Summer Science Project
Saved By Nature is proud partners of the Boys & Girls Club of Silicon Valley! Richard Tejeda, founder of Saved By Nature is Alumni and one of the original members of the South Side Clubhouse.
Working with Fred McCasland, who is the Director of Program Services, Richard has been providing nature education opportunities for the Boys & Girls Club for over a decade.
Summer Science Project
SBN is currently coordinating a new program called the “Summer Science Project.” A collaboration of multi-agency effort to bring high-quality, engaging environmental education to four different clubhouses for four weeks.
Of the five participating agencies one visits a clubhouse one-day of each week Monday - Friday for four weeks for four different clubhouses: Levin and Stipe (Southside), Smythe (Eastside), and Alviso.
• Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
• Valley Water
• Wildlife Education Rehabilitation Center (a nonprofit organization)
• San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society (a nonprofit organization)
• Saved By Nature (a nonprofit organization)
Since its inception, we have held fifteen events. In 2019 we reached one hundred kids (in person), in 2020 we reached 195 kids (virtually) and in 2021 we reached 150 kids (in person) serving 445 participants.
We’re working with Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to take the kids on day hikes at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. They live in the district, it’s important that they make informed decisions in the future. We want to introduce them to nature, their nearest open space, careers available in parks, and hobbies like hiking, fishing, camping and more.
Growing up on the other side of the train tracks, Richard was introduced to the Boys & Girls Club at the age of 10 by his mom. She worked in the Davis Jr. High cafeteria where the South Side Boys and Girls Club was first launched. With little to nothing Unit Director Fred McCasland, who transferred from the East Side, provided an extremely fun and safe environment for the neighborhood kids. At times he would chase away riff raff that would try to hang around the club and be a negative influence on the 5 – 18-year olds that attended.
Richard remembers running to the club he was so excited about the activities. Under the guidance of Fred, Richard played flag football, softball, basketball and became a champion ping-pong player. During Christmas, Fred would load up a couple vans and take the kids to a dinner and to get gifts from Santa. In the summer of 1989 Richard got to attend a life-changing camping trip at Yosemite - San Jose Family Camp. He would vow to take his own family there one day.
Once Richard was in eighth grade, he became influenced by peers at school, in his neighborhood, and even by family. Fred, who grew up on the Eastside of San Jose was no stranger to the street life. He pulled Richard aside and told him that the people he’s starting to hang with would eventually get him into trouble and to continue to regularly come to the club. Little by little, Richard would stop going to the club and sooner than later Fred’s wisdom would become a reality.
For over a decade Richard has provided month-long summer day camps, after school programs, science clubhouse visits, and now has launched the Summer Science Project.
When we asked Richard why he does these things for the Boys & Girls Club he said, “through the years I have realized that I grew up in a low-income community, the fact that I still had a decision, and that I made the wrong one. I do this because I want to be part of providing a choice to the kids, like Fred did for me."