Monarch School San Diego

K-12 school in downtown San Diego exclusively for homeless youth

Monarch School is a public K-12 school in downtown San Diego exclusively for homeless youth. Each year it serves more than 400 children with an accredited education while caring for basic needs. None of this would be possible without the dedicated and ongoing support of San Diego Rotary.

San Diego Rotary began its support of Monarch in the early 1990’s not long after the school was founded, back when it was still known as The P.L.A.C.E. It began by providing food, clothing and volunteers. However, in 1999, the day-center was forced to find a new location. Three Rotarians (Susan Armenta-Head Teacher, Bink Cook and Michelle Candland) along with another passionate supporter, Scott Kaats, formed an official nonprofit, established a Board of Directors (most of whom were Rotarians), found a new site and raised $1.4 million in cash and in-kind donations. Thus, the new Monarch School was formed.

Today, the San Diego Rotary Club continues its support and has identified Monarch School as one of its Legacy Projects where members serve as tutors, mentors, chaperons and volunteers on an ongoing basis. Rotary also regularly provides funding for programs such as: Camp Enterprise where students learn how to start a business; Model UN where students take on the identity of a country and address real life issues; Outward Bound where students learn about nature; and Student Exchange where students visit a foreign country.  San Diego Rotary also takes support to a personal level, funding vital programs for students’ individual growth. This includes literacy programs, books, expressive arts therapy and the annual prom. It also started the annual holiday meal project at Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide joy and encouragement for students as they face a hard season without homes.