Cabrillo Unified School District. “We are able to provide many more summer school opportunities this year for our students because of our new collaboration with Catholic Charities.”

“And the support we are providing for students also helps their families thrive, and positively impacts the whole community,” adds Dr. Ellen Hammerle, Catholic Charities Vice President of Client Services, who helps oversee the program with Clement.

Catholic Charities’ goal is to continue our burgeoning partnership with CUSD and implement our best practices for student enrichment programs into the coming year. “We are thrilled to help inspire students to learn and overcome the devastating learning loss so many of our youth have experienced during the pandemic,” shares Jilma Meneses, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer.

The oohs and ahhs of the students as they experience science at the Catholic Charities and Cabrillo Unified School District STEAM camp affirm we’re on the right track.