• AFE Information Night

    Alternative Family Education (AFE) is a public Santa Cruz City Schools Alternative K-12 Homeschool program. Our credentialed Teacher Consultants are here to support you & your student(s) on your homeschooling journey. We are a vibrant community with an array of options for learning and playing together. Your family can choose to enrich your student’s learning with our teacher-led classes in core subjects, student leadership opportunities, parent-led classes/events/field trips, Alternative Schools sports league, clubs and groups in a variety of interest areas, and concurrent enrollment in other schools and colleges. We are centrally located in Midtown on the Branciforte Small Schools campus. Childcare will be provided.

  • December 2022

    Hands-On Display Lets Kids Transform into Drop of Water

    Visitors to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center can experience the cycle of a single drop of water when they take part in Water’s Extreme Journey, a hands-on, interactive maze designed by Minotaur Mazes now through the end of the year. Water’s Extreme Journey maze takes visitors on a wild role-playing adventure where they are transformed into a raindrop and challenged to stay clean. Visitors are sent on a journey through mountains, streams and even their own backyards, where everyday decisions impact their chance of staying clean and reaching a healthy ocean. The maze also will highlight water research happening at UC Santa Cruz and in the greater community, and encourage…

  • December 2022

    Teens Have Chance to Volunteer on Trails

    Throughout January, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship will host “Teens on Trails Month”, a series of free, youth-only trail work events across the county to get kids outside and involved in the magic of trail stewardship. SCMTS is a nonprofit trail stewardship behind popular trails in parks like Wilder and Pogonip, and their team has deep expertise in building and maintaining trails throughout the region. These Teens on Trails events will fill up fast. At each event, students will learn about native species and ecological functions, get involved in trail maintenance activities, and connect with SCMTS’ professional team to learn about career opportunities in the outdoors. They’ll also earn community…

  • November 2022

    Santa Cruz County Children Improve their Oral Health

    Life is better with teeth. You can eat, talk, make friends, and, as you get older, get a job. It’s not easy for everyone to have a healthy smile, especially for those struggling to get by. The good news is that things are better, especially for children, than they were six years ago as confirmed by Dientes Community Dental Care’s newly released study, the 2022 State of Oral Health in Santa Cruz County. Yet, there is a continued gap in dental care for low-income residents where 82,000 people had Medi-Cal, but only 38% could go to the dentist. There were some gains over the first study done in 2016 –…

  • November 2022

    Be a Part of the Giving Revolution

    Thanks to you — residents of Santa Cruz County — Santa Cruz Gives raised more than $1.1 million for a wide variety of local nonprofits during the winter holidays last year, and we’re gearing up to launch this year’s campaign. It runs from November 16-December 31. The projects that will be presented are the most diverse yet, and they cover every area of the County. Whatever you like to support, you’ll find it at SantaCruzGives.org: education and vocational training, the environment, homelessness, mental wellness, the disabled, the arts, youth, seniors, animals, local news, LGBTQ+, and more. Donations increased by 64.4% in 2021 over 2020 — and have increased just as dramatically…

  • October 2022

    Model UN

    Model UN Training Conference for Local Students Hosted by Mount Madonna School By Lisa Martin Model UN is found in a handful of schools in the region, but there is an opportunity to expand this offering by helping students learn the academic and debate skills needed for successful MUN participation. On October 8, 2022, Mount Madonna School (MMS) will host a one-day Model United Nations (Model UN or MUN) Training Conference, with a singular purpose: introducing Model UN to students, grades 6-12, and developing a network of schools interested in bringing this exceptional educational program to more schools and students in the region. Model UN is found in a handful…

  • September 2022

    Local Profile Juggler

    Life’s A Juggling Act So Why Not Buy the Right Equipment? By Kimberly Hickok As a quirky, eclectic beachside community, it should come as no surprise that Santa Cruz is home to Renegade Juggling, a small, family-operated business that is one of the biggest manufacturers and retailers of juggling and circling equipment in the country. Since 1982, owner, founder, and juggler extraordinaire Tom Renegade has been using his juggling and manufacturing expertise to craft and sell every kind of juggling device or circus prop you can imagine. If you need a rechargable LED lit juggling ball, he’s got them for $33 each. How about a Fire Devil Stick for twirling…

  • September 2022

    Got Shrimp?

    Santa Cruz Company Replaces Styrofoam with Shellfish By Jeanette Prather As a mother of children, every time I think about what we’ve done to this planet and the plastics in the ocean, I just wish we could’ve had Cruz Foam about 20 years ago Innovative IngredientsAn innovative Santa Cruz-based company–with backing from two big Hollywood stars– is replacing Styrofoam packing peanuts with the waste from shellfish to create an organic foam that’s durable, light and actually good for the environment. Realizing that Styrofoam doesn’t decompose for 500 years, Cruz Foam founders came up with a formula that decomposes in two months and still protects packages. The mix uses a biopolymer–DNA,…

  • August 2022

    Growing Healthy

    Generations: Nourished By Suki Wessling The stakes for teen foster youth are high. Once they reach eighteen, they leave the system. Unless they were lucky to be placed with families who taught them solid life skills like cooking, they enter adult life knowing little about food. “To your stations!”The children come into the room full of playground energy and loud voices. They chatter as they don their aprons and wash their hands. But as soon as they’re assigned to their stations they become as focused on their tasks as a chef in a restaurant. Because these kids are chefs Their Live Oak classroom has been turned into a kitchen where…

  • July 2022

    LGBTQ+ Booklist

    Task Force Releases LGBTQ+ Booklist for School Libraries by Santa cruz county BOARD OF EDUCATION A task force convened by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education has released a booklist called the “Top 40 LGBTQ+ Books that Every School Library Should Have,” a project undertaken as part of a commitment to safety and inclusiveness for LGBTQ+ students The final list of 40 books includes fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, anthologies and picture books. Ten titles were selected for each of the gradespans of PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. “When students see themselves reflected back in culture, curriculum, and media they are empowered to work harder and dream bigger,” said Santa…

  • June 2022

    YAN Pop-Ups

    Santa Cruz County Youth Action Network “Pop Ups” Bring Together Local Youth and Community The Santa Cruz County Youth Action Network and United Way of Santa Cruz County are “popping up” at various Santa Cruz County destinations to offer the community a new, fun, and meaningful way to bring youth, community members, and youth-serving organizations together. The Youth Action Network Pop-Up events are family-friendly and focus on offering games, activities, food, and fun for middle – high school youth while connecting them with local youth programs, resources, and community leaders. The Youth Action Network consists of organizations focusing on youth well-being and committed to amplifying youth voices from across the…

  • June 2022

    Summer Reading

    Avoid the Slide by diane cowen Summer Slide is the term used to describe learning loss that children experience over the summer when they are out of school and away from structured learning activities. Children and teens who do not read over the summer lose some of the achievement gains made during the previous school year. These summer setbacks are particularly problematic because early education serves as the foundation for the achievement, work habits, and perceptions about self-confidence and schooling that impact performance for years to come. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) can help with that! The Library Summer Reading Program provides educational, fun enrichment activities, and they’re free!…

  • May 2022

    Cirque.Tumble.Cheer

    Capitola Mall is Flying High with Cirque.Tumble.Cheer By Jeanette Prather Once upon a time in the former Wrigley bubble gum factory on the Westside, four women came together over their love of aerial and movement arts. They assembled a collective of aerialists and dancers who would each contribute to a stipend that they would pay their landlord as he developed what is now the University Business Park. This collective offered classes and training time, then came to be known as the Santa Cruz Aerial Playground. “They scrimped, scavenged and labored almost endlessly to install rigging points, padded floor coverings, a wooden sprung dance floor, lighting, seating, crash mats,” said former…

  • May 2022

    Staycation

    by Kimberly Hickok As summer peeks around the corner and pandemic restrictions begin lifting, the urge to get out of the house and go do something fun is stronger than ever. Fortunately for Santa Cruz area residents, there’s no need to travel far for enjoyable, exciting activities with little and big kids alike. Here are 17 of our favorite Santa Cruz area “staycation” ideas:  Ride roller coasters and play games The historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk hosts a plethora of fun rides for kids of all ages – from a kiddie train to the classic Giant Dipper roller coaster. After enjoying the rides, check out the large arcade, pirate-themed miniature…

  • May 2022

    Not Fitting In

    Allison Paradise on Not Fitting In By Jeanette Prather “What do I do for a living?” repeated Allison Paradise, Founder and CEO of The Epicenter in Santa Cruz, in response to the question. “That’s such a funny question. I live.” The Epicenter empowers students ages seven through 22 through mindfulness and a reconnection with their authentic selves and limitless potential, according to Paradise. “This is transformative; it can lead to feelings of liberation, awe, clarity, focus, strength, confidence, purpose, joy, and deep gratitude,” said Paradise.How does this happen? “Through intentional design, The Epicenter creates an open space (both physical and virtual) that gives students permission, and the courage, to be…

  • April 2022

    Annual Summit for the Planet

    Family Fun at the 16th Annual Summit for the Planet Earth Day Festival Mount Madonna School From barn owls and bearded dragons to California kingsnakes and turkey vultures, the opportunity to get up close and hands-on with wildlife at the annual Summit for the Planet Earth Day festival is always a huge draw. Children and adults alike enjoy the many birds, reptiles and amphibians shared by the Bay Area Herpetological Society (BAHS) and Wildlife Education Rehabilitation Center (WERC).  For the 16th annual Summit for the Planet, everyone is welcome to check out the wildlife and family-friendly activities on Saturday, April 23 from 9:00am to 1:30pm at Mount Madonna School. This…

  • April 2022

    Kids Day Downtown Map

    Downtown Santa Cruz April 23 | Noon to 4pm Exhibitors will be lined up on Cooper Street and Pacific Ave. (between Church St. & Locust St.) Almost every exhibitor will have a free, family activity. There will also be performances and demonstrations all day long in Abbott Square. Plus, many Downtown businesses will be offering discounts and specials just for kids. Bring your family down to enjoy face painting, music, dancing, bubbles, foosball, crafts & more! Kids Day Downtown is proudly presented by Downtown Santa Cruz, along with our partners Growing Up In Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Museum of Art And History. Read More Parenting Articles

  • April 2022

    Kids Day Downtown Santa Cruz

    Kids Day Downtown SC Downtown Association of Santa Cruz Kids Day is an opportunity for children of all ages to enjoy safe and friendly Downtown Santa Cruz experiences! You are invited to meet the many community organizations showcasing what Santa Cruz has to offer families! In 2022, you and your kids can enjoy a wide variety of free, fun activities at dozens of booths. Teen bands will be playing at the Abbott Square stage throughout the day and other family-friendly performances will pop up on Pacific Avenue. In addition to all the fun at the Kids Day event, over a dozen businesses throughout Downtown are offering in-store specials and discounts…

  • March 2022

    Whalefest Monterey

    Whalefest Monterey Whalefest Monterey announces lineup for 2-day Symposium with world-renowned marine experts and historians on March 19 & 20, 2022 Symposium to be held at Heritage Harbor adjacent to the Recreation Trail, just steps away from Old Fisherman’s Wharf March 2, 2022. Monterey, CA. Don’t miss the 2-day Symposium during Whalefest Monterey on March 19th and 20th, 2022 featuring cutting-edge presentations by marine experts and others about important issues surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and beyond. In addition to the Symposium, Whalefest will feature dozens of interactive exhibits, live music and other activities for all ages. In 2022, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will be celebrating…

  • March 2022

    Local News

    The Fentanyl Epidemic Hits Santa Cruz by suki wessling “My son did not want to die, I know that,” Véniel says. “Most of the people who take it don’t want to die. They’re being murdered.” The Fentanyl Epidemic Hits Santa Cruz Fentanyl overdoses mainly happen to homeless drug addicts Fentanyl overdoses happen to people who knew they were taking a dangerous substance Opioid abuse isn’t as big a problem in Santa Cruz County as methamphetamines If you answered “true” to any of those myths, it’s not surprising. Most parents in Santa Cruz have no idea of the crisis that has been happening quietly behind the front doors of homes from…