August 7, 2020, Felton’s Children, Youth, Family & Transitional Age Youth Division celebrated 71 preschoolers jubilantly making the transition to kindergarten. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s milestone ceremony was a virtual graduation, but the cheers and tears of joy were just as heartfelt as in years past.
Felton Training and Volunteer Supervisor Phyllis Hogan served as Emcee. Phyllis has been with Felton for more than 35 years and looks forward to each year’s graduation. Felton President and CEO Al Gilbert welcomed the graduates and their parents, praising them for being the first teachers in their children’s lives. The Felton teaching staff was acknowledged for their dedication to shaping young minds into passionate learners.
“Today, you are you! That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!” – Dr. Seuss
Yohana Quiroz, Felton’s Chief Operations Officer of CYF and TAY, spoke about the challenges the preschools faced during COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning. She said,” The heart of our work is the belief that individuals and families must have access to quality, culturally responsive inclusive early care and education services and resources that build on children’s and family strengths assets and resiliency.”
Young students and their families watched with rapt attention as graduates from Felton’s Family Developmental Center, Felton Learning Center and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center were acknowledged in musical slide shows featuring student-submitted photos, their class songs and the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance”. Parents and teachers gave their well-wishes via warm video salutations. Time was scheduled before and after the ceremony for people to wave to each other through the Zoom gallery view setting. It was a special treat for the kids who hadn’t assembled in person since shelter-in-place started. Many of the children created their own celebrations by decorating their home space and dressing up for the ceremony.
Speaking in English and Spanish, Felton’s Education Director Alicia Torres wonderfully summarized the celebration with her message of inspiration and praise. “As we navigated a new normal, thank you for bringing your children to Felton and our schools, trusting us with them, and helping them the best way you could from home. Cheers to our graduates. Keep reading and exploring the world.”
The virtual celebration coordination was a collaboration of Felton’s Communications Department and Family Support Director Rosaura Diaz and her committee.
To the graduates of 2020: Off to kindergarten, you go, where you will continue to blossom! The best is yet to come!
Donating is easy! To give, donate online and designate ‘Early Care and Education’ or ‘Children Youth and Family’ to directly support Felton’s Children Youth, Family (CYF) and Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Division Programs.
About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.
Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.
Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org