Deepening Our Partnership With The Portola (& Beyond)
As the world has grappled with the challenges of the COVID pandemic, the SFS families and staff have kept neighbors of the Portola and San Francisco in their minds and hearts. Building on its strength, the SFS community has expanded its efforts outside the Gaven St. gates to inspire our students to be humanitarians and support the broader community.
The Families 4 Families Initiative, a partnership of the School’s Public Purpose Committee (PPC) and Family Association (FA), has provided opportunities for SFS families to build relationships with families in our neighborhoods. During San Francisco public schools’ campus closures, many vulnerable students and families struggled to access remote learning, school supplies, and basic necessities. PPC and FA leadership held drives for the Portola’s Hillcrest Elementary and Bernal Heights’s Paul Revere Elementary and Middle School, collecting backpacks and school supplies; hygiene products, household cleaning supplies; diapers and wipes; books; and masks. Perhaps most critically, many food insecure families who depend on school and other local food pantries were having difficulty getting groceries. In partnership with Hillcrest and Paul Revere administrators, SFS volunteers delivered food provided by the SF Marin Food Bank every week to other families.
In March, the Families 4 Families Initiative hosted a panel discussion on food insecurity as an educational opportunity for SFS families to support and serve our neighbors and city with greater intention and understanding. Panelist and Hillcrest Community School Coordinator Gabrielle Theobald-Anderson, MSW, says “Not only were we able to provide more food security, we were also able to lower COVID exposure levels by providing door-to-door delivery and helping families avoid spending hours on public transit and in line. We’re incredibly excited and proud of this food delivery partnership and to see how our partnership continues to grow over the coming years!”
The work continues. With the FA and PPC, SFS has offered family education opportunities in anti-racism, social emotional learning support during COVID, technology and digital citizenship, gender identity, climate change, civil rights, and the ethic of love. Our students and teachers continue to find opportunities for civic engagement – volunteering in local gardening and maintenance with the Portola Neighborhood Association; promoting “Get Out the Vote” for Election Day; its Social Action Lunch Club; and the annual Weekend of Service. Through meaningful experiences, service learning, and leadership opportunities, SFS encourages its students’ development into advocates for our neighbors. SFS will continue to support neighbors long after we recover from the pandemic.
Posted July 15, 2021