Written by: Saffron, Habitat Student Ambassador. My name is Saffron and I am a rising sophomore in high school. I was born in San Francisco and have lived in the Richmond District my entire life. This past month, I have had the honor of working with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, serving as a Habitat Student Ambassador (HSA).
Habitat Greater San Francisco’s Student Ambassador program provides students with an opportunity to bring their fantastic ideas to life through their student projects. In fact, students can propose a project that allows them to highlight their skills and interests and supports Habitat’s mission of affordable housing. During my month-long ambassadorship this summer, I used my passions for photography and writing and contributed to their blog.
As I mentioned, I have lived in San Francisco my whole life. I was always aware of the looming presence of the City’s housing crisis, but I never fully understood or witnessed in which ways the crisis was evident. I had heard about Habitat for Humanity and all the amazing things the organization does in our region through a presentation at my school. After searching online for summer activities in the City, I came across the HSA program.
Throughout the month of June, I attended five Habitat Greater San Francisco events. I met so many dedicated volunteers from all over the City, each of whom had a personal story to share. I had the opportunity to extensively visit the Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco, one of the most underserved areas in the city, which gave me a completely new perspective on San Francisco and the issues of housing affordability and displacement of underserved communities, such as the Bayview.
The committed group of volunteers at our annual Build with Pride event
My first event was the annual Build with Pride event that took place on June 2nd. The event honored Habitat Greater San Francisco’s founder, Stephen Jacoby, encapsulating the spirit and sentiment of the organization. As part of Habitat’s neighborhood revitalization efforts, volunteers spent the day weeding the beautiful Quesada Gardens that line Quesada Street in the Bayview. The volunteers were so friendly and enthusiastic. My interactions with them truly showed me the mutuality of giving back to one’s community. It was evident that while the residents in the neighborhood benefited from the volunteers’ work, the volunteers also benefited from their own work because they felt the satisfaction of giving back to the community and taking action in support of affordable housing.
Volunteers helped weed and pour new mulch in the gardens
The next week, I attended a park and garden beautification event at Little Hollywood Park. Volunteers spent the day weeding and pouring new mulch in the gardens. I interviewed many of the volunteers and asked them what the affordable housing crisis means to them for my blog post. The volunteers displayed so much compassion when they talked about the issue, and I really learned how much the housing crisis affects everyone that lives in San Francisco, in addition to the people that are unfortunately more immediately impacted by the crisis.
Helping beautify Little Hollywood Park in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco
Neighborhood revitalization is such an important aspect of Habitat. Park and garden maintenance and clean-ups are something anyone can easily come out and participate in on a Saturday morning. Before going to some of these events, I didn’t fully realize the impact that beautifying these green spaces can have on the residents and the entire neighborhood.
Building playhouses with the Salesforce team
Over the course of the month, I also went to a few other events, all of which had friendly, enthusiastic, and passionate volunteers ready to spend a few hours giving back to their community. By visiting the neighborhoods in San Francisco that are impacted most directly and strongly by the issues of affordability and displacement, I have a much deeper understanding of my City and will be much better equipped to advocate for affordable housing and make a larger difference in the future. I hope to maintain an ongoing relationship with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and its mission of providing low- and mid-income families with affordable homes and home repairs in San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo Counties. I am so incredibly grateful to the Habitat Student Ambassador program for giving me the opportunity to begin that journey.
To read the blog posts that I wrote, click here.
Interested in joining our Habitat Student Ambassador (HSA) program?