Interview with: Jassy Grewal
Program: Early Learning

Why did you decide to volunteer with the Mission Promise Neighborhood?
I decided to volunteer with Mission Promise Neighborhood through LEE’s Summer Policy and Advocacy Fellowship. I chose to work with Mission Promise Neighborhood because I wanted to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the education system in San Francisco after finishing my first year of teaching in a middle school. I really wanted to work with the Early Learning issues because I wanted that hands-on experience to start to understand why the majority of my students were entering middle school with large math and literacy gaps.

What projects have you worked on as a volunteer for the Mission Promise Neighborhood?
As a volunteer, I have worked on several projects with Early Learning. The project that stands out to me the most would be redesigning the Early Learning Framework to help inform and build alignment across all partners on what our goals are for the Mission District. This framework will be used by Mission Promise Neighborhood partners to begin discussing solutions around some of the problems that the Mission faces, such as infant-toddler slots, early learning program subsidies and critical transitions from preschool to kindergarten.

What do you like best about volunteering with Mission Promise Neighborhood?
I really enjoyed my time working with the Mission Promise Neighborhood this summer; the individuals and their passion for improving educational inequality in the Mission District of San Francisco really helped to make this an unforgettable experience.

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I have been able to learn more about the Mission District and the struggles that our youngest students and their families face on a day-to-day basis. I have been able to gain a more in-depth knowledge around the problems the Early Learning community faces and how to address those problems through policy and advocacy work.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?
I found my way into education issues and policy because I was also a first-generation English language learner. My family and I had a hard time navigating the education system in California and were really thankful for family, friends, and amazing teachers who were able to offer us assistance and resources. I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and college in the United States, and I hope one day to improve the education system for children like me so that they are able to access the resources and experiences I was able to growing up.

When I am not working on education issues, I enjoy spending my time traveling and hiking with family and friends. I have been to three different continents and hope to one day be able to travel to all seven. I am a huge elephant enthusiast and am currently planning my next trip to volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.


About Mission Promise Neighborhood

The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.

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Socially driven visual designer Megan Malley has spent time volunteering across the globe. The Seattle native has landed on six continents, always donating her skills and time. Volunteer highlights include being a photographer with an artisan textile organization in the Peruvian Andes (photo), conducting design research on xenophobia and AIDS in South Africa, and working as a fair-trade product designer in Nepal.

Heading closer to home two years ago, Megan landed in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, one of the newer parts of town down by the ballpark. Megan immediately felt at home as she explored the unique neighborhoods of the city, including the culturally rich Mission District.

“Since moving to San Francisco, I have felt so welcomed into my new city by everyone I meet. I love the sense of community here, and the way that nobody is viewed as an outsider, even if they haven’t been around very long. It’s a city made from a patchwork of varied personal histories, which makes it a vibrant and diverse place to live,” explains Megan of her ardor for her adopted hometown.

With volunteering in her DNA, Megan sought a place to give back. She first heard about the Mission Promise Neighborhood at an annual pro-bono design conference that she attends, where visual designers donate two days of their time to work on collateral for nonprofit organizations. Last February, Megan’s team designed infographics, a website and a motiongraphic, all to refresh the Mission Promise Neighborhood brand’s visual identity.

Over the course of that weekend, Megan heard of the impactful work the Mission Promise Neighborhood was doing with the community to better the educational opportunities and lives of underresourced families.

The tutoring programs especially struck a chord with Megan. She immediately wanted to get involved.

That involvement comes via Reading Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming struggling young students into confident readers. The organization creates an on-site reading center at each school they serve, including Cesar Chavez Elementary in the Mission Promise Neighborhood. Room 24 now teems with engaging books for kindergarteners to 4th-graders, creating an idyllic atmosphere for one-on-one learning opportunities at an accelerated pace to get back on grade level in reading.

Megan meets up with student Jeremiah each week for an hour. For most of the kids at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, English is not the primary language spoken at home. When they read with a native speaker, the student hears the patterns and nuances of fluent reading, which helps them gain confidence in their own reading.

Megan knows that the experience is just as beneficial for her as it is for Jeremiah: “By tutoring I get to spend time with kids, which I love, and I also get to share my enthusiasm for reading. As a child, I would spend hours lost in books, and it makes me so happy to be able to encourage a youngster to feel the same way about reading.”

By returning weekly to read with the same student, Megan sees him gaining comprehension skills, recalling phonics and word patterns from past sessions.

“It’s so rewarding – for both of us – to see progress happening at such a consistent pace. I would encourage anyone who enjoys working with children to volunteer,” Megan explains. “It’s such a small time commitment, as little as one hour per week, but makes such a huge difference for the students. I’ve loved my time reading with Jeremiah – and I really look forward to our sessions every week.”


A little or a lot. Give your time. Gain a community.

Volunteer today with the Mission Promise Neighborhood!


About Mission Promise Neighborhood

The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.



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Linkedin at O'Connell-BlogWhether you call it a resume or a CV, most jobseekers have learned over time the power of having a robust LinkedIn profile to supplement, or even supplant, that piece of paper routinely sent to a job recruiter or handed in at the start of an interview. By robust, that means having plenty of connections, glowing recommendations and direct links to showcase your experience in your field of choice. With 40 million students and recent grads on LinkedIn, this is definitely the place to be seen, even for those just entering the job market.

With so many great bells and whistles added over time, it is important to optimize one’s LinkedIn profile.

Luckily for the students of John O’Connell High School, a score of LinkedIn volunteers dropped by last week to give insider tips to foster these Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) young adults being ready for success after graduation, whether that means an immediate entry into the labor pool or heading off to college.

The volunteers are part of LinkedIn for Good, LinkedIn’s social impact team whose mission is to “connect underserved communities to the networks, skill, and information they need to succeed, ultimately creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” This goal was definitely reached at the event.

The trio of specific interactive workshop goals for the event were:

  • Create Professional Identity with a rock star LinkedIn profile.
  • Apply for Opportunity to find skills-related employment via LinkedIn.
  • Build a Network to reach out to professionals the students aspire to be like.

To meet the niche of students’ career paths, groups were broken into: culinary arts and entrepreneurs; building and construction; and Health and Behavioral Sciences. Workshop leaders peppered the conversation with questions aimed at getting the students to determine their career aspirations. For example, “Who is your role model?” Determining your interests is the first step to creating a LinkedIn profile that makes sense.

In one session, student Joilene explained what she had learned as follows: “I had put together an antique car show to raise money for charity. It was a success, so the LinkedIn volunteer told me this is definitely something I needed to put on my profile. I never would have thought of that!”

MEDA’s Laura Andersen, education manager for MPN, described the importance of today’s event as follows: “Today, our fellow community members at LinkedIn shared their time and knowledge with our O’Connell seniors. The afternoon built upon the great college and career work already happening in the school through excellent individual coaching and workshops. We really appreciate these LinkedIn volunteers for taking the time to work with the community!”

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2301 Mission Street, Suite 304
San Francisco, CA 94110

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