May 2019 Newsletter

Letter from the Founders

In March, SAfG attended the East Bay Innovation Awards as a nominee for the Innovation in Education award. This annual event was created by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance to acknowledge the thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that exists here in the East Bay of San Francisco and to encourage the growth of companies that contribute to this community. These awards celebrate innovation in engineering & design, clean tech, food, manufacturing, and communication technology in addition to the education sector. With red carpet interviews, black tie dress code, and local legends, including MC Hammer (!), it was a wonderfully exciting evening to be invited to join.

In December 2018, we were humbled to discover we were finalists, and at the awards ceremony in March, we were thrilled to win! Here is a link to the video featuring SAfG (3:00 minutes in) and article featuring SAfG in the SF Business Times.

We are grateful for the recognition of our continuing efforts to forge new connections between the world of work and the world of learning through our role model program and our Project Catalyst series. This spring we are beginning development of the newest addition to the series, Project Catalyst: Becoming an Environmental Scientist, in collaboration with local scientists and institutions like Chabot Space and Science Center. We continue to seek out ways to engage and invest in the science ecosystem of the East Bay so as to bring unique and impactful learning opportunities to our classrooms.

2019 is off to an exciting start for SAfG. We are so proud of what we have accomplished in our first five years. Here’s to what lies ahead in the next five!

Fundraising Update

SAfG would like to give a huge thank you to Sandia National Laboratories for funding its Family STEAM Night (FSN) programs for the second school year in a row during the 2019-2020 school year! Sandia’s grant will allow SAfG to continue its family engagement program during the 2019-2020 school year furthering our impact on our partner schools. Thanks to Sandia we have reached 700+ children and their families!

We are also thrilled to announce that the City of Emeryville awarded SAfG with funding for the first time to provide hands-on, high quality STEM classes to all of the children participating in the Emeryville Recreation summer programs.  We truly appreciate this support and want to give a special thank you to the Emeryville City Council.

SAfG is Turning 5!

Can you believe it has been 5 years since SAfG welcomed its pilot class in Oakland? SAfG is celebrating its 5th birthday in this year!  Get ready to celebrate with us at our “Hi Five” Anniversary Celebration on September 28, 2019 from 5:00-8:00pm at the San Francisco Zoo. We have lots of family-friendly fun planned with some special guests and hands-on activities for all. If you would like to be a sponsor of the event, please check out the sponsorship levels on our website. Every dollar we raise at the event helps to sustain SAfG’s work to close the gender gap in STEM.  If you would like to make a donation to SAfG, you can go here. Thank you for your support!

Spring and Summer Program Updates

SAfG After School Programs

Our spring programs are already halfway in! This session our SAfG students are learning about Carnival Science, Biology, Slime Science, and Storybook Science! What an incredible session it has been so far.

Family STEAM Events

This spring, we partnered with several of our schools to host Family STEAM (science, technology, art and math) Night Events. These events were created with the purpose of providing hands-on STEAM activities to the families of each school. Our Family STEAM Night Events were focused on one of two themes: Carnival Science or Sports Science. At our Carnival Science events, families made DIY ice cream, learned the science behind the ‘difficult to win’ games at fairs and carnivals, engineered marble roller coasters and so much more! At our Sports Science events, our families learned about the different ways food can fuel the human body, especially the bodies of Olympic athletes! There are many other incredible booths at our Sports Science nights, but one of the main attractions is always ‘Beat It!’ a heart rate monitoring station where students and their families check their resting heart rates and then check their heart rates once they have done a few athletic exercises.

Our Family STEAM Night Events would not be possible without the support of the school staff, our wonderful SAfG employees and volunteers, our partner booths, and Sandia National Laboratories who funds these events! Thank you to all!

Upcoming Summer Programs and Events

As the spring wraps up, SAfG programming will be available in a few avenues this summer. Come find us!

Library Programs for Families

Join us at your local OPL branch for StoryBook Science, where we read some of our favorite stories and tackle an all ages project based on the book!

  • Dimond Library: Saturdays, June 8th-July 27th, 10:00-11:30am; 3565 Fruitvale Ave.

  • 81st Avenue Branch Library: Tuesdays, June 11th-July 30th, 2:30-4:00pm;1021 81st Ave.

  • West Oakland Library: Fridays, June 14th-August 2nd, 3:00-4:30pm; 1801 Adeline St.

Emeryville Recreation Center Summer Camp

For the third year in a row, SAfG will provide STEM programs as an additional component of ECCL’S “Rec” Summer Camp. The children who sign up for their program will rotate into SAfG’s classes throughout the day by age group. You can sign up your daughters and sons for a week at a time— each week has a different theme! Please register for ECCL’s Summer Camp through their website.

Sunday FUNday at Lawrence Hall of Science

Join SAfG at the Lawrence Hall of Science on June 30, 2019, as we help kick off the “Summer of Space” with hands-on activities in the science foyer, located between the exhibit halls and the outdoor learning lab. Explore the new “Sun, Earth, Universe” exhibit and help us countdown to the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing in July with a sneak peek at the new PBS documentary Chasing the Moon. EBT card holders may enter the museum for free! Stay tuned for additional admission opportunities through SAfG.

SAfG’s New Look

Thanks to Bénédicte LaSalle Photography SAfG’s website has a refreshed look updated with amazing photos of SAfG students in action and testimonials from fellow parents and supporters. Please check it out here!

Scientific Adventures at Home!

In honor of SAfG’s fifth anniversary, here’s a simple science adventure exploring levers with birthday candles to celebrate. Happy Birthday, SAfG!


  • (2) Birthday candles

  • Drinking straw

  • Tape

  • Needle or straight pin

  • Paperclip or toothpick

  • Two supports of equal height

  • Ruler

  • Matches/lighter

What to Do:

  1. Use the ruler to find the center of the straw. Push your needle through the straw at this center point *Note: if it is a flexible straw, remove the accordion section before locating the center!

  2. Insert your candles ¼ inch into either end of the straw, using tape to secure them in place if they feel wiggly.

  3. Place your support on a heat resistance surface about 2 inches apart.

  4. Straighten out the paperclip and insert into the hole made in step one with the needle and balance between the two supports.

  5. Light the candles one at a time and observe. Think and talk together!

    1. Which side is heavier? How do you know?

    2. Which side is lighter? Why is it higher up?

    3. What would happen if we used different sizes of candles?

Tiffany Sprague