MEDA July 2016 Volunteer of the Month: Jassy Grewal

BlogEach month, the Mission Economic Development Agency honors one of its dedicated volunteers — the people who are an integral part of MEDA’s ability to provide free services to low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents. Thanks to all of the selfless MEDA volunteers who choose Plaza Adelante as their second home. 

Name: Jassy Grewal
Program: Mission Promise Neighborhood (MEDA is the lead agency)

Why did you decide to volunteer with MEDA?
I decided to volunteer with MEDA through LEE’s Summer Policy and Advocacy Fellowship. I chose to work with MEDA 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?
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 MEDA and 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 at MEDA?
I really enjoyed my time working at MEDA 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.

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