Bowdoin and the Blueberry Harvest School for Migrant Children

blueberry harvest school

L-R: Woody Winmill ’16 (teaching assistant), Ian Yaffe ’09 (director), Christine Rheem ’15 (teacher), and Maria Kennedy ’16 (project coordinator)

At the Blueberry Harvest School in Maine’s Washington County, children of migrant workers study and go on educational field trips while their parents rake blueberries. Some families come from Mexico, Texas or Florida. A large number of workers are Micmac Indians from New Brunswick.

Ian Yaffe ’09 oversees the Blueberry Harvest School as executive director of Mano en Mano, a nonprofit contracted by the Maine Department of Education to run the program. He told the Portland Press Herald that the school fills an education gap for some students, particularly those who are based in states where the school year starts in August. “Whether a student is here for only one week or they come every summer, we can help them be prepared to succeed in school this fall,” he said.

Bowdoin has strong ties with Blueberry Harvest School. At the moment, besides Yaffe, two current students and an alumna work at the school. Last year, for an independent study, current teacher Christine Rheem ’15 helped develop the school’s curriculum. Next week, a group of  first-year Bowdoin students on an orientation trip will volunteer with the Blueberry Harvest School during its final week.

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