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san francisco university high school

Rosenblatt Summer Fellowship Grant


In the Spring of 1999, the UHS Board of Trustees endowed a fund for public service to award fellowships for civic, community, and cultural projects on an annual basis in honor of Toby Rosenblatt's service and commitment to our school and to our city. The summer fellowship program is established and intended to support the wonderful work that students do In the Community Engagement Program during the school year and provides students with the opportunity to engage in in-depth public service, of their own creation, during the summer months. It also allows students to expand their current service commitment or contribute to the community in new ways. The goal is for students to have even greater positive impact on the environments or population(s) they serve.

Process for application:

  • Students who would like to be considered for the grant must submit a completed application to the Community Engagement Office by Thursday, May 2, 2019.
  • Finalists will need to secure the support and recommendation of representative of the organization they seek to serve. To that end, every finalist will be required to produce a letter of support that reflects a partnership between the student and the agency sponsoring the project. Finals will also need to provide details of how grant money will be spent.
  • At the end of the summer, every grantee will be required to submit a written report about the project and its outcomes to the Community Engagement Office. In addition, depending on the project, there might also be a tangible product that could be shared with various audiences at UHS.

Costs/activities the grant is designed to fund:

  • Materials/supplies for an event (i.e. food, t-shirts, awards, facility fees, etc.)
  • Materials/supplies for a program (i.e. books, software, educational games, etc.)
  • Costs for creating, printing, copying, or mailing posters, flyers, newsletters, etc.
  • Fees to pay for a trainer or workshop leader if service is central to the success of the project

While the Rosenblatt Grant is intended to fund a student-proposed service project, students who would otherwise have to work for pay during the summer are encouraged to apply for the grant, using some of the funds as a stipend. This is intended to allow students who must work the ability to develop and complete worthy community service projects that may not otherwise come to fruition due to a lack of time.

The 2018 Rosenblatt Grant was divided and awarded to two different students: Riley Thompson (Class of 2019) and Maddie Dowd (Class of 2019). Riley engaged in a project with The Beat Within, a non-profit organization that provides incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth both inside and outside of detention. 

Maddie created a project with the Raphael House, which is a non-profit organization that helps low-income families and families experiencing homelessness strengthen family bonds by achieving stable housing and financial independence.  Riley and Maddie wrote these reflections about the work they did with the support of the Rosenblatt Grant.

I’ve been working with an organization called The Beat Within for almost 2 years now. They use writing to empower and support youth who are incarcerated or at risk of incarceration. It was a perfect intersection of my passions for writing and social justice. The Beat primarily conducts workshops, both in the free world and within juvenile detention facilities, that are centered around self-expression and amplifying the voices of those who typically do not have one. I led many of these workshops and conducted various forms of advocacy, but found myself wanting to do more. The Rosenblatt Grant allowed me to bring my vision of hosting a poetry night to fruition. The money from the grant covered the event costs - including renting the space, paying speakers, purchasing food and drinks and buying other miscellaneous supplies. Participants from the workshops I’d facilitated were able to share their stories on a much larger scale - in attendance were politicians, news outlets, community activists, family members and even those who had no previous contact with the incarcerated population. The poetry event was important to me for two reasons. Firstly, those who participated in The Beat’s programming were able to share their experiences and perspectives, which ranged from stories about solitary confinement, strip searches and sentencing hearings to ones about racial profiling, dehumanization, redlining, isolation and the feeling of losing one’s freedom. Their voices are stifled for so many reasons, and I wanted to do my part to help amplify them. Secondly, many of the audience members were people who weren’t directly affected by the unjust and regressive practices that perpetrate mass incarceration, and the event did much to alert them to the huge issue of mass incarceration. The evening taught me how humanizing such an abstract and broad issue can cause real shifts in perspectives. 

-      Riley Thompson (Class of 2019)

I have been volunteering with Raphael House, a shelter for families in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, for the past two summers, teaching science classes to the young residents (ages 6-12). I was lucky to receive a wonderful STEM education during my elementary and middle school years, and my interest in science has shaped my life and the way that I think. I realized how privileged I was to attend schools that have givven me this exposure, and so I wanted to do this project in order to spark excitement about STEM in kids who don’t have the same educational advantages as I do. Working closely with the director of their Children’s Evening Program, who agreed that it was important to supplement the students’ science learning, I was able to implement one night a week of experiments and science projects for the class. Each lesson started with creating a simple hypothesis, followed by an experiment that I demonstrated and then had the students perform themselves. We concluded with an age-appropriate science lesson on why the experiment happens the way it does, and discussed it. My challenge was to craft lessons that were simple, hands-on, and engaging, while also clearly demonstrating important concepts in science. Examples of classes included heart anatomy via a stethoscope exercise, colors and optics by making kaleidoscopes, different kinetic sand recipes to demonstrate the scientific method, making scented slime to talk about the senses (etc.). As I got more familiar with what captured the kids’ attention (I learned the messier and more colorful the projects were, the better), my classes evolved and we were able to engage in more enthusiastic discussions about what we were noticing. At the end of each summer, we had an ice cream making party to talk about heat transfer. Receiving the Rosenblatt Grant for my work this past summer brought the classes to a new level. I used the money to purchase materials for my lessons (ex. ingredients to make slime) and new supplies the Children’s Evening Program desperately needed, like art aprons. We were able to buy much higher quality items, conduct more in-depth lessons, and increase my time at Raphael House to 10 weeks. The grant truly made a huge difference in the program, and optimized the learning for the students. Working with this organization was the highlight of my past two summers, and I encourage anyone who is interested to seize this unique opportunity and apply for this grant!

-      Maddie Dowd (Class of 2019)