The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition welcomes David Gajer as our new Youth and Family Program Coordinator!
Tell us about your role at the SF Bicycle Coalition.
I am thrilled to be joining the growing Program team. My primary role is to create community-driven spaces that connect San Francisco students, parents, and educators around culturally appropriate projects that develop a school-wide culture of walking and biking. In particular, I am working closely with the San Francisco Safe Routes to School partnership as a part of the community engagement team, reaching all 103 SFUSD public schools. We’re building out our work in high schools and middle schools, which is a newer aspect of our work that I’m excited about.
What about our work excites you?
Coming from an anti-oppressive lens of working with youth and families, I strongly connect with the SF Bicycle Coalition’s thoughtful approach to building a culture of compassion and connection for the communities I will be serving. Also, simply put, I am a big kid at heart! I love playing games and spending quality time with and in support of young people. I love the organization’s approach to recognizing the critical role youth and their loving caregivers can play in their own communities and the world at large.
When did you first start biking? Do you have a favorite biking memory?
As a younger brother, I was always chasing after my older brother Josh, whether on roller skates, in sneakers, or by bike! As a result, I began (attempting) to bike earlier than I can truly remember. In those very early years, my brother and I biked while our poppy (Polish for grandfather) ran alongside us, spinning around Eisenhower Park.
When you’re not working or biking, what fills your time?
I spend time active in various social justice movements, spending time with my cultural Jewish communities, dancing to funk music, and finding green nooks and crannies (inside or outside) to spend time in. Another big piece of my life is living in a housing cooperative. Intentionally sharing resources with friends in a home is an exercise and experiment in living out the values I want to see in the world (not to mention the major bonus of how well fed I am living with seven amazing cooks).
As a recent transplant from New York City, what do you like about the Bay Area?
The trees! In all seriousness, the Bay Area’s well-known access to nature has captivated me for years and drew me to move west. Since arriving last January, I have made a point to be in nature as much as possible.
What were you doing when you lived in New York City?
My life in New York centered around high school education and youth advocacy. I spent the previous decade as a human rights educator and experiential trip leader. I spent the last five years working with Global Kids, an educational organization focused on youth leadership development and global learning. I served as a senior educator, working primarily with first generation and immigrant student populations. I’ve had the opportunity to travel with some of my students including a memorable 10-day trip centered on environmental justice to a global climate change conference held in Morocco. I am excited to stay connected to young people and schools throughout SFUSD in my role as the new Youth and Family Program Coordinator.
Interested in promoting more biking and other sustainable transportation options at your school? Register your school for Walk & Roll to School Day, October 2!