Essays — February 8, 2019 16:39 — 0 Comments

Opportunities To Succeed

Below is a story that appeared in Alaska Beyond magazine in February 2019

San Francisco Mayor London Breed knows the importance of community support at the right time.

A native of the Bay Area, Breed grew up in the Western Addition housing project in San Francisco. However, an internship with the nonprofit Family School when she was a teenager helped change her life.

Breed, who was elected mayor in June 2018, is partnering with Alaska Airlines and other businesses to give that same opportunity to thousands of low-income young people in the San Francisco area.

The mayor’s new initiative, Opportunities for All, will place San Francisco–area young people from diverse low-income families in paid summer internships that the mayor says will expose the students to new professional opportunities and help them develop longterm networking relationships, just as her internship did years ago.

“Our economy needs to work for everyone in our city,” Breed says. “Too many of our young people are being left behind because they do not have the skills, the education and the exposure at an early age to career opportunities that can transform their lives.

“My own internship experiences in high school were essential to my success, and I want every kid in San Francisco to have that same opportunity.”

Last year, Alaska Airlines approached the mayor about partnering with her office on community-outreach programs, and the city’s Opportunities for All initiative turned out to be a perfect fit.

The airline supports programs that focus on youth education and promote diversity and inclusion, which are pillars of the mayor’s new program. As a result, Alaska—the program’s first and largest donor—pledged $150,000 for each of the next two years to help support the internship initiative.

“We are really fortunate that Alaska Airlines was looking to partner with us,” says Sheryl Davis, executive director at San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission. “Together, we want to help young people be able to find the best opportunities and the paths forward for their success.”

Davis explains that the program, which has already raised about $1 million of its $2 million goal, is scheduled to fund at least 1,000 new internships for students in its first year. The program will pay teens the city’s minimum wage of $15 per hour for 20 hours of work per week in various professional settings, including at government agencies and nonprofits that otherwise couldn’t afford to pay interns.

“Alaska Airlines is honored to be the first corporate partner of Mayor Breed’s signature Opportunities for All program,” says Annabel Chang, Alaska Airlines’ vice president for the Bay Area. “At Alaska, we recognize that internships are a critical first step to developing important professional skills that will be used throughout a student’s career. We want to ensure that all youth, regardless of financial ability, can pursue their dreams.”

Bio:

Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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