NEWS FROM CALIFORNIA
Mariners Outreach Foundation
The Mariners Outreach Foundation is a charitable organization, founded in 2012 by seven Marina Del Rey boating enthusiasts who wanted to give something back to Catalina Island in return for all the years of pleasure they and their families had enjoyed on the island. They learned that due to budget reductions, the City of Avalon’s K–12 school had no funding for off-island field trips and there was a very low number of graduating seniors leaving Catalina to pursue a college education. For many students, leaving the island—which is about 25 miles south southwest of Los Angeles—was overwhelming. Few had experiences on the mainland during their school years prior to graduation. Consequently, the seven founding members decided to see what they could do to improve this situation.
The founders began funding field trips to educational and cultural venues on the mainland, all carefully selected to provide what the Island students had been missing. By 2018, the number of Foundation members increased from seven to 70 resulting in increased funding and allowing continuous expansion in the number of annual educational field trips it sponsored. All field trips dovetail into classroom studies, and nearly every student is allowed to participate in one or more trips during the year. The current list of venues includes:
• Griffith Park Observatory
• Maritime Law Enforcement Center
• California Science Center
• Cabrillo Marine Science Center
• Aquarium of the Pacific
• USC-Wrigley Marine Science Center
• Museum of Latin American Art
• La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
• Autry Museum of the American West
• Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL)
• Battleship Iowa & WWII Museum
• Museum of Tolerance
• Annual tour of local colleges
• Natural History Museum
To help prepare the students for success at a two- or four-year college, The Mariners Outreach Foundation began providing financial support to the Avalon Schools’ Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college readiness program dedicated to prepare all students for college, careers, and other postsecondary school choices. This program offers rigorous instruction in academic and college level readiness skills coupled with a visit to a local college.
The Avalon Schools has informed us that prior to our formation in 2012, only about 15% of its graduating students applied to attend two- or four-year college. Of those students, many dropped out as a result of the difficulty in adjusting to living away from the island. They have also advised us that currently approximately 75% of the graduating students now attend two- and four-year colleges on the mainland, and very few drop out.
We are very proud of our joint efforts with the Avalon Schools that has greatly improved the lives of Catalina Island’s young people. We know our fund raising efforts significantly made this success possible and we intend to continue growing our membership so we can do more where it’s needed. Our foundation is managed on a purely voluntary basis and over 96% of donated funds go directly to support its educational causes. We are always looking for new members and would welcome your support. To learn more about the Mariners Outreach Foundation and how you can help support its efforts, visit marinersfoundation.org. #