Whittier's English-Spanish bilingual Fifth Dimension was opened in 1993 at the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, an affiliate of a nationwide, youth-service organization in the USA: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Today, the Whittier Fifth Dimension takes place in two rooms at the club every Monday through Thursday, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., throughout the Whittier College academic year. The club's location provides easy access for children from five elementary and two middle schools. Many families in the neighborhoods around the club use it for inexpensive, after-school care.
Boys & Girls Club members from ages 7 through 12 years participate in the Fifth Dimension on a voluntary basis, choosing it from among the club's other afternoon activities. Although children can leave whenever they wish to, most remain for the entire hour-and-a-half session.
The Boys & Girls Club's Executive Director, its Program Director, and its Director of Activities work closely and supportively with Whittier College Department of Education and Child Development faculty who oversee the Fifth Dimension and related programs. The club maintains the Fifth Dimension's physical facilities and helps with the cost of program software and other supplies.
Boys & Girls Club, Whittier
The BCM Scholars Team, a specially selected group of outstanding Whittier College graduate students and undergraduates, is essential to the Whittier Fifth Dimension. In addition to assisting children one-to-one with program activities, team members coordinate daily operations and ongoing program development (software selection, materials design, procedural revisions, etc.). In addition to the BCM Scholars team, other Whittier undergraduates have participated in the Fifth Dimension as a field-experience requirement for a teacher-education class: Education 406, Learning and Learners. During the 2010-2011 academic year, two new Whittier College courses were added and based in the Fifth Dimension: Education 66, Community-Based Teaching Practicum (for undergraduates), and students Education 545, Advanced Internship in Community-Based Education (for graduate students).
The Fifth Dimension is a part of Whittier College's Center for Engagement with Communities (CEC). The CEC promotes course-based service learning, for-credit internships tied to programmatic requirements, and faculty-student research on issues that both address compelling needs in the community and enhance academic learning. The CEC's applied learning emphasis embodies the College's founding mission to graduate educated citizens primed to make smart decisions and serve communities, locally and globally.
As a participant in the University Community Links (UC Links) network, the Whittier Fifth Dimension collaborates with other Fifth Dimension sites in California, across the United States, and around the globe. Cross-site activities for both children and undergraduate students are part of the program. Whittier’s BCM Scholars have participated in the UC Links annual conference and often present and report on some aspect of the program to the leaders of the other Fifth Dimensions and UC Links programs.
Whittier's English-Spanish bilingual Fifth Dimension extension site was opened in 2017 at the Evergreen Elementary, in the East Whittier School District. Today, the Whittier Fifth Dimension takes place on campus at Evergreen every Monday through Thursday, 4:00p.m. to 5:50 p.m., throughout the Whittier College academic year. The school provides easy access for children from any of the pre-existing after school programs.
Evergreen students from the ages of 7 through 12 years participate in the Fifth Dimension on a voluntary basis, choosing it from among the school's other after-school activities. This operates jointly with THINKtogether, providing an effective program appropriate for Evergreen Elementary.
Science Circus Whittier
The Science Circus Whittier Project works with Whittier College Undergraduates enrolled in a service-learning course offered through the Department of Education. The Science Circus Whittier Project families and schools to spark student interest and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by providing access to high-quality learning opportunities in Whittier and surrounding communities.
The BCM Foundation, a philanthropic organization located in Whittier, supports the Whittier Fifth Dimension through a generous grant to the Whittier College Department of Education & Child Development. The greatest portion of the grant provides college financial aid for the BCM Scholars Team. The McCabe grant also provides Fifth Dimension hardware and software and supports the other BCM Community Education Programs, which are also coordinated by the Scholars team.