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Tech industry mentors for children in SF

January 27, 2014
Original Author: Bay City News Service


The future of our city rests on mentoring the next generation of future leaders.

David Chiu


San Francisco Board of Supervisors

The tech industry is stepping up to mentor disadvantaged youth in San Francisco in a partnership announced this month between the city, a tech advocacy group and the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Children Benefit

January is National Mentoring Month and San Francisco supervisors Malia Cohen and David Chiu touted the benefits of one-on-one support for students at the Bayview branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Jan. 14.

“This is really important,” Cohen said. “I have benefited from a mentor experience.”

Cohen discussed her position serving as a mentor in college and being mentored when she was growing up in San Francisco.

She said the city is “sounding the alarm” for the need to find mentors for 83 students on the Big Brothers Big Sisters wait-list in the Bay Area. Cohen said a quarter of those students waiting for a mentor live in the Bayview.

1,000 Students Wait-listed

In the Bay Area, there are 1,000 students who are already part of a mentoring program through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization and city leaders are hoping the new batch of volunteers will drop the wait-list to zero. is the city’s tech advocacy group teaming up with the mentorship program. They will match students on the wait-list with an adult to help with academic and social skills.

The tech coalition is comprised of more than 700 members and connected with many San Francisco-based technology companies.

Steven Sarner, an board member, said the tech community has seen the success of mentorship for adults and is excited to work with younger students. Board president Chiu said the partnership is a way to bring together different communities. He said the mentorship program will “bridge the tech-innovative sector with communities that need help. Rather than bickering or pointing fingers…let’s try to solve problems.”

He said the city is asking the tech industry to “step up and do more to give and help the entire city.”

He noted that the mentorship program doesn’t cost the city anything, but the volunteers are giving their time with a year-round commitment to their matches.

“The future of our city rests on mentoring the next generation of future leaders,” Chiu said.

Grandmother Shares Mentor Experience

Lottie Titus, whose 12-year-old grandson has been in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the past five years, shared her family’s experience with mentoring. She said her grandson, who is a seventh-grader at San Francisco’s Aptos Middle School, now has a strong male figure in his life because of his mentor, and he found someone he can “have an open dialogue with.”

She noted her grandson’s improved academic standing and behavior since he started working with his mentor.

Titus, who lives with her grandson, his mother and other siblings in the Bayview-Hunters Point area, said her grandson’s Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor is “someone who wants see your child grow up and be self-sufficient.”