Stacy Youkilis, Director of Development
Reflecting on these past four months, I see a school humming with happy students learning, making music together, and playing team sports. The resiliency of our children in their return to campus with a verve not seen since early March of 2020 before we battened down the hatches and donned masks, is joyful. Their enthusiasm for Brandeis bubbles up the moment your cars pull into the parking lot for drop-off with kids tumbling out and running toward each other and their classrooms. Simply put, our students love being at Brandeis.
I wasn’t sure what to expect this year with the school closed to visitors and so many new families eager to build friendships. I shouldn’t be surprised that the strength of our Parents’ Association coupled with the desire of so many of you to find ways to safely and creatively connect whether over coffee at Lake Merced or at a local wine bar, that our Brandeis community feels stronger than ever. I think it rings true that the more you put in, the more you get out, and that is palpable at Brandeis this year demonstrated by the volunteerism and engagement of our entire community. This heightened level of involvement puts the wind in our sails and as this school year rushes past us, all the occasions that bring us together affirm that our connections to each other are vital to our mental well-being and overall happiness.
Intrinsically, the work we do at Brandeis of educating students is deeply important now and for their future. It doesn’t rest just with the teachers. All of us at Brandeis, and I mean all of us, every staff member, administrator, parent and sibling, and grandparent and special friend plays a vital role. From drop-off to pick-up, to checking in guests at an event, to welcoming fellow community members, to spearheading room parent communications, to making calls to thank parents for donations, your children see where you spend your time in relation to where they spend their time. From taking part in the chorus, to picking up trash on Brotherhood Way, to engaging in meaningful tzedakah, your children seek to mirror your affinities by finding their own ways to contribute to the rich life of our school.
This sense of belonging and working together toward a common goal was never more evident than on Brandeis Giving Day when our community near and far was spurred into action to activate a challenge match from an anonymous donor. Your generosity and enthusiasm were overwhelming and it reflects your commitment, your partnership, your passion for making an impact for the people who matter to us most - our children and their education.
To date, we are at 92% participation and I am confident we will achieve 100% participation this year with a gift from every family. Why is hitting this goal so important to the Brandeis community? Reaching 100% participation demonstrates a binding commitment between families and our school, displaying a vibrant partnership and show of support for Brandeis students. The funds we raise are critical to our school’s budget and deeply impactful in allowing us to fulfill the Brandeis mission. Your gifts enrich the education of every student at Brandeis with programs and activities that give meaning to their lives, while also supporting our incredible faculty who make a lasting difference in their learning; faculty who work tirelessly to reinforce the academic and social-emotional growth of our students, while also championing their successes. Thank you for giving so generously and for making a difference at Brandeis. Growing a culture of giving at our school results in a community that will sustain your children and your families today and for years to come.
I’m grateful to each and every one of you in this community for all the ways you come together to make every person feel like they belong here, for the countless hours you spend dreaming up events, service projects, putting together meal trains, rallying parents in emails, and supporting each other through thick and thin. Our children witness this day in and day out - and these actions model for them what is important in life - creating, building, and sustaining a community like Brandeis. There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be. I hope you feel the same.
Wishing you good health and happiness this winter break!