buildOn Bay Area Dinner Celebrates Service in San Francisco & Oakland
On Friday, June 3rd, buildOn Bay Area supporters, students and community partners came together to celebrate service and education at the buildOn Bay Area Dinner. This exciting evening raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support service learning programs that are empowering thousands of Bay Area youth to transform, themselves, their city and our world.
Guests were greeted at San Francisco’s historic City Hall by buildOn student service leaders cheering and welcoming them to the event. Siobhan Brewer, buildOn’s Vice President of Development for the West Coast, was the emcee for the evening. She kicked off the event by highlighting the many ways Bay Area students serve their communities.
Antonea Demichelle, an alumnae from the class of 2009, shared how service helped her find her voice in a world dismissive to her because of her cerebral palsy: “I think of buildOn as a catalyst. It ignited a passion for service that has oriented my entire life path.”
buildOn Founder & CEO Jim Ziolkowski followed with inspiring stories of how members of the buildOn Movement have impacted millions of lives over the past 25 years, emphasizing the importance of serving together to create meaningful change.
buildOn board member Pam Martenson (partner of Sidley Austin) joined emcee Siobhan Brewer and buildOn student leaders in honoring buildOn Bay Area business partners, including: GE Digital, Rodan and Fields, Sideman Bancroft and Sidley Austin. The change buildOn is creating in the Bay Area would not be possible without the generosity and compassion of these partner companies.
Jorge Gomez Gonzalez, buildOn alum from the class of 2013, told his personal story of how service opened his eyes to his ability to change the lives of others, as well as his own family members. Raised by illiterate parents, going to build a school in Haiti was incredibly powerful to Jorge. “I realized I was not helping build just another school, but I was helping build a school in the name of my host father, my real dad, my mom, my uncles and everyone else who was not able to finish or go to school at all,” Jorge said. “buildOn gave me the platform to understand my importance in life and to feel empowered to change the world. buildOn has always been so accepting of everyone, no matter their race, gender, ability or sexuality.”
The evening closed by honoring the event’s honoree, SolarCity and the GivePower foundation. Hayes Barnard spoke on behalf of SolarCity and GivePower. Thanks to this partnership 232 schools have been given the gift of light since 2014 and all schools will be given this same gift moving forward. “I encourage you to find your WHY tonight, start your own movement as Jim has inspired me to, and join us on our mission to give power and to buildOn,” Haye Barnand said to the audience.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support buildOn’s work to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education in the Bay Area and around the world. We can’t wait to see you again next year!