Within days of Oakland public schools closing down, the Oakland School Volunteer program has pivoted to support distance learning. This has enabled the volunteer program team and hundreds of parent and community volunteers to continue making a difference for Oakland students in our new virtual environments. In addition to community volunteers supporting educators with lesson preparation, securing and donating non-medical masks, and filming videos to celebrate diversity and explore career options, our Career Coaches have gone above and beyond to support McClymonds High School seniors during this challenging period.
McClymonds High School students experienced an unprecedented amount of disruption this year, as their campus was displaced before the pandemic due to serious environmental concerns in the community. Students have spent years working towards extracurriculars, social engagements, and celebrations that have been utterly disrupted with the necessary shift to distance learning.
McClymonds school staff, the Linked Learning and Office of Equity Departments within OUSD, and Fuse Corps partnered to identify meaningful ways to support students in transition during this challenging time and invited our Career Coaches to virtually mentor students. Brian McGhee, of OUSD’s Office of Equity and proud alumnus of McClymonds, notes, “this opportunity is very personal for me because our students at McClymonds High School have been displaced [multiple times] since February. Just imagine how the students were feeling during this process.”
Career Coaches are a branch of our ongoing volunteer program that supports high school students as they prepare for their futures by exploring options, sharing real-world career experiences, engaging in goal-setting, and building relationships. These skilled individuals were ready and eager to become meaningful mentors for McClymonds students. “The Career Coach Mentoring Program has been excellent and has allowed our students to make connections to career professionals and have “real conversations” that will have an impact in their lives moving forward. I truly believe this program needs to continue and be duplicated for all OUSD students,” Mr. McGhee emphasized.
Since mid-April this year, Career Coaches have worked with their student partners twice a week to get to know each other, hold open and honest conversations about mental & physical health, financial literacy, options for life after high school, and set collaborative goals to plan for the future. Career Coach Ajay Anand gathers, “there are a lot of ways for dreams to be realized, but it starts with understanding opportunity, building a plan to achieve, and executing on the plan. Working with OUSD’s Office of Equity and the Oakland Ed Fund has shown me that there is a lot that can be done to positively impact the future of students who are at a pivotal point in their lives.” This program has laid the foundation for expanded Virtual Volunteer services for all Oakland Schools for Fall 2020.
We are blown away by the dedication of the Career Coaches to support student success and grateful for their flexibility to adjust their volunteer routine in order to continue making a positive impact. Thank you!