21 Aug San Francisco Nonprofit Receives National Community Schools Award
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Hayley Walker, Real Options for City Kids
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San Francisco Nonprofit Receives National Community Schools Award
Award given at Community Schools Conference in Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco, CA, August 21, 2023 – Real Options for City Kids (R.O.C.K.), a nonprofit serving disadvantaged children in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley, received the Civic Engagement Award at the 2023 Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference hosted by Institute for Educational Leadership. Being the cornerstone of a strong democracy, the civic engagement award is given to a school, district, initiative, or organization that organizes youth, families and/or communities to advocate for equitable public education systems. The conference, held in June of 2023, brings together people from across the country who believe all children deserve a safe place to live and opportunities to learn and thrive
José Muñoz, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership said, “R.O.C.K.’s ability to identify the true needs of their students and families and quickly respond exemplifies the true spirit of Community Schools.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, R.O.C.K. has increased its budget by over 70% to address the ever-growing list of needs in their community. “It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award recognizing R.O.C.K. for our school-based work. We work with our community to understand the full set of challenges and fill any gaps in services by increasing our capacity or bringing in partners. It’s about removing barriers to our students’ learning,” said Curt Yagi, Executive Director, R.O.C.K.
In preparation of a return to in-person school, R.O.C.K. conducted extensive research to identify and prioritize the most pressing needs of their students and families. One such challenge was that many students experienced decreases in vision and were unable to access eye care. Over the past two years, with the help of VSP Vision Care’s Eyes of Hope and volunteer optometrists, R.O.C.K. organized Vision Day, which has so far provided over 160 students with free eye exams during the school day and prescription glasses made on site, removing a critical barrier to learning.
About Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)
Founded in 1964, the Institute for Educational Leadership’s mission is to partner with under-resourced communities to equip leaders to better prepare children, youth, adults, and families for postsecondary education and training, rewarding careers, and civic and community engagement. For more information about the Institute for Educational Leadership, visit www.iel.org
About Real Options for City Kids (R.O.C.K.)
Real Options for City Kids (R.O.C.K.) is an award-winning nonprofit serving San Francisco kids who need it most. R.O.C.K. serves more than 900 youth (grades K-8) with a framework that develops healthy social and emotional skills, instills strong academic behaviors, and broadens horizons. R.O.C.K.’s year-round programs include sports and recreation, academic support, learning enrichment, community service, outdoor education and adventures, and leadership training. Visit www.rocksf.org.