We have 16 nominees for our Share the Plate collections during the upcoming year, July 2019 through June 2020. Please read the following descriptions and come prepared to vote for 10 of these organizations after the Congregational Meeting on May 19. We’ll vote right after the meeting, there is no time for oral presentations this year. If you need an absentee ballot, contact Kaye Bonney.
Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (Cathy Von der Porten)
CORA is San Mateo County’s only provider of comprehensive domestic violence prevention services. CORA provides safety, support, and healing for individuals who experience abuse in an intimate relationship and educates the community to break the cycle of domestic violence. Services include a 24-hour hotline, support groups, legal services, emergency and transitional housing, and more, in English and Spanish. corasupport.org
Fools Mission (Thomas Atwood)
Fools Mission is a consciousness-raising ministry of supportive companionship. We accompany one another through encounters with “the system” to build friendship and community among people from every walk of life, including all levels of access to privilege.
Over the past year, we’ve accompanied many friends through struggles with eviction, citizenship, mental health, predatory business practices, and the threat of jail time. We’ve also saved lives by reducing charges and fines to protect an immigrant from deportation and threats of gang violence. Since we began accompanying a schizophrenic man in his 50s to doctor’s appointments, he’s sleeping through the night and the voices in his head no longer torment him.
As we embrace our diversity and connect people with lifesaving services, we heal ourselves and discover our common humanity. Please support Fools Mission as we continue to build community, foster respect, expand justice, and reduce inequality on the San Francisco Peninsula. https://www.foolsmission.org
Fossil Free Mid-Peninsula (Carol Cross)
Fossil Free Mid-Peninsula (350 Silicon Valley is our fiscal sponsor) began in January 2018 after 350.org put on a nationally televised program with Bill McKibben, Bernie Sanders and others, calling for local groups to come together and work with their city councils to reduce green-house gases.
In addition to a summer-long tabling at the weekly Redwood City Farmer’s market, we put on four public education programs: a workshop and display of Electric Vehicles, a panel discussion about heat pumps, a workshop on divestment, and a session on sea-level rise, in conjunction with San Mateo County staff. We are beginning two-on-one meetings with all seven members of the Redwood City Council, sharing a list of climate action steps that we believe should be incorporated into the city’s next Climate Action Plan.
We would like to upgrade our outreach materials, hire a website designer, and print flyers for public education actions. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FossilFreeMidPeninsula
Generations United (Bobbi Parker)
Generations United (GU) is the brain child of Angie Ibarra. I met Angie seven years ago and from the start I was inspired by her vision to help the Hispanic and immigrant communities of Redwood City. She began in the Fair Oaks School where she started their first after-school reading and homework program. She knew that interfacing with families of the students was an essential ingredient for success. Angie’s passion, hard work and love for her community and families in need has fostered the validity, support and growth that GU experiences today. Now with the upcoming closure of Fair Oaks, GU is preparing to help students with transitions to different schools.
Angie, her staff and dedicated volunteers are a most worthy organization to receive our support. http://generations-united.com
Insight Out (Tovis Page)
For over twenty years, Insight Out has helped men convicted of violent crimes at San Quentin “leave prison before they get out” through the GRIP program, which teaches inmates how to transform their violent behavior using mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Participants learn how to heal the unprocessed pain that drives violence and how to respond to their pain without lashing out. GRIP graduates become “peacekeepers” themselves, working to resolve conflict and prevent violence in their communities—inside or outside of prison. To date, the recidivism rate for GRIP graduates released from prison is zero percent, while the state’s overall recidivism rate is 65 percent. The program works! Insight Out is expanding the GRIP program beyond San Quentin into other correctional facilities in California. Insight Out is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Peace Development Fund. Learn more here: https://insight-out.org/
International Convocation of UU Women (Bev Morgan)
International Convocation of UU Women (aka International Women’s Convocation) is a wonderful UU organization whose mission is to enable all women to achieve their human rights, including access to economic opportunities, health care and security, education, and political expression.
A pilot leadership development program was successfully completed in Bolivia, where women took part in workshops that not only focused on leadership and entrepreneurship, but on topics aimed at increasing awareness of violence. Violence against women is also being addressed by the Seng Kynthei Women’s Wing of the Northeast India Unitarian Union and the UU Women’s Association of Philippines in comprehensive programs that engage men in strategies to reduce and prevent gender-based violence. IWC is justly proud to have assisted with these important programs. https://www.intlwomensconvo.org
JobTrain (Peter Hartzell)JobTrain helps to bridge the opportunity gap for our neighbors who are low income, disadvantaged, and/or returning from incarceration. It provides hands-on training to 5,000 Peninsula residents each year in one of four areas: IT/Technology, Construction, Health Care, and Culinary Arts. Each program is three to four months long and incorporates job-specific skills, professional skills, and a big dose of encouragement and motivation. Its results are tracked and admirable. It was founded as OIC by an East Palo Alto minister in 1965 as part of the War Against Poverty efforts of the time. It has been essential ever since and has graduated over 190,000 students. What JobTrain does is one piece of the puzzle of ensuring that all people have a chance at economic mobility, even if they have missed out on opportunities as a result of to whom they were born or poor decisions they have made in the past. https://www.jobtrainworks.org
Rape Trauma Services (Lisa Krackov)
Their work is akin to UUFRC’s Seven Principles. Rape Trauma Services (RTS) provides free crisis intervention services to over 1,100 survivors each year. RTS strives to eliminate all forms of violence, with a special focus on sexual assault and abuse. They provide comprehensive sexual assault services for survivors and their loved ones while working in the community to prevent and end the cycles of violence. Their mission includes educating residents and providers about sexual violence and abuse.
Respecting the inherent worth and value of each person, they provide a 24-hour crisis line. They advocate for and accompany survivors during forensic medical exams and legal interviews, counseling, and prevention education workshops. Services are free of charge and available to children, teens, and adults.
Our world has experienced an increase in hate crimes and violence, in all of their ugly forms. Please consider RTS’s tireless work for a more peaceful world. https://www.rapetraumaservices.org
Redwood City Education Foundation (Erika Pretell)
Redwood City Education Foundation (RCEF) was founded in 1983 by concerned parents and community members in the wake of drastic Prop 13 cuts. Over the years the organization has evolved to keep pace with a vastly different, technology-forward economic climate while staying true to its mission of providing a world-class education to every student in the Redwood City School District. RCEF accomplishes this by investing in people and organizations that can help close the achievement gap and keep all students on the path to college. Current programs primarily fall into the categories of music and technology.
The Redwood City Education Foundation is the only organization that raises funds and coordinates resources for every student in the Redwood City School District. Many of our low-income students would not otherwise have access to these types of programs and opportunities. RCEF is grateful to UUFRC for your loyal support over the years. https://www.rcef.org
Roosevelt School Outdoor Education (Annie Tate)
In 2007, UUFRC started tutoring at Roosevelt Elementary School, continuing after school expansion took in pre-kindergarten and grades 6-8. New challenges are expected in 2019 as students transfer in from district sites that are closing.
Since 2014, UUFRC has contributed generously to the very important Roosevelt Outdoor Education program. Fifth-graders, some who have never been away from family, spend a week at Outdoor Camp where they bunk with friends, share meals and adventure into wild places. They may see a tide pool or a redwood tree in its native habitat for the first time. Our gift supplements PTA fundraising for scholarships to low income families whose children are eligible for free lunch. They cannot afford the $385 tuition. Please take a look at the pictures on the Outreach bulletin board in the hallway and vote to continue our support. https://re-bsd-ca.schoolloop.com/outdoored
Sacred Rok (Nancy Goodban)
Sacred Rok (SacredRok.org) is a Yosemite-based nonprofit led by world-renowned rock climber Ron Kauk. Through his 40 years climbing in Yosemite, Ron has learned that many young people do not get to experience nature. Sacred Rok supports youth in nature, helping them learn to respect nature and as a result to respect themselves. Sacred Rok leads trips to Yosemite and Pinnacles National Parks for incarcerated youth, foster youth, and other disadvantaged youth from the Central Valley and Northern California, and is unique in taking incarcerated youth to national parks. Ron leads the trips, helping young people experience the healing ceremony of nature, away from the stresses of gangs, guns, and drugs, and learn to sit by a river or on a rock. The experience is transformational; the Juvenile Hall Director says it’s the most impactful program he has ever seen for these youth. Nancy Goodban is Board Chair. https://www.sacredrok.org
San Mateo County Pride Center (Sarah Skovlund)
We provide a broad range of services to LGBTQ+ individuals, partners, and families of all ages, with specialized programming for youth and older adults. The Pride Center is unique in that it combines direct mental health services with social and educational programming both at the Pride Center and in the community.
Our mission is to create a welcoming, safe, inclusive, and affirming community climate that fosters personal growth, health, and opportunities to thrive for individuals of all ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities through education, counseling, advocacy, and support.
Our vision is to create an innovative, respectful, and equitable community of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, and gender identities that supports complete inclusion, is free of discrimination, strives for knowledge, challenges barriers, and seeks to empower agents of social change. https://sanmateopride.org
Second Harvest Food Bank (Kaye Bonney)
Many of us bring food for the Second Harvest food barrel. And many of us sort food at the warehouse in San Carlos and distribute food directly to families at the Yaseen Foundation in Belmont and the Community Center in Redwood City. It is certainly true that we’re doing alot to help Second Harvest already. But consider the logistics: Somebody calculates the amount of food that will be needed from farmers and distributors and then combines it with barrels of food from donors like UUFRC. Somebody inspects and stores the food safely in the warehouse. Somebody figures out how much food should go to each distribution site. Somebody organizes the volunteers to prepare the food for distribution. Somebody loads the trucks and drives them to distribution centers all over San Mateo County. These people should be paid, and we can help with that, too. https://www.shfb.org
Sequoia High School Dream Club (Bruce Knoth)
The Sequoia Dream Club’s mission is to help create limitless educational opportunities for undocumented students. The club works toward this goal through political activism and fundraising for scholarships. Dream Club Members have participated in services at UUFRC, where we have always welcomed them and I have felt honored to have these impressive teenagers join us. Our recognition gives them moral support and they have touched our hearts. Our donations go to the club’s scholarship fund and provide them with critical funding. https://www.facebook.com/SequoiaHighSchoolDreamClub
Smart Yards Education (Debbie Mytels)
Smart Yards Education works to improve the lives of low-income, low-skilled “mow and blow” garden workers by training them in sustainable landscaping methods and offering courses in how to create a successful cooperative gardening business. By teaching these (mostly Latino immigrant) workers about lawn removal, composting, mulching, integrated pest management and native plants, SYE gives them the higher-paying skills desired by homeowners seeking ecologically healthy gardens. At the same time, SYE also helps improve the workers’ health by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and noisy, dusty blowers. Based in San Jose, SYE envisions expanding one such cooperative gardening business into a network of “green” landscaping cooperatives throughout Silicon Valley. With the movement towards drought tolerant and ecological landscapes growing every year, SYE will help these workers capture that market and improve not only their own health and personal economics, but the health of our community landscapes as well. http://www.smartyardscoop.com
Upward Scholars (Nancy Goodban)
Upward Scholars is a local nonprofit that serves adult immigrants, most working in minimum wage jobs like gardeners, house cleaners and dishwashers, so they can enroll in community college to continue their education, expand their career options and serve as role models for their children.
Upward Scholars provides scholarships for textbooks, bus passes, parking permits and food vouchers to more than 290 adults attending Cañada and other local community colleges. Upward Scholars students take ESL courses, vocational classes and some transfer to universities. In addition, Upward Scholars provides tutors, all community volunteers, to more than 80 students who need help with their classes and provides laptops to outstanding students.
Erika Pretell, Beth Harrison, Annie Tate, Kate Hand and JoAn Vaughan are tutors. Nancy Goodban serves on the Upward Scholars Advisory Council. Many members of the UUFRC attend the Upward Scholars Conversation Club. http://www.upwardscholars.org