In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, the San Francisco Education Fund celebrated and honored our fantastic weekly ongoing volunteers last night in the annual Ed Fund Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. We certainly had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for: In the 2022-2023 school year, 301 volunteers spent 21,674 hours
, supporting 4,218 students in 78 schools and 374 classrooms.
Tenderloin Community School social worker Michael Geier reflected on the tangible impact volunteers make for students, teachers, and schools at large. “In schools, teachers are really on the front lines for a million bajillion things. And even then, we never have enough hands on deck. Volunteers really increase our capacity for helping students and families feel welcome, for providing a positive learning experience, for helping make sure that students get a little more individualized attention than teachers are able to provide.”
Each year, the San Francisco Education Fund awards select 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:
Scott Bravmann, Distinguished Service Award
Scott Bravmann first got involved with Tenderloin Community School several years ago when his child was a student at the school. His child eventually went off to middle school, but Scott was eager to stay and continue supporting the school he had grown fond of – so he did, as a volunteer through the San Francisco Education Fund. Over the past few years, Scott has come in nearly every day, supporting in myriad ways. He helps to facilitate safe drop-off as students arrive to school in the mornings and pickup in the afternoons on Elm Alley behind the school. Scott also proctors recesses, leads the art and cooking clubs, chaperones field trips, and currently serves as a mentor to fourth grader Brandon M. “Scott is our wonder multi-tool,” said 2nd grade teacher Irma Nugroho. “There is nothing he can’t do.”
Additionally, Scott is a huge community advocate. According to Michael Geier, Tenderloin Community social worker, “He’s regularly hitting the phones and reaching out to the powers that be to bring attention to our school site, our community, and our neighborhood. Scott has been helpful in communicating with the city to make sure attention is brought to the spaces that our students deserve and need.”
Elm Alley is adjacent to Tenderloin Community and Scott realized years ago that the alley serves no particular purpose. Students at the school have limited outdoor space, and Scott thought this would be a perfect place for a play space, for soccer, hopscotch, and more. After years of effort, advocacy, and outreach, the City agreed to close Elm Alley to cars.
Congratulations and thank you, Scott!
Please enjoy this video highlighting Scott’s contributions to Tenderloin Community School:
Mindfulness Volunteer Award: Sonja Poloczek
Sonja Poloczek received the Mindfulness Volunteer Award for her outstanding volunteer service as a mindfulness educator at Alvarado Elementary School. She started volunteering at Alvarado in 2021, and has helped dozens of students train their “puppy mind” and learn the lifelong skills of focusing techniques to improve attention, self-regulation, and personal advocacy.
According to Justine Samocha, “Sonja volunteers whenever she can. Whether it is at a school work day, organizing take home science kits, helping at field trips, organizing and planning class party activities, mindfulness lessons across grade levels, and so much more! Sonja has gone above and beyond preparing lessons, ensuring student engagement, and helping our school garden, science, and art committees.”
Thank you and congratulations, Sonja!
Newcomer Award: Rachel Schibler
The Newcomer Award recognizes that volunteers can – and do – make significant contributions their very first year of volunteering. This year’s recipient is Rachel Schibler, a volunteer who went above and beyond at Cesar Chavez Elementary School this school year. She makes a difference by thoughtfully bringing in books that she knows will interest particular students, and joining the students for school celebrations that happen outside of her regular hours. According to Anna Sopko, the teacher who nominated Rachel in appreciation for the outstanding support she’s provided, “[Rachel] is adored by all of the students in our class. She stays longer than her scheduled time to make sure that everyone who wants to gets a chance to be with her. She comes in to support the class even when I am absent and there is a substitute. She is a gem!”
Thank you and congratulations, Rachel!
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.