On Thursday, May 29th, MEDA had the honor of speaking before the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board to discuss a cause that resonates with the nonprofit. The goal was to get the paper to champion that every student should have the opportunity to be part of San Francisco’s workforce of tomorrow, which is not the case for far too many Mission District Latinos.
Speaking on behalf of MEDA were Executive Director Luis Granados, Director of Development Jillian Spindle and Director of Evaluation Carolina Guzman.
The Editorial Board included such Chronicle major players as John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, Lois Kazakoff, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, and Columnist C.W. Nevius, who were complemented by reporters interested in the subject presented.
The round-table discussion was started by Guzman, who explained the obstacles facing students in the four Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) schools overseen by MEDA. MPN is a five-year, federally funded program to successfully guide Mission District students on a cradle-to-college-to-career continuum. Based on the Harlem Children’s Zone and supported by President Obama, MPN is one of just a dozen such programs in the nation.
Spindle then backed up Guzman’s statements with daunting statistics, from almost 10 percent of MPN students being in transitional housing to 24% not having internet access at home to only 15% being prepared for college-level work despite having graduated from John O’Connell High School. The rapidly growing income disparity in the Mission was also cited. Chronicle staff busily jotted notes as Spindle reeled off her stats.
Then it was Granados’ turn. MEDA’s longtime Executive Director spelled out how his organization has partnered with 26 Mission neighborhood agencies to provide the support an entire family needs. This groundbreaking service integration model is evidenced at MEDA’s Mission neighborhood center, Plaza Adelante.
“If a family does not succeed economically, the child cannot achieve academically,” summed up Granados.
The trio of MEDA representatives were then peppered with questions. An intriguing discourse ensued, with all learning something in the process.