News & Posts
Each month, 826 Valencia – a nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students with their writing skills – selects a writer of the month from its various programs. We are proud to announce that Jabari, an eight grade student at De Marillac, was selected as September’s writer of the month.
“Jabari is an incredible part of our writing program,” said Jill Waskick, Tenderloin programs director at 826 Valencia. “He models positivity, effort and creative thinking. Jabari is a strong leader and helpful team player.”
The writer of the month receives a free book of their choosing and will have their picture taken for a poster that is displayed in the 826 Valencia lab. Jabari has been involved with 826 Valencia since sixth grade and was very excited to be selected.
“My writing class at 826 Valencia is really cool,” says Jabari. “I’ve learned how to better express myself through writing.” Way to go, Jabari!
Enjoy Jabari’s poem, “All I Want”, which was written during an 826 Valencia lesson on blues music and poetry.
Friday May 12th, our eighth grade class hosted a very special guest, Leon Rajninger who shared his story as a Holocaust Survivor. Over winter, the eighth grade studied the book Night by Elie Weisel over the course of six weeks. They also had to complete individual book reports on stories they selected covering the Holocaust. A big thanks to the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Speakers Bureau for helping make this experience possible. This is something we (students, faculty, & staff) will never forget.
Leon was born in Bukovina, Romania and was eight years old when the Second World War started. His Holocaust story is one of the Romanian Holocaust, also known as, The Forgotten Cemetery. He shared the extended version of his book, which is pictured below; and answered a few questions in the end.
In the early morning, we were lined up for the march into the Mogilev-Podolsk camp. As we started marching with many armed Romanian soldiers guarding us, our family was the last in line. A young Ukrainian boy passed us polling an empty two-wheeled cart. My mother asked the soldier guarding us if we could put our backpacks on the cart. He agreed. With many packs, the cart was heavy to pull. We dropped behind and soon there was only one soldier guarding us. We were about fifty feet behind the rest of the group. The Mogilev- Podolsk Jews were standing by the roadside, warning us not to continue our journey. My mother gave the soldier some money as a bribe. Bless him, he looked the other way, and we grabbed all the bags from the card and escaped into the crowd.
We lived up on a hill and the only water pump was by the river. It was very hard to get water up in winter. By the time we reached the top of the hill there was very little water left in the bucket. So for most of the winter we just opened the door and scooped up a bucket full of snow. If we had some wood, we would boil whatever we had, like sweet beets or a potato. The first winter of 1941 was the worst for us, sitting in the dark with only one small window that was covered with ice and snow. In addition, we had a big problem with lice in the winter. My parents and I slept on a few boards elevated from the floor. We had only one blanket and my father’s coat, which was warm but had a lot of lice and was difficult to clean. Unfortunately there was no choice, because it was very cold, especially at night.
Leon wanted us to make sure we walked away with three very important lessons:
- Take care of your family, especially your parents when they get older. Do everything you can for them.
- Finish the highest level of education possible.
- Never lose control over your life.
“For those looking from the outside, the messages highlight existing traits not visible beneath the pervasive issues most associated with the neighborhood. For those looking at the banners from within, the hope is they reinforce and redouble an already existing pride.” -Epicenter SF
72 new banners were installed this past month in the Tenderloin to highlight the neighborhood’s “tender tendencies”. This project was led by the Tenderloin Community Benefit District (TLCBD) in collaboration with Mucho, a global boutique design studio. Along with several other neighborhood organizations, De Marillac wrote a letter of support for the grant itself when the TLCBD applied and was interviewed by the marketing company, Mucho, as part of the neighborhood input process during the design phase.
The TLCBD focuses on creating positive change in the Tenderloin neighborhood through their organization services and neighborhood projects such as Synthesia – a new light art project coming to Larkin street; and The Tenderloin Safe Passage. This banner installation has incited a “groundswell of positivity”. For more info on the banner project, check out the Epicenter’s blog post.