From the Executive Director
The Summer Solstice is upon us, which usually brings fog to our fine city by the bay. I have many fond memories of growing up in the Sunset district and being enveloped in the fog bank on a summer day. As kids we cherished the outdoors and the mischievous mayhem we created or followed us was commonplace.
I’m experiencing a different kind of chaos the beginning of this summer season, and though it is commonplace, it’s not anything to cherish. I’m speaking of the heartbreaking homelessness in the Tenderloin district, the open-air drug use, and the blatant drug dealing that is eroding the very idea of living with dignity for those who call the Tenderloin their home. The Tenderloin deserves better and San Francisco needs to own up. There are amazing community-based agencies and neighborhood groups that are fighting an uphill battle to create a better circumstance. Uphill; nevertheless fighting the good fight for housing, access to mental health services, reducing the harm of substance use and abuse, and trying to create some equity for the marginalized and the vulnerable.
At SteppingStone, we try to do our part. We advocate, we treat, and we deliver at our two centers in the Tenderloin – Golden Gate and Presentation. These centers were the focus of our Spring newsletter under the title, SteppingStone’s Oases in the Tenderloin, that described the incredible work of our staff at these centers and their impact on the seniors and adults with disability that are present each day.
My message today is a bit different. I’m here to salute the staff’s grit, led by two incredible fighters -Nicole Clause and Martina Leader, the program directors of Presentation and Golden Gate respectively. Every single weekday, these two spearhead opening their centers to provide astonishing health care service delivery to frail seniors and adults with disability and create such a welcoming community that the recipients of those services continue to brave the chaos each and every day and return. While Nicole, Martina, and the staff are performing those miracles, they find time to campaign themselves, and with other organizations, in an inexhaustible effort to make the neighborhood safer, cleaner, and more hospitable. They are committed, and so is SteppingStone.
SteppingStone has been serving the population in the Tenderloin for over 35 years and we stand steadfast to continue. Our board of directors have committed over $10,000 for FY20 as a board match in the effort to support these centers. We’ve advocated for more funding at the local level, and we continue to speak up alone and in tandem with our partners, like the St. Francis Living Room, the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, the Curry Senior Center, and others to support and honor the dignity of the residents of the Tenderloin.
We are proud to continue and proud to be members of the Tenderloin community. It is our staunch intent to help, support and care for our clients who live there.
A Brief Interview with Diana Almanza, Program Director of the Mission Creek Center
Mission Creek is the only SteppingStone Center with both morning and afternoon care shifts. In addition, SteppingStone’s initiatives around underserved populations including the LGBTQ and homeless/formerly homeless initiatives are based at the Mission Creek Center.
Please tell us a little about yourself
My work ethic and “can do” attitude comes from being raised in a traditional Latino family, in the great state of Texas where hard work and perseverance is like breathing.
My professional career in social services spans over 30 years. I have had the privilege of being a part of teams that developed innovative projects which became renowned and replicated on both Statewide and Federal levels. This included work for the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra and the Episcopal Community Service serving the homeless. Most recently I ran Next Door, which is the second largest homeless shelter in San Francisco.
When I am not working, I enjoy watching old westerns, cooking and baking new recipes, and reading. I spend the majority of my weekends spending time with my family and taking care of my mother.
Why did you join SteppingStone?
I appreciated the philosophy and values of SteppingStone; therefore, it was a natural fit for me. I was also excited to be a part of such a diverse and talented team whose hearts and minds are dedicated to service. Working with the elderly and folks with special needs allows me to continue to be of service and more importantly garner “pearls of wisdom” from the folks we serve.
What do you find most interesting and challenging about your position?
It is an enormous privilege to work here and figure out how we can do things better to meet our milestones and objectives, all the while keeping a keen eye on the bigger picture.
Challenge - It’s not an easy process as there are complicated healthcare concerns and shifts in the economy that impact the folks we serve.
How are the innovative programs underway at Mission Creek going?
Our LGBTQ expansion project, ROAR (Rad, Out, And Ready) for Aging, has been evolving over the past year and has completely changed the culture at Mission Creek for staff and recipients alike! Our entire atmosphere is more vibrant, our calendar is jam-packed with options, and our program continues to grow and evolve.
What are you looking forward to at Mission Creek in the next year or two?
Continue to evaluate and improve upon the delivery of services by incorporating best practices and more in-depth training for staff on Trauma Informed Care.
專訪Mission Creek櫓懃폐劃經잿Diana Almanza
鯨戰 - 這꼇角寧個簡單돨過넋，凜為唐複雜돨醫療괏숯問題뵨經濟變뺏會緞響乖們杰륩務돨훙。
Presentation Center Recipient: Gertrudes Layug
Gertrudes Layug is a 91 year old woman who attends Presentation Center. She was interviewed by John Tinloy, Director of Services and Outreach on 3/19/2019.
Please tell me something about yourself.
I grew up in the Philippines. I worked as a sales lady in a department store where I met my husband who was a cashier. We had two girls and one boy. My son was a seaman. He got sick and passed away two years ago. My eldest daughter works for the Filipino Government and my youngest daughter is in San Francisco.
I came to San Francisco in 1995, with my husband, to care for my three grandchildren. They’re grown now. One is a Muni driver, one delivers home-delivered meals to seniors in San Francisco and one is a law student in Boston.
When did you begin coming to SteppingStone?
My husband and I enrolled together in SteppingStone in 2006. He passed away in 2014.
What has it been like coming over these years?
I enjoy coming to the Presentation Center. I feel stronger. I like talking with others. It’s lonely at home just watching TV.
How often do you come now?
I attend 5 days a week!
What do you like most about coming?
I like going to the gym to exercise. I’m 91 years old and the physical therapy makes me stronger.
What would you say to someone like yourself who is considering joining SteppingStone?
I brought a church friend to visit the center last week. She liked it and will join soon!
There is no reason not to go because they pick you up and take you home. The exercises make you stronger and you get to talk to people and make friends. It makes you strong and happy!
人瑞Gertrudes Layug 女士 ，今年91歲，為 Presentation Center會員。於19/19/2019接受John Tinloy的專訪。