Students entering campus

Back to School is a Time of Possibility

For Far Too Many Students, the New School Year is Linked to Anxiety and Concern

Through our College Success program, Haas Jr. is working to level the playing field for all higher education students.

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It’s back to school time. I’ve been busy getting my two kids settled into the school year. Nervousness and butterflies are in the air, but at the same time there is a powerful sense of possibility about the year ahead.

The Administration’s recent announcement to cancel some federal student debt held by millions of Americans shows there’s hope for bigger change. However, for too many Californians the new school year has prompted deep anxiety and concern. The Covid-19 pandemic and the built-in injustices in our education system have not been kind to young people. Now, parents, teachers, and students are worried about the learning loss stemming from the pandemic. With a new variant and flu season looming, people also are wondering how to stay healthy and safe.

Meanwhile, the increasingly unaffordable costs of college keep students and parents up at night, while undocumented students anxiously await a federal court decision on the future of DACA that could determine whether they can stay legally in the United States.

Resilience and Resolve

Despite these concerns and challenges, we see students and young people pushing ever forward. Getting on that bus to school every day. Balancing school, jobs, sports, arts, and other commitments. Working for that certification or degree that will help them find the life and career they dream about.

At the Haas, Jr. Fund, we have a long history of investing in education and youth development. And today, our College Success program is exploring opportunities to level the playing field in higher ed. In this back-to-school period, we’re focusing our newsletter on how we and our partners are putting young people at the center of our efforts to advance equity and justice:

  • Learn how the largest public higher education system in the nation, California Community Colleges, is exploring new strategies for making college more affordable and more accessible for more people.
  • Find out how Haas Jr. and other funders partnered with educators, students, and other partners to expand campus services and supports for undocumented students at California’s public higher education campuses.
  • Check in with the new Crissy Field Center in San Francisco as it seeks to provide new environmental education opportunities for young people across the Bay Area.
  • Read how an exciting new initiative is seeking to activate the next generation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to develop their power and voice for community change in civic affairs and politics.

Building Youth Power

From LGBT equality to immigrant rights, we’ve seen what happens when people and communities find support and opportunities to build collective power and voice. And now, we’re working with a lot of committed partners to help young people build their power and find a brighter future to help California and all of us.

And we’re hiring too! Raquiba LaBrie, who oversaw the launch of our College Success program and has been a voice for expanding educational opportunity, has left us for a great new job with the San Francisco Foundation. Now, we are looking for a program director to take the reins of the College Success program as we continue our important work on college affordability issues.

It’s an exciting opportunity! Here is the job listing. We hope you will share it across your networks. Let’s not let the cost of college get in the way of a young person’s dreams and potential. And let’s work together to make back-to-school a positive time of the year full of possibility, opportunity, and dreams.