Ocean Discovery Institute uses ocean science to empower young people from underserved urban communities to transform their lives, their community, and our world as science and conservation leaders. Working in the San Diego community of City Heights, we provide continuous science opportunities paired with mentoring and the tools to overcome challenges so that young people unlock their potential. Our programs are provided at no cost to our students. Our students believe that a scientist is someone they can be. They think critically and they achieve because of it. They enter the fields of biotech, engineering, environmental consulting, fisheries, marine biology, education, and public policy, and are committed to making a difference.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19
As San Diego County and so many other communities across the nation have declared a local and public health emergency in response to COVID-19, Ocean Discovery Institute is taking significant and necessary actions to mitigate risks for our volunteers, staff, students, and the community of City Heights as a whole.
We have made the difficult decision to suspend our regularly scheduled programming, in alignment with San Diego Unified School District’s policies, through April 24th. In the meantime, we have worked diligently to refine our vision for impacting our students and community during this incredibly difficult moment in time. We continue to monitor the situation, the needs of our community and are working closely with San Diego Unified School District to determine how we can best support students and families while maintaining the safety of all.
To support these emergency efforts, we have established a special Community Action Fund. We are grateful that our partners at Price Philanthropies acted swiftly to commit a very generous leadership gift that will support our efforts and the health and wellbeing of the City Heights community.
We need your support now more than ever and ask you to consider a gift—of any size—to support this work. Please contribute to the Community Action Fund.
The following is a summary of Ocean Discovery’s emergency community action:
1. Address Food Security Needs
Through our partnership with Feeding San Diego, beginning on March 23rd, we will provide daily, healthy dinners to-go for our community. While breakfast and lunch is being provided at nearby schools, dinner has not been available, and this will fill a critical gap for our families who often are not able to access the sites available during earlier meal times.
2. Provide Critical Mentorship
As we know, mentoring plays a pivotal role in the development of a young person. During a time of crisis, these relationships become even more crucial. Our team of Discovery Fellows has built extraordinary mentoring relationships with our young people and is positioned to provide social/emotional support, inspiration, and resources. Collectively our Fellows will regularly connect with our 225 members by phone and virtual means.
3. Implement Tech Training
In low-income communities, the lack of access limits students’ opportunities in education, employment, health, social services, and limits the dissemination of knowledge. The San Diego Unified School District has responded swiftly to the current crisis so that during the week of March 23rd, our students will receive devices and data (i.e., mobile internet) to support their plan for distance learning. As the schools switch to on-line learning platforms, Ocean Discovery will provide the tech education our students and families need. This can result in improving immediate access to education and narrowing the digital divide for our students and families.
4. Offer Educational Supplies
Along with healthy meals we’ll be providing, students will be able to pick up age-appropriate education supplies and activities that will be theirs to use at home during this time.
As we continue to provide immediate services to our community, we are simultaneously preparing our systems and curriculum for our return to full operations. At that time, we will be able to maximize the number of students we reach, as well as the quality of programming they will receive.
Ocean Discovery Institute relies on the generosity of our community to fund our 100% tuition-free programs.
Ocean Discovery Institute offers a variety of opportunities to be a part of our learning community.
Ocean Discovery Institute depends on volunteers to transform young lives through science.
Calendar of Opportunities
View our calendar for upcoming opportunities. Please review information on our programming hiatus, in response to COVID-19, at the top of this page.
- Public tours & events are designated by the color green.
- Volunteer opportunities are designated by the color orange.
- School-shed programs are designated by the color blue. These programs are for school-shed members only.
When you click on the calendar item, you will be taken to our registration portal where you can create an account and/or sign up for opportunities.