Want to work at the Crissy Field Center? You’ll have to face the toughest interviewers of all: High schoolers.
As part of the Center’s mission to empower youth from across the Bay Area, those youth have a say in hiring educators. Students are trained in best hiring practices, they interview candidates, and vote for their picks.
“They take it so seriously,” says Charity Maybury, Director of the Center. “Like, sometimes more seriously than the staff.”
Similar tactics are all over the Center, giving youth a voice to stand tall in their own communities. And with that voice, young people develop tools to process big issues like climate change and social inequities.
Take Project WISE (Watersheds Inspiring Student Education). In fall 2019, students from San Francisco’s Galileo and Mission high schools built scientific skills in parks like Crissy Field Marsh and the Bayview’s Heron’s Head Park. In the spring, they picked in-depth projects examining their world. Among their recent big questions: Does Muni noise pollution negatively impact lower-income neighborhoods? Does the city have inequitable renewable energy distribution? Does my classroom have unsafe carbon dioxide levels?
“Some of the best projects are when they choose to address some of those stressors in their lives,” says Francis Taroc, a Senior Specialist who runs Project WISE.
When students see the connections between parks and their communities, they form deeper bonds with the parks. Many call the Center “home.” And it all starts with empowerment.