HOW DID GOOD SAMARITAN GET ITS START?
The Episcopal Church started Good Samaritan in San Francisco in 1894. Since its founding nearly 125 years ago, Good Samaritan has partnered with immigrants in search of opportunity.
Good Samaritan’s founders were inspired by Hull House, which had been launched in 1889 in Chicago by pioneering social worker Jane Addams. A gifted public speaker, Addams acted when growing numbers of European immigrants, including children, began to live in poverty in industrial sections of the Midwestern city. She leased a large home from the affluent Hull family, and called upon wealthy local families to donate to her growing charity, which offered immigrants a lifeline.
In its heyday, Hull House offered thousands of newcomers a public kitchen, job leads, boarding rooms, kindergarten classes, supervised children’s activities, courses for the unemployed to learn new skills, and a say in forging their future.
Much of Jane Addams’ model still lives on at Good Samaritan today. We proudly carry on her legacy.
HOW HAS GOOD SAMARITAN EVOLVED?
Given that we are nearly a 125-year old organization, Good Samaritan’s mission, vision, and practices have changed over time. But, we have always centered the experience of diverse San Franciscans in our work, knowing that our City is stronger when it embraces immigrants, people of color, and ALL of its children.
- In the 1960s, our City experienced demographic change. Our headquarters was then in the Mission District, which had started to become the heart of San Francisco’s growing Latino community. Still true today, the Mission neighborhood is a place where Spanish-speaking newcomers can find friends, businesses and institutions that respect their language(s), values and traditions.
- As the Mission neighborhood diversified, Good Samaritan became a go-to service provider for striving Spanish-speakers. Our participants—then as today– valued family, hard work, artistic expression and more. Parents, even those struggling financially and socially as newcomers in this country, were eager to improve their children’s lifelong prospects and guide their early success.
- In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged Good Samaritan’s building beyond repair, forcing the Episcopal Church to cease Good Samaritan’s operations temporarily. Latino families in the neighborhood lobbied for a rebirth; they suggested that Good Samaritan, as the owner of land in the neighborhood, rebuild. At the same time, immigrant families suggested Good Samaritan focus on offering dual-generational, bilingual, family-centered supports. They wanted access to housing, quality childcare, after-school programming, parenting classes, support groups, and assistance navigating systems in their new hometown.
- In 1994, after raising funds to rebuild, the Episcopal Church spun off Good Samaritan as an independent, 501c3 nonprofit. Since then, Good Samaritan has been an independent Family Resource Center, meaning we specialize in engaging both parents and children in realizing a family’s dreams. We opened a site on Potrero Street that still stands today. There, our team partners primarily with Spanish-speakers seeking resources for their infants, children, teens or their family; parenting support groups or education; our English as a Second Language program; immigrant services; and more.
- In the 2000s, Good Samaritan launched unique literacy and social-emotional programs to meet the needs of hard-to-reach Latino children and teens. Serving young people in their schools, after-school, and over the summer, our culturally-affirming, bilingual programs helps prevent disconnection, encourage healthy decision-making, and celebrate school persistence. Our immigrant youth programs continue today, and include support groups, an introduction to Latino arts, nature-based and outdoor activity exploration groups, and Latino Student Unions.
- In the 2010s to this day, Good Samaritan has increased its presence in schools and neighborhoods with high percentages of Latino and African-American populations. First, Good Samaritan is expanding our highly-regarded Vision Academy in the Bayview neighborhood. A daily K-8 program for diverse children who want to learn to play chess, code, and succeed academically and socially, it is enrolling 50% more students in the 2018-2019 school year than the year before. Second, Good Samaritan is partnering with Willie Brown Middle School in the Bayview. Together, we are launching a new school-based Beacon Center in the 2018-2019 school year. Each of these two initiatives maintains a low student/adult ratio so children coming to Good Samaritan can find meaningful mentorship and guidance.
WHAT SETS GOOD SAMARITAN APART?
We are experts in childhood development. For 20 years, we have operated a licensed, dual language, model preschool. It serves as a learning lab for our other, more scalable early literacy and parent programs.
We are experts in partnering with urban children and teens of diverse backgrounds—whether Latino, African American, or Asian/Pacific Islander— to improve their school readiness and social inclusion. Good Samaritan works with infants, toddlers, children and teens. Our participants join Good Samaritan’s programs at school, in their neighborhoods, over the summer and afterschool because we offer fun, engaging, culturally-affirming, and responsive social-emotional, academic, family-oriented and/or nature-based supports.
We engage diverse parents, including immigrant and African-American families, wholeheartedly. Nearly half of the parents enrolled participate in more than one service area, which can include our English as a Second Language program, parent support groups, parent-child interactive groups, parent leadership cohorts, or family advocacy services.
Our employees reflect the communities we serve. For example, Mario Paz, our chief executive for 11 years, is the son of immigrants from El Salvador who made San Francisco their home. Of the rest of our team, over 80% are bilingual.
We have a diversified funding model. Good Samaritan relies on a healthy mix of government contracts, foundation grants, earned income, and charitable donations from people and companies interested in expanding opportunity in San Francisco.
WHAT ARE GOOD SAMARITAN’S GOALS?
We are raising investment capital to build and launch a second dual language preschool in 2021. It will enroll low-income children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to get a Pre-K education.
We are improving our capacity to offer trauma-informed care to those among us dealing with the toxic stress associated with poverty, inequality, and other barriers.
We are improving our evaluation methods. We are increasingly using a Results-Based Accountability Framework.