A VISIT TO THE WHITE HOUSE

GLIDE Co-Executive Directors Kristen G. Yamamoto and Rita Shimmin share their reflections from an awe-inspiring holiday experience!

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Invited by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Co-Executive Directors Kristen Growney Yamamoto and Rita Shimmin were honored to represent GLIDE at a recent White House holiday reception on December 20. The rigor of the multiple security check points dissolved into displays of beautiful and magnificent decorations. Young men and women in formal military dress welcomed guests with smiles and holiday greetings. Loudly, proudly, and beautifully, a Baptist Ensemble sang a joyous salutation as we entered the room.

Rita shares a personal reflection on the White House invitation, “My personal history now includes being inside the White House and shaking hands with the President. My family is very proud of this. Held twice a day for two weeks, these holiday parties are the parties for the People, part of making the White House the house of the People. These parties are to thank the supporters of the President, his staff and his partners.” Rita continues, “I think of myself as pretty jaded about politics and such, but being here has surprisingly opened me to a place where I feel proud, committed, and more understanding of the complexities of being President.  A government worker for 19 years said that in his time, no president has included the staff in this celebration to the extent that this President does. He and Mrs. Obama want this to be a house for the People. I am one of his People.”

Shaking hands with the President and the First Lady was the highlight of their visit. Their attendance also came with the privilege of wandering through several rooms where the history of our country is told in different ways. Every wall is decorated with photographs and paintings depicting presidents and first ladies, White House family traditions, dinner settings and holiday greetings from the beginning of our young country’s 200 years until the present. This year the White House, made of gingerbread, was displayed over a fireplace in one room. Up the stairs, the Marine Band Ensemble played holiday favorites, and champagne was offered in long stem glasses. Though the dress attire was conservative – black and subdued colors – the event was festive, everyone expressed joy and pleasure to be here – to be invited to the White House!  History was everywhere.   

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“When the invitation arrived, I wasn’t sure it was real. Is this an invitation to the White House? It is an invitation to the White House!” Kristen shares her delighted surprise and reflects, “As a child in the 1970s, I visited the White House on public tours. This trip brought back those memories along with creating many new and special memories.  While the visit and recognition were spectacular, they have been hard to sum-up for me.  The environment was so full of life: the magnificent holiday decorations, the original portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy and other long admired women, seeing history of Civil Rights and the founding of our country. I felt so honored to be shaking hands with the President, for being recognized for our work here at GLIDE, and proud of the association of GLIDE’s work with our President.” 

In addition to the holiday reception, Kristen and Rita were invited to a policy briefing by representatives from various offices of the President and First Lady. The invitees were a gathering of non-profit leaders from across the country. The President considers non-profits to be partners in implementing many of the initiatives of the White House and they left with an even deeper understanding that the work done at GLIDE is even bigger than what happens in the city, regionally, at the state level and even nationally.

In 2011, GLIDE was recognized by the White House as a Champion Non-profit.  As a community leader, GLIDE is a recognized partner of the White House, one of many partners that the President invited to the reception.  Kristen and Rita share some take-aways from this awe-inspiring opportunity:

  • GLIDE’s work is important and an example of ‘walking the talk’ in Washington DC. GLIDE does the work every day. We are the President’s words, in action.  Our selection and inclusion in the White House website as a ‘Champion Non-Profit’ highlights this for the world to see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/11/04/glide-champion-non-profit
  • Our country has many great leaders, evidenced by those in attendance at the party, by the history in the building, and our staff.  In the morning policy update before the reception, there was a diverse group of non-profit leaders from across the country and across the spectrum of issues.  They exemplified the leadership needed across our country and organizations to do our important work.  GLIDE’s staff leaders are crucial to ‘walking the talk’ and creating examples for others to follow and share.
  • Traditions are important. The opening of the White House to members of the public started with First Lady Martha Washington. Though it took three security checks plus a dog-sniffing check to get into the White House, the tradition continues to invite citizens to enjoy in-person time with our President.

Kristen and Rita will carry these memories forward with them forever and as the New Year begins, they share best wishes in 2014!

 

 

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Rest In Power, Nelson Mandela

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At GLIDE we mark the passing of one of the greatest icons of peace and love in the world.

The name of Nelson Mandela will forever stand for the highest grace and strength of character that the human spirit can attain. Mandela was imprisoned 27 years for resisting oppression and the brutal treatment of his people by white South Africans. Black South Africans and their allies held fast to Mandela as an inspiration for their continued resistance and prayed for his release daily.

After 27 years where others would have emerged bitter and broken, Mandela emerged from prison as a man of peace and grace who had long since freed his spirit. Mandela was forgiving of the regime that had imprisoned him and he swiftly led his divided country to unification through acts of truth-telling, love and reconciliation.  From the moment he emerged from prison, Mandela became a man who belonged not just to South Africa, but who belonged to the world. And his people became the people of the world.

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Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered around the world in the hearts and minds of generations after generations; and parents everywhere will point to Nelson Mandela and his legacy and say, “Children, there, that is how you should grow.”

In remembrance,

Cecil Williams, Janice Mirikitani, Rita Shimmin, Kristen Growney Yamamoto, and Karen Oliveto

 

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Welcome Message to our Mid-Market Neighbors!

To our new neighbors…

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We welcome you to Mid-Market!  For 50 years GLIDE has stood in the Tenderloin (TL) and served those in our city facing poverty and marginalization. Our services provide basic needs, a sense of community and give hope to the poor in a City where the divide between rich & poor grows wider every day.  We invite you to look beyond the TL’s reputation as a run-down place full of mental illness, drug addiction and chronic homelessness; a place that just needs stricter law enforcement and new development.  We hope you see the neighborhood is a community and home to thousands of people— where new immigrants arrive, families with children share a studio apartment, seniors subsist on a fixed income, artists utilize live/work space, and increasingly, more people move in who cannot afford to live elsewhere in SF.   Most residents, including those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse, are here because they cannot afford to be anywhere else. A third of the households here subsist on an income less than $15k/year and nearly 50% cannot meet their basic housing and health needs.

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Success of Mid-Market will be determined by the level of cooperation and mutual respect shown to existing residents. We invite you to support the local businesses in the TL. There are amazing restaurants, theater, and small stores here. Hire TL residents IN YOUR businesses. Volunteer to help in our non-profit organizations. Join GLIDE in Celebration on a Sunday morning.  We encourage you to greet everyone you meet with acceptance and an open mind and to understand that each resident here is an important part of the fabric of our City.  Together, we can all be part of the solution to make this community GREAT for everyone.

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In closing, please enjoy this mural created by Mona Caron at the corner of Jones and Golden Gate. The mural is a representation of the corner showing run-down buildings, empty lots, and lingering residents, with a ‘One-Way’ sign in the scene.  An adjoining mural shows the same location with green space, BBQs with neighbors, and the same residents now enjoying a happy time. The ‘One-Way’ street sign is replaced with ‘Another-Way’ sign in the panorama.  For us, this mural evokes hope for the diverse community who lives here, and the possibility of retaining diversity in the midst of change.  Each of us must consciously work, each day, to preserve the neighborhood’s character and make sure there is space in its diversity to thrive.  Celebration of differences is one of the values that makes San Francisco great, but it is a challenge to truly live with unconditional acceptance.  What can you do to contribute toward finding ‘Another way?’

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ImageKristen Growney Yamamoto is a Co-Executive Director at GLIDE. Under the Co-Executive Director leadership model, Kristen and Rita Shimmin oversee all areas of programmatic, evaluation, and administrative operations at GLIDE. With a particular focus on integration and wellness, GLIDE successfully operates a variety of programs from daily free meals and a community health clinic to family, youth and childcare services. As Co-Executive Directors, they uphold the vision of supporting and uplifting the disenfranchised through unconditional love, acceptance and respect.  Kristen holds an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and has 20 years of experience as both a not-for-profit and for-profit professional. Prior to serving as Co-Executive Director, Kristen served as GLIDE’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a position she held since she came to GLIDE in 2007. In this role, Kristen oversaw program evaluation efforts and all aspects of operations. Prior to joining GLIDE, Kristen worked at Rubicon Programs, Inc., a nonprofit organization with a $16 million budget. At Rubicon, Kristen helped run three social enterprises, social-mission based ventures that employed formerly homeless individuals. Prior to Rubicon, she operated her own consulting firm, advising high tech clients in areas of financial and business planning. She has held executive positions in software and medical device startups. Kristen lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters.  Follow Kristen  on Twitter @KristenGY
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The FYCC After-school Program Would Like To Know… What Was Your First Chapter Book?

FYCC at Green Apple Bookstore

Paul from the GLIDE Family, Youth and Childcare Center (FYCC) after-school program is getting kids excited about reading chapter books and he needs your help.  Tell us what your FIRST chapter book was to show the kids that you remember the daunting, challenging, scary and exhilarating quest of picking up your first book that was NOT a picture book.  You can just tell us the title, or you can share a little something about how it changed your life to become a reader!
 
Paul:  My First was “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis.  It was scary, but I was so proud of myself for doing it, that I rushed right through all seven “Chronicles of Narnia”.

FYCC at Green Apple Bookstore

Paul’s class took a field trip to Green Apple Bookstore this summer, where each kid received a copy of “The Phantom Tollbooth” and “The Lightning Thief.” Since then, all of the kids have picked out chapter books they would like to read, and the FYCC is partnering with Green Apple Bookstore to get the books for the class.

FYCC Chapter Books

Jenny reads the chapter book “Felita” by Nicholasa Mohr, a story about a Puerto Rican girl whose family moves to a new neighborhood, to the kids in the FYCC after-school program.

FYCC Chapter Books
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Macy’s Passport Presents: GLAMORAMA, Benefitting GLIDE HIV Services

Macy’s Passport presents: GLAMORAMA
September 19, 2013, 8pm, at SHN Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco

glide.org/Glamorama2013   |    GLIDE Macy’s Glamorama Facebook Event

The Macy’s Passport fundraiser: GLAMORAMA is about to take place in San Francisco, Thursday, September 19, and it promises an evening filled with fashion, fun, and live performances from Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow, the gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil, and pop rock quintet The Summer Set. It’s also a chance to support GLIDE Health Services, which has been a recipient of the annual Macy’s Passport since 2001. The fundraiser benefits three San Francisco non-profits focused on HIV Services, including the GLIDE Foundation, the AIDS Emergency Fund, and Project Open Hand. GLIDE’s effectiveness in providing HIV Prevention Services is built on a platform of community trust, a high-level of cultural competency by the staff, and GLIDE’s celebrated 50-year history in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

GLIDE HIV Services

HIV Services includes: HIV & Hep C Counseling, Testing and Referrals; Syringe Access Services; Community Outreach; Overdose Prevention Training.
HIV Services: Mondays – Thursdays 1:30pm to 4pm; Fridays 9am to 11:30am

Syringe Access Services: Mondays – Tuesdays 7:00pm to 9:00pm – in the GLIDE lobby

“We see so many people that make such huge changes in their lives,” says Alli Kraus, Syringe Access Coordinator at GLIDE. “I have one client who doesn’t even remember when I first met him, he was so incoherent. And now he’s really present. We do a ton of overdose prevention, and since I’ve been here he’s saved—as in, kept from dying—six people,” Kraus emphasizes. “He’s totally the kind of guy who’s on the street all the time, has been treated terribly, slept on the street, got his eyes kicked in. Six people in two years is just unbelievable by any measure. That, to me, shows so much that nobody should be discounted, and what anyone can accomplish, regardless of what we’re supposed to think about them.”

This level of dedication to helping people—from program participants, GLIDE employees, and consistent volunteers—is at the heart of GLIDE HIV Services, a part of the GLIDE Health Services program.

GLIDE HIV Services offers walk-in HIV and Hepatitis C counseling and testing, as well as overdose prevention training, syringe access and harm reduction services. The HIV Prevention Team operates Mondays through Thursdays from 1:30pm to 4pm and Fridays from 9am to 11:30am in Room 510, on the fifth floor of 330 Ellis St.

In collaboration with the GLIDE Daily Free Meals Program, the HIV Prevention Team also occasionally offers the same services on the first floor Thursdays and Fridays from 3pm to 5pm. This low threshold approach sits well with clients who are accessing the Meals Program, the Walk-In Center, the Health Clinic, or other GLIDE resources. Harkin estimates that providing services on the first floor allows them to test the same number of people in one day that they might get in one week on the fifth floor.

The Syringe Access Service takes place Monday and Tuesday evenings in the lobby of 330 Ellis St., from 7pm to 9pm. Here, volunteers talk with people coming in, while they put together kits that include clean paraphernalia, safe injection information, schedules for GLIDE’s programs, information on city-wide needle exchange programs, and a few Lifesavers candies in a paper bag.

Kraus estimates they will give these kits to about 30 people on-site, while she and the volunteers distribute safer injection kits to about 70 people, safer crack smoking kits to about 100 people, and safer sex kits to up to 150 people through street outreach in the Tenderloin each night they operate. They also educate approximately 13 people a month in overdose prevention training. So far in 2013, the program has almost doubled the number of people per month they provide resources to since 2012.

“Harm reduction is radically inclusive,” Kraus says. It’s in keeping with one of GLIDE’s core values of treating everyone who walks through the door with respect. “I definitely think we’re sort of a threshold service. Like when people talk about gateway drugs—harm reduction is very much like a gateway to self-care.”

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) estimates around 1,000 to 2,000 HIV infected individuals reside in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood in which many high-risk groups converge. GLIDE HIV Services received SFDPH grant funding to test 300 individuals for HIV last year, yet they tested more than 600—only with the help of dedicated volunteers and employees who see a real need for HIV testing and health services in the Tenderloin.

“The Tenderloin is an HIV hotspot as defined by the SF HIV Prevention Plan,” says Paul Harkin, HIV Services Manager. “It’s an area where there’s high-risk sexual behaviors happening in concert with a lot of substance use. It’s also an area where we encounter a lot of crack smokers—and given some of the damaged and improvised pipes that people are using and sharing to smoke crack, we believe there is an increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission.”

Currently, the HIV Testing aspect of the program is only funded by the SFDPH to test high-risk groups, which the San Francisco HIV Prevention Planning Counsel has identified as gay and bi men, intravenous drug users, and transgender individuals. This excludes certain groups such as women who may be at risk, but don’t fall into these three categories. While all of the clinic patients at GLIDE Health Services can access HIV Testing – the drop-in testing is not able to test heterosexual men and women, and instead refers them to programs in the city (usually with private funding) that can test anyone.

“At GLIDE we have a history of making a little go a long way,” Harkin says. “However, I think most observers would agree that when it comes to HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction Services, GLIDE is an underfunded community asset that could do so much more—and we have to fight to get more money so that we can deliver the services that are needed for our community, which is made up of some of the most marginalized folks in our city.”


To donate, volunteer, or learn more about GLIDE’s HIV Services and Harm Reduction Services, please e-mail pharkin@glide.org, and check them out on glide.org, on Facebook: /glidehivservices and /glideharmreduction, and on Twitter @GLIDEHarmReduxn.


To buy tickets for Macy’s Glamorama fundraiser, visit them on macys.com/glamtickets. Be sure to choose GLIDE as your affiliated charity.

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Everyday Superheroes at GLIDE’S Family, Youth, and Childcare Center

ImageStaff and students from the Janice Mirikitani GLIDE Family, Youth, and Childcare Center (FYCC) recently spent  developing new super powers, protecting the GLIDE family from threatening villains, and designing the flashiest and most aero-dynamic outfits imaginable.

Will FYCC be transitioning into a superhero training facility?!?! The superhero focus was one of several two-week curriculum themes chosen jointly by staff and students based on students’ interests that give extra flavor to summer days at FYCC. Other themes such as  “Ocean” and “Around the World “ have provided equal excitement as well.  As all of the staff and kids from grades K-5 participated in special “super” activities, FYCC continued what they do best: providing a stimulating, fun environment for kids to grow, learn, and develop skills that will empower them for a lifetime.

The many Marvel-ous activities that took place throughout these couple of weeks included superhero-themed art projects led by FYCC’s Creative Arts director, Candice Jacobs.  During week one, kindergarten students engaged in a delightful game of make-believe as they created their own superhero masks to mimic those of their favorite characters. The next week, they spent time in art class discussing “real-life” super heroes. The kindergarteners had a lot of ideas when asked about the heroes in their lives, including:

            “Miss Brittany and Miss Candice and Miss Selina, because they help me do stuff.”

            “My Dad, because he is nice and reads books to me.”

            “My brother and sister because they help take care of me.”

            “My Dad, because he cleans me.”

            “My mom helps me read!”

Along with the kindergarten art class, the other grade level art classes also discussed real-life heroes before beginning a special portraiture project. The students specifically discussed heroes of FYCC, which then inspired beautiful portraits of GLIDE’s iconic leadership including Co-Founders Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani along with Joyce Hayes who came in 1971 and was instrumental in the development of children’s programs at GLIDE. Image

Kindergarten students show off their new superhero identities.

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ImageArt class provides a crucial outlet for children to express themselves and explore new perspectives of their world, both values that FYCC fosters in many other areas of programming as well. For example, graduate students from the California Institute of Internal Studies (CIIS) conduct weekly expressive arts therapy sessions with FYCC students. The various theatrical, musical, and visual arts activities the CIIS students lead at FYCC help facilitate socio-emotional learning, or how kids learn to communicate emotions in a social setting. For extra excitement during one superhero week, the CIIS student visit even coincided with FYCC’s superhero dress-up day, providing endless opportunities for magical make-believe and expressive fun!

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FYCC students draw “real-life” super hero portraits.

Additional hero-themed learning continued both in and out of GLIDE’s FYCC building. In Katie Perdue’s first and second grade classroom, students enjoyed making hero capes and themed classroom decorations as well as participating in creative storytelling and writing.  Several students also learned about heroes in our community during a visit with local firefighters. 

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If anyone were to ask an FYCC youth about their thoughts on superhero week, they would surely hear rave reviews. However, this fun period of the summer is only a small portion of the magic that happens all year at FYCC. Each day is filled with carefully planned programming, from classroom learning to arts programs, field trips, and special celebrations.  In fact, when FYCC participant Jamesha was asked why he likes attending the summer program, he exclaimed, “Because it’s like a vacation every day!” Teachers and staff members at FYCC understand the value of character development as well as academic learning in a fun, safe, and engaging environment. Their commitment to providing this atmosphere to kids in the Tenderloin is obvious. FYCC’s work in empowering children to reach their potential is greater than any superhero power one may find in a comic book. So, though many kids enjoyed dressing up during superhero week as Wonder Woman or Spiderman, we at GLIDE acknowledge some true heroes in our children’s lives: FYCC teachers and staff.  

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An FYCC student sporting her new superhero cape.Image

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Super CIIS students prepared for dress-up day!Image

FYCC’s Creative Arts Director, Candice Jacobs, as the Taino chief Anacaona from the period of Christopher Columbus on hero dress-up day! FYCC staff never misses a teaching opportunity!

 

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Meet Kat: In the presence of GLIDE

ImageKat Maldgaard is a student at Pædagoguddannelsen Københavnfrom Copenhagen, Denmark. She recently began her internship at GLIDE’s Walk In Center. Meet Kat as she shares her initial insights on the experience.

My name is Kat and I’m a social education undergraduate student from Copenhagen, Denmark just beginning a six-month internship in the GLIDE Walk-In Center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. In Copenhagen, there’s not the kind of homelessness that there is here in San Francisco. However, it is my impression that the way people on the street in general see homeless people—or you could say, NOT look at homeless people—is pretty much the same.

That’s why I’m happy and proud that I’m going to be here at GLIDE, and I can say this even though I’ve only been here for only few weeks. The ground GLIDE claims to be standing on was proven to be true on my first day and that is very impressive. I saw GLIDE’s core values in action between staff and client, between client and staff, and between staff. This is very interesting for me and I’m eager to take the first bite of a big learning process.

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I already know I’ll be happy here. I feel safe and I feel there will always be someone to turn to if needed. I want to thank the GLIDE family for making me feel welcome, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!

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@sfbusinesstimes 40 under 40 event, GLIDE salutes 2014 honorees @AT&TBallpark. Rev. Cecil Williams, Janice Mirikitani, Kristen Growney Yamamoto celebrate the #hardthings launch with Ben and Felicia Horowitz at Airbnb HQ with GLIDE board member Lars Dalgaard and the Andreesen Horowitz family. GLIDE team leaders brainstorming innovative solutions to make communities stronger. #bigideas #googleimpactchallenge Team @bananarepublic @gapinc @bewhatspossible are in the house! Thank you for your compassion in action!
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