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Hamlin Welcomes Syrian Speakers

In February we welcomed three guest speakers from Syria. Shahed, a 20-year old woman born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. Amer, a 23-year old man born and raised in Damascus, the capital of Syria. Khawlah, a 30-year old woman also from Damascus and a former teacher.

Here is some of what they shared:


-She showed photos of her former students and spoke about their hopes and dreams.

-She has a sister in Sacramento, but is separated from the rest of her family.

-She currently works at Wells Fargo.

I’m so grateful that the United States offered me a safe place to stay. I had to leave everything because I was afraid for my life. I can sleep at night here, I feel safe.

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Hamlin Learns about India and Oneprosper

On February 16th Hamlin’s 6th grade welcomed Arezoo Riahi from the nonprofit OneProsper and her friend, Madhavi Bhasin.

OneProsper is empowering women in India to break the cycle of poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy.

6th grade social studies is working with OneProsper as part of their comprehensive study of India.

Some key points from their talk were:

-Fetching water is viewed as women’s work in many parts of the world. Women in the Thar desert of Rajasthan have to walk extremely far to fetch water, and because of the amount of time it takes, it can prevent girls from having the opportunity to attend school.

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Interview with former Hamlin Trustee , Barry Lipman

Today we had the opportunity to catch up with former Hamlin Trustee, Barry Lipman. Mr. Lipman is the father of Hamlin alumnae Amelie Marie Lipman ’00, Elyse Danielle Lipman ’01, and Monique Susanne Lipman ’05.

Mr. Lipman was the co-founder of the Law Firm Goldfarb and Lipman LLP, but he is no longer practicing law. He now dedicates his time to improving the lives of others through profound philanthropic engagement by supporting work that has innovative, sustainable social impact. His central vehicle for achieving this is the Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania. The award recognizes and amplifies the work of organizations devoted to positive social impact and creating sustainable solutions to significant social and economic challenges. The prize is a tremendous success and is the realization of Mr. Lipman’s visionary altruistic thinking.

Around the globe, trailblazing organizations are implementing cutting-edge solutions to the problems facing our world, however, they lack the access to resources and relationships that could extend the power of their ideas. The ultimate goal of the Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize is to spread those global lessons found in local success. The more we can shed light on solutions that work, the more effective we will be at creating a better world.

Interview with Barry Lipman:

What advice can you give to a young person who wants to be philanthropic?

Get involved, volunteer, find something you are interested in and get out there and do it. These days, philanthropy seems to be in the DNA of young parents; it is great when they convey the importance of giving back to the community. Where you choose to volunteer is a personal thing. How do you want to make society a little bit better? It is easy to write a check, but go out and get your hands dirty, get close to the work of improving lives.

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Hamlin Shows the Film SCREENAGERS

On Wednesday evening over 100 people gathered to watch the thought-provoking film, Screenagers. The audience was an eclectic mix of students, faculty, parents, and members of the San Francisco community.

The film was put on by PLAID, a Hamlin parent group whose mission “is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the Hamlin community can celebrate their authentic selves.” PLAID “fosters open dialogue through family programs, parent education, and community outreach.”

Award-winning SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists, solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.

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Hamlin Students Learn About Human Trafficking

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million victims of forced labor and human trafficking around the world. Human trafficking and forced labor generate $150 billion dollars annually.

Today, Hamlin 6th graders listened to a panel discussion with the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The information they gained served to further their understanding of a topic that they are studying in social studies classes.

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Hamlin Kindergartener Supports Refugees

Hamlin kindergartner Lily and her sister Abby heard their parents discussing refugees and the recent travel ban. They became curious and wanted to understand why there were refugees. They wanted to know what makes someone a refugee? Their parents explained that many people had their homes destroyed by war and were looking for a safe place to start a new life. Immediately, Lily and Abby wanted to know how they could help.

Lily decided she wanted to have a bake sale for the refugees and donate all the money so they could come to United States and feel safe. This led into a longer discussion about other people who also needed help.

The girls selected three organizations to support with their bake sale based on their interests.

1. Helping the refugees (International Refugee Assistance Project)
2. Celebrating Love and people getting the support they need to be themselves (The Trevor Project)
3. Protecting the environment (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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Teach With Africa Coming to Hamlin

From March 6th-30th South African teacher, Nonhlanhla Ntshingila will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty. Ms. Ntshingila will work closely with Social Studies teacher, Heather Smith, as they explore 6th grade curriculum that focuses on South Africa. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa in the past and we look forward to this year’s cross-cultural exchange.

Nonhlanhla Ntshingila is from Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, South Africa. She went to Minerva high school and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Education in intermediate and senior phase through Unisa (University of South Africa).

Nonhlanhla majors in Math and IsiZulu, one of the official languages in South Africa. She specifically chose to be a primary school teacher because she believes that it is the foundation for a quality education.

Teach With Africa is a non-profit organization empowering students and teachers in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning in Africa and the United States. Teach With Africa seeks to reduce the embedded inequities in our societies by working to provide access to quality education in order to transform children’s lives, schools and communities.

For more information about Teach With Africa, please visit:

Hamlin Spanish Students Welcome La Cocina

On January 30th, Hamlin 7th graders welcomed Jessica Mataka from the nonprofit, La Cocina.

The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape.

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Hamlin Participates in the San Francisco Homeless Count

HomelessCountOn the evening of January 26th, Hamlin 8th graders Sophie and Mikayla joined a record number 768 volunteers as part of San Francisco’s 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count. The last homeless count in San Francisco was completed in 2015 and tallied 6,686 people living on the streets. Results from this year are expected to be slightly higher and will be made public in the coming weeks.

Point-In-Time Counts are unduplicated 1-night estimates of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. The 1-night counts are conducted by Continuums of Care nationwide and occur during the last week in January of each year. The count helps us understand the issues and experience of homelessness and is meant to be a snapshot of homelessness on a single day. The Point in time Count is also required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The information gathered in this count directly affects the amount of funds each community receives from the Federal Government. 

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Hamlin Supports Simply the Basics

Today, four altruistic Hamlin 8th graders prepared 150 hygiene kits supporting the work of Simply the Basics.

The Mission of Simply the Basics is to provide for individuals, organizations, and communities their most basic needs with dignity so that they can focus on bigger goals. We simply remove barriers, allowing people to have the opportunity to achieve.

The goals of Simply the Basics include:

-improving the overall health and wellbeing of low income families and people experiencing homelessness

-facilitating the operations of nonprofit organizations by securing and managing their in-kind donation process, allowing them to focus their time on clients

Hamlin students worked diligently to make sure that each kit had toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, socks, razors,  tampons, and pads (among other items). The hygiene kits were then delivered to the Gubbio Project and St. Anthony’s.

Watch the video below to see the girls in action:

To learn more about Simply the Basics please visit:

Special thanks to the founder of Simply the Basics, Meghan Freebeck for her inspiration and time.