(San Francisco) – Ask San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr about Rita Alviar, founder and director of the Mission Education Projects, and he will tell you with a smile “I know this and I have told captains and others at SFPD: when Rita asks for something, you better respond.”
Chief Suhr, the police department he leads, and Mrs. Alviar have worked alongside for a while, helping non-English speaking children from the Mission District, get help with homework, tutoring, and other academic and learning services.
On Friday, August 1st, Chief Suhr and police officers who work in the area were happy to celebrate 40 years of the Mission Education Projects with Rita Alviar. As usual, one of the neighboring businesses shared ice cream, another one provided coffee and pastries, SFPD gave several $1,000 + grants to children
who are part of the program. A program that has survived with little funding for so long. A program that can teach others how to truly give out to a community.
“Thank you to all of our supporters,” Rita said, mentioning Supervisor David Campos (pictured left while giving a proclamation from the City), neighbor business owner Phil (yes, from that coffee shop on 24th), other business owners that have shared their products with the children and families, community allies, other friends and neighbors, her own family, and of course, San Francisco Police Department Captains, Sargent’s, officers, and the current San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr.
“I was a single mother when we started this program. I need help. 40 years later I feel very happy that we are at full capacity, with dozens of students. The changes in the Mission have not affected us,” Rita told Lupitanews before the celebration.
“We welcome anybody who wants to support. All they need to do is call us, make an appointment. Or they can just show up and tell us what is it they want to do. It could be tutoring, or helping us clean, or financial donations,” she also said. MEPI is a nonprofit organization dependent on generous contributions from a caring community. Donations are tax-deductible. Currently, they are receiving donations by mail, and they can be sent to: MEPI – 3049 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Please make checks payable to MEPI
The Mission Neighborhood Projects Inc.(MEPI) is one of those jewel organizations born and run from the heart. If you are reading this and it clicks on your heart, act upon what moves you.
“Everyone should live together, they may not visit each other, they don’t have to do that, but be polite to your neighbors, very polite, and welcome your neighbors in…if they want to be welcomed.”
-Rita Alviar, MEPI Director. San Francisco. 2014.
The illustration above is by 8-year-old Abraham. He took part of an art class and this is how he sees what MEPI does for children and families. Everybody loved the drawing so much that they decided to use it as the symbol for the 40th celebration. Abraham is his name. Perhaps future graphic designer? ;-)!
Text, photos, and video by Lupita Peimbert.