An innovative program that helps improve the reading skills of students at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School in San Francisco got a boost from PG&E on Thursday, Sept. 1.
San Francisco RBI, in a partnership with Major League Baseball, was created in 2010 to help ensure that local at-risk youth in underserved areas of the city can learn essential life skills and the fundamentals of baseball and softball. San Francisco RBI provides year-round programs to the students at Bessie Carmichael School, with a focus on literacy, the arts, health, nutrition, and baseball and softball skills.
On Thursday, PG&E contributed $250,000 to the program at an event at the school and the adjacent Victoria Manalo Draves Park baseball diamond in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
Local leaders, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg and Board of Education President Hydra Mendoza, read to the students. San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia and sports media personalities Vern Glenn (KRON-TV) and Kevin Radich (KGO radio) also took part in the event.
“These are challenging economic times and it is important for us to unite as a community to support the children of San Francisco as they learn and grow in our schools and on the field to become the leaders of tomorrow,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. He thanked San Francisco RBI and PG&E for partnering with the city “to offer a unique investment in our youth as they prepare to compete in the 21st century workforce.”
After throwing out a first pitch to Jim Messemer, executive director of San Francisco RBI, Mayor Lee told about 200 kindergarten and first-grade students to follow the group’s credo: Reach. Believe. Inspire.
He also praised PG&E for its involvement in the project and the community.
“PG&E is a great local company who gets it,” Lee said. “A great corporation has given a grant to RBI to help local kids.”
The partnership with San Francisco RBI is a good example of PG&E’s efforts to support the communities where it provides power and where its 20,000 employees work and live.
“As a longtime member of the San Francisco community, we are proud to team up with San Francisco RBI and Bessie Carmichael School to give these students the resources they need to succeed,” said Chris Johns, PG&E’s president and a board member of the PG&E Corporation Foundation. “Expanding the reach of this exciting literacy program is critical to ensuring that we are developing the young minds that will help shape our future.”
School principal Jeff Burgos spoke to the students in three languages – English, Spanish and Tagalog – while Police Chief Suhr told them, “The better you read, the safer you can be.”