I've been a busy bee. Unfortunately I've neglected you. It's not that I don't love you. I do. Very much. It's just that something suddenly came up (props for getting the Brady reference). Well, lots of things came up. Divorce. Hanging with my son. Lots. And loving it. Single life. Working for the man after selling my business. Scheming and planning the next great business things (more to come on this soon, I promise). And...trying to flip the script on our neighborhood school as the PTA fundraising chairman.
That's right, the Zealot has a warm fuzzy center and is a big community guy. I live in Potrero Hill (actually I am in the Dogpatch now, but we still own our house on the Hill). Back in the day when my little'man was a nubbin, we struggled to find a preschool. When all hope was lost and we nearly ended up in a corporate droid factory, we stumbled upon a group of parents who were saving an Elementary School slated for closure. They had a mission to create a Spanish Immersion program at Daniel Webster Elementary and open a bi-lingual preschool to act as a feeder. While we weren't certain we wanted to be guinea pigs, the people associated with the project seemed to be determined and competent. With few options, we jumped in feet first.
The first year was rough. Teachers got sorted out. The partner organization proved to be incompetent and we decided to go independent. Our son was frustrated by having teachers come and go. But, at the same time, we were part of a community of people experiencing the same frustrations and working together, and hard, to change things. In fact, this group transformed from meetings, dropoffs and playdates to real friendships and a deep connected bond. We created a real neighborhood vibe, unlike anything I've seen in an urban setting. The school improved drastically in year-two and we got into a groove.
Then it was time to find a kindergarten. We were warned that getting into a San Francisco preschool was harder than getting into college. If that's the case, then getting into a private K program is like getting into the Ivy League. Getting into your public K of choice is like...well, winning the lottery. Well hike my skirt and call me Shirley. The process just sucked. We went on interviews with all of the elite schools and made friends with the admission directors. We put on the best face possible and sought out any conditions that might help us get one of the coveted spots. But we weren't gay, ethnic of any sort, newsworthy, notable or needy enough to pass muster. We got 'waitlisted'. As for the publics, we were put in our neighborhood Starr King General Ed program. Ugh.
Then, in the second round of lottery in the public system we received the good news that we were accepted into Daniel Webster Elementary's Spanish Immersion program, the very project that our preschool was built to feed. And so it was fed. Now, you might think we were ecstatic about this, but DW is no peach. Remember, the school was slated for closure and this dog has fleas. I've heard of schools turning around due to parental involvement, but DW was at the start of its turnaround. It looked like we were going to be guinea pigs again. But this time, I decided to step up and get involved. I volunteered to be the fundraising chair.
So, here were are, a year has nearly gone by. My son speaks Spanish, well. He's getting awards at school and I'm the proudest dad alive. Our teacher is dedicated to her students and while there is chaos around them, the Kinders are in a warm nest of support, nurturing and learning (who knew that there was homework in K? lot's of it. in Spanish). We've raised more money so far this year, than all of last year and our big event is yet to come. And so it comes...
TASTE OF POTRERO was the brainchild of a few of the parents in the school who wanted to up the ante of the bakesale fundraisers. We're real people, with real jobs and real connections. Why can't we have a real food event that would make the city stand up and notice. We've got event planners, winemakers, restauranteurs, admen and adwomen, pr types and on and on... So, on May 12th, we're going for it. We've got the recently Beard nominated Flour + Water and Bar Agricole. We've got neighborhood gems Contigo, Piccino, Skool, Grand Pu Bah, Serpentine and Slow Club. And...we've got the exciting stylings of Kitchenette, Tacolicious and Hapa Ramen. Clearly not your average bakesale. Click the logo for the official website:
There will be a dozen wineries, including Spain's best from Potrero's own Vinos Unicos and wine with a cause Greater Purpose Wines. Batiste Rhum Agricole is going to be pouring hand-crafted cocktails.
Jane Wiedlin from the GoGos, who is always up to support a good cause is going to spin a DJ set. Some of the kids from Top Chef will be stopping by to shake hands and share some insights. There's even an aerialist acrobat scheduled to perform.
Tickets are $50 for general admission from 7-10pm and $100 for VIP, which gets you extra tastes and exclusive access from 6-7pm. A silent auction will feature city-wide treasures so bring your credit card or check book. Buy your tickets here:
There are only 400 tickets and they're selling quickly. Come join us for a night in support of better education. The San Francisco Unified School District projects massive deficits next year. That means already bare bones budgets will be even tighter; “non-essential”/ non-classroom teachers will be the first to go and students are the ones who will suffer most. Without outside funding from donors like you there will be:
No Art, No Music, No Dance, No Physical Education, No Computer Specialists, No Field Trips, No Literacy Specialists, No Nurses, No Librarians, No Learning Support Professionals.
We hope to see you there. And I promise I'm coming back strong, soon. You can't keep a good zealot down.