Annual Breast Cancer Support Luncheon is Enjoyable and Informative

There was plenty of information to take home and share with friends.

There was plenty of information to take home and share with friends.

The Breast Cancer Support Group unveiled this year’s beautiful community quilt, which featured members’ digital photos.

The Breast Cancer Support Group unveiled their beautiful community quilt, which features members’ digital photos.

The LCOS Breast Cancer Support Group, located in San Francisco’s OMI neighborhood, held it’s annual luncheon at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior on October 16. The group meets regularly to support one another, and has organized activities including community quilts and healthy eating classes for its members.

The luncheon included an informative presentation by guest speaker Pamela Ratliff, MPA from Stanford Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program. She focuses on overcoming the cancer disparities such as the higher rate of breast cancer deaths African American women as compared to all other ethnic groups. Pamela encouraged everyone to be advocates for their own health – she covered everything from how to stay healthy, screening for breast cancer, and information for people currently battling the disease.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets on the third Thursdays of the month, For more information please contact the Community Living Campaign at 415–821-1003 or Barbara Tate at 415– 505‑5899 or


Connections for Health Aging Workshops Promote Partnerships

Over the past few years, we have hosted our Connections for Health Aging workshops 11 times in diverse communities across San Francisco.

Thanks to support from the May and Stanley Smith Trust, we are able to focus on training new workshop leaders and on adapting IMG_5663the curriculum and material to “go on the road” with the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA).   In early December, we will be host a workshop with 18 CARA board members and leaders, to get them ready to host a version of the Connections for Health Aging Workshops with at least 4 CARA Action Teams (CATS) around the state.   We kicked this off with outreach at the October CARA Forums in Richmond, Fresno and Buena Park.

At the same time, we are working to find local folks who can help us expand the number of trainings here in San Francisco.   If this is something that would interest you, let us know.

Our recent workshop in partnership with San Francisco Village has further confirmed our belief that participants’ ability to take and to use the information and insights is enhanced and strengthened if we introduce the training into the life of an ongoing group — faith community, supported housing site, neighborhood group or Village community.   In our partnership with CARA, we will be introducing the model to local groups that meet monthly and are committed to social change.  It is our hope that these workshops will strengthen relationships and help inform action on issues like improving hospital discharge practices and increasing advocacy for local services and supports.

Our next local workshop will be in partnership with Bayview Hunter’s Point Multi-Service Senior Program at Rosa Park Apartments at 1111 Buchanan (off Golden Gate Avenue). The dates for the 4 part series are the following Thursdays — January 8, 15, 22 and February 5 from 10:00 to 1:00.

If you want to do some advance homework, much of the material  from the workshop is available for download from the Resources Page of this blog, including Vial of Life material.

If you are interested in learning more, perhaps being a workshop leader, having your organization partner with CLC for an up-coming training or signing up for the January session, contact Marcia Peterzell at or call (415) 359‑1816.   And enjoy a few pictures from our most recent workshop, thanks to the hospitality and support from staff and leaders at San Francisco Village.

A True “Community Connector”

The Community Living Campaign was fortunate to have Deloris McGee as an early staff member who helped create this role of _DSC2726Community Connector, which has been one of the hallmarks of our work in San Francisco.    Who is a Community Connector?  A local leader, often a senior or a person with a disability, who works to make their neighborhood and the wider community a better place to grow old.   They look for opportunities to connect neighbors to one another; they see the gifts and talents of those around them; they call upon their friends and colleagues to help out; they have a vision for what an aging and disability friendly neighborhood would look like.  For the past seven year, Deloris used her skills and connections to develop support networks for individual seniors in her community, establish a neighborhood-based grocery delivery program that has become an example for other neighborhoods, help develop a breast cancer support group and annual luncheon, a weekly OMI Fog Walkers walking group, the annual Aging While Black Forum,  annual holiday turkey give-aways, Karaoke nights, computer classes and so much more.   Like so many other talented older adults, Deloris is leaving San Francisco.  She is returning to her family home in Mississippi.   But she leaves behind a legacy in her community and a role model for future Connectors.  Her community, with support from CLC, hosted a thank you party for the “Woman with a Heart of Gold”.    Deloris promises to return to visit and after a short rest, to continue “connecting people” in her hometown.   We have prepared a memory book for Deloris with these and other pictures and momentos of her time with Community Living Campaign.    If you have good wishes or comments you would like to share, feel free to post on this blog and we will send along.  Thank you , Deloris!

If you would like to be a Community Connector in your neighborhood, let us know.

It Was An Honor (and Fun, Too)!

CLC_2014_Program_CovWe had a great time celebrating our work together and honoring Hadley Dale Hall on September 18th with the Norma Satten Community Service Award.  Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed — sponsors, auction and raffle donors, performers, volunteers, staff, and the many people who came to share in the fun. Funds raised through this annual event help support our programs and partnerships as we work to build aging– and disability-friendly neighborhoods.

If you would like to learn more about Hadley, the event sponsors or the Community Living Campaign, you can view a copy of the evening’s program book: 2014 Norma Satten Award Program Book (PDF, 14MB)


Remembering Vera Haile

Vera Haile was a force for compassion, inclusion and justice that shaped organizations in San Francisco for over 55 years.  She was an inspiration, role model, friend and colleague to a most diverse following.

Many of her friends and admirers will come together to celebrate Vera and her work on Thursday, July 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 at St. Mary’s Cathedral Conference Center, 1111 Gough Lower Level.  Now that this noble leader is gone, we are called to come together and continue her work.

I met Vera Haile when she was the Director of North of Market Senior Services (now Curry Senior Services) and I had started organizing Planning for Elders in the Central City (now Senior and Disability Action).  At Planning for Elders, she became a board member and led the IHSS Task Force for more than two decades.  While those organizations have changed and evolved over time, she imbued them with a set of values that continue to guide their work to this day. Her perseverance, her willingness to speak truth to power, her compassion for the most isolated and alone among us are legend.

In 2009, Gay Kaplan interviewed Vera about her life as a part of StoryCorps and we hear stories of her early days that help us understand her courage and her willingness to keep asking “why” things can’t change. It begins with Vera, the 9th grader in Appalachia who was inspired by discussions in her civic class to write a letter to the editor of the local paper.  In the letter, she explained why she thought  integration was the right thing for the country – and that letter generated threatening calls from the Klu Klux Klan to her and her family.  When she and her family did not back down and nothing bad happened, she knew she had done the right thing.

Her college studies in philosophy helped her think about ideas – the importance of taking a moral stand, of being guided by a sense of fairness, and of taking the long view in the fight for human rights and justice. She was a part of the civil rights movement, working to integrate lunch counters, bowling alleys, and other public places. She continued her education at places like the Highlander Center, a Tennessee training center that educated union organizers and nurtured civil rights activitists like Rosa Parks. Her journey included work with the American Friends Services Committee, serving both youth, and elders with mental illness and dementia.

She traveled to countries including India before coming back to settle in San Francisco. She worked for the Department of Social Services as a Social Worker.  Not surprisingly, her social work degree from U.C.  Berkeley included an emphasis on community organizing.  She left her job with the City to became “second in command” at Self-Help for the Elderly and then moved on to be the Executive  Director of North of Market Senior Services.  In “retirement”, she did even more as the President of the Aging and Adult Services Commission, a long time and active member of the Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council, the Mayor’s Long Term Care Coordinating Council, a dedicated and respected member of the Immigrants’ Rights Commission and a host of other community and civic activities.

We were fortunate that Vera agreed to help us start the Community Living Campaign – one more step in broadening the base for social change around senior, disability and caregiver issues in San Francisco.  She reminded us of what was important at every annual board retreat and was chair of the Program Committee and an active board member right up to the end.

Of all the things that Vera did, I think I was most grateful for her willingness to tell her story — about the challenges she and other older adults face trying to make ends meet in this increasingly expensive city.  Just like Vera the young girl who wrote to the editor way back when, she knew the importance of using the press to raise awareness and to provide a “call to action”, no matter what the personal cost. You can read her article, that appeared in the San Francisco Chroncle, and learn more about Vera at a wonderful website that is being created by her daughters. Go to

Please add your own comments reflections about Vera on this blog or on that website so that they can be shared with others.  The CLC Board of Directors is continuing to reflect on how to best continue Vera’s work going forward and will be sharing a decision soon.

We hope to see many of you next Thursday evening as we remember and celebrate Vera Haile.