Sunnylands is dedicated to supporting education and contributing to the community, and in past years collaborated with community programs such as the First Tee of Coachella Valley and Desert Arc. In October, on a day closed to the public, 15 students from Cathedral City High School’s special needs program, along with K-9 Friendly Visitors Director Michael Neu, and three certified service dogs visited the Center & Gardens.
K-9 Friendly Visitors is a nonprofit organization that provides beneficial services to disabled and special needs youth in an effort to increase academic excellence, vocational skills, self-esteem, and better mental health. It partners with several local schools and school districts. The service and specially trained dogs work with students in hands-on activities in social and public environments.
For most of the students, the visit to the Center & Gardens was their first field trip, and none had ever been to a museum. The students toured the Center with the service dogs, watched A Place Called Sunnylands, walked the labyrinth with the dogs, and learned about sustainability from Danielle Sombati, education programs coordinator.
“In visiting Sunnylands, the students were able to experience what they had been studying,” Sombati said. “Students were engaged and asked a lot of questions.”
The day concluded with an art activity based on Giacometti’s Bust of Diego on Steel III, a sculpture on exhibition at the Center & Gardens. Students interpreted Giacometti’s sculpture style using tin-foil.