Covering Bases with the Oakland Athletics

The Home Run Adopt an Oakland School Partnership

The Adopt an Oakland School Program (AaOS) builds long-term partnerships between schools and local businesses or community organizations through impactful and meaningful volunteer events. And of course, it was no surprise when our neighbors, the Oakland Athletics, joined the movement. We had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie Gaywood, the Director of Community Engagement at the Oakland Athletics, to learn more about how they are rooted in Oakland.

The A’s “adopt” two Oakland Schools, Parker Elementary and Vincent Academy, to align their volunteer efforts with what is truly important to their community. “We focus on youth education and Oakland pride. Working with the Adopt an Oakland School program fits perfectly for us to have touchpoints at our partner schools that we cherish,” said Gaywood.

The A’s make a tremendous impact by carefully choosing and planning events that are relevant to their adoptive schools’ cultures. Event highlights from this year include special guest readers to celebrate Black and Latinx History months, honor roll celebrations, recess takeovers, and holiday gift-giving for students. And to go above and beyond, they have implemented their Home Run Readers and Math Hits programs into after school programs. These tools teach important academic topics through the fun of baseball.

Stephanie Gaywood reads aloud for the African American Read-In Week.

Since it was Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday celebration this year, the celebration of Black History Month was particularly exciting. “We went to Parker Elementary with one of our players, Marcus Semien. The kids lit up as he read the book about Jackie Robinson, and Marcus loved the experience as the Oakland community helped raise him to the young man he is today.” 

“Without programs like AaOS, we wouldn’t be able to help move the needle in any shape or form. I feel that [the Adopt an Oakland School] program, specifically, is able to provide, not only traditional metrics, but feels good to know that our employees are tied in with the community.”

She wrapped up the interview by saying, “My favorite part about this job is creating ‘but-for experiences’ for our youth. What I mean by that is but-for the A’s, they may not have had an opportunity to do X experience. We’re definitely able to do those things working with the Oakland Ed Fund.”

Stephanie Gaywood
Community Engagement Director
Oakland Athletics

By Lamont Hill, Community Partnerships Specialist
Oakland Public Education Fund

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Lilly Smith