Bringing History to Life for a California Fourth Grader

The Mission’s “Adopt-A-Class” program was spearheaded in 2005 to enable at risk low-income children to take part in the hands-on learning that a field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano can provide. The Mission’s docents provide guided tours to over 74,000 school children who visit annually; however, with limited school funding, a field trip is often not a possibility for all students.

The vision behind the “Adopt-A-Class” program is to create a pool of restricted funds that allow the Mission to provide scholarship funds based upon a school’s financial need. Teachers from Title 1 (low income) schools can contact the Mission’s Group Bookings Department at (949) 234-1306 and request an “Adopt-A-Class” tour. Teachers will be asked to provide written documentation to affirm that their school does not have the necessary funds to enjoy a field trip to the Mission. If the school is interested in securing funding for one of the education programs (such as Journeys to the Past, Making the Grade or Mission Matters), please indicate that as well.

The Mission Preservation Foundation encourages all schools to book tours in the Fall when there is more availability. To date, over 66,000 students have been “adopted” by generous supporters.

Adopt-A-Class letters of application are accepted beginning June 1st for the upcoming school year, and due to demand, should be submitted no later than October 31st for best chances of acceptance to the program. Letters received before June 1st will not be considered and will need to be resubmitted. When funds are exhausted, applicants will be put on a waitlist until funds become available for the school year of the application. If funds do not become available, applicants will need to resubmit for the following year if that is the school’s desire.

How to Apply for the Program:
Please mail, email or fax (949) 481-9895 a letter addressed to the Mission’s Group Bookings Department, Attention: Kathleen Witkowski with the following information on school letter head:

  1. School contact information
  2. Letter stating your needs including number or people in group and if transportation is needed
  3. Details of the percent of students on the free or reduced lunch program
  4. Your contact information

After the complete letter is received and reviewed by the Executive Director, a determination of funding available vs. the funding needed by your school will be made. A determination letter will be sent to you with the decision of whether the Mission is able to cover all, part, or none of the field trip. The decision is based largely on the proposal’s completeness and percent of students receiving a free or reduced cost lunch.


“Thank you…Dear People at the Mission, we all thank you guys for everything you guys did for us and showed us it was wonderful.   I really want to thank you for using your time on us. Ps. I loved it.” – Kelly


“Thank you. Dear San Juan Capistrano Mission, thank you for inviting us to your Mission free. My favorite part of the Mission was making the adobe blocks.  I really enjoyed going to your Mission.” – Sonny


“Thank you. I would like to thank you for the filed trip and teaching me about the native Americans, Father Serra, and jobs that people had to do before.” – Blake


“Thank you for the great day and the tour.  My favorite was the Church. It was beautiful. I liked the smell of the candles. I also really liked the part where we got to make the adobe bricks.” – Sunny


“I loved it when we went to the church that got destroyed.” – Elvis


“I would like to thank you for the generous grant that is allowing my class to visit the mission. This is such an important part of their Social Studies. My trip to the mission in fourth grade is probably my most memorable event. I will be 60 next week, so that was a long time ago. I still remember vividly the experience.” – Mariette Craig, 6th Street Preparatory School, Victorville, CA

 “Thank You” to these generous supporters of Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Program.

Adopt A Class


Adopt A Class


Adopt A Class