Coachella CSW Takes Root

Coachella, CA, is a small town in the Imperial Valley of California with a local economy based on agriculture, and on the revenues from reservation casinos.  With many school-aged children, and far from science-rich learning institutions such as museums and universities, Coachella is the perfect site for a new CSW.

Alfonso Cumplido, a resident of Coachella for the past four years, has a special interest in seeing a CSW take root here.  Mr. Cumplido grew up next door to the Watsonville CSW, and worked as an employee of the Fresno CSW for several years.  He is determined to bring the CSW model of education to the youth of Coachella, and has spent the past two summers volunteering his time to facilitate hands-on science activities for youth at the Boys and Girls club.  Mr. Cumplido has recieved numerous small grants to cover the costs of materials and equipment for these activities, and is pursuing long-term funding for the project.

This summer, Mr. Cumplido partnered with the Esperanza Youth and Family Center in Coachella to secure a permanent workshop space for the new CSW.  Directors from the Fresno and San Francisco CSWs attended the grand opening on August 17th, along with members of the local press (see a slideshow of photos here.)  The CSW Network is pleased to support drop-in science programming at the new space with a $5,000 grant to cover Mr. Cumplido’s time for the next few months.  In addition, the Network will offer ongoing support to the Coachella CSW through fundraising assistance, access to the Network’s body of CSW project ideas as well as advice and best practices from veteran CSW sites, and inclusion in Network events such as staff trainings and conferences.

The Coachella CSW will be a resource for informal science learning available to the entire community, serving as a field trip destination for local schools, a drop-in community center packed with exciting science exhibits and projects, a nexus for organizing after school programs at sites across Coachella, and a vital participant in public events.  On September 18th, the Coachella CSW participated in festivities for El Grito, or Mexican Independence Day, by providing hands-on science activities to the crowd – over 100 rubber band rockets were fired!

With ongoing support from the Coachella community and the CSW Network, the Coachella CSW will take its place as a grass roots science-rich educational institution along with the CSW sites in San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno, Watsonville, and Greenfield.