Ocean Connectors has been using migratory marine life to educate, inspire, and connect underserved youth since 2007. The nonprofit has achieved great success, with programs reaching 1,500 National City schoolchildren each year as well as students in Nayarit, Mexico, but help was needed to take Ocean Connectors to the next level of organizational growth and development. Last year, the Director applied to LEAD San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing civically engaged leaders and informed, capable individuals who take action to effect positive change in our region. Each year, members of the LEAD San Diego Impact class are divided into six teams, and each team is matched with a local nonprofit agency that benefits from the team members’ expertise.

Ocean Connectors was one of six lucky nonprofits selected in 2015. An incredible team of seven local experts joined forces to develop a strategic plan that reveals next steps for the organization, identifies new partners, and engages the skills of local community leaders. The team helped Ocean Connectors launch a new website, implement a new logo, expand the Advisory Board, and develop an eco tour social enterprise program. The LEAD team’s support will lay the groundwork for Ocean Connectors to grow to all schools in National City School District, thus helping to ensure that at-risk youth form a deep and meaningful connection with the coastal environment that surrounds them. The LEAD team members have become lifelong advocates for Ocean Connectors, after seeing the positive impacts of the programs in-action. 

The LEAD team presented their work at the LEAD Graduation on June 5, 2015. The team was joined on stage by National City Mayor Ron Morrison, who expressed his sincere support for Ocean Connectors. Watch the event video below!

Photo courtesy of Ralph Pace