Last week our Spanish department hosted two representatives from Kiva: Jessica Hansen, Global Engagement and Education Manager and Catherine Cocke, Online Marketing & Social Media Manager. Kiva is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization with a global reach. It’s mission is to connect individual lenders with people around the world who need micro loans to improve their lives through small businesses, education, green energy, and a number of other projects.
Kiva relies on volunteer translators to communicate borrowers’ needs. Many seeking loans are from Spanish-speaking countries. Our 7th grade students spent time in Spanish class learning about Kiva and using language skills to translate sample loan profiles from Spanish into English. This use of the Spanish language is powerful and allows students to apply their understanding of vocabulary to real life situations.
“What do you think of when you think about homelessness?”
This was the opening question posed to Hamlin 8th graders by the dynamic and altruistic Meghan Freebeck. Ms. Freebeck is the founder of Simply the Basics and has been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as a 40 Under 40 honoree.
The Mission of Simply the Basics is to provide for individuals, organizations, and communities their most basic needs with dignity so that they can focus on bigger goals. We simply remove barriers, allowing people to have the opportunity to achieve.
The goals of Simply the Basics include:
-improving the overall health and wellbeing of low income families and people experiencing homelessness
-facilitating the operations of nonprofit organizations by securing and managing their in-kind donation process, allowing them to focus their time on clients
Here is some of what Ms. Freebeck shared:
On March 8th Hamlin celebrated International Women’s Day by participating in Yoga For Good.
Hamlin and the sixth grade class of ’19 hosted Yoga for Good to raise awareness about OneProsper (the nonprofit sponsoring Yoga For Good), an organization that is helping to fund rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation systems for women in the Thar Desert of India. As a result, women will be able to grow organic pomegranates for international markets, enabling them to spend more time on their children’s nutrition and education. Hamlin students have been studying India as part of their 6th grade social studies curriculum. This work has helped to enrich and strengthen their understanding of that region.
6th graders introduced the yoga sessions, explaining the importance of both International Women’s Day and Yoga For Good. Hamlin faculty members Kirstin Williams and Amy Conger then led students through yoga classes emphasizing both breathing and various poses. In the afternoon, parents, faculty members, and alumnae had the opportunity to meet to Raju Agarwal, the founder of OneProsper.
Below is a brief video of Hamlin 5th graders participating in Yoga For Good:
Special thanks to 6th grade teacher Heather Smith who helped organize this event.
For more information about OneProsper, please visit: http://www.oneprosper.org/
In February we welcomed three guest speakers from Syria. Shahed, a 20-year old woman born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. Amer, a 23-year old man born and raised in Damascus, the capital of Syria. Khawlah, a 30-year old woman also from Damascus and a former teacher.
Here is some of what they shared:
-She showed photos of her former students and spoke about their hopes and dreams.
-She has a sister in Sacramento, but is separated from the rest of her family.
-She currently works at Wells Fargo.
I’m so grateful that the United States offered me a safe place to stay. I had to leave everything because I was afraid for my life. I can sleep at night here, I feel safe.
On February 16th Hamlin’s 6th grade welcomed Arezoo Riahi from the nonprofit OneProsper and her friend, Madhavi Bhasin.
OneProsper is empowering women in India to break the cycle of poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy.
6th grade social studies is working with OneProsper as part of their comprehensive study of India.
Some key points from their talk were:
-Fetching water is viewed as women’s work in many parts of the world. Women in the Thar desert of Rajasthan have to walk extremely far to fetch water, and because of the amount of time it takes, it can prevent girls from having the opportunity to attend school.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million victims of forced labor and human trafficking around the world. Human trafficking and forced labor generate $150 billion dollars annually.
Today, Hamlin 6th graders listened to a panel discussion with the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The information they gained served to further their understanding of a topic that they are studying in social studies classes.
Hamlin kindergartner Lily and her sister Abby heard their parents discussing refugees and the recent travel ban. They became curious and wanted to understand why there were refugees. They wanted to know what makes someone a refugee? Their parents explained that many people had their homes destroyed by war and were looking for a safe place to start a new life. Immediately, Lily and Abby wanted to know how they could help.
Lily decided she wanted to have a bake sale for the refugees and donate all the money so they could come to United States and feel safe. This led into a longer discussion about other people who also needed help.
The girls selected three organizations to support with their bake sale based on their interests.
1. Helping the refugees (International Refugee Assistance Project)
2. Celebrating Love and people getting the support they need to be themselves (The Trevor Project)
3. Protecting the environment (Natural Resources Defense Council)
From March 6th-30th South African teacher, Nonhlanhla Ntshingila will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty. Ms. Ntshingila will work closely with Social Studies teacher, Heather Smith, as they explore 6th grade curriculum that focuses on South Africa. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa in the past and we look forward to this year’s cross-cultural exchange.
Nonhlanhla Ntshingila is from Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, South Africa. She went to Minerva high school and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Education in intermediate and senior phase through Unisa (University of South Africa).
Nonhlanhla majors in Math and IsiZulu, one of the official languages in South Africa. She specifically chose to be a primary school teacher because she believes that it is the foundation for a quality education.
Teach With Africa is a non-profit organization empowering students and teachers in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning in Africa and the United States. Teach With Africa seeks to reduce the embedded inequities in our societies by working to provide access to quality education in order to transform children’s lives, schools and communities.
For more information about Teach With Africa, please visit: http://www.teachwithafrica.org/
On January 30th, Hamlin 7th graders welcomed Jessica Mataka from the nonprofit, La Cocina.
The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape.
On the evening of January 26th, Hamlin 8th graders Sophie and Mikayla joined a record number 768 volunteers as part of San Francisco’s 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count. The last homeless count in San Francisco was completed in 2015 and tallied 6,686 people living on the streets. Results from this year are expected to be slightly higher and will be made public in the coming weeks.
Point-In-Time Counts are unduplicated 1-night estimates of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. The 1-night counts are conducted by Continuums of Care nationwide and occur during the last week in January of each year. The count helps us understand the issues and experience of homelessness and is meant to be a snapshot of homelessness on a single day. The Point in time Count is also required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The information gathered in this count directly affects the amount of funds each community receives from the Federal Government.