Supporting Students as We Head Back to School

Aug 14, 2020

Over the last six months, the Neighborhood Center team has had to adapt to a whole new way of serving our community. This new school year poses new challenges, but with a summer of virtual programming under our belt, we’re looking forward to welcoming back all of our youth participants when school starts next week. We’re working closely with our nine partner public schools in the Richmond District to offer students, families and teachers the support they need with distance learning and virtual after-school programming.

How We’re Supporting Students this Fall

We recognize that this pandemic has created financial hardships for many families, so we will be offering all of our youth programs free of charge for the fall term. Though we always offer financial aid on a sliding scale, we want to ensure that no one has to worry about being able to afford youth programming during the pandemic.

Distance learning poses many challenges for students and teachers. Our programs will include a combination of live virtual activities, video content on the web, and supplies to take home for hands-on activities. At some schools, our staff will also be partnering with teachers to provide extra support in the classroom, particularly for students with special needs and hearing impairments who face additional barriers to virtual programming.

For our incoming 6th and 9th graders transitioning to new schools, our team will be dedicating extra time to make sure they feel welcome and connected to their new classmates, program leaders and teachers.

As part of our commitment to anti-racist work, we will continue to create spaces for youth to discuss and take action on issues of racial and social justice. Our identity-based programs, such as Black Student Unions, Rising Panthers, Latinx Clubs, Kaibigan Pilipino, LGBTQ student groups and others will be offered at numerous school sites. Several of these programs will also include parent and family outreach, so that students are supported outside of our programs as well.

Community Learning Hubs

The Neighborhood Center will also be partnering with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) to operate Community Learning Hubs this fall. These hubs will offer socially-distanced in-person academic support for students utilizing SFUSD’s distance learning curriculum, internet and technology access, mental health services, nutrition support, enrichment activities, and recreation for a limited number of students who need them most, including youth from low-income households; residents of HOPE SF, public housing, and single room occupancy hotels; youth experiencing homelessness; foster youth; and English Language Learners.

Free Meals and Food Assistance

For students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, SFUSD will be offering free Grab & Go Meals each week containing five days worth of breakfast, lunch, supper, fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk. For more information and to sign up for the program, visit the SFUSD website.

Additionally, families are welcome to visit the Neighborhood Center’s pop-up food pantry on Mondays from 9AM-1PM at the Golden Gate Park Senior Center (6101 Fulton St.) to receive free supplemental groceries. This pantry does not require pre-registration, and has no residency or income requirements—all are welcome to come get food.

How to Learn More

If your child attends one of our partner schools and you’d like to learn more about specific program offerings, please feel free to contact one of our Program Managers or Beacon Directors listed below:

Alamo Elementary School – Nick Colella
Argonne Elementary School – Raquel Lopez Monroy
Lafayette Elementary School – Lee Hungle
McCoppin Elementary School – Argishti Petrosyan
Peabody Elementary School – Linda Iles
Presidio Middle School – Mia Tswago
Roosevelt Middle School – Cass Terry
Wallenberg High School – Ta’Ja McClinton
Washington High School – Lucas Palumbo

How You Can Help

We know this is a difficult and stressful time for many of our community members, and we have been humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received in the last several months. Like many nonprofits, this pandemic has significantly impacted our funding. If you are able, you can help us continue to offer affordable youth and community programs:

Donate to help fund affordable youth programming
Volunteer in our food pantries or home-delivered grocery program
Participate in our back-to-school supply drive when it launches (info coming soon)