Grace Pating ’18 joins the SF Youth Commission
Most SI students look back on their primary schools and recall the good times they had. Grace Pating ’18 remembers the shootings.
A student at Rosa Parks Elementary School on O’Farrell Street near Webster, Pating had two classmates who lost one parent each to a gun violence.
“That was eye-opening for me,” she said. “Killings like these are tragic no matter where or when they happen, but those crimes shook me.”
They also led her to do something to address the issue. Her aunt, Sandra Fewer, a former member of the city’s Board of Education, first suggested she join the Youth Commission, and after several rounds of interviews, Mayor Ed Lee appointed her as a member last September.
Thus far, she and her fellow commissioners are working to help the children of men and women who are in prison or in jail. Older teens whose parents are in jail often have to live on their own and drop out of school to support themselves.
The Youth Commission has met with Project WHAT! Since 1997, that group has worked to break the cycle of imprisonment so that children of those incarcerated won’t repeat the mistakes of their parents.
The group also helps children heal and provides them with programs both in school and outside the classroom to connect with their parents and learn to stop cycles of violence.
Pating will serve on the commission for one year and, along with her colleagues, address the city’s Board of Supervisors when they devise an action plan to create new policies or new laws.
“I’m happy to serve the city and my neighbors in the Richmond District,” said Pating. “I learn so much about my city every day and get to help people along with the many talented youth who inspire me. Members of Project WHAT! all have experienced parents who have been in or who are in prison. They have given me new ideas and much inspiration.”
Pating is hoping to have SI clubs that have a social justice focus involve themselves with Project WHAT! In addition, she is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, by completing a 100-hour community service project. For that, she hopes to return to Rosa Parks School and teaching poetry and art to children.
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