Helping to Overcome Poverty with Technology at Tenderloin Creative Labs

March 3, 2015 Stacey Schneider

“What a gift. You have no idea how much this little gesture has on the lives of so many. I am truly blessed to work for such a generous company.”

This comment was made by one of the Pivotal employees who participated in a recent Pivotal for Good project with San Francisco City Academy and summarized the feelings of about 31 Pivots participating in the event. Students were full of excitement as they learned about the new lab and computers.

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The event was the opening of Tenderloin Creative Labs and celebrated a long-term relationship between the Academy and Pivotal. The Academy was the first elementary school in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, an area historically known for high-crime—gangs, drug-related violence, shootings, homicides, assaults, and theft. To give a sense of the issues, the area has 3 major crimes per hour. Imagine 4000 children growing up in this area—an area comprised of 35 square blocks—an environment where 85% of families live below the U.S. poverty line and roughly 6000 homeless pass through every day. It is a hard to grow up and feel safe here, much less break through to a better education and way of life.

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San Francisco City Academy has been a shining light in the neighborhood since it opened in 1997 with one teacher and 7 students. The Academy has a mission to intervene on behalf of the children in the inner city of San Francisco with a mission to equip and empower children to break the cycles of poverty and despair through quality education and setting them up for a fair chance at life. Because of this mission 83% of the graduates since 2008 have attended or are attending college, and the Academy intends to have 350 children enrolled over the next three years.

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Pivotal is enthusiastic about making a difference in programs for them going forward. Last month, participating Pivotal employees spent the morning tearing down old computer labs and installed 8 brand new labs in each classroom, including desks, lockers, and the computers themselves. The group brought in and installed 2 brand new Apple iMacs and 15 brand new LG cloud-based computers. As an additional sign of help through creativity, employees added their painted handprints to a wall to form a tree.

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In the future, Pivotal will be giving employees an opportunity to spend time with students on tutoring, coding classes, and technology enrichment as well as teacher training and technology support.

About the Author

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