In this newsletter we say goodbye to 2021-22, provide some of our plans for Fall 2022, and discuss the impact of dropping out.
Thank You 2021-22 Mentors!
Oakland Serves is about mentoring Oakland high school students at risk of dropping out. We would not be here without volunteer mentors willing to put in the time and effort to work with students who need support that their schools cannot provide directly. This year our mentors were grad students, retirees, and everything in between, going directly into the classrooms, meeting after school, or in some cases, virtually with 9th to 12th grade students.
For that, we thank this year’s mentors:
Tau Awolfe Suzanne Baptiste Ingrid Bran Victoria Cheng Emily Chutter Deborah Goldsmith Chad Haynes Semhar Ketema Naazgol Koushafar Chin Leung Ken Richardson Jeanne Schumann Mia Sotak Luis Valencia Julianne Viadro Betty Wan Clara Williams Susan Wollowitz
We hope to see many of you back next year!
Interested in mentoring yourself? See our volunteer page here.
Planning for Fall 2022: School Outreach
Back in January 2022, we began to envision what we needed to do to provide more and better mentoring to our students in the 2022-2023 school year. Part one of our vision - expanding our program to more schools beyond Oakland High and McClymonds.
Oakland Serves partners directly with each school which then allows our mentors to go into the classrooms and study areas when the students are already school-focused. Even with the benefits we provide to challenged students, the engagement process with the schools is complex. School personnel juggles urgent issues daily and discussions are a slow process. While the schools are often eager to partner with us and help their students, it takes persistent mutual effort to understand the unique needs and process flow at each school. Once we have agreements and in-school contacts in place, the schools must then work with the students and their teachers and parents before we can take them on. Despite the challenges, we are in final talks with one new school that we anticipate will greatly benefit from our program. We aren’t stopping there and our “stretch goal” is to add one additional school before fall classes start.
School outreach doesn’t stop there – once student-mentor connections are made, we work weekly with school contacts to improve interactions and solve problems (and of course, we anticipate needing almost twice as many mentors next year--please consider volunteering)!
Needless to say, school outreach is one of the many activities that need your monetary support (read on below).
Personnel Changes at Oakland Serves
The Oakland Serves board is more than an advisory board; we all volunteer our time to increase the success of our mentoring program. At the beginning of 2022, we had a few Board member changes: we said goodbye to our founder Kay Lawson (see March 2022 newsletter) as well as our Treasurer, Mary Hackenbracht. And we added two new board members, John Anyosa as well as Sue Wollowitz as our new Treasurer. See their bios here.
At the end of the school year, we said goodbye to our two dedicated staff members, Isabel Herman and Sujata Neurgaonkar who worked in mentor recruitment and mentor support respectively. We will miss them. However, May was also the start for our new program coordinator June Pangelinan who comes to us with years of experience working for non-profits and will be taking over both responsibilities. Welcome, June!
The Value of a High School Diploma
Graduating high school with a diploma truly provides a different future from dropping out of school:
Where your donation goes
For each student we mentor, it costs Oakland Serves about ~$600. This includes working with the schools, recruiting, and training mentors, and monitoring the progress of the students throughout the year. This is above and beyond the work of our volunteer mentors and also our volunteer board that spends many hours making Oakland Serves happen. This cost is trivial compared to any alternative means to actually connect these challenged students with academic mentoring support.
A donation of $25 or $50 will help advertise for mentors.
A donation of $100 will help pay for vetting and training new mentors.
A donation of $250 will help us monitor and track our mentor and student progress.
A donation of $500 will help us with our school outreach plans for the 2022-23 school year.
Please consider how you can help at these levels or whatever you can afford.
There are many ways to give. Donations to Oakland Serves are tax-deductible. You may send checks (or advocate that others do so) to Oakland Serves, P. O. Box 19317, Oakland CA, 94619. We also make it easy to use online donations by Credit Card or PayPal on our website.
Interested in Mentoring?
We will again be training mentors starting in the summer. We are particularly interested in mentors that can go into a classroom once a week or meet with students after class. However, if you can only mentor virtually, we still want to hear from you.
Currently, there is interest in Spanish- and Cantonese-speaking mentors but the student body at our schools are diverse. Please check out our website and subscribe to this newsletter for further updates.
Content Editor: Sue Wollowitz & Sharon Rose
Managing Editor: Ina Zhang
Copyright © 2022 Oakland Serves, All rights reserved.
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