SAM Academy: Our History

Since opening ten years ago in downtown Sanger, SAM Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has provided after-school, weekend, spring, winter, and summer programming to Sanger youth and families through non-traditional learning environments and programs that are customized to fit specific needs and interests from early childhood to high school level students. The SAM Academy includes a Science Workshop, Art Studio, and Music studio within its’ physical location and is within walking distance of schools and residences. Within the 7,500 square foot building there is also access to a Community Science Workshop, a versatile classroom, art studio, and warehouse
for storage.

Our goal is to provide community-based programs that provide youth, an accessible, equitable, and engaging ways, to explore science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the Arts.



The Need

Latino youth in general are historically underserved by science and art non-profits, and this region of the South San Joaquin Valley, often referred to as Appalachia West, has been long underserved and faces challenges with education, health, and jobs. The creation of the Sanger SAM Academy and its’ various programs have expanded the ways rural Sanger and Del Rey youth engage in STEM learning, deep arts integration, and environmental advocacy and service-learning projects. SAM Academy in Sanger provides opportunities for underserved youth to tinker, make, and explore their world through activities embedded with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and Music.  We immerse schools and neighborhoods with learning environments and opportunities for children’s imaginations, aspirations, and knowledge to foster creativity, and establish within them an identity previously reserved for children from more affluent families and communities.

SAM Academy: Population Served

We serve the South San Joaquin Valley, with Fresno County in the center of seven counties. It makes up a geographical region larger than eleven states and ranks as tenth most populous if it were an independent state. The rural city of Sanger with just over 25,000 residents is agriculturally based and sits 13 miles southeast of Fresno. The city’s demographics include 83% Latino and 14% White, with school populations ranging from 75% to 96% Latino and 75% to 100% Free and Reduced Lunch program participation. More than 34% of Sanger youth live below the poverty line and families live on a median income of $41,327.

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