Now is the time for the voice of the sea to speak to the souls of our children.
By Dora Sandoval
Héroes del Mar is a program created so that we can unite with the children of Baja fishing communities and together examine the importance of the oceans, man’s effect on marine life and how we can all work together to conserve the ocean and its inhabitants. We will explore the problem the oceans face with the united goal of creating solutions for our future. Our main objective is to “pass the torch” to the next generation of conservationists while presenting new opportunities for their education and careers for the future.
GIVING THE GIFT OF OPPORTUNITY
The smallest opportunities can make the biggest impact on a child’s life.
Using myself as an example, I come from immigrant parents. I am first-generation in the US and began kindergarten without knowing English in a non-Hispanic community. Who might I have been had it not been for a few unique opportunities like attending a play in kindergarten gave me my love for the arts. Or the chapter books that were read to us in first grade, with my head down on my desk listening to these amazing stories that would take me to foreign places about other children and their adventures. This opportunity gave me the love of literature. When I was in the fourth grade, I was given the opportunity to play the viola in the school orchestra. This experience not only gave me the love of classical music but also allowed me the opportunity to continue to university on a music scholarship.
We all have our stories on influences outside of our homes molding who we are today. It is time to pay it forward. Let’s give the children from Baja fishing communities the opportunity to see beyond the horizon.
Give Baja’s fishing communities’ children the opportunity to work together with scientists, eco-tourism experts and business leaders. We want to expose them to alternative economic opportunities while teaching them respect for marine life and there natural resources.
We are creating a program that, over the course of three years, will provide children ages 13-17, the opportunity to work side-by-side with scientists, eco-tourism experts and business leaders to learn about science and marine biology, marine sustainability, eco-tourism and business opportunities to help support their local communities. And for those would want to spread their wings beyond their villages, our goal is to give them the tools and self-confidence to do so.
A THREE-YEAR PROGRAM
YEAR ONE - We have designated two 8-day trips for Héroes del Mar in July 2019. On these trips we will introduce science, eco-tourism, local economy and sustainability. During the day, the children will have the opportunity to snorkel, kayak and explore the islands of the Sea of Cortez. At night, enjoy interactive lectures from the experts.
YEAR TWO - We will continue with the two introductory trips and add on two additional trips. The two additional trips will bring back the year one students and focus on the subjects in which they showed interest. Furthermore, the trips will include a focus on citizen science, open water scuba certification, emphasis on local economy and awareness on sustainability.
YEAR THREE -The third year we will add two additional trips (a total of six trips). On these trips we will elaborate on the subjects the students have shown interest in and institute a leadership program in which the year three children will mentor the year one children.
Children ages 13-17 may submit a written or video essay telling us why they feel they should participate in this program and what they expect to gain from the experience. Recruits will be chosen based on their passion for learning and their potential for sharing what they have learned with their communities. After the program, they will have an exit interview which will be shared with their communities and the world.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We are looking for people who want to be a part of making this happen. To learn more about how you can help, contact
Kids are a powerful force. Once they become passionate, they will involve family, friends, and their entire community.
As Baba Dioum so eloquently stated, “For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”