Borrego Springs High School (100 students) is located in the rural town of Borrego Springs, at least 1.5 hours from any town with amenities. Our students come from low-income families, predominantly Latinx. Although we are located in the middle of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP), the largest state park in California, with millions of visitors yearly, few if any of our students find employment within the park system, one of the largest employers in our town. The Park hires many seasonal workers from outside our area while a number of our high school graduates end up working in dead-end jobs or leave the Borrego Valley. We can not afford to lose our young people!
This class will teach our students (20 expected in the '22-'23 school year) the art of hosting and interpreting our Park to visitors in our magnificent location. The skills learned in this NAI (National Association of Interpretation) class include public speaking, knowledge of the park's history and desert environment, interpersonal skills and presentation skills.
This will be the 4th year that this highly successful class is offered to our high schoolers. We are only the 2nd high school in the US to do so. Over 40 Borrego Springs students have received their official NAI Certificates over the past 3 years in Hosting and Guiding and many are now interning in the various areas of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park such as the Visitors' Center, Park Interpretation, Campground Kiosk, administration and natural resources.
The NAI Course is funded in major part by the Borrego Village Association, a not-for profit organization supporting growth of Borrego Springs as a Gateway Community to the 600,000 acres Desert Park.
The Borrego Springs Unified School District (BSUSD) supports this program through the appointment of a certified teacher of record while the class is being taught by an NAI Certified Teacher. Although BSUSD will pay 3/4 of the NAI Teacher's salary, there are other expenses which need to be covered by the BVA and supporting grants.
Specifically this grant is asking for funding to cover NAI Certificates in Hosting and Guiding. These are $150 each. With 19 students receiving 2 certificates each, $300 X 20 = $5,700. In addition this grant is requesting $145 to cover the cost of books and printing/binding of materials.
This grant is being written by current Rotary President, Martha Deichler, former superintendent of BSUSD who works closely with the NAI teacher and principal to make this class successful. Fellow Rotarian, Corie Loera, leads the high school Interact Club and is on campus once a week and supports the NAI class with her Interact Club members. In addition, 3 of our Rotarians work in a Borrego Springs business that supplies our students with their first hiking shoes, enabling them to hike to places in our desert where they've never been.
This grant is for the school year July, 2022 - June, 2023.