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SMArT-e Program Sends Donations to Hurricane Sandy Victims

San Carlos School District's after school program motivates all kids to give back.

San Carlos SMArT-e students have been busy doing more than just attending music, art and sports classes. Students from this unique after school program offered at all six San Carlos School District elementary and middle schools have channeled their efforts into collecting and distributing aid to the East Coast victims of Hurricane Sandy.

According to SMArT-e Program Director Mary Carbullido, students at all of the district’s six schools collaborated their efforts and collected about 12 decorated cardboard moving boxes full of warm clothing, toys and more than 175 handcrafted letters with well wishes for the victims of the storm.

Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast just before Halloween, killing more than 100 people and destroying many coastal communities, knocking out power and flooding homes in its ferocious path.

The focus on aiding Hurricane Sandy victims grew from a curriculum idea of naming the month of November the program’s season of giving, according to Carbullido.  

“We chose for November to be the season of giving so that we could really help the kids in community building,” said Carbullido. “With Hurricane Sandy happening so recently we decided to approach the subject by teaching the kids what a hurricane is and do a science focus on it.”

The science spotlight quickly moved into a human needs focus, with the kids in the program taking the lead in identifying the critical needs of the victims.

“Students called the Salvation Army to see what the victims needed. They really began to wonder what could our community do – they saw that these victims were kids like them with problems,” Carbullido said.

Once the victims’ needs were identified, the week-long donation drive was opened to students on all campuses, and many parents stepped up to donate in the form of cash and warm clothing and other child-focused items like books, art supplies, and toys.

The messages written in the kids notes ranged in content, from those simply wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to those wishing the victims were fortunate enough to have a dry place to sleep at night.

“We found the kids made it very child-focused – they recognized the kids had lost their clothes, their DS and Gameboys in the storm. This hit home with them,” Carbullido said.

In its third year on San Carlos campuses, SMArT-e, which stands for Sports, Music, Art, Technology and enrichment, is the brainchild of schools Superintendent Craig Baker, who believes in boundless learning and being able to provide an extension of learning beyond the classroom, according to Carbullido.

“Dr. Baker and I are both big proponents of hands on learning and learning through doing and we’re hoping that SMArT-e can do that,” said Carbullido.

SMArT-e partners with specialty programs in language, sports, music and technology, which in turn offer classes on the different school sites. The program offers afterschool care, combining elements like homework, outdoor play and healthy snacks with enrichment activities.

“It is a way for us to bring those types of classes to the district so that our students can take advantage of something they might never have had exposure to,” Carbullido said.

The program is flexible, allowing students to move to their enrichment classes after heading to the SMArT space or take advantage solely of the enrichment course on campus without heading to the afterschool program before hand.

The program averages about 20 kids per day at each school – about one-third of all students who use the schools’ contracted after school program, called the San Carlos Belmont Afterschool Program, which has been on all district campuses for nearly 30 years.

For more information about the San Carlos School District’s SMArT-e program or the courses it offers, please call the district at 650-508-7333.

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