Community development is one of our favorite activities here at The silicon valley organization. We've been guest speakers, we've been sharks and most recently, we've been engaged audiences.

Today, a group of fifth grade students from Horace Mann School, an International Baccalaureate World School, in downtown San Jose joined SVO staff morning to present their research on immigration.

International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator Ramón Sánchez joined three students on Wednesday, May 24, as part of the group's exhibition. Students in the class choose their topic, do research, present their findings and then take action.

For this group, their topic is immigration and the economic benefits it brings to the country. Their action project is to function as lobbyists on behalf of this cause.

"We care a lot about this issue too," said Derrick Seaver, Executive Vice President, to the group on Wednesday morning. "As I'm sure you learned through your research, more than 50% of Silicon Valley businesses were started by immigrants so we believe that immigration is important for the United States but here it's event more important.

"A lot of the businesses who are members of The silicon valley organization rely on good immigration law," Seaver said. "They're building their products all over the world; they're selling their products all over the world; and their workers come from everywhere - as do the owners of more than 50% of the companies."

The SVO membership identified immigration as a key priority for 2017 and we have advocated on various issues like DACA and most recently the BRIDGE ACT.

Along with the presentation, the students shared their personal experiences with the topic.

"We read a lot of articles and watch a lot of videos at school for educational purposes and the kids were telling their parents about the things we read, about Donald Trump threatening immigrants with being deported," one student shared. "My class is the most scared of this because we're the class that has the most immigrant parents."

The students discussed with staff things they can do now to help solve this issue. Our Sr. Director of Community Development Susan Ellenberg offered these words of advice:

"One of the things you can do is make a lot of noise," Ellenberg said. "Make sure that lots of people get to hear what you have to say and what your feelings are. Write a letter to your elected officials. Write a letter to the editor in The Mercury News. Go to City Hall to directly lobby your mayor and your city council people. Make sure they know that there are kids in our city, not just adults, who care about this issue."

As part of their project, every group was also asked to find a mentor, email them and answer questions, S√°nchez said. The students emailed

"Our goal is to connect their project with real life experiences," he said.

Come out on Thursday, June 1, from 9AM-12PM, at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda to see theirs as well as their classmates' presentations.

Click here for additional details.

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