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June 6, 2014

An international experience at SFBFS

Last week I had an amazing international experience right here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS).

A group of 4 educators from Israel, organized by Northern California World Trade Center, were in Sacramento for a few days during their 3-week professional program, which addresses the topic Promoting Tolerance through Education. The educators work to build bridges between students of various cultural backgrounds in Israel, and are looking at how tolerance is taught in the U.S. through the educational system. Their agenda while in the U.S. included meetings with local schools, education officials and, in efforts to learn about services offered to marginalized communities in the Sacramento area, they came to SFBFS.

The educators, accompanied by two translator guides from the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, had a lot of questions during my tour and excitedly discussed my answers (The translator was always kind enough to give me a brief synopsis of what was said or clarified in Hebrew.) They explained to me that, in Israel, when a societal need is not met by governmental services, “non-government organizations”, or nonprofits, will arise to fill that need, but will also advocate for the creation of government programs that meet this need in the future. Coming from a background in Nonprofit Administration, it was fascinating to learn about how the nonprofit sector works on the other side of the world. It seemed like their favorite part was seeing our quarter-acre demonstration garden where they spent a lot of time admiring the lush summer crops coming in and asking questions about our gardening classes.

With so much discussion and a meeting with a state senator to get to, we ran out of time before I was even able to show them our food program! Luckily I was able to send them all some information via email. I was so happy when I received responses from them saying that they were very impressed and inspired by my tour all of the services offered at SFBFS. It was so amazing to have the opportunity to represent the U.S. to educators from other countries! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I had no idea what I was getting into when I was living in Seattle and accepted a one-year term at a food bank in Sacramento!

Submitted by Kira Graves, Volunteer Services and Communications Assistant at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

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