The Monarch Newsletter

March 2023 – Vol. 3

Mark Your Calendar


Friday, May 12, 2023

The Chrysalis: Monarch School Center for the Arts
1805 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113

The Metamorphosis Art Exhibition will feature curated art created by our students, collaborative works between students and local artists, and artworks by San Diego regional artists.

We hope you can join us for this special 2nd annual event to support the arts at Monarch, please keep an eye out for the official invitation to purchase tickets. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor,please reach out to Allie Tarolli at


Cocktail reception, student led tour of art exhibition


Student performances and artist talks


Art Auction - Drawing of take-home selections

Free Cone Day

Ben & Jerry's: Free Cone Day! - April 3rd, 10am-5pm

Monarch is proud to be Ben & Jerry's 2023 community partner recipient. Visit Ben & Jerry's Seaport Village at 859 A W Harbor Dr, San Diego for a FREE scoop of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. Along with thanking their fans with a free cone, Ben & Jerry's will also be collecting donations for Monarch and spreading awareness of our programs.

Message from the CEO

Community Schools: A Model That Works

As our society grapples with systemic inequity, more communities are asking: What role can schools play in creating a more equitable future? If you’re following this national conversation, you’ve probably heard the term “Community School” raised by educators and elected officials alike. You might be surprised to learn that Monarch School has already been operating as a community school for decades. As a result, we find ourselves well equipped to articulate the impact of this approach and why more school sites should consider facilitating closer partnerships with service providers, students and families.

Although community schools have recently found their way back into public focus, they’ve been around since the early 20th century. According to the American Federation of Teachers, a community school is best described as an educational environment that successfully integrates student support, expanded learning time, progressive curriculum, caregiver engagement and social practices that are intended to nurture resilience and healing among students who’ve faced myriad life traumas1.

Research shows that the community school model works because when students and their families access stabilizing resources within the school environment, academic performance improves, and students achieve a measure of security that leads to better emotional health 2. A community school allows for more engagement with families and meaningful relationships between students, teachers, faculty, social care providers and caregivers.

Here at Monarch, we evolved to community school status out of necessity.

Monarch students walk through our doors carrying the heavy burden of housing insecurity and the host of physical, mental, and emotional health barriers that emerge from this untenable social condition. Teachers and social care professionals that connect with students on our campus understand that education extends beyond the classroom. Additionally, they recognize that academics are a critical but not singularly important aspect of our collective work.

The hybrid educational and social support model at the heart of Monarch enables our students and their caregivers to access the practical support they need and build relationships with the trusted team members they can rely on for partnership while navigating life challenges.

Our onsite school health technician supports the daily health needs of our students, and a partnership with the local health clinic can enable treatment for caregivers on campus. Extended school days and a school year that keeps our doors open through the summer facilitates fun enrichment activities and academic remediation. These strategies not only keep students engaged but they also help them stay focused and on track for graduation.

We count on our well-trained team of onsite mental health clinicians and behavioral intervention specialists to help students express themselves in a therapeutic setting and manage their emotional ups and downs. We involve parents as partners as well as learners, offering them the opportunity to develop or nurture a skill. Parents and caregivers can come to our campus to participate in parenting classes, prepare and share a meal, receive housing and social service support, or simply discuss obstacles and potential solutions in a collegial setting.

As a community school, we also look outside our own walls to connect students with the best possible care and resources. We build partnerships with other local health and social service agencies and community-based nonprofits. These partnerships allow us to offer impactful services within our campus community. Services include a monthly farmer’s market in partnership with our local food bank and produce distribution vendor or the mobile food pantry that reliably offers shelf stable items to our students and their families.

Community schools are unlikely to address every challenge facing marginalized peoples; that will require bigger and broader partnerships at the cross section of society. However, they have an impressive history of linking students and their families to resources, support, and opportunities that mitigate barriers to stability and encourage the emotional health that is necessary for academic and social success.

Schools can and should be part of a vital strategy for offering dignified and respectful access points intended to address the implications of systemic conditions that foster social disparity. I am proud to say that Monarch has played a part in this long history, and we are continuing to dream big about how we might do more for more kids. As we continue to build this environment for our students at Monarch, I hope we’ll soon be working alongside many other leaders charting this course for our future together.

1. American Federation of Teachers. (n.d.). Home/Our Members/PreK-12 Public Education/Publications and Resources. Retrieved from American Federation of Teachers:
2. Anna Maier, J.D. (2017, December 14). Home/Equitable Resources and Access. Retrieved from Learning Policy Institute:

Afira Devries

Donor Spotlight: Port of San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club


Monarch School Project provides each student with a holistic education designed to meet their academic, social, emotional and life skill needs. One of the programs we are really proud of is our Garden and Nutrition Lab. We would like to express our gratitude to the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club and the Port of San Diego for sponsoring the Garden and Nutrition program.    In the garden, students learn about planting and harvesting food, then use the harvest to create recipes in the Nutrition Lab.  A special thanks to our high school students who worked together helping paint and design our benches, while our younger students added color and kind messages.

Volunteer Spotlight: Remembering Brian Hamilton

We would like to honor our dear friend, long-term volunteer, and co-founder of Project Connect, Brian Hamilton, who unexpectedly passed at just 38 years old.  Brian helped start Project Connect 18 years ago while a student at SDSU and has planned the Thanksgiving dinner at Monarch each year with Alli Jo Hauck and other Project Connect volunteers, serving thousands of our students and families over the years.  His smile and calm demeanor is synonymous with the Fall Festival part of the Thanksgiving dinner, which he spearheaded each year, hanging lights, setting up games and organizing all of the other volunteers to create a wonderful experience for our students.

Brian leaves behind a beautiful wife, Kirsten, and three little girls (Hayden, Cora and Elin) that are 3, 4, and 5 years old.

Brian always showed up for people in need, and for Monarch School Project students and families. We will be honoring his legacy by planting a tree at Monarch School in the Serenity Circle.

Brian Hamilton
May 27, 1984 - January 8, 2023

Community Partner Spotlight: Project Connect Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude here at Monarch! We are very excited to share some images from our 18th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Fall Festival sponsored by our dear volunteers from Project Connect.  Founded by Allie Jo Hauck and Brian Hamilton and other friends nearly two decades ago, Monarch is the recipient of a beautiful Thanksgiving sit-down dinner for our students and their families along with a festival including photo booth, family portraits, games, petting zoo and music.  Sadly, Brian Hamilton passed away shortly after our Project Connect event.  Please see his Memorial under Volunteer Spotlight.

A special thank you to Allie Jo Hauck, Rick Shaughnessy and the Coronado Community, Chef Sohrab & California Culinary Art  Institute, Chef Richard Blais and The Crack Shack, KFC, Rady Shell & Centerplate, Studio Palma, IPSSA SD Metro, Kaiyo Wealth, Carte Hotel, Jetter Green, DaRosa Family, The Hannawi Family, Sam Torres Photography, La Carreta of Alpine, Connolly Farms, Tony on the Mic, Double S Tack & Feed, Bright Rentals, Flavor Dance Co., Cafe Adesso, Ring Doorbells, Road Rebel, Manzanita 4H, DAUAA, Master Sports, Matteo and the generous personal donations of so many San Diegans!

Program Spotlight: Monarch Schools first ever Elementary Soccer Teams

Student-athletes from 1st-4th grade have been competing against various schools this year and have demonstrated phenomenal success on the field. Our Junior Soccer Team, 3rd-4th grade, brought home the championship trophy! For many of our students, this was their first time in an organized team environment. They were able to build skills in communication, teamwork, cooperation, and friendship, and most importantly, they learned about being a team player. The Monarch Community is extremely proud of our student-athletes.

Corporate Partners Spotlight: Holiday Celebrations

We would like to thank our amazing holiday sponsors who made such an impact this past holiday season. Thank you to the Padres, Illumina, Amazon, HP, SDG&E, Missions Edge, FBI, Johnson & Johnson, Mulligan Funding, DefenAge, Mutual Mortgage, Schubach Aviation, UBS, and Gillian Roehrig with San Diego Brokerage. This outpouring generosity of our corporate sponsors helped make the students' holiday parties extra special.

The students enjoyed all of the gifts, treats and fun activities planned by our sponsors:

  • Illumina - High school party support
  • Amazon - High school party support
  • HP - 8th GradeClassroom party
  • SDG&E - 7th Grade Classroom party
  • Missions Edge - 6th Grade Classroom party
  • FBI - 5th Grade Classroom party & Boutique donations
  • Johnson & Johnson - 4th Grade Classroom party
  • Mulligan Funding - 3rd Grade Classroom party
  • Mutual Mortgage - 2nd Grade Classroom party
  • Padres - 1st Grade Classroom party
  • UBS - Kindergarten Classroom party
  • DefenAge - December dinner sponsor
  • Gillian Roehrig with San Diego Brokerage - Gift Cards for families
  • Schubach Aviation - Starbucks gift cards and hygiene kits

Student Spotlight: Student Column by Jenny, 10th Grade

Monarch offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities for students, ranging from sports to arts. Recently we have amassed  a new cheerleading team! Students are coached by our very own Ms.Aracely who has a cheerleading background. She thought sharing this experience would add to the middle and  high school community. Ms. Aracely shares, “I went around the school to find students that were excited to try something new, and I was surprised to find so many students interested in cheerleading". We are grateful for Ms. Aracely’s spirit and leadership.  She is a valuable member of our Monarch community and  the way she coaches her team with love, patience and  support shows how much she cares about our students.

Monarch Cheer

In the News: Promoting Resilience


A recent study by the Jacobs Institute at the University of San Diego shows how Monarch School Project nourishes the unique social-emotional strengths of unhoused youth. Click the button below to access the full white paper study, "Promoting Resilience: Social-Emotional Learning Sustenance in the Monarch School Project".

Ways to Get Involved This Month


Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are an important part of the community at Monarch and we are grateful for each of the individuals and organizations that generously share their time and resources to support our students.

On-campus volunteers at Monarch are committed, consistent, flexible leaders who are available for a regular weekly volunteer shift. Most volunteer opportunities occur Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Butterfly Boutique - assist students with shopping for their items; sort, organize donations
  • Classroom Support
  • Math and Literacy Tutoring
  • Admin Support
  • Event support
  • Individualized Skills

If this sounds like you, we can’t wait to hear from you! Click here to add your name to our interest list, and we will contact you!

We also offer group volunteer opportunities!

  • Monthly Farmers Market
  • Family Dinner
  • Hygiene Kit Assembly

If you and your group would like to participate please email and we will get in touch!

In-Kind Donations

In-Kind Donations

Our Butterfly Boutique is supported by generous In-Kind donations. Every month our students get the opportunity to shop at the Butterfly Boutique where they all receive the following items:

  • Hygiene Kits
  • Sweater/Jackets
  • Tops
  • Pants
  • Undergarments
  • Shoes
  • Socks

At Monarch, we are always in need for new clothing, shoes, and hygiene supplies. In order to meet our student needs we have created an Amazon Wishlist that you can locate here.

Hosting a supply drive in your workplace or community is a great way to help support our students and families basic needs. Please reach out to Allie at to set up an In-Kind Drive.  We are not accepting used items.


Event Opportunities

Monarch hosts two annual fundraising events, support for these events impact the opportunities we are able to offer our students and community. We offer sponsor and underwriting opportunities for both events. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or Honorary Committee member please reach out to Allie Tarolli at

Metamorphosis Art Exhibition - May 12, 2023
Funds raised  from the Metamorphosis Art Exhibition  benefit Monarch’s Creative Youth Development Program which provides students with music, dance, theater and art education experiences at the Chrysalis, Monarch School’s Center for the Arts.

Raise Up for Monarch - October 5, 2023
Support from Raise Up makes a significant impact on our community of students, alumni and families by allowing us to scale-up our programs and services to serve additional students and families in our community. Contributions enable Monarch to continue to nurture resilience in students and alumni, empowering them with the tools they need to succeed.

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