Applaud Scientist for Teaching At-Risk Youth

Target: Founder of the Ocean Discovery Institute, Shara Fisler

Goal: Thank Shara Fisler for giving at-risk, impoverished youth a love of science and programs to encourage higher education.

Shara Fisler founded the Ocean Discovery Institute in 1999 in San Diego as a way to get local kids involved with the environment around them and to encourage learning outside the classroom.

City Heights is a neighborhood in San Diego known for its poverty, violent crimes and limited resources when it comes to education. The Ocean Discovery Institute began as a summer camp based in an empty storage closet that served as a lab for the first 30 students to learn more about marine biology and the organisms that make up the San Diego coastline. It has grown to reach the over 20,000 kids that call City Heights home. The free programs inspire kids to become more involved in conserving their surrounding environments and their education. It’s reported that over 80 percent of The Ocean Discovery Institute’s students go on to earn a college degree. By encouraging at-risk youth to learn more, and supporting their efforts, the City Heights community is showing them that anything is possible.

Shara Fisler has taken a personal interest in these kids and continues to empower them through a love of learning each day. Please thank her and the Ocean Discovery Institute team for the work they do to preserve the ocean and inspire students in San Diego.


Dear Ms. Fisler,

The Ocean Discovery Institute is doing great work — not only for the environment, but for the students of City Heights.

We’ve all heard stories about the difficulties children from impoverished communities face: low graduation rates, a higher chance for repeated incarceration and violent crime. But your work with The Ocean Discovery Institute is working to break that cycle for the kids of City Heights. By taking a special interest in the surrounding wildlife and local students, you have engaged an entire community and encouraged kids to get involved in science — most of whom go on to earn college degrees.

Your free programs have been so successful that the Ocean Discovery Institute can now serve the entire community of City Heights. The community is a better place for your work, both ecologically and educationally. Without the Ocean Discovery Institute, students might not be able to realize their full potential. By challenging kids to learn to swim, snorkel and analyze the world around them, you are encouraging lives full of learning and fulfillment.

Congratulations on your continued success with the Ocean Discovery Institute and thank you for inspiring at-risk youth to explore the world and take an active role in their education.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kmf164

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