K to College has been featured on...

K to College media coverage

November 19, 2014

Volunteer with K to College on Sunday, December 7th

On Sunday, December 7, 2014 we will gather hundreds of volunteers to assemble hundreds of thousands of dollars of materials into thousands of school supply kits, preschool kits and dental kits. Volunteers will include members of the state legislature, additional government officials, other corporate employees and employees of various state associations. The event will also serve as an opportunity to highlight our larger effort to ensure all of California’s homeless children have the basic materials they need to achieve. The assembled kits will be distributed to disadvantaged kids throughout California.

  • RSVP via Eventbrite!
  • For sponsorship and volunteer inquiries, contact Georgia Faulkner, georgia@ktocollege.org, (510) 569-5862

November 18, 2014

SFGate.com: State among worst on issue of child homelessness, report says

Image courtesy of The National Center on Family Homelessness at American Institutes for Research

The article below was written by SFGate Reporter Heather Knight. The full article is also available on the SFGate.com website.

The sheer number of kids in California who have nowhere to call home and the failure of the state’s leaders to address the growing crisis place it 48th among the 50 states for dealing with children’s homelessness — ranking it just above Mississippi and Alabama.

Those are the findings of a report released Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness, part of the larger nonprofit American Institutes for Research, which conducts social science research. It found that nationwide, 2.5 million children — one in 30 — do not have a stable place to sleep at night.

California has 526,708 homeless children, the third most in the nation per capita, and the number has been climbing steadily since at least 2010. The report counts as homeless children who sleep in shelters and cars, on friends’ couches, doubled up with other families and other unstable living situations.

Even for those California children who are housed, their risk for becoming homeless is high because 24 percent of the state’s children live in poverty, home foreclosures remain common, and rents are high.

The report also ranks the wealthy, liberal state 49th for its leaders’ policy and planning around children’s homelessness. The state has just 1,650 emergency shelter spots specifically for families and 5,064 permanent supportive housing units for them, according to the report.

California has no state interagency council on homelessness, and Gov. Jerry Brown has rarely addressed the issue since taking office four years ago.

Evan Gerberding, director of external affairs for the state’s Housing and Community Development agency, said the governor’s office is “deeply concerned about homeless youth” and pointed to $10 million in grant funding for organizations that offer emergency solutions for families that become homeless.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who as mayor of San Francisco made homelessness his signature issue, wasn’t available for comment. He has slammed Brown for not paying enough attention to homelessness but has little power to address it himself.

Trent Rhorer, director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency, said California is finally making some strides. In his current budget Brown included $20 million for housing subsidies for families participating in CalWorks, the state’s welfare-to-work program. San Francisco will get $2 million and will use it to help 80 to 100 families afford rent, Rhorer said.

“The discussion around persistent poverty and the widening income gap in California, especially, I think has finally gotten policymakers’ attention,” Rhorer said.

Jennifer Friedenbach, director of the Coalition on Homelessness, noted that despite its wealth, California ranks alongside poor Southern states in its inability to house its children.

“It’s pathetic, frankly, that we’re doing so badly in California and we have such a big tax base to draw from in order to address the issue,” she said.

The federal government has long prioritized ending homelessness among single adults and has not provided states and cities with nearly as much funding for programs related to family homelessness.

Paul Boden, director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, which advocates for homeless people, said city and state governments have done a terrible job of demanding more money and attention be spent on housing families.

“Our hearts tell us we want to prioritize families. Our data tells us we want to prioritize families,” he said. “But money is everything.”

San Francisco, too, has prioritized single homeless adults for years, but City Hall is finally paying more attention to homeless families. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have donated money to city agencies and nonprofits to house homeless families, and the San Francisco Housing Authority is rehabbing some vacant units for homeless families.

The San Francisco Unified School District counts 2,100 public school students in the city as homeless.

Jeff Kositsy, executive director of the Hamilton Family Center, which provides housing and services to homeless families, said low-income families around the city and state are still reeling from the recession, but that San Francisco is responding better to it than other places.

“Whereas the numbers don’t look great in California around childhood poverty, I do think San Francisco has been gearing itself up to deal with this growing crisis,” he said. “It’s unfortunate the numbers are bad — it’s terrible — but I also think it’s important to look at what are the reactions.”

October 14, 2014

Huawei Back-to-School Partnership Reaches Record Number of Kids throughout San Diego County and State

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — At an event held at Rolando Park Elementary School in San Diego, Huawei Technologies distributed a $65 school supply and dental kit to hundreds of happy students in the school’s auditorium. The distribution was part of Huawei’s greater partnership with the nonprofit organization K to College, who with Huawei’s support has provided basic materials to more than 12,000 kids in San Diego County and 20,000 kids throughout California during the past six months.


Former San Diego Unified School Board President and current Assemblymember Shirley Weber and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten joined K to College’s Benito Delgado-Olson and 20 Huawei employees to hand out the supplies to all 240 students attending Rolando Park Elementary.

“We believe that children of all backgrounds deserve the chance to succeed,” said Alison Jenkin, Huawei’s Senior Director of Government & Public Affairs, who along with 20 volunteers from Huawei’s San Diego office spent the morning packing kits for the school’s students. “Huawei is committed to giving back to the community.”

According to the California Department of Education, 75% of Rolando Park’s students, and 51% of San Diego’s County’s K-12 students, are eligible for the federal free or reduced price lunch program, which serves as a proxy measure of family poverty. The program also worked in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education’s Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services Office to address the material needs of homeless students throughout the County.

Local leaders cited the importance of addressing the basic material needs of low-income children as part of support services. “As a former school board president and volunteer, I have personally seen how not having basic material needs met further negatively impacts children who are homeless or experiencing financial hardship. It reinforces a sense of isolation from other students and builds additional barriers to educational achievement,” said Assemblymember Weber, whose district includes Rolando Park Elementary. “That is why I am grateful to K to College, Huawei Technologies and all involved for their growing partnership that will reach more than 12,000 children throughout the San Diego County region this year.”

K to College is a nonprofit organization that operates the largest charitable school and dental supply program for underprivileged students in California. Huawei has also partnered with K to College throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley. K to College’s school supply kits contain back-to-school essentials like paper, pencils, art supplies, a dental hygiene kit and a whiteboard.

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider with the vision to enrich life through communication. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives our customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 150,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services have been deployed in over 170 countries and regions, serving more than one third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

About K to College

K to College is a nonprofit operating the largest charitable school supply, dental supply and other material distribution program in California. From 2010-2013, K to College distributed more than $14,500,000 of school supplies, dental supplies and other basic materials to more than 230,000 children in more than 100 school districts throughout California. The program is projected to reach more than 200 county offices of education and school districts in 2015.

October 10, 2014

Stockton Record: "Nonprofit helping S.J. kids fight 'silent epidemic'"

The article below was written by Stockton Record Reporter Elizabeth Roberts. The full article is also available on the Stockton Record website.


(Photo courtesy of the Stockton Record)

STOCKTON — A cavity can cost a child more than a tooth. For children such as Washington Elementary first-grader Osvaldo Conde-Velasquez, it could cost them their future.

A schoolwide giveaway Thursday of nearly $20,000 in learning materials included a dental care kit in every bag, courtesy of the nonprofit K to College and Huawei Technologies. Osvaldo, 6, whose front teeth are capped with stainless steel, was ecstatic when he opened his.

There’s a surprising link between dental care and literacy — and a profound disparity in care — and educators and policymakers are increasingly taking note.

Dubbed the “silent epidemic” in a groundbreaking surgeon general’s report, untreated dental disease can lead not just to severe health problems but to chronic school absences as well. And those absences in turn are a major stumbling block to a child’s ability to learn how to read. A child who can’t read proficiently by the end of third grade — and two-thirds of the state’s third-graders are affected by tooth decay, a California Smile Survey found — is at risk of falling behind or dropping out altogether.

“One of the most significant challenges that young children face in becoming strong readers is chronic absences from school,” said Jennifer Torres Siders, who champions literacy in the community as part of her work with University of the Pacific’s Beyond Our Gates Initiative. Dental care, in fact, is one of the issues Beyond Our Gates hopes to study further in the near future. “It stands to reason if you’re not in class learning from your teacher, you’re going to have a hard time building all the he foundational skills you need in becoming a strong reader later on. And often one of the biggest causes of absences is poor dental health.”

The numbers in the 2000 surgeon general’s oral health report, the first of its kind, were staggering: Tooth decay was found to be the most common chronic childhood illness, with 51 million school hours lost to dental-related illnesses each year.

For poor children, the numbers are worse. Low-income elementary children suffer twice as much tooth decay as their affluent peers, and a 2010 study found almost 75 percent of low-income students in California had at least one cavity.

Every one of the students qualifies for free lunches at Boggs Tract’s Washington Elementary and fits into the low-income category, Principal Olivia Castillo said. That makes it the perfect venue for what K to College is hoping to become: “a supply bank just like a food bank for under-resourced children and youth that may otherwise go without,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, executive director of the Oakland-based nonprofit.

“It’s the right thing and it should already be happening,” said Delgado-Olson, who started K to College with Steve Frances and other University of California, Berkeley, students in 2007 and helped turn it into the largest effort of its kind in the nation. “It’s silly that there’s kids going to school and their basic material needs are unmet. We spend so much on education and now on health care, and for kids to be at school without paper and supplies and to have poor oral health be the No. 2 cause of absenteeism, it just shouldn’t be that way. That’s not a free public education.”

With Denti-Cal reimbursement at only about one-third of what private insurance pays, finding dentists who accept Denti-Cal, Medi-Cal’s dental program, can be a challenge. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, who joined Stockton Unified Superintendent Julie Penn and other officials for the kit giveaway, said that’s something that can be tackled at the legislative level.

“These dentists come out of their dental education with half a million dollars in debt, so we need to find a way to make sure that if they put their dental education to public use that they have that debt relieved in some way,” he said after Thursday’s presentation. “I think that would make a big difference.”

In addition to the kits given out Thursday, roughly 2,000 more will be distributed to homeless children in San Joaquin County through other agencies and school districts, Delgado-Olson said. To date, K to College has given $14.5 million worth of supplies to 230,000 children in the state, and Huawei Technologies has been a key partner in the nonprofit’s efforts to expand.

“Yay for Huawei!” Washington Elementary's roughly 250 students shouted in the cafeteria as Penn led them in an “outside voice” chant. “I am college bound!”

“The San Joaquin Valley isn’t one of the first areas corporations tend to think of in terms of bringing needed supplies and volunteerism,” said Alison Jenkin, director of government and public relations at Huawei’s Santa Clara site. “To be able to give back and to be able to do this type of thing, it’s the best.”

October 9, 2014

Huawei Champions Expansion of ‘K to College’ School Supply Program to Stockton Area Youth

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA — At an event held at Washington Elementary School in Stockton, Huawei Technologies today announced the expansion of its partnership with the nonprofit organization K to College to provide school supplies and dental kits to more than 2,000 children in San Joaquin County.

Rep. Jerry McNerney and Stockton Unified Interim Superintendent Julie Penn joined K to College’s Benito Delgado-Olson and 20 Huawei employees to hand out school supplies and dental kits to the 270 students attending Washington Elementary.

“All of our students qualify for free lunches, one hundred percent,” said Washington Elementary Principal Olivia Castillo. “These students need these materials to excel in the classroom, to do their homework, and most of all to make them believe in their own potential for success.”

Local leaders cited the importance of addressing the basic material needs of low-income children as part of support services.

“As a father who raised three children in Northern California, I know how important good public education programs are for our local families,” McNerney said. “K to College’s partnership with Huawei Technologies is an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can work together to support our community.”

K to College is a nonprofit organization that operates the largest free school and dental supply program for underprivileged students in California. Huawei has also partnered with K to College in Santa Clara and San Diego.

“While the need in the valley is just as immediate as many urban areas, there are unfortunately often fewer resources” said Delgado-Olson, Executive Director of K to College. “That is why we are particularly grateful to Huawei for championing this effort and we hope it leads to the same sustainable model achieved in other parts of the state.”

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider with the vision to enrich life through communication. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives our customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 150,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services have been deployed in over 170 countries and regions, serving more than one third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

About K to College

K to College is a nonprofit operating the largest charitable school supply, dental supply and other material distribution program in California. From 2010-2013, K to College has distributed more than $14,500,000 of school supplies, dental supplies and other basic materials to more than 230,000 children in more than 100 school districts throughout California. The program is projected to reach more than 200 county offices of education and school districts in 2015.

Replicating the successful model of regional food banks, K to College is building a statewide "Supply Bank" to effectively and efficiently address the material needs of California's disadvantaged children and youth. Similar to how food banks work with farmers, government agencies and others to efficiently distribute food to alleviate hunger, K to College works with manufacturers, school districts, and social service agencies to distribute basic materials to alleviate kids' material needs. By working with a sympathetic network of manufacturers and buying supplies direct, coordinating streamlined assemblies of the materials into kits, and distributing to at-risk kids through partnering school districts, the organization is working to systematically ensure that every child receives the materials they need.

K to College’s school supply kits contains back-to-school essentials like paper, pencils, art supplies, a dental hygiene kit and a whiteboard.

September 30, 2014

430 San Pablo Kids Receive $30,000 of School Supplies from K to College

SAN PABLO, CALIFORNIA — Today hundreds of happy kids in San Pablo received tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of school supplies as part of a charitable event sponsored by the San Pablo Community Foundation, the George Miller Youth Fund, and the nonprofit organization K to College. Attending the distribution event at Lake Elementary School were 430 excited students, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, City of San Pablo Mayor Paul Morris, City of San Pablo Vice-Mayor Kathy Chao Rothberg, and Councilmembers Cecilia Valdez and Genoveva Garcia Calloway.

“There is nothing greater for these students than knowing that someone believes in them and their abilities,” said Lake Elementary Principal Brenda Surgers. “Receiving these school supply kits provides a big boost for our school, our teachers, and most of all our students. It’s amazing to witness what this inspires.”

Since 2010, K to College has provided more than 50,000 children and youth in Contra Costa County with school and dental supply kits. Founded in Berkeley, K to College has expanded into a statewide program, while continuing to address the needs of Bay Area children and youth. With more than 95% of Lake Elementary students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, local leaders say that providing these materials is essential for a successful school year.

"The City of San Pablo is committed to encouraging all students in our city, at whatever educational level, to achieve the best they can possibly be,” said San Pablo Mayor Paul Morris. The event occurred thanks to contributions from the San Pablo Community Foundation and the George Miller Youth Fund. Through partnerships with corporate sponsors such as Give Something Back Office Supplies, K to College was able to provide three dollars of supplies for every dollar donated for the school supplies.

K to College says that the partnership that enabled today’s distribution is a model that can be replicated elsewhere. “San Pablo’s successful support for their under-resourced children is an example of what a collaborative effort can produce with the right civic and corporate leadership,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, Executive Director of K to College. “K to College continues to work to bring similar solutions to other communities throughout the region and state.”

The program is collaborating with more than 200 county offices of education and school districts throughout California with the goal of building a statewide system to ensure that all children and youth receive the basic materials they need for school. The organization’s initial focus is to serve the state’s 270,000 homeless children, but also Title 1 schools where possible. K to College’s school supply kits contain back-to-school essentials like paper, pencils, art supplies, and a white board.

About K to College

K to College is a nonprofit operating the largest charitable school supply, dental supply and other material distribution program in California. From 2010-2013, K to College has distributed more than $14,500,000 of school supplies, dental supplies and other basic materials to more than 230,000 children in more than 100 school districts throughout California. The program is projected to reach more than 200 county offices of education and school districts in 2015.

Replicating the successful model of regional food banks, K to College is building a statewide "Supply Bank" to effectively and efficiently address the material needs of California's disadvantaged children and youth. Similar to how food banks work with farmers, government agencies and others to efficiently distribute food to alleviate hunger, K to College works with manufacturers, school districts, and social service agencies to distribute basic materials to alleviate kids' material needs. By working with a sympathetic network of manufacturers and buying supplies direct, coordinating streamlined assemblies of the materials into kits, and distributing to at-risk kids through partnering school districts, the organization is working to systematically ensure that every child receives the materials they need.

September 29, 2014

K to College Partners with UCLA Volunteer Center to Provide Supplies to LA Elementary School

The press release below is from the UCLA Volunteer Center.

For the past two years, Korean War veteran Herman Heisserer has wanted to see the outdoor furniture at the Veterans Home of California — West Los Angeles get spruced up. Thanks to a busload of UCLA volunteers it finally happened this morning.

The students sanded benches, patio tables and chairs, mostly by hand, and when Heisserer wasn’t chipping in he provided entertainment by playing a few numbers on his harmonica. Meanwhile, as the students worked on the furniture, another group of volunteers weeded a garden nearby. Inside, volunteers helped catalogue materials in the facility’s library and played games with residents.

“It really made my day,” said Heisserer, an 83-year-old Army veteran who served from 1951-1953, including a 10-month deployment to Korea. “And I thank you for coming here.”

The 50 volunteers, who were later joined by Chancellor Gene Block and his wife, Carol, were there as part of UCLA’s sixth annual Volunteer Day, during which more than 7,000 Bruins fanned out across more than 40 locations in Los Angeles County to help beautify, mentor, clean, paint, garden, sort and otherwise help out. Organized by UCLA’s Volunteer Center, Volunteer Day is designed to emphasize that volunteerism is at the heart of being a Bruin, and to inspire new and returning volunteers to join the center in serving the community throughout the year.

“It’s nice to give back to our veterans because they’ve done so much for us,” said volunteer Aditi Newadkar, a freshman from Pleasanton, California, who helped out at the Veterans Home.

In groups as small as 50 and as large as 400, Bruins could be spotted across Greater Los Angeles as they landscaped Griffith Park, cleaned trash from the banks of Ballona Creek, and joined senior citizens in their Zumba classes and computer labs. At more than two dozen schools, the volunteers painted murals, weeded gardens and mentored thousands of students.

Volunteer Day kicked off before 8 a.m. as more than 6,500 students began streaming down from the Hill to line up on the Intramural Field. They joined hundreds of team captains and project leaders and waited to board a fleet of buses that would take them to the volunteer sites.

The grassy field roiled with mass movement as wave upon wave of blue T-shirted students joined up in lines, circles and knots of humanity, before they headed out. This year marked the first Volunteer Day that all new students as well as an army of volunteers and residence hall advisors convened in one location to board buses rather than wait at multiple pick-up points around the campus.

“It’s really exciting to have everybody in one place,” said Shannon Hickman, assistant director of the UCLA Volunteer Center as she stood in the middle of what looked like organized chaos, but was being well managed by an army of residence hall advisors.

While some students still looked dazed from sleep, others were more than just awake. A small group gyrated wildly to fast rhythms blaring over loudspeakers as they took dance cues from a group of three students from UCLA Recreation and FITWELL who were doing high-energy choreographed moves on a small stage.

“It’s a good way to start out the year on the right foot and on a positive note,” said freshman Lydia Wang of Atlanta, Georgia. “And you get to meet a lot of people. In high school, I did quite a bit of volunteering. But it’s really awesome to see that a lot of Bruins have this volunteer spirit.”

Even students who weren’t required to volunteer decided to join in on the fun day of service. “This is my first time volunteering. I’m just so glad to be able to do this,” said Joyce Meng, a third-year doctoral student in statistics. While waiting to board a bus, Meng joined the ranks of students enthusiastically dancing on the grass to a hip hop beat. “I feel so glad I can be a part of this. I really love this school.”

Later in the morning four busloads carrying a total of 200 volunteers arrived at Los Angeles Elementary School in Koreatown. LAES, where every student qualifies for free lunches, is one of this year's largest projects, and the students were joined by Chancellor Block, State Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin De León and other officials.

The LAES students formed two rows at the entrance of the school and greeted the arriving Bruins with a gauntlet of high-fives. At a school assembly Block spoke to about 100 fifth graders about UCLA’s pillar of service.

“The important thing is our students are learning volunteerism,” said Block, who noted that many of them volunteered in high school. “Now we want to make that tradition continue throughout college and have our students help out in the community.”

Volunteers painted a retaining wall in the kindergarten section. By the end of the project, many Bruins bore the signs of a job well-done with smears of paint smattered across their new Volunteer Day T-shirts.

De León noted that in addition to the work the swarms of volunteers were doing — painting the walls, weeding planter boxes, talking to the students about college, and distributing $45,000 worth of school and dental supplies provided by the nonprofit K to College — they were also acting as role models.

“They're not getting paid. They're doing this from their hearts,” De León told the students during the assembly. He looked around the room. “How many of you boys and girls want to go to college?” Virtually every hand shot up into the air.

“I was always trained growing up that I would go to college but I know not every kid’s life is like that,” said UCLA freshman Taylor Mitsuuchi who played with the first graders on the playground after putting down a drop cloth for a painting project. “So I think it's cool that UCLA is helping to make an impression so early.”

The annual day of service is organized by the Volunteer Center, which asks community partners for a wish list of what they would like accomplished by Bruins on Volunteer Day, and the center sets up the leadership, supplies and training to make their wishes come true. Throughout the year, the Volunteer Center solicits recommendations for volunteer locations from locals and elected officials, and arranges volunteer opportunities for Bruins eager to stay involved in the community.

September 13, 2014

K to College Hosts Annual Berkeley Volunteer Event for Area's Disadvantaged Kids

Hundreds of Volunteers Assembled Thousands of School Supply Kits for Local Kids

On Sunday, August 24, K to College hosted their Annual Berkeley Volunteer Event. This year's event was held in the Chevron Auditorium of the International House near UC Berkeley. Volunteers helped assemble more than 3,500 school supply kits that were given to children eligible for the free & reduced lunch program attending Berkeley Public Schools. Volunteers from Kaiser Permanente, Give Something Back Office Supplies, the Berkeley Lions Club, and UC Berkeley spent the day working together to provide needed materials for students to start the school year off right.

On September 13, 2014, the school supply kits were distributed to children and youth eligible for the free & reduced lunch program attending Berkeley Public Schools. The distribution was made possible through partnerships with the City of Berkeley, Kaiser Permanente, Give Something Back Office Supplies, and Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). More than 1,000 school supply kits were given out to kids by Berkeley Unified Staff and Kaiser Permanente volunteers. Additional school supply kits will be distributed to kids in need through BUSD's Office of Family Engagement and Equity.

The event also featured a number of providers of health and social service resources available in Berkeley through a partnership with the City of Berkeley's Public Health program, Heart 2 Heart (H2H). Participating agencies providing resources for families included:

  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Berkeley Housing Authority
  • Heart 2 Heart (H2H)
  • LifeLong Medical Care
  • EMSCorp Case Manager
  • Berkeley Endocrine Clinic
  • Alameda County Healthy Homes Department
  • Alameda County Public Health Department
  • Ethnic Health Institute

On behalf of the K to College team, thank you to the many supporters that made this program a success!