After a two-year hiatus from hosting an in-person Volunteer Recognition event, the San Francisco Education Fund brought together volunteers, teachers, and staff to honor our incredible volunteers last week. We certainly had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for: In the 2021-22 school year, 278 volunteers spent more than 16,647 hours supporting over 5,000 students in 81 schools and 341 classrooms!  

Many volunteers were accompanied by the teachers they support, giving them a chance to spend time with one another outside the classroom. Volunteers from schools across San Francisco bonded over their shared love of being in the classroom, while celebrating their accomplishments and student progress after another challenging school year.  

Each year, the San Francisco Education Fund awards a few volunteers for going above and beyond the volunteer job description. Thank you to ALL volunteers for the incredible work you do in the classroom, and a special congratulations to the following award recipients:  

Distinguished Service Award: Stuart Ruth 

Stuart Ruth, affectionately known as Mr. Stu, has been volunteering in Mr. John Lee’s classroom at Moscone Elementary School for 13 years. According to Mr. Lee, “Mr. Stu has been a patient chaperone and dedicated volunteer for many school functions. Mr. Stu wanted to come back as soon as possible [when schools re-opened for in-person learning] to help out all students improve their writing and reading skills.” Thank you and congratulations, Mr. Stu!

Distinguished Service Award (Mindfulness): Eli Brown-Stevenson 

Eli was recognized for his outstanding volunteer service at Guadalupe Elementary School and his dedication to our city’s schools and students in teaching mindfulness. According to teacher Kristy Feibus, “Mr. Eli is an outstanding person and a wonderful example of a composed and gentle male educator.  My students LOVE when he visits! They say he is really nice, caring, and funny.”  

Thank you and congratulations, Eli! 

Special Service Award: Rene’ Rodriguez 

Rene’ was nominated for her outstanding volunteer service in support of the music program at Claire Lilienthal Middle School. According to Robin Saunders, the teacher Rene’ supports, “Rene’ has helped me out tremendously over the years. She is pretty much a jack of all trades! She makes it possible for me to organize my teaching space and keeps me sane. I appreciate all that Rene’ does for me.” Thank you and congratulations, Rene’!  

Newcomer Award: Christian Mata  

This year, we introduced a new award, dubbed the Newcomer Award, to honor a new volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their service to the teacher and students they support, and to recognize that volunteers can, and do, make significant contributions their very first year of volunteering. Our first-ever Newcomer Award recipient is Christian Mata, whose teacher, Sariann Lemon, nominated him in appreciation for the outstanding support he has provided to her and to the students in her science classroom at Aptos Middle School. According to Sariann, “Christian has been an inexhaustible source of positivity and support for both me and the students. I appreciate his dedication to the students and want to sincerely express that I would not have had as much success in working with my students without him.” Thank you and congratulations, Christian! 

A special thank you to our friends at Children’s Day School for graciously allowing us to use their beautiful Founders’ Hall to host this celebration. Once again, a HUGE thank you to the volunteers who stepped up to support thousands of students this year. We are incredibly grateful for your commitment and dedication to San Francisco students, teachers, families, and the community-at-large. We appreciate you!  

If you’re interested in volunteering, please note we are no longer conducting trainings for this school year, but please fill out this form to be added to a list to receive details for our next training in the Fall.