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Community Partnerships

For You, For Me, For Us: Horizons at SFFS

Date: 
Sunday, January 10, 2021

I grew up in a tiny and overcrowded, but loving and hard-working, low income immigrant home in the Mission District. Despite having only attended school through 8th grade and speaking no English, my parents did everything they could to ensure that I had access to a good education. I remember how much they celebrated that they had successfully advocated for me to attend Buena Vista Elementary, a Spanish immersion school, but lamented that they could not afford to provide me with additional educational enrichment opportunities. Fast forward to today, I could not be more proud to be completing my first year as Executive Director at  Horizons at SFFS which works to close the opportunity gap for students from low income backgrounds. 

So many thoughts and feelings rush to mind as I reflect on my first year: I’m proud that Horizons pivoted to offer remote summer programming for 117 students, but I am crushed that nearly 75% of Horizons families experienced job loss. I’m excited that Horizons has expanded to provide more robust year round supports, but I am worried that Horizons students have not received in-person instruction since last March. The pandemic and the conversations lifted by the murder of George Floyd reinforced what I already knew: the work that Horizons at SFFS does is crucial to ensure a better future for all of us

Educational equity is the assurance that every student has access to the resources and academic rigor necessary to their growth regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, family background or family income. When we work towards educational equity, we work towards a better collective future. 

Educational equity

  • Improves our communities. An equitable education system helps all students develop the knowledge and skills they need to be engaged and become productive members of society. Our communities benefit from inspired and confident individuals who have the opportunity to pursue their talents and interests. 
     
  • Challenges the imbalance of power and privilege. The U.S. has a long and tired history of maintaining the power and privilege of the select few – usually white, male, upper-class citizens—by limiting access to education. Advocating for educational equity challenges this imbalance; implementing it can actually help redress the injustice.
     
  • Strengthens the economy. There is a direct link between high-quality education and a healthy economy. Education has the power to improve individual lives and uplift entire communities by strengthening the overall economy. True educational equity has the potential to reduce poverty nationwide.

(Adapted from: GreatSchools Partnership.org) 

Over the last few months at Horizons at SFFS we have been asking ourselves, what more can we do? What steps can we take to further dismantle roots of oppression in our program, our community, and beyond? To that end, we have expanded avenues for parent voices in program decision making, we are prioritizing racial diversity and connection to our students’ lived experiences in our board member search. We have started difficult conversations about race, privilege and the way we may accept systems that are deeply counterproductive to equity as the norm. In these conversations, we have started to learn about Community Centric Fundraising, a fundraising model that is co-grounded in racial and economic justice.

Our upcoming virtual benefit on February 11, at 6:00 p.m., We Are Made of Stars, will be our first venture towards this model. The hour-long program will be an opportunity to learn more about Horizons’ work and impact, as well as a celebration of the limitless potential of Horizons students. 

The virtual event also strikes a particularly special note with me as it will officially mark the completion of my first year with Horizons at SFFS. I hope that you will join me on February 11 and that you will walk away feeling as inspired as I do to continue working towards educational equity. Together we are building a better future. 

If you want to connect or learn more about how to get involved, reach out to Laura at lmedina@sffriendsschool.org or visit the Horizons website: horizonsatsffs.org.

Growing Our Community Partnerships

Date: 
Monday, October 28, 2019

San Francisco Friends School has many community partnerships that we hold dear, including with The Gubbio Project and St. Francis of Assisi. Often, the organizations we work with are locally-minded, with outreach focused on the Mission and San Francisco. At the Crossroads (or ATC) is one such organization that we at SFFS feel proud and grateful to partner with. ATC works with youth experiencing homelessness, giving them the support they need to access resources, build healthy lives, and achieve their goals. At the outset of the school year, Friends gathers backpacks and back-to-school gift cards for At the Crossroads in our opening year drive. These donations help ATC to support the young people they serve as they prepare for a new school year. 

Says Guybe Slangen, the Director of Community Engagement at Friends: "Our partnership with ATC goes back about a decade, when they were our neighbors at 333 Valencia St. It's been a wonderful partnership - they have helped teach us about the issues and challenges these youth face, as well as what we can do to make an impact, be it through candy, backpacks, or greeting those on the streets with a smile and a hello. We look forward to many more years of supporting their efforts and we're grateful for the important work they do." 

This week, we are collecting fun-sized candy for ATC to share with their clients in celebration of Halloween—and also of fun. At the Crossroads explains: "Our work is bolstered by the fact that we hand out a variety of snacks, not just the standard fare found at soup kitchens and shelters. Food distributed to the homeless population is usually geared toward things other than fun; the fact that we sprinkle candy and other treats into our mostly healthy options sends the message that we’re trying not just to help these young people survive, but to be happy and have pleasurable things in life. Handing out the candy packs really helps us bring clients into the fold, and build trust with our youth. Only at that point do these kids really let us in, allowing us to help them move forward in life. And don't worry, we hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste as well." If you have candy donations for ATC, please bring them to school and feed them to our famous Candy Monster, located in the lobby near our reception desk. To learn more about our candy drive, please click here

And if you'd like to learn more about the work that ATC does each and every day with San Francisco youth, please click here. Thank you! 

An SFFS Tradition Continues with Another Successful Opening School Drive!

Date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018

The opening school drive at San Francisco Friends School is a wonderful tradition we have that starts our school year off right and also makes a positive impact across the city. This year, we once again focused our efforts on our friends and neighbors at At The Crossroads (ATC). ATC is committed to helping homeless youth and young adults at their point of need, and works with them to build healthy and fulfilling lives. Over the course of this year's opening school drive, the SFFS community collected school backpacks, socks, and gift cards. The following are some words of thanks from our friends at At The Crossroads:

"Your contribution is immensely appreciated. These backpacks look amazing and will go a long way towards benefiting our youth. Thanks for literally helping our clients shoulder their burden." – Demaree Miller, Program Manager

"Backpacks represent different things for our clients. Not only are many of our clients full-time students who ask for school supplies almost year-round, but the fun-colored, sturdy bags you have provided them communicate a sense of belonging, style, safety, and care. Thank you all for the kind and thoughtful gifts for our clients!" – Anna Fai, Program Manager

To learn more about the At The Crossroads, please visit atthecrossroads.org. Next up: our candy drive! You can donate Halloween candy for our friends at ATC by "feeding the monster" in our lobby. Why donate candy? ATC explains: "Our work is bolstered by the fact that we hand out a variety of snacks, not just the standard fare found at soup kitchens and shelters. Food distributed to the homeless population is usually geared toward things other than fun; the fact that we sprinkle candy and other treats into our mostly healthy options sends the message that we’re trying not just to help these young people survive, but to be happy and have pleasurable things in life. Handing out the candy packs really helps us bring clients into the fold, and build trust with our youth. Only at that point do these kids really let us in, allowing us help them move forward in life. And don't worry, we hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well." Thank you in advance for your donations! 

Friends School Students' Talk with Supervisor Leads to ADA Park Improvement

Date: 
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The new ADA swing in Miraloma Park

Last year, then-seventh grade Friends School students Zeke, Simone, Riley, Summer, and Sophia were able to sit down with San Francisco District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee to discuss an issue that was very dear to them, accessible playgrounds for children with disabilities (Riley wrote about it here this past December). 

Their efforts paid off. After meeting with our students, Supervisor Yee garnered additional neighborhood support from the Miraloma Park Improvement Club for the playground changes. His office then worked with SF Rec and Park to have the ADA swing installed.

"I was impressed with the students’ presentation. They were well informed, prepared, and shared personal stories about the impact this improvement would have on their families," Supervisor Yee said. "Civic engagement by youth is critical and I am proud of the students at SF Friends School for their advocacy and the measurable impact it has had on our City."

Guybe Slangen, Friends School's Director of Community Engagement, said, "Way to go Zeke, Simone, Riley, Summer, and Sophia! Your voice matters!"

 

My talk with the mayor

Date: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Seated on a dark wooden bench in a dark wooden hall, my foot bounced up and down restlessly. My left hand held my crumpled page of questions, and in my right was a crushed paper cup that had once been filled with water. I kept checking the time on my phone: ‘What class was I missing now? How much work would I have to make up? When would…’ My questions were swept away as the double doors opened and the others sitting near me turned their heads. “Excuse me,” said the figure to me. “Are you ready?” “Yes,” I responded. Then I got up, and followed Mr. Derick Brown, assistant to the mayor of San Francisco, through the doors.

For several years, homelessness has been the focus of the eighth grade’s service work, and it’s opened the eyes of  my fellow eighth graders to all of the challenges people experiencing homelessness face. After Mayor Ed Lee died on December 12th, 2017, our grade looked into some of the top mayoral candidates’ plans to end homelessness. They ranged from developing neighborhoods in South San Francisco, to adding 1,500 housing units every year. But even with all this research, no one in the eighth grade had a direct connection to a politician to ask about the city’s plans right now. So, when our Director of High School Transition, Kristen Daniel, heard about the 10 minute chats that the interim mayor Mark Farrell was hosting, she rushed around telling us all to sign up.

Weeks later, when I found out that I was accepted to speak to the mayor, my immediate thought was to tell Kristen or Guybe (the Director of Community Engagement). With my computer in hand, I ran around the third floor to find someone, which is how Guybe ended up with my laptop under his nose just a few moments later. “Look, I got it!” I cried. After congratulations from my teachers and friends, I pulled out a piece of paper and, throughout the next couple days, stacked up questions to ask the mayor with input from my parents and friends.  

The morning of April 20th, when Derick Brown called me into the Mayor’s Office, my nervousness, which had been present throughout the week, had vanished and was replaced by determination to learn and enjoy the experience in the palm of my hand.

I was led into a large room with a round table big enough to sit 20, and Mark Farrell stood to shake my hand. After my mother took a photo of us, we sat down at the table. He asked me how old I was, where I went to school, and where I was going to school next year. With my carefully strategized questions, I segued into the discussion of homelessness.

I asked him what he thought the solution to homelessness was. “Housing, definitely,” he said.

“But how will you continue to develop areas and build up while preserving the history of certain neighborhoods, like the Castro?” I asked.

We talked about the beauty of the city, after I asked him how he wanted to preserve what people love about a city like San Francisco. We discussed the growing rent in both San Francisco and Oakland as middle class families have been drifting across the bay.

From there, our conversation drew to South San Francisco and the small towns in Silicon Valley. He told me that if towns like Brisbane were to develop, it would take a large weight off San Francisco’s shoulders because most of the influx in the population are people in the tech industry. If there was a well developed place for them to live, especially a location nearer to Apple, Fitbit or Netflix, there might be a less crowded/expensive city.

“Do you think they will ever agree to develop?” I asked.

“Not unless it’s by force,” he said.

But the city will soon need another place for middle income families and tech workers to live as the numbers continue to rise. From 2010 to 2016, San Francisco’s population grew by almost 60,000, and the housing costs skyrocketed. In the past month, 1,558 homes in San Francisco sold with price tags of $1 million or more.

Yet, small towns like Brisbane believe that developing their towns would change their image and take away what makes them unique, just as building a high rise in the middle of North Beach would take away from what makes our city so amazing.   

Our talk was flying by, and I had forgotten about the time and the worry that I would run out of questions to ask. I was building on what he said, drawing more information out, so I was stunned when Derick Brown stopped the conversation.

“Alright,” he said, “it’s time to wrap up.”



 

Seventh Graders Working to Help People Experiencing Addiction

Date: 
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“San Francisco needs better safety for bikes! If we managed to create more bike lanes, there would be a big impact in injuries from bike riding.”

“I disagree. I think that the needles littering the streets and all those people addicted to drugs that aren’t getting the help they need are a greater problem than bike safety in our city.”

“Well, San Francisco also has a big problem with housing and housing costs. I mean, it’s getting REALLY expensive to live here, and that’s a humongous problem!”


And so it went, back and forth. After weeks of decision-making, the seventh graders had finally decided on a topic for their service project that benefited San Francisco in some way. We decided to focus on people experiencing opioid addiction and figure out ways to help them.

We split into groups, each with one student as our leader. Every group was given a topic that concerned people experiencing addiction, and we then set out to find a way to make a project out of our subject.

The first group, led by Lucas Dilworth, focused on the opioids’ effect on the brain. More specifically, they focused on the fact that when on drugs, the brain releases an overload of the chemical that is responsible for a person being happy—dopamine. Dopamine can be released when say, eating a pizza when you’re hungry, or playing a sport you really like. However, when on drugs, the brain releases an overload of dopamine, too much for your body to handle. Now, you feel a need to do the drugs because your body can’t satisfy you without the extreme amounts of dopamine that the drugs give. In response to this, you need to take more drugs to handle the need, and this turns into addiction. Their action plan was to create posters about this process, and put them out in the community for everyone to see, because not everyone is educated about this subject.

The second group, led by Titus Cabezas, were focused on Narcan, a nasal spray that can help prevent an overdose. After doing some research, they found out that not many people besides emergency services are educated in the use of Narcan. In a city like ours, with drug overdose problems happening every day, it would be especially important to get more people trained in the use of Narcan. The group decided on a place that they thought would be best for employees to be trained in Narcan. They chose Starbucks, because it’s a very popular spot and thought they could have an impact. They wrote letters to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson about this topic, and they suggested the idea.

Another group, led by Olivia Robbins, focused on raising awareness about the locations of places to help with ODs—hospitals, Walgreens, and other places where you could get help if you needed it. They thought this was important because so many people who need help don’t know where to find it, and if they did they would be so much better informed. The group made maps disclosing locations where people could get the help they need and deserve.

Another group, led by Adelaide Tranel, was focusing on the different kinds of treatment for drug addiction. After doing some research, they found out that a great way to get people off of drugs is to get them a pet, because then the person knows that they have to have better self control in order to take care of their pet. They collaborated with the Ohloff organization to learn more about how the effect of a pet can really help people experiencing addiction, taking their input and putting it into their own research.

One group that Sonia Esteva led focused on children in families with addicted members. After doing some research, they decided to create a children’s coloring book for the kids of those currently in treatment or rehab. They collaborated with the Epiphany Center, an organization that takes care of kids while their parents are being treated, to make sure that their coloring book got distributed.

Hanna Wheeler’s group concentrated on needle disposal. They researched how dirty, used needles are extremely dangerous, especially if a different drug user then uses an already-used needle. They decided to make posters to educate people (both random pedestrians on the street and drug users) about the importance of needle disposal. The posters include a site that tells you nearby needle disposal places and its phone number, along with some other information.

So, the seventh grade has really been working hard this year to make a difference in the community. They’ve split up into different groups, come up with their own ideas, and executed an action plan successfully. They’ve shown the leadership and resolve that they need to have in this world, and will continue to use all of these abilities in the future. Next step: head to city hall to discuss these matters with their district supervisors!

"Everyone Deserves A Home" portraits tell the stories of the formerly homeless

Date: 
Monday, March 26, 2018
Visitors are encouraged to describe what "home is" to them.

We’re honored to be hosting another exhibit that lifts up the voices and perspectives of those experiencing homelessness here in our city. The "Everyone Deserves a Home" project is currently on display in our second floor gallery. This exhibit features portraits of formerly homeless individuals paired with text of participants’ personal stories. The subjects photographed have experienced homelessness and significant health issues prior to finding their current home in supportive housing communities operated by an organization called Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing (DISH). Their origin stories here are laced with challenging themes – struggles with trauma, neglect, substance abuse and the corrosive effects of poverty and racism.

Lauren Hall founded DISH and is a true change maker in our city. Our eighth graders recently spent time with her engaged in service learning in the Tenderloin as part of their study on homelessness. I also had a chance to connect with Lauren to learn more about her work, this collection, and what we can do to make an impact.

Please explain who are you and what do you do.
My name is Lauren Hall and I am one of the leaders of an organization that believes “everyone deserves a home.” I started DISH with my colleague Doug Gary in September 2006. We wanted to create a property management organization that welcomed people home who were experiencing homelessness with a focus on health, well-being and community.

Why do you think this exhibit is important?
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with students from SFFS at one of our buildings. We were sharing some of our takeaways from the afternoon and one young man talked about how his experience interacting with one of our tenants had given him greater insight into how he thought about people experiencing homelessness. His compassion and clarity was so striking to me. This exhibit gives people the opportunity to connect and consider the impacts of homelessness, and the importance of home. We want people to think about the way we have criminalized poverty, capitalized on racism and created a separate class of people in our country who deserve our respect and compassion.   

What do you want people to take away from this?
We want to offer alternate views into the lives of people who have experienced homelessness by providing their image as they want to portray themselves, and a brief part of their story. We hope ultimately that it fosters understanding, as well as the desire for action to address the systemic causes of homelessness such as our affordable housing, criminal justice and foster care systems. In this exhibit, we hope people see that homelessness is an experience that can happen to anyone and has more to do with communities impacted by poverty and trauma than individual challenges. Everyone deserves a home and it is on all of us to make that happen.

How can people get more involved in making an impact?
Vote and hold your representatives accountable! Support affordable and supportive housing in your neighborhood and on your ballot! Show up at community hearings for supportive housing and navigation centers and say YES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Volunteer your skills or donate your funds to organizations working on solutions to homelessness so they can do more to address this crisis. Be kind to your neighbors who are forced to live on the street.

In addition to the photos, there is also a board nearby with the sentence starter, “Home is….” All are encouraged to share their thoughts and perspectives. You are also invited to a meet-and-greet with Lauren Hall on April 10 at 4:30pm. All are welcome! To learn more about DISH and how you can get involved, please visit dishsf.org

 

Eighth Graders Attend Community Workshop on Solving Homelessness

Date: 
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Abigail Stewart-Kahn (far left) and the eighth grade attendees.

Each year, students focus on a service topic for a year long study: immigration, public accessibility, natural disaster relief, and more. Recently our school has been putting in lots of time and effort into these topics. The eighth grade has lobbied at City Hall for ADA compliant playgrounds, raised over $40,000 for fire relief, gone to conferences with Bill Nye about minimizing our carbon footprint. We have also spent ten days in Nicaragua volunteering for community projects.

This year, eighth graders have been focusing on homelessness. Our work includes biweekly visits to the Gubbio Project, baking for At the Crossroads, and holding seminars that discuss our interests of actions. 

Last Thursday, five students attended “Solving Homelessness,” a community workshop. Hosted by Friends School neighbors the Impact Hub SF, it was organized by The San Francisco Public Press. SFFS first grade parent Abigail Stewart-Kahn was also there to share her work with the city’s new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

This workshop focused on possible solutions to end homelessness within San Francisco. Upon entry, we were given name tags and handed bags with a reporter’s journal, articles on homelessness, and brochures. We came into an open room occupied by about 150 audience members, some formerly experiencing homelessness, radio producers, designers, and journalists. We were the only students.

How would you feel if you were ignored every minute of every day? We as an eighth grade are working towards revealing shared humanity between ourselves and people experiencing homelessness...

As the five of us took our seats in the swivel chairs that were scattered about the room, we noticed a man sitting in the row in front of us with a bearded dragon perched on his shoulder. Sitting next to us was a woman named Joy that told us about her nonprofit and who kept striking up conversations with different neighbors. The room of strangers most definitely made for a strong community that we could feel and made us want to take action. People buzzed around, taking food and drinks from the counter and mentioning how great it was that children were attending.

The workshop consisted of many panels, presentations, and brainstorming solution sessions, but we thought it fit to share our favorite parts of the workshop—possible solutions towards solving homelessness and a panel of people experiencing homeless that were willing to share their stories and experiences.

SFFS eighth grader Jiya said, “It feels odd to me to discuss an issue about someone without them being there. Hearing their stories motivated me further to want to help solve homelessness.”

Riley, also from SFFS, agreed, “I loved this workshop. I never thought that I would hear these things at an event like this—I assumed that we would listen to ideas from (a not very diverse set of) people who have never experienced homelessness.”

First-hand stories also made the experience of homelessness easier to empathize with. The speakers gave homelessness faces. There was Daniel, a guitarist with his bearded dragon Jupiter; JR, an art teacher for 13 years who lost his job when he was hospitalized; Cooper, a firefighter disabled on the job who lived in Diamond Heights and drove an Audi; and Moses, who spent twenty years on the streets of San Francisco. Homelessness suddenly felt more relatable—something that could happen to anyone, even us.

Another SFFS eighth grader, Dexter, said: “After listening to all of the presenters, I noticed this event had people of all races and genders; some homeless, some not. The variety really helped me get perspective and ideas on homelessness as a whole. I think that we all got more information that we expected and it really broadened our perspective.”

“We have to deal with invisibility,” was one line that really stood out to us. How would you feel if you were ignored every minute of every day? We as an eighth grade are working towards revealing shared humanity between ourselves and people experiencing homelessness, but hearing from a person living on the street that they feel invisible is so much more heartbreaking than hearing it from a teacher who as never had the experience of experiencing invisibility.

It was not only this quote that planted a seed for action in our hearts but many others as well, including, “Every step back feels like a mile and every step up feels like a quarter of an inch.” When JR said this and talked about substance abuse, we all knew that we needed to help make change.

When one of the brave panelists said that “human needs should be human rights,” there was a moment in the crowd when everybody pondered over what had been said. We were all at the workshop to make an impact, but why wasn’t anything being done?

“That is the problem with society. We are human, not things to be stepped on,” chirped in Daniel.

So how can we solve it?

Throughout the workshop, many ideas were mentioned. The first initiative shared was proposed by Ken Fisher, a film producer. The system was labeled as “Universal Basic Income.” UBI would be a dividend paid from government taxes and oil drilling profits to American citizens. In case of any financial instability within banks, the money would be paid in cash.

Despite the fact that Universal Basic Income is an ideal for San Franciscans, it’s real if you live in Alaska. Fisher’s strategy to solve homelessness was based on Alaska’s UBI system, which gives out around $1,000 per year per citizen. However, it had been set at $2,000, but because of oil production suddenly slowing down, this was recently cut down to only half. Universal Basic Income has also been run (experimentally and permanently) in the Netherlands, Finland, and Kenya. There are different opinions on if UBI has been working out well for its recipients, but it’s a fairly widespread thought that Universal Basic Income is somewhat idealistic.

Another proposed solution was “Village for Community.” Village for Community was brought up by architect Charles Durrett and was based off of Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon. The village would be made of tiny homes built by people experiencing homelessness and volunteers. Each village would have thirty housing units and was estimated to cost $420,000 as a whole. This makes the units $14,000 each.

With all of these stories, experiences, and possible solutions, we as a group of five reflected on our time and came to understand how meaningful our experience had been.

This workshop was insightful, informative, and eye-opening for us. After the workshop, we thought of homelessness as an issue that was more than statistics. Those experiencing homelessness are real people with personalities and lifestyles, and it motivated us to become a part of the solution.

A Tradition of Giving: Faculty & Staff Gift Supports E4FC

Date: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
(From L to R) Denia Perez and Katharine Gin 

Every year a portion of the faculty/staff appreciation gift given by our Parents Association goes to support a local organization doing impactful work right here in our city. This

year, the recipient of that gift was Educators For Fair Consideration (E4FC).

E4FC is a local organization based in the Mission dedicated to empowering undocumented young people to achieve their educational and career goals. Educators for Fair Consideration transforms lives and fuels broader changes. With resources and support, undocumented young people are able to get an education, pursue careers, and build a brighter future for themselves and our country.

E4FC’s executive director (and current SFFS K parent) Katharine Gin joined us at our Winter Celebration to accept the gift and share a bit about the work she and her organization does. She was joined by E4FC scholar and former staff member, Denia Perez, who shared the impact E4FC had on her path to and through college, and eventually on to law school.

“It is such an honor to be given this gift and have an opportunity to reflect upon how E4FC’s core beliefs relate so closely to Quaker values” said Katherine. “We also envision a world where all of us—including undocumented people—has the freedom to pursue their dreams. When everyone realizes their full potential, we all benefit and shine. This generous gift will be used to support E4FC’s local scholarship, which helps amazing undocumented students here in the Bay Area.”

This donation is a wonderful tradition at our school that puts its Quaker values into action, right here in our own community in a very direct and powerful way. If you want to learn more about how you can get involved with E4FC please visit their website

Help the SFFS Service Committee Support Project Night Night

Date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2017

This month, the SFFS Service Committee joins forces with Project Night Night to support youth experiencing homelessness and their families, one book, blanket and stuffy at a time.

According to their website, “Project Night Night donates over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children 12 and under who need our childhood essentials to have a concrete and predictable source of security and an increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials during their time of upheaval.”

You can support this impactful initiative in a few simple ways. Starting Monday, Nov 13th, Friends School will place a donations box at reception that will accept new books, blankets and stuffies. Families can also pick up entire tote bags from reception to custom-fill with books, blankets and stuffies of their choice, to return to school for drop-off throughout the month. The drive culminates December 2nd at the Craft Fair, where a table will be set up for a final round of design and drop-offs, after which all totes will be delivered to Project Night Night for distribution. Please note, all items must be new.

These items, placed in Project Night Night totes, address directly, and in a loving way, the anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits and behavioral issues experienced by families experiencing homelessness. They are also cherished opportunities for children to bond, through reading, with equally stressed parents, family members or caregivers who are also navigating these difficult paths.

SFFS parent Jennifer Maeder, a mother of two at Friends School and a Mother/Baby Nurse and Lactation Consultant at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, has been supporting Project Night Night independently for a while now.

“Project Night Night has been a simple, straightforward way my kids can connect with other SF kids,” says Maeder Jennifer, who serves as co-clerk of the Service Committee at Friends. “As we’ve participated over the years, my children have been able to see and touch the books, blankets and stuffies, and know they are going straight into the hands of a kid probably just about their age.”

Maeder added that her children’s added personal touches, “Notes and the things they say – like ‘you matter’ and ‘you are loved’ – really show that they are thinking of these kids and wish the best for them.”

“I’m excited to see our school community support Project Night Night,” said Guybe Slangen, Director of Community Engagement at Friends. “It builds upon the good work that students and classes are also doing to support those experiencing homelessness here in our city.”

 

To learn more about Project Night Night, visit ProjectNightNight.org

 

 

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