This year, Dropboxers across the company participated in Education in the Bay Area Week. It was a week of events organized by Dropbox for Good that allowed Dropboxers to learn and volunteer with local partner schools and education nonprofits. We talked to a few of them about their ongoing involvement with the local public schools, why they volunteer, and how they see the future of education.
Easlynn Lee is a co-lead for Dropbox for Good San Francisco and a program manager for the Social Impact team. She helps drive employee engagement for Dropbox volunteering programs.
Q: How did you initially become involved with Dropbox SF’s public school partners? What made you want to be involved?
Easlynn: As a product of public education, and the daughter and granddaughter of Houston Independent School District teachers, education is extremely important to me, and I believe it is my responsibility to pay my opportunities forward. The students in the San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District are the tech industry’s future professionals, and I want to ensure they are able to experience all that Dropbox has to offer.
Q: What’s something you’ve learned in your work with our three public school partners Bret Harte Elementary School, Skyline High School, and Mission High School?
Easlynn: Working with our partner schools’ students has reinforced the joy of learning and the importance of laughing at yourself along the journey. As we become adults, we start to take ourselves too seriously and forget that learning is about the process. Working with our partner schools has illuminated that spirit for me, and helped me channel a new sense of joy into my day-to-day when I learn a new skill or don’t get something right the first time. They’ve helped me learn what it truly means to have a growth mindset.
Lily Lee is a senior product marketing manager. Her team helps bring Dropbox products to market. She is also a co-lead for Dropbox for Good San Francisco.
Q: What was your favorite part about education week?
Lily: We had a panel event where we got a chance to explore the state of the San Francisco schools with Enikia Ford-Morthel, the Deputy Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, Jeremy Hilinski, Principal at Bret Harte Elementary, and Ellen Schatz, the Director of School and Corporate Partnerships at San Francisco Education Fund. The open dialogue and guidance about how we can be better corporate partners to our public schools was very insightful. In particular, Jeremy talked about how each of us at Dropbox can be a critical role model for students and help broaden their understanding of the world and the role they can play within it.
Jake Orr is a security culture analyst. He works to make sure Dropboxers consistently make secure and informed decisions.
Q: What’s something that has surprised you when working with the students and teachers?
Jake: I learned that kids can never have enough positive role models in their lives. Volunteering at recess is more than just playing tag or throwing a football. It’s an opportunity for kids to learn and talk to other adults that have new and different experiences to share. Also, having not attended a bilingual school myself, it’s amazing to see how bilingual primary education works and Bret Harte has a really outstanding bilingual Spanish program.
Lily: The students are truly so bright and motivated, and it makes me excited about our society’s future. We hosted a group of fifth graders for an age-appropriate career panel a few months ago, and they asked our Dropbox panelists some tough questions about our investor relations and business strategy.
Q: You don’t have kids of your own and you aren’t directly impacted by our public schools, so why do you care so much?
Easlynn: Kids are daring, curious, and resilient. We should encourage them to explore all their options before the world tries to discourage them, or tells them they can’t do something. You never know where an opportunity may lead, and I want to help kids foster their curiosity and dream big.
Q: How would you like to see more Dropboxers involved with our partner schools?
Jake: I think offering a wide range of volunteering options is key to getting more Dropboxers involved. I’m also excited to work with 826 Valencia at their new Mission Bay location, and hope that the proximity to our new office will encourage more Dropboxers to get involved there.
Lily: One statistic that alarms me is that 94 percent of public school teachers in the United States reported paying for supplies out of pocket and without reimbursement. If you feel compelled, consider donating school supplies to our partner schools through our Amazon wishlist! Or, consider volunteering your time with your team at one of our partner schools. If recess kickball is not your jam, there are other opportunities to get involved—from helping students 1:1 with their college applications to assisting teachers with decorating their classrooms.