Why Donate to NESS?
Many people are surprised to learn that most of NESS’s resources are devoted to bringing its innovative educational programs to students from underserved schools and school districts.
NESS’s STEM programs encourage children to learn while having fun. Studies show that experiential learning helps all children learn by connecting the subjects they study in school to the real world. But experiential learning is not always available on an equal basis. NESS provides opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to it. Our programs also introduce students to college and career opportunities in STEM fields that they might never have imagined before participating in NESS.
NESS not only helps to improve academic skills, it also imparts life skills. We take children out of their comfort zones and encourage them to be innovative and self-reliant. Our programs promote leadership skills and help students understand the importance of teamwork and, by extension, stewardship and community. These are vitally important lessons — and they should be available to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
The schools that work with NESS enthusiastically support NESS’s programs. But many schools cannot afford the cost of such programs. To assure those experiential learning opportunities are available to all children, regardless of means, NESS makes up the difference through fundraising and grants.
By contributing to NESS, you give children, especially in underserved schools, the opportunity to succeed in academics and in life.
By demonstrating the practical application of academic subjects, NESS programs make school relevant. A student who wonders why he needs to learn to calculate the area of a triangle suddenly gets it when the triangle is his wind-harnessing sail. A student who has been told that environmental conservation is a good thing gets it when he observes first-hand the man-made debris clogging the salt marsh he is kayaking through while collecting marine biology samples. Buoyancy and propulsion become important and fun subjects when you are operating your own remote-controlled submersible. With NESS programs students explore, discover, design, engineer, and investigate their world. They learn it by doing it.
HOW WE WORK WITH COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
NESS works with community schools both inside the schools and at its own waterside facilities. We design our programs with the teachers so that the programs complement (or expand on or demonstrate) what is being taught in their classrooms at the same time. Our educators go into the schools to give practical demonstrations of the relevance of academic subjects, and students come to our facilities for experiential learning in our “classroom without walls”. Our curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Ocean Literacy Principles and, when, combined with ocean adventure activities, delivers a powerful and effective learning model. See The New London Initiative.
NESS works with students who must often deal with child poverty, single-parent families, and violent crime. Many of the schools and school districts that NESS serves have very high percentages of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch — in some cases so high that the entire school qualifies. These schools are often plagued by low attendance and chronic absenteeism. Such conditions have been shown to have profoundly negative consequences on students’ emotional and cognitive development. The challenge is enormous – for the schools and for NESS but, most importantly, for the students themselves. NESS hopes and believes that its efforts help these children rise to the challenge, armed with life skills that prepare them for college and STEM careers, and lifetime stewards of their community and natural environment.
NESS employs a talented staff of educators who develop and implement its numerous STEM programs. People are NESS’s greatest strength and its biggest cost. And then NESS needs microscopes, iPads, watercraft, fully-equipped marine biology labs, safety equipment, classrooms, fuel, insurance, and much more. There is a reason why some underserved school districts don’t offer these experiential learnings opportunities themselves – they simply cannot afford to. That’s where NESS, with help from people like you, comes in.