Growing children rooted in trust, love and justice
1. Why do we need a bus?
The majority of our urban students and families only have access to walking or public transit as modes of transportation, making the forest inaccessible as a drop-off location for school. To support our students, we meet each morning at an accessible, central location in Oakland and travel to the forest together. We’ve previously utilized the teacher’s vehicles for all student transportation, but our quickly growing student population can no longer be supported by our beloved blue minivan nicknamed “Blueberry”. A bus would allow each student to have reliable transportation to and from our all-outdoor school sites, as well as allow our school to grow and serve more students. At it’s core, a bus will increase access to education for students and families impacted by institutionalized racism, classism, and ableism.
2. Why $20,000?
We're looking to raise $20,000 to cover the cost of the bus! If we raise over $20,000 we will do renovations to transform the back section into a mobile classroom with all of the art, science, reading and other materials our students need as well as purchase car seats for our youngest students.
3. What is Abundant Beginnings and what is the Freedom Forest School?
Abundant Beginnings was founded and is run by black queer women. We are a community of educators, families and children dedicated to explicit social justice education and we work towards freedom and liberation for all.
In our Freedom Forest School, our prime objective is to serve our youngest community members impacted by white supremacist heteropatriarchy. In particular, we seek to serve children and families within communities of color, queer and trans communities, and those within family structures that defy societal norms. All of our programs prioritize the learning of children who do not fit into traditional programs due to ability, learning differences, gender fabulousness, activity level, emotional needs, trauma, and quirkiness.
Our programs create an environment for black children to be carefree. We believe it is a child's right to explore their interests and create lasting relationships within an atmosphere of support and freedom, which is in radical contrast to our current sociopolitical climate. Our central commitments are to provide education that centers social and environmental justice, creates constructive engagements across difference, and cultivates connections to the earth and our ancestral ecological practices.
We educate our children through a queer ecofeminist lens. In the words of Greta Gaard, this lens requires embracing diversity and “building coalitions for creating a democratic, ecological culture based on our shared liberation.” We support our children in this pursuit on the individual level, the community level, and the environmental level.
4. What will the future of the Abundant Beginnings’ Forest Freedom School look like?
*Open Community Education Centers that develop curricula and provide space for families during the prenatal-kindergarten years
*Learning Communities (1st Grade - 9th Grade) that will be hubs of education for our youth
* Accessible social justice education for adult allies in the community
* Utilization of a residential Non-Profit/Co-Housing Model that will be part of a larger network of urban and rural land projects that are led by and center the knowledge and experiences of black indigenous trans & queer people.
Founding Principles and more info about our school as well as other Abundant Beginnings projects can be found on our website.
We thank you deeply for your support.
The Abundant Beginnings Team
*If you would like to make a large tax-deductible donation or know of a foundation or family who can support, please email: shayna (at) abundantbeginnings (dot) org.
- Eileen Stern
- Donna Hudson
- JP Hailer
- Kristina Mundera
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