Connecting Students with Resources
Students cannot learn if they are hungry, afraid, battling PTSD, facing legal battles, or experiencing other challenges. Salesforce, recognizing that these barriers to learning affect many Oakland students, began investing in whole child supports that aim to connect students with the resources they need to come to school ready to learn.
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Salesforce invested in the Newcomer Wellness Initiative and its team of Newcomer Navigators serving as case managers for the rising population of refugee and asylum students. Newcomers often experience a complex transition into the United States, frequently hold residual trauma from the journey across the international border into Oakland, and can struggle to find stable caregivers, housing, and jobs. To support students with these unique challenges, Newcomer Navigators work in schools, connecting newcomers with wrap-around supports that increase the likelihood that they will continue to attend school regularly and achieve academically. To this day, Salesforce has invested over $3M in the Newcomer Wellness Initiative.
Salesforce’s investment has improved school physical safety by fortifying security tools and providing training to school security officers to deploy conflict resolution and violence prevention strategies (known as restorative justice) as an alternative to suspension and expulsion.
In the 2018-19 school year, Salesforce expanded its whole child support to invest in a mental health initiative that provides prevention, early intervention, and intensive support for students impacted by trauma or other social, emotional, and behavioral factors. This initiative targets five of the middle schools with the highest needs and provides mental health services to prevent the escalation of problem behavior, increase attendance and promote engagement.
Salesforce deepened its support of whole child initiatives again in the 2019-20 school year by investing the Dynamic Mindfulness program. In partnership with the Niroga Institute, middle school students and educators learn and engage in mindfulness practices to mitigate the effects of trauma like anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as promote self-control, school engagement, emotional awareness, distress tolerance, and altered attitudes towards violence.