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Educational collaboration Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo | Sat, Sep 29 2012 12:00 PM

The Otay Ranch Town Center is partnering with an online charity to raise money for local schools through Oct. 13.
DonorsChoose.org connects individual donors with classrooms, grades kindergarten through high school.

The philanthropic initiative encourages the public to donate resources to classrooms in need in the areas of science, math, reading, social studies, physical education and arts.

While requests vary and include pencils, musical instruments, microscope slides and cameras, the initiative focuses on the importance of quality education.

Otay Ranch Town Center senior marketing manager Tina Medina said the initiative provides a way for the community to give back directly to classrooms in their neighborhoods.

“I think it’s important for local businesses to choose something that they find to be significant in their community that they can partner with and help support, and in this case education would be our main goal to support our local students because they are our community,” Medina said. “They shop in our local malls, so it’s nice to be able to give back.”

Participating schools include Chula Vista High Tech High, High Tech Middle, High Tech Elementary and Leonardo da Vinci Health Sciences Charter School.

For da Vinci, supply needs include hammers, safety goggles, sandpaper, model wind turbines and other items to successfully complete class projects.

Da Vinci director Amber Goslee said that one of her projects, Lights, Camera, Action! The Spotlight’s on Nutrition! has already been funded.

For that project, students will create digital public service announcements, advising peers on what to look for on nutrition labels, what to avoid and why.

“Through these projects, students contribute to the school and greater community,” Goslee said. “They will gain skills in public speaking, creation through cooperation and the art of persuasion.”

Da Vinci, located on the west side of Chula Vista, is a K-6 public charter school.

On Oct. 13 and 14, students from each participating school will staff informational booths and inform the community about their school.

The in-mall event will be held in the food pavilion where each school will have an informational and fundraising booth.

In addition, there will be a redemption zone where shoppers can sign up for The Club, a frequent shopper program, and win prizes.

Da Vinci will have two booths, one informational and the other interactive, related to science, health or both.

“Our objective is to share something interesting about health or science with the community, and also let the community know that we exist,” Goslee said. “We’re excited that we can help students in our area in having more interesting projects in our classrooms and school but also being able to share what we’re leaning with the community.”

Otay Ranch Town Center’s parent company, General Growth Properties, will also give away $20,000 to one U.S. school that will be nominated by a club member. The in-mall sign-up stations allow members to nominate a local-area elementary or high school for the opportunity to receive the award with a national drawing after Oct. 14.

In addition, all members of the mall’s frequent shopper program, The Club, will receive an email with a link to DonorsChoose.org and a special code matched to a list of project requests from participating schools.

“When you sign up for the club in the mall you can nominate a school on the registration form,” Medina said. “Of all the registration forms received, one will be randomly selected after the donor drive in November nationwide.”

Donors can browse projects and donate any amount; once a project reaches its funding goal, DonorsChoose.org delivers the materials to the school.

Members’ donations will be matched in various amounts depending on the project and week.

Shoppers can register for The Club at Otay Ranch Town Center until Oct. 13 or through www.otayranchtowncenter.com.

A full list of school requests is available on www.facebook.com/OtayRanchTownCenter.

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Justateacher Says:

Sun, Sep 30 2012 06:14 PM

Why is it that only the charter schools that have plenty of money are being included in this initiative? Small classes with selective enrollment isn't enough for them? There are plenty of projects for public schools in Chula Vista as well. Apparently Otay only cares about the elite?

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