Filling in the gaps with the Bridge The Gap fundraiser

Lily Reese

The beginning of November marked the start of the Bridge the Gap (BTG) school-wide fundraiser for Redwood. BTG is a non-profit organization in Sausalito that provides under-resourced students with peer tutors and classes to prepare them for high school and college.

Hanging on the walls, reminders of the month-long leadership fundraiser for BTG litter the hallways.

 In previous years, Redwood leadership service committees picked organizations and communities in faraway places. For example, in 2013, students hosted a fundraiser for residents in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. This year they decided it was time to support an organization within the local community by providing donation boxes to every SMART teacher and collecting money throughout the month for BTG. 

Sophomore leadership student Ella Kaminski, who is part of leadership’s Service Outreach committee, explained that BTG was the chosen organization because it was most appealing to the student body.

 “In the past, [leadership] picked organizations that excite students and where we really can help the organization because people want to,” Kaminski said. “Bridge the Gap seemed like a good opportunity [to do that] because a lot of students in the Redwood community volunteer there.”

Urging students to donate, Ann Jaime, an APUSH and American history teacher, holds out the BTG donation box for her students.

Kayleigh Docherty, a senior and three-year volunteer at BTG, is among the many Redwood students involved in the organization. When first hearing about the fundraiser Docherty was thrilled; she saw the impact the fundraiser had on students firsthand, especially for her one-to-one tutee, Adem Ozbeck. 

“The relationship I have built with [Ozbeck] is … a big part of my life. I know for [students] going to BTG they get excited, but I get excited too,” Docherty said. “Anything to help to give [BTG] more resources [is appreciated]; it’s a great program and it definitely helps a lot of the kids.”

Smiling, volunteer Kayleigh Docherty and student Adem Ozbeck hug after a night of tutoring. Courtesy of Kayleigh Docherty.

Not only could the fundraiser provide new resources for the program, but the amount of money generated from the fundraiser could be game changing for the organization. BTG Executive Director Lisa Raffel is excited to see where that money will go. 

“We don’t even have enough Chromebooks when we want to do work with students that require something to be online, whether it’s an older student writing something or our coding program for middle school students. For younger students, especially those struggling to learn to read, we have an online reading program and we would like to do it more, but we don’t have enough computers,” Raffel said. “Chromebooks only cost $258 and if we want to use this money that would provide at least 10 students with a computer.” 

Raffel also expressed that the money could be used to purchase after-school snacks for students and provide the necessary training for teacher and tutor programs to help create more inclusive as well as engaging lesson plans.   

Overall, with students’ extra lunch money, bus money and change found in their pockets, Redwood could provide services that not only will improve BTG as a program, but also create real change in students’ lives.

As a past principal and long-time educator, Raffel urges the recognition of BTG.

 “I think we should all focus on [increasing] equity [through BTG] and looking at the inequitable outcomes that education often contributes to …[especially] when looking at Southern Marin, where there is this immense amount of wealth, [in contrast] to a community that is marginalized to an extensive degree, like Marin City,” Raffel said.