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Imagine 64 fourth-graders showing up on a yellow school bus for a field trip with two teachers, a principal, and a couple of parent volunteers at a luxury resort where children are not necessarily encouraged.

In April of this year, Auberge du Soleil took a leap of faith and invited the fourth-graders from our adopted school, Northwood Elementary, to experience our Relais & Chateaux property. In honor of Earth Day we discussed the importance of resource conservation, and in addition to that, we highlighted math concepts and how we use math at Auberge on a daily basis.

We also took them on a site tour asking questions like: how many gallons of water do you think we have in the pool, count how many steps from here to the guest room, and try to find the owl nesting box. We served them fresh fruit, turkey wraps, and a delicious chocolate mousse prepared by our pastry chef. Some of the kids had never tasted a fresh strawberry before. They were in awe and extremely well-behaved; all the students now want to work at Auberge and this will likely be an experience they will never forget.

I am writing this letter to share with you Auberge du Soleil’s experience in working with the local Adopt-a-School program and to invite other local businesses to join us in our efforts.

In 2011 we were approached by Chuck McMinn, president of Napa Learns, and the Napa Valley Vintners who launched the Adopt-a-School program more than a decade ago, to see if Auberge was interested in adopting a local school. We jumped at the opportunity.

Auberge du Soleil is always looking for ways to give back to our community. We believe that when a community is doing well as a whole its individuals are better off, too. Auberge du Soleil was paired with Northwood Elementary School and we have been very happy with the match.

Every school year presents us with new opportunities for engaging and mentoring the younger generation. Auberge du Soleil tries to find meaningful ways to support our adopted school rather than merely writing a check. It is so much more gratifying to interact with the kids and impact their lives directly.

Numerous partnerships have emerged over the years as we all work together to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers. For example, we host an annual teacher appreciation reception at the end of the school year and Napa Valley Tours & Transportation donates a shuttle for transportation. The Strausberg Group, the company that designs our own brand, designed a school logo for Northwood. We have found that all you have to do is ask for assistance.

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Auberge du Soleil is now asking you to join us in establishing the ultimate, cooperative, local Adopt-a-School program. By supporting education and the educational experiences of public school students we will stimulate our local businesses, industry and government.

The Napa Valley Adopt-a-School program is in the process of strengthening and broadening the scope of the current program by bringing in multiple adopters for each school. Please reach out to our Adopt-a-School Coordinator Karen Zimolzak at adopta

school@napalearns.org, if you are interested in participating in our local Adopt-a-School program.

Grega is the environmental relations manager for Auberge du Soleil.

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