Early in 2019, sf.citi member Affirm connected with San Francisco’s Jose Ortega Elementary School through Circle the Schools, sf.citi’s corporate volunteer program run in partnership with the San Francisco Education Fund and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Like other companies participating in Circle the Schools, Affirm commits employee time, resources, and expertise to meet the needs of its partner school, in this case, Jose Ortega Elementary School. Just one semester into the program, Affirm is already making an impact on campus.
It’s instrumental for the tech folks, because most of them aren’t native to San Francisco, to come in and get a deeper connection to the community in which they now reside and work. We’re often labor-stretched, so finding folks to come in and do the little lifts and heavy lifts have been really supportive.
-Benjamin Klauss, Principal, Jose Ortega Elementary School
AFRICAN AMERICAN READ-IN
Affirm made its Circle the Schools début this February in celebration of Black History Month. Volunteers from Affirm’s BLACK@ employee resource group participated in an African American Read-In with Jose Ortega Elementary students. A cornerstone of the San Francisco Education Fund’s partnership with SFUSD, African American Read-Ins have also become central to the Circle the Schools tradition. Created to help people of color see themselves in books and as the authors of books, these read-ins also aim to help students see professionals who reflect the make-up of the classroom taking time to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and volunteer in our local schools. It was a rewarding experience for both Affirm volunteers and Jose Ortega students.
JOES ENGINEERING EXPO
In April, Affirm employees helped out at the annual Jose Ortega Elementary School (JOES) Engineering Expo. A showcase of semester-long science and engineering projects, students spent the evening demonstrating how to turn water purple with cabbage juice, create musical instruments out of household goods, and move objects using magnetic fields. Stationed in classrooms throughout the school, Affirm employees guided students and parents through the experiments. They also helped teachers prepare and clean up before and after the event.
This year’s JOES engineering projects were the culmination of the physical science unit of the new Amplify science curriculum, selected by the San Francisco Unified School District to fulfill the Next Generation Science Standards (adopted by California in 2013).
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Circle the Schools provides much-needed helping hands to make events like the Engineering Expo possible. As Principal Klauss pointed out, “Our schools are in one of the most innovative cities in the nations, if not the world, yet we’re far behind in tech integration.” Along with bringing tech talent and resources into the classroom, Circle the Schools establishes a direct link between San Francisco’s current and future workforce. For many Affirm volunteers, this close connection to our city’s public schools is what they value most about Circle the Schools events.
I think it’s really great to get involved in the community and learn what needs to be done in the community, especially with schools.
-Camila, Business Recruiting Coordinator, Affirm
I think volunteering is very important. I went to public schools here in San Francisco, so I know that funding is not always there. It’s really awesome to get volunteers to come in and give some of their time to help out, especially in public schools that wouldn’t be able to get funding to do awesome activities like this.
-Meaza, Business Recruiting Coordinator, Affirm
Although the 2018-2019 school year is ending, Circle the Schools is recruiting for next year. Become an sf.citi member today to team up with San Francisco public schools and make a difference in the lives of local students.