2020-21 was a year of extremes. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we engage with one another. Educational institutions, local businesses and agencies across the city were forced to adopt COVID-19 prevention measures to slow rates of infection. Physical distancing became the norm, and our worlds went virtual.
Early studies show the pandemic appears to have widened the educational gap. Students who already had the greatest educational needs and fewest supports have suffered the most.
San Francisco Achievers never lost sight of these challenges, because we understood that the pandemic might exacerbate long-standing disparities that inherently affect African American male students.
Our programs continued to operate during the pandemic, providing services that established a virtual pro- college culture.
At the end of the SY 2020-21, fully a year into the pandemic, over 35 San Francisco Unified School District High School students applied for SFA scholarships, signifying the incredible resilience of African American young men.
What could happen if more African American young men had the support and resources they needed to pursue, attend, and graduate from college? How might their lives and the future of the City of San Francisco be changed?
– Internships: GILEAD
This summer, two San Francisco Achievers – Binyam Teklegiorgis and Waleed Ghaleb – landed internships at Gilead, a research-based, biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Foster City, CA. Gilead is dedicated to developing innovative medicines for life-threatening illnesses. Binyam and Waleed are incredibly curious students; they jumped at the chance to discover the kinds of internship and growth opportunities that were available at this multinational biopharmaceutical company.Waleed is interested in and plans to pursue a career in information technology, while Binyam aspires to secure a career in business finance. Both, however, were equally committed to challenging themselves; the internships provided each of them the opportunity to make valuable contributions to and have a direct impact on Gilead’s work.
Binyam raved about the number of projects he was engaged in, and Waleed-not to be outdone-stepped up, taking advantage of an opportunity to present statistical analyses to the IT department. Both gained tremendous confidence from this experience having networked and grown professionally – making the most of this incredible opportunity.
“From being a part of San Francisco Ahievers, I learned plans may change at any moment and
it’s important to adapt to the situation to find a new solution.”
– Breslin WebbFreshman in College
YOUR SUPPORT HELPS TO FUND 2 AND 4 YEAR SCHOLARSHIPS
Each year, our organization awards scholarships to the district’s high school students.
During the SY 2020-21, 48% of awardees attended one of the four high schools in which we offer programming.These numbers are impressive for many reasons, but primarily they prove that San Francisco Achievers programs and outreach works. San Francisco Achievers, with the support from individuals, the City, foundations, and corporations has accomplished an immense amount in the 13 years since its founding. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, the challenge is again upon us. We thank you for supporting these amazing young men and their pursuit of a postsecondary education, and hope that you will continue to join us in working diligently to support these young men during their high school and college
– ED Report
Let me start by saying how honored and excited I am to be here. I have spent the better part of my career working in education and youth development.
San Francisco Achievers, however, more than many organizations for which I have worked, offers me the opportunity to bring my passion and experience to bear on a central issue that has informed my ambition from the very start.
As a society, we have struggled to appreciate the role schools and race plays in young peoples’ lives. The struggles that African American young men face, because of their race, the neighborhoods and schools they attend, and consequently their peer environments, become the inequalities they are frequently forced to confront through their schooling and into their adult lives.
Given the opportunity to break down these barriers and overcome these limitations, these young men succeed in ways that defy our expectations. When we limit young peoples’ opportunities, we do ourselves and our City a great disservice. At my core, the opportunity to help widen the berth so that young people, despite the challenges they may face, can realize their potential is what attracts me to this work, and to San Francisco Achievers.