MOUNTAIN AREA — The season of giving makes its merry way in the busy days remaining before Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 25.
Again today, we invite readers to join in celebrating twelve local nonprofits and the people behind them who are making a difference.
For our second spotlight, we feature an organization that serves mountain area youth with outstanding low and no-cost programs from sports to science, ceramics to robotics, and more.
Day #2 Bass Lake Education Foundation
- What is it? Based in Oakhurst, the Bass Lake Education Foundation (BLEF) is a grass-roots organization that was established after state-wide school budget cuts drastically reduced programs for kids in Madera County. Children from Oakhurst, Ahwahnee, Coarsegold, and North Fork have participated in free and low-cost programs in six schools. By offering workshops and sponsoring field trips, BLEF promotes a love of learning, nature, and the sciences through a greater understanding of the living world.
- Who’s behind it? The organization is run by a small group of parent volunteers who do not take a salary and have almost no overhead costs. Founded by Oakhurst resident and district parent Kriszti Mendonca in 2009, all BLEF proceeds go directly back into programs for children.
- Website. www.basslakeedfund.org
Why we love it. From outdoor science camp to ceramics, and soccer to computer programming, the Bass Lake Education Foundation continually brings exciting extra-curricular programs to life in the foothills. Whether it’s paying to provide area kids access to world-class projects and interfacing with neighborhood high school students and teachers, providing scholarships for projects, or funding photography and arts classes taught by local talent, BLEF makes a point of filling in the gaps so that no activity seems out of reach. Currently, Yosemite High School students Chandler Clarke and Owen Basset, along with their instructor Ryan Collings, have teamed up with BLEF as instructors for a Lego Robotics workshop designed to introduce middle school students to the program in preparation for #BadgerRobotics. BLEF is an independent non-profit 503(c) public charity.