The Need

Despite the great diver­sity of the San Francisco Bay Area, we still face the chal­lenges of seg­re­ga­tion and prej­u­dice, as well as inter-group ten­sion and vio­lence. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court’s deci­sion in Brown v. Board of Education ini­ti­ated the process of wide­spread deseg­re­ga­tion of American schools. Fifty-five years later, a 2009 report of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA revealed that schools are more seg­re­gated than they have been in over four decades, and that school seg­re­ga­tion is grow­ing. Our chil­dren con­tinue to grow up sur­rounded by stereo­types, often with lit­tle or no expo­sure to those dif­fer­ent from them­selves. This dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion breeds igno­rance and fear, feed­ing prej­u­dice and hatred, which in turn fuel vio­lence and fur­ther seg­re­ga­tion. The Mosaic Project works to break this cycle.

Many schools offer pro­grams that attempt to address issues of dif­fer­ence, but these often do so in a the­o­ret­i­cal way within a rel­a­tively homoge­nous envi­ron­ment. Most expe­ri­en­tial pro­grams that bring together stu­dents from diverse back­grounds wait until youth are in mid­dle or high school when neg­a­tive atti­tudes can already be entrenched.

The Mosaic Project, a 501(c)(3) non­profit, strate­gi­cally unites stu­dents of diverse back­grounds in our unique human-relations Outdoor School. We reach young peo­ple before they leave the shel­ter of ele­men­tary school for the larger, more com­plex envi­ron­ment of mid­dle school. We assist them in devel­op­ing the self-confidence and tools to suc­ceed as they encounter more peo­ple and more diver­sity in this new envi­ron­ment and through­out their lives.