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Oneill Sea Odyssey

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children's Museums, Environment, Environmental Education, Natural History & Natural Science Museums, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission:

O''Neill Sea Odyssey provides a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities.

Programs:

The Sea Odyssey program is a 3-hour learning experience that takes place aboard the 65-foot Team O’Neill catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Education Center. Prior to the trip the instructors give a brief introduction to the program and outfit each child with a life jacket. Upon boarding the Team O’Neill Catamaran the students are given a safety speech and assist the crew in hoisting the main sail. Each group is split into 3 sub-groups, which rotate through three stations: Marine Biology, Ecology and Navigation.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Dan Haifley for many years, and I know his commitment to OSO and it's mission is exemplary. His interests in supporting youth that may not have had any other opportunity to learn about the value of watershed impacts and ocean stewardship is a statement about his belief's in their future and that of the planet. It might just be one of these young people to save our oceans and humanity.

1 Thomas49

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been associated with O’Neill Sea Odyssey since 1999 both as donors and as the fund raisers for a program within OSO for physically and mentally challenged people known as the Adam Webster Memorial Fund program. We have found Dan Haifley and his staff to be professional and helpful. In addition, they are very creative in adapting the core program to fit the needs of the many children who cross their threshold. This is a great program which not only provides experiential learning but teaches the children the impacts of what we do on the shores and how it affects our oceans.

Review from Guidestar

1 Smokes M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a participant and volunteer with O'Neill Sea Odyssey, I always thought the best part of the program was the living classroom aboard the boat where students - nearly 75,000 of them up to this point! - get a hands-on experience on the Monterey Bay. Learning about marine habitat and the importance of the relationship between the living sea and the environment is a very powerful message to the mostly low-income, at-risk students who may be visiting the ocean for the first time and "connecting the dots" to environmental behaviors back in their home communities.

The community service projects the students must do in order to participate in the program - beach clean-ups, school recycling programs, pollution awareness programs - promote life-changing behaviors and attitudes towards the living sea.

Over time, however, I've learned that the most powerful impact on the kids - learned through studies of the O'Neill Sea Odyssey program (and similar) - shows that low-income students who attend an outdoor education program raise their science scores by 27 percent, and increase their concern for conservation. It also found an increase in self-esteem, leadership, and relationships with teachers, cooperation, and conflict resolution.

O'Neill Sea Odyssey is an outstanding program with incredible subject-matter experts who really do make a difference with the kids in our communities.


Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I met a new neighbor and was telling her about the special and unique events and organizations in the Santa Cruz area. I told her about Sea Odyssey and its unique and exciting niche in the community educating elementary school students about the ocean, and the role of humans to respect and care for it. As a volunteer and donor, I am always excited to visit the educational facility and read the thank yous from the kids that participate. I am so proud of Sea Odyssey and its special mission in our beautiful home.

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked as an O'Neill Sea Odyssey instructor for 13 years and have seen thousands of children participate and benefit from this educational and adventurous program. The excitement, wonder, and pure joy that the kids exude is sincere and our community and the Bay Area are so fortunate to have such a resource. It is rewarding to share a passion of mine, ocean conservation and learning about marine life, with these kids. The program leaves an everlasting impression on them, a wake resulting in ocean stewards.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We (special education teachers) are forever grateful for the learning experience that the Oneill Sea Odyssey allowed our students to experience. We are fortunate to have such an incredible nonprofit organization right in our own backyard. The talented and caring crew helped educate our special students in a way that no classroom ever could. Each student got special attention and time to explore the boat and the nature around them. We were safe and comfortable. Thanks to programs like the OSO our students felt more connected to thier own community.

Review from Guidestar

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I was the Senior Director for Community giving the last two years at Santa Cruz Rotary. One of the projects our Rotary supported economically was Oneill Sea Odyssey. I have watched them in action for several years, as busload after busload of students, many who have never seen the sea, are treated to a day of science and wonder in our ocean. The amount of interactive learning and focus of these students, and their proven retention of science regarding conservation, saving our oceans, combined with one of the most fun day trips many students will ever experience is phenomenal. Our Rotary bought OSO some Apple iPads so that student information from experiments could be uploaded to a website in real time, and the students can visit their work online. The carefully thought out interation of learning about the sea, sealife, working with microscopes, working on iPads, and working in teams is invaluable. This is one of the best programs for young students I have ever seen.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 2

I recently gave some money to O'Neil Sea Odyssey and picked up some information about the program and was less than pleased about the focus of the group and its agenda. This looks like a PAC with an ostensible program of helping kids learn about the ocean. That it actually helps at risk kids I couldn't find anything that supported this. It's a great outing for children and my feeling was "it can't hurt" but does it help? Can't say it does. The Executive Director is an ex-political director for a Democrat Assembly leader and this may be nothing more than a PAC masquerading as a "Help Kids" organization. There are much better ways to help at risk kids--providing mentors and structure to their everyday lives is probably the best.