When 8-year-olds Matson and Jonas decided to do something to save sea turtles, they reached out to their school community for help. They received an extraordinary response from teachers, staff, students, and families at Oak Grove School. Through a village of shared learning and friendship, the boys were able to reach a much larger audience with their campaign.
The power of this collective was so great that it helped the boys raise $26,903 for the Turtle Friend project!
How did they do it you ask?! Well, first the boys talked with their teachers about the idea and asked if they could tell their classmates about it. The teachers were thrilled to support these boys, even if it was an ambitious project. The kids went before their schoolmates sharing stories about sea turtle biology and the challenge of sea turtle egg poaching in Central America. The boys also explained their Turtle Friend project idea and asked for input on the design and function of such an idea. It wasn’t long before the enthusiasm of the children grew and many of the kids went out into their neighborhoods asking people to contribute to his campaign.
Next, Matson and Jonas’ parents worked with Paso Pacifico to organize a launch party for the Kickstarter campaign (Jonas is Paso Pacifico’s Executive Director’s son). One sunny afternoon, students, teachers and parents left the school for the day and headed to a local restaurant to eat pizza and work the social media “phone lines” on behalf of Turtle Friend. More than forty people attended, helping the campaign to launch with over a thousand dollars on the first day!
There was a lot of money to be raised, and as the days of the Kickstarter campaign wore on, friends throughout the Oak Grove community continued to find ways to give support. Staff members emailed friends and family encouraging them to donate, kids continued to gather donations from neighbors, and families reached out to their networks asking them to help.
As the campaign drew near its close, the Parent Council elected to use a portion of its discretionary funds to contribute to the project. This major gift from the parents reflects one of the major lessons the school seeks to teach to its students: The Art of Caring and Relationships.
Paso Pacifico is grateful to Oak Grove and the caring village that it unites. Numerous Oak Grove students have volunteered for Paso Pacifico during events and on special projects over the years. Now, with Matson and Jonas spearheading this Turtle Friend project, Paso Pacifico has had the opportunity to work even closer with the school. The Oak Grove School is located in Ojai, CA and was founded by Jiddu Krishnamurti. The school distinguished itself through its mission to assist students in developing those qualities of mind, heart, and body that will enable them to function with excellence, care and responsibility in the modern world.
Matson and Jonas’ idea with Turtle Friend is to build a phone app that will enable the world to see the wonder of nesting and migrating sea turtles on live cameras and maps, while also promoting awareness and support for sea turtle conservation. Now that the Turtle Friend Kickstarter campaign is a success, the boys will be working together with Paso Pacifico, app developers, and field biologists to bring this dream to fruition.
To learn more about the Turtle Friend project, visit the page at www.turtlefriend.org
And be sure to check back in the coming months as the app and website come into being!
Your forever Turtle Friends,
Matson, Jonas and the Paso Pacifico Team