Recognizing those who Support Students, Schools with ServiceTHANK YOU: School Board Director Shanthi Gonzalez joins OUSD Volunteers of the Year - Mey Saeturn (Allendale) and Leticia Venegas-Hernandez (Acorn Woodland); Volunteer Organization of the Year - Reading Partners; Volunteer of the Year - Kaki Tusler (Chabot); and Director Nina Senn.The 7th Annual OUSD Volunteer Recognition Ceremony was held on Thursday, May 21, at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center.
This year, 395 parent and community volunteers were nominated by school staff to be recognized, for giving at least 40 hours of their time to supporting students at their school sites with reading, attendance, and school culture.
Special recognition was given to three parent volunteers, who were nominated as "Volunteer of the Year" for contributing at least 100 hours of service to their schools: Kaki Tusler, Mey Saeturn, and Leticia Venegas-Hernandez.
Kaki Tusler has been a volunteer at Chabot Elementary for 7 years. Chabot teacher Daniel Nagatani describes the impact Ms. Tusler has had with the Chabot community, "She is an inspiration to teachers and students alike. Her sensitivity, gregariousness, and guidance to staff are truly appreciated by everyone at Chabot."
At Allendale Elementary, Mey Saeturn volunteers for the entire duration of each school day, supporting in her child’s kindergarten classroom. "She is truly dedicated to the success of each and every student, which shows through her willingness to support a chronically absent student with getting to school on time". (Allendale teacher, Sara Salvaggio).
And finally, at Acorn Woodland, we have Ms. Leticia Venegas-Hernandez who is not just working as a parent leader and volunteer, she is also an active member of Community for a Better Environment (CBE). Ms Venegas was trained by CBE to test air quality in East Oakland, to advocate for better air quality, and improve lives for all the students with asthma or respiratory health issues.
Ms. Venegas also supports the school with fundraising, leading workshops for parents, and volunteers at the 81st Avenue Library. Her well-rounded volunteerism is based on a love for helping. Leticia said at the ceremony, "I don't do it for an award. I wasn't expecting this at all. I volunteer because I love helping others.”
Partner Organization of the Year
Staff at school sites nominated six total organizations for the Partner Organization of the Year award, with Reading Partners being selected for its commitment to Oakland students by recruiting 289 volunteers who provide almost 9,000 hours of volunteering!
Reading Partners serves the OUSD schools of Think College Now, Brookfield Elementary, Allendale Elementary, and Sankofa Academy, along with 5 additional Oakland charter schools.
Monique Brinson, principal at Sankofa Academy, nominated Reading Partners, stating that 90 percent of students in the program have made reading gains during the 14-15 school year, noting “(this is a) wonderful contribution they are making to our school community.”
OUSD is thankful for Reading Partners and all partner organizations that are committed to the reading excellence of our students.
Call to Service Award
The final award was a first for our annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. A Call to Service award went to Rukiya Humphries for her selfless 20+ year commitment to OUSD and the entire Oakland community.
Rukiya has gone above and beyond in serving many OUSD schools, students, and supporting the office of Student, Family, and Community Engagement.
At the ceremony, Rukiya modestly stated, "I volunteer because we need it. If people help, we can make things happen. We can create something better - together."