Winter, virtually


Coastal living can be tough. While on rare occasions temperatures can fall to near freezing, for the most part, Ventura County residents live a rather bland life of sunshine and warm to cool breezes. With such mostly moderate conditions all year long, Ventura resident Sloan Hoffmann, founder of the after-school program Thirty 3 and a Third, decided she would make her dog-sledding adventure in Minnesota next month a virtual, educational winter world for area students.

“Only a few kids actually get to experience winter and snow,” Hoffmann said. “I wanted to grow what I could offer to schools — something unusual and different.”

With her after-school care, she provides students educational programs in art, music and science. But for her upcoming six-day, 50-mile trip, she decided that she wanted to connect with local elementary students by logging her experiences, updating photos and video, and answering their questions  via interactive assemblies. She has several schools on board from Ventura and one in Montecito. She hopes to add more, but realizes that not all schools are technically equipped to interact with her over the Internet. And for that reason, she started a fundraising campaign on with a goal of $2,000, which will expire the day she leaves for her trip on Feb. 16. Knowing that many children don’t get the opportunity to experience a true winter world, she hopes this interactive experience will give them a better view of the world around them.

For more information on Thirty 3 and a Third, go to To make a donation, go to