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Closing the STEM Inequity Gap and Celebrating the Graduation of Underrepresented Youth

[Deerfield Beach, FL June 3, 2023] – Sea the Reef, an innovative program dedicated to empowering underrepresented youth in South Florida, proudly announces the culmination of its transformative initiative with the graduation of its talented participants. Through a collaboration between Lele Art Lab, Surf Skate Science, and the Fruitful Field, Sea the Reef has successfully equipped students with the tools to become voices for marine conservation. Generously funded by the Vela Education Fund, this program aims to close the STEM inequity gap and create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Sea the Reef offers an unparalleled opportunity for teenagers to dive into the world of ocean conservation as explorers and artists. By unlocking doors to science discovery, ocean exploration, and environmental art practices, Sea the Reef empowers teens to make a lasting impact. The program serves as a platform for students to voice their ideas, share the significance of the ocean within their community, and explore effective measures to protect coral reefs and reduce waste.

"We believe that a more sustainable, equitable future is for all of us to design. Our teens lead

the way," says Toni Frallicciardi at Surf Skate Science. Sea the Reef's vision is rooted in the conviction that every individual possesses the potential to contribute to a better world. By providing equal opportunities, the program serves the BIPOC communities, students from diverse family backgrounds, and low income communities of South Florida. An estimated 80% of youth that live within miles of the ocean have never explored life under the water.

Sea the Reef employs a comprehensive approach that combines the power of art and STEM to foster social-emotional learning skills and pro-ecological behaviors. Throughout the program, students engage in service projects, embark on enriching field trips to coral labs and snorkeling, and develop their artistic skills through graphic design, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. As an incentive for their commitment and dedication, students who attend all sessions earn a tablet, adding a valuable tool to their educational arsenal. We have also awarded one outstanding student with a summer session exploring marine scienc

e in the Florida Keys thanks to the generosity of Key Largo’s Marine Lab.

The Sea the Reef WORLD OCEAN DAY event, scheduled for June 3rd from 9am to Noon, promises to be a remarkable celebration of the students' achievements. Hosted at Deerfield Beach, Florida, the event will witness the community coming together to build a life-sized coral reef on the beach, raising awareness about the importance of our barrier reef system. Joining forces with Surfrider for a traditional Paddle Out, Mina’s Marine Military (a student-led beach clean-up organization), and various environmental non-profits, the students will showcase STEM education tables to educate attendees about the significance of environmental stewardship across all ages.

A highlight of the event will be the unveiling of "The Coral Playhouse," an interactive installation featuring coral replicas and the soothing sounds of the ocean. Visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this artistic representation, fostering a deeper connection with marine life and the environment.

The Sea the Reef graduation ceremony will follow at the Hillsboro Community Center, featuring inspiring talks from National Geographic Scientists who will encourage the students on their journey of environmental stewardship through STEM and art. Their words will ignite a spark within these young minds, empowering them to continue championing the cause of ocean conservation.

Sea the Reef represents a paradigm shift in how underrepresented youth can contribute to marine conservation. By bridging the STEM inequity gap and unlocking opportunities through science discovery, ocean exploration, and environmental art, Sea the Reef ensures that these young voices are heard and respected.

For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information about Sea the Reef, please contact:

Toni Frallicciardi

Surf Skate Science/ Sea the Reef



Sea the Reef is a free after-school program that empowers underrepresented youth through science discovery, ocean exploration, and environmental art. The program aims to close the STEM inequity gap by providing equal opportunities for teenagers to voice their ideas about marine conservation. Sea the Reef is generously funded by the Vela Education Fund.

Surf Skate Science is an organization dedicated to teaching STEM through Action Sports and Ocean Exploration. By merging science education with the excitement of skateboarding and surfing, Surf Skate Science engages and inspires young minds.

Lele Art Lab is a creative art studio focused on teaching earth stewardship through the power of art. The organization harnesses the expressive potential of art to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainable practices.

The Fruitful Field is an educational initiative that teaches sustainable farming and highlights the connection between soil and sea. By instilling a sense of responsibility for the environment, Fruitful Field empowers individuals to make conscious choices that benefit the planet.

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