Our future greatly depends on the minds of young people and our shared attitude toward the natural world. Together, we must understand that life is supported by the ecosystem surrounding us and our environment is profoundly impacted by the choices we make. As elders, it is our responsibility to deliberately impart knowledge from this generation to the next. To have a formative effect on the mind, character, and ability of young people, we need to develop education systems and support teachers. This is especially true in areas where learning is overlooked.
When teachers are passionate about their work and students are eager to learn even when surrounded by poverty and blight, they form a bright spot in their community. When we focus on those bright spots--the things that are working well--rather than all the negative aspects of our culture, then we take a more optimistic view. When Livia and I meet passionate teachers and eager students who remain positive against all odds, we see value, and we see a bright future. We are driven to follow that value up with more value and support these wonderful folks.
Since we moved to the California Bay Area eight years ago, my wife and I have made amazing friends and experienced life changing opportunities. Livia and I have also noticed how so many of the lives around us are unlikely to have such wonderful opportunities. We have realized too, that if people like us work to find meaningful ways of giving back, then there is potential for some lives to be changed for the better. The Biz and Livia Stone Foundation focuses on supporting education and conservation here in the Bay Area with special attention paid to helping kids.
Together with Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed or "STRAW," we fund a program that connects scientists with teachers and students through environmental restoration projects. Young Imaginations immerses students in a variety of cultures through music and dance. The Museum of Children's Art or "MOCHA" builds creative and academic socio-emotional skills through hands-on visual arts learning. The Whale Bus and Nature Van from the Marine Mammal Center and WildCare bring the natural world straight into the classroom. All curricula meets high standards.
By working with Bay Area organizations dedicated to education, we help make learning fun by bringing nature into the classroom, getting kids moving with dance and music, and providing opportunities for hands-on visual arts experiences. These are things that may be unattainable in many schools because of budget cuts, yet they are an integral part of a total learning experience. Underpaid teachers in underserved schools are often reaching into their own pockets to pay for supplies--these are the teachers we get directly in touch with to make a difference.
Regarding education, our mission is to make long-term commitments to the schools we work with so that we may have a positive impact on communities as a whole. Our environmental education and advocacy work is similarly focused. We work with organizations supporting our natural world and it's habitants including WildCare, PRBO Conservation Science, and The Marine Mammal Center. In addition to financial support, we have volunteered our time--Livia especially in her role as a wildlife rehabilitation specialist. All our efforts have been and continue to be incredibly rewarding.
By focusing modestly on one school, we have been able to measure our success. The programs we developed for Henry Haight Elementary in Alameda have met with extraordinary praise by teachers, parents, and most importantly, the kids. Check out the slideshow of letters they are still writing to us! These kids have been offered a variety of opportunities normally not available to them and it has made their lives better. This year, we want to increase our budget for Henry Haight and we want to expand more programs to more underserved schools in the East Bay.
In partnership with Aol and The Huffington Post, The Biz and Livia Stone Foundation is holding its first ever fundraiser to bring our unique programs to more schools, year-round. These programs meet with state standards and get students, teachers, and the communities involved in conservation, music, visual arts, science, and coming soon--sports. Please join us along with our friends Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Arianna Huffington and many more bright, kindhearted individuals as we mingle and socialize for a good cause. We hope you can be with us.
We'll be taking over the Samovar Tea Lounge at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco on Friday, September 23rd from 7pm to 9pm. There will be food, tea, cocktails, and plenty of time for socializing. The teachers from Henry Haight will also be with us so we can properly honor their incredible dedication. Samovar Tea Lounge is not very big so this gathering will be pretty intimate. You can buy a ticket here until they sell out. We hope you can make this fun event for a great cause.
We have included fifteen touching "Thank You" letters from the kids which you can see below. Seeing these we know we are really making a real difference in these children's lives.
If you cannot attend our event would like to help us begin this important work, please feel free to make a contribution HERE.
Livia and I thank you in advance for your consideration.
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