Volunteers pass out art material boxes for distribution across San Francisco. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Four cars loaded up Tuesday morning on 19th Street and Alabama starting at 8:30 a.m. to deliver 20 boxes of art materials from the Latino Task Force to the doors of families who signed up to take part in virtual art-making workshops.

Volunteers pass out art material boxes for distribution across San Francisco. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

“These workshops add a social-emotional element to distance learning, and we have had great reviews from families,” said Efrain Barrera as he loaded up the trunk of his car with five art boxes to distribute.

The distribution was organized by the Latino Task Force’s education subcommittee. Many of the families signed up when they came to the Alabama Street Hub to receive a box of food here during the pandemic. Barrera is a K-12 manager at Mission Promise, one of the non-profits working with the Latino Task Force.  

Also on hand was Gabriela Lopez, vice president of the Board of Education and member of the Latino Task Force executive committee.  Mission Local accompanied Lopez on her delivery route with Sandra Santana, a volunteer, at the wheel.  

Latino Task Force delivering art supplies
Lopez and Santana drive around San Francisco delivery art materials to families. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

We “didn’t want parents to feel like they had to buy supplies,”  said Lopez who partnered with SCRAP, a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes used art supplies to teachers and children.

On the first stop in SoMa, the mother was out walking the dog when Lopez called to say she had arrived.

In minutes, the mother was running down the sidewalk to meet Lopez and pick up her box. 

A look inside one of the art boxes. The box itself was donated by Genentech, and the materials were donated by SCRAP. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

At another stop, Jamie came down from his building in the Tenderloin to pick up his materials. “His Mom is probably working,” Lopez guessed. When Mission Local asked if he liked art, he said, “not that much.” 

At another stop in the Tenderloin, Erica León, the father of seven-year-old Bruno, said the program had been helpful. “He is not very into art. He likes math more, so this is good for him,” León said. 

Erica’s husband, Adrian, was also there to receive the box. “It’s nice to see both parents being involved. You don’t often see dads doing the workshops,” said Lopez. 

The workshops started in June to help parents navigate the Chromebooks the district offers so get them comfortable with remote-learning technology. The Latino Task Force has continued these educational workshops for parents twice a week and is now offering art these art workshops twice a month. 

At the last stop, Lopez and her driver, Santana, had the address written as 16, and couldn’t find the correct apartment. After about five minutes of searching, they gave up and drove away only to receive a call from the mother, Catalina, that it was actually unit 17. 

Santana turned the car around and drove back to find Catalina’s son at the door waiting to receive the package. “Thank you,” he said. 

In the past six months, the Latino Task Force’s Education Committee has helped over 140 families at over 27 schools and has partnered with over ten other educational programs and nonprofits to help Latino families navigate distance learning, including Instituto Familiar de la Raza and Human Rights Commission. 

“We are now operating under a ‘parent as teacher’ model,” says Lopez. Since it seems distance learning will be going on for an extended period, Lopez says, “it is important to provide resources for successful distance learning.” 

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Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys working at the intersection of art and politics, and focusing on the stories of individuals to reveal larger themes.

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