Good Neighbors: Mark Campbell

Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Mark as our 2017 Good Neighbor Honoree for the Laguna Honda Computer Club.

Mark Campbell at Laguna Honda Hospital

“Mark treats residents as equals. He creates community by encouraging everyone to cultivate their own abilities to contribute back.”

Mark Campbell is a Good Neighbor Honoree from the Computer Club at Laguna Honda Hospital. But he’s not a member of the club. He’s an artist, a teacher and executive director of the Art With Elders, a program he teaches at the hospital.

Yet, it was through his effort and the energy of patients and volunteers that the Community Living Campaign was able to start a computer club at the hospital. Laguna Honda Hospital residents started the computer club together with the Community Living Campaign. It is part of the SF Connected program funded by the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services. For computer classes in other neighborhoods, see the CLC Calendar

“Mark treats residents as equals,” Jennifer Walsh, who nominated him on behalf of the club, wrote. “He creates community by encouraging everyone to cultivate their own abilities to contribute back. He shares his time enthusiastically with everyone. He uses art to befriend and help residents see past their current situation to perceive a new future.”

Mark is a practicing artist who has taught at Laguna Honda for 20 years. “It’s really satisfying, gratifying, extraordinarily rewarding. It’s challenging: You’re in the ring with them. They’re not crying; they’re trying.”

Bringing Art With Elders to Students Throughout the Bay Area

Art With Elders is now offered in 40 Bay Area communities from San Jose to North Bay. The program offers 2,000 classes a year, all taught by professional artists. Some of the 20 artists involved in the program are paid. Others volunteer. Art With Elders reached almost 500 students last year.

In “Look Again,” a 2012 book on Art With Elders, Mark writes in the introduction: “In my experience, it is the natural inclination of folks facing challenges, no matter how chronic or intransigent, to forge on and continue to live their lives to the fullest – whatever shape that may take. Elders are empowered if they are given a chance to define, describe and create themselves, shaking off the fetters of society’s relatively limited vision of their wholeness.”  

Before rebuilding Laguna Honda, the hospital’s executive director asked Mark what he wanted. He got what he asked for: a light-filled art studio – a 1,500 square-foot space with large windows in a well-traveled area easily visited by patients and staff, a central location on the hospital’s main street, the esplanade that links the residential buildings. And also, a kiln and an office.

Many of his students have been attending classes since Mark first began teaching 20 years ago. Even with new students, Mark said, the goal is to engage them and create relationships. When one of the long-timers stopped attending, Mark found her in her room, crying. She was rapidly losing her sight and ready to give up. Mark spoke with the occupational therapist, who arranged for special glasses. Today she’s back in class and much happier.

“There’s good energy here,” Mark said. “I love my time here. It’s a blast.”

These days, he divides his time between teaching at Laguna Honda and growing the organization. “When seniors in long-term environments are offered safe, supported and frequent opportunities to just explore their greater “selves” through art, something special happens. Friendships evolve, trust is built, barriers are reduced, meaningful and heartfelt relationships are established between and among teachers, volunteers and students alike.”

The next art show at Laguna Honda will be held in the auditorium on Oct. 22. The show is open to the public.

Good Neighbors: Cathy Russo

Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Cathy as our 2017 Good Neighbor Honoree for the Park Merced/University Park Food Network.

There’s not much Cathy Russo won’t do to help people. She’s involved with a number of service organizations, including Parkmerced/University Park Food Network (PUP).

“It’s nice to be doing something. It’s so wonderful to be doing this for people, to know you can help people,” Cathy said.

Delivering Groceries and Community Connections

Cathy Russo, 2017 Good Neighbor Honoree

Cathy is not only recreating the small town of her youth but is also making connections between her vast experience and her commitment to “making it good” for others.

PUP delivers grocery boxes to seniors living in the Park Merced and University Park North complexes on the southwest side of the city. But like all food delivery programs, PUP is more than simply a grocery program, explained Cathy, a Community Living Campaign Good Neighbor Honoree.

“We visit. We’re not in a rush to deliver. Sometimes, when they want to talk, we stay 20 or 30 minutes. They’re our neighbors. We’re making a community connection.”

PUP delivered its first groceries to three families in 2011, and Cathy was there from the beginning: sorting, packing, loading, driving and her favorite, delivering the groceries. Today, the program serves 28 families, delivering groceries from the San Francisco Marin Food Bank as part of the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services’ Home Delivered Grocery program on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

Lifelong Commitment to Educating and Connecting Neighbors

Cathy and other volunteers help organize bags for the 2016 turkey delivery

Cathy has been part of the Park Merced Food Network since the beginning. “We visit. We’re not in a rush to deliver…They’re our neighbors. We’re making a community connection,” she says.

Cathy grew up on the family farm in a small community near Castroville. After graduating from a two-room school where she “knew everything about everyone,” Cathy went on to earn an elementary teaching certificate at San Jose State University, returning home every weekend to help on the farm. After some years teaching, she went back to school for a degree in social work.

When Cathy realized that what she really wanted to do was to help seniors, she enrolled in the gerontology department at San Francisco State University, where she received her master’s degree in 1977.

Now retired, Cathy remains active. In addition to her involvement with the Community Living Campaign and PUP, she also volunteers with the Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals, and is a member of the Advisory Council to the San Francisco Commission on Aging. “It’s a continuation of Cathy’s lifetime of service, of trying to take care of everybody,” said Karen Holt, CLC’s Park Merced Community Connector.

Up next, Cathy is planning to connect one of the families in the PUP program with a coalition attorney and help another neighbor who is worried about being evicted. “It’s wonderful. We only have to help connect them to services. We don’t have to solve their problems,” she said

It seems that in volunteering with PUP, Cathy is not only recreating the small town of her youth but is also making connections between her vast experience and her commitment to “making it good” for others.

Good Neighbors: Tricia Cardillo

Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Tricia as our 2017 Good Neighbor Honoree for our Goldsmith Vision and Hearing Initiative.

Tricia “encourages participants who have never been on a computer before to overcome their fear of the unknown in a supportive and nonjudgmental way”

Tricia Cardillo shows clients at the SteppingStone Presentation Adult Day Health Center how to use the Internet. What she likes most about her task are the person she meets. “The participants know my name now and they know we’re going to work together.  They look forward to being with me, and I look forward to being with them. I make it a point to walk around and greet everyone when I come in,” said Tricia. 

SteppingStone serves older adults and seniors with multiple chronic conditions. All but one client is funded through Medi-Cal Optional Benefit program. When the government raised the eligibility requirements for the Option program, SteppingStone began serving clients who require heavier care, explained Nicole Clause, the Center’s director. “We offer medication management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, mental health services, and personal care, as well as our activities program.”

Tricia volunteers as a computer coach, coming in every Wednesday morning to help clients use the center’s one computer. They check their email, connect to Facebook, and watch their favorite TV programs. Some participants use the computer to search job opportunities.

“They want to be aware of the job market even though they know they can’t get a job. Others enjoy completing surveys, or playing word games online.  Mahjong is very popular.”

Because many participants are vision impaired, the font on the keyboard and the monitor are greatly enlarged. Though the monitor has touch screen access, some activities require typing. “I encourage them to do their own typing, although they do lean on me. I know stretching (to touch the letters) is good for them.”

Some enjoy the matchmaking sites.

Tricia usually stands ready to trouble shoot when people are on the computer, but this is one time she makes it a practice to step away to “give them some privacy and a sense of independence.”

She doesn’t step away when someone goes on YouTube. In fact, she makes sure to be on hand.

“I don’t want them to be isolated, so when someone listens to music or a program, I listen too – we have double headphones – than we can talk about it.”

It was out of concern for hearing-impaired seniors that Tricia requested the center purchase those double headphones – just one of the reasons she was nominated for the Good Neighbor Award, said LaNay Eastman, the connector for the Community Living Campaign’s Vision & Hearing Initiative. 

Tricia began volunteering at SteppingStone in April 2016, soon after she and her husband moved here from Toronto for her husband’s job. She does not hold an H-1B visa, so she volunteers. “I‘d like to work, I was the program coordinator in a long term care home, something like SteppingStone. I wanted to stay active in my field, so I volunteer here.”

In describing Tricia, Center Director Clause wrote “she is patient, kind and respectful to all.  She encourages participants who have never been on a computer before to overcome their fear of the unknown in a supportive and nonjudgmental way. … We appreciate and applaud Tricia’s faithful volunteer service here every Wednesday morning.”

Community Living Campaign’s Goldsmith Vision and Hearing Initiative works to reduce isolation for seniors with hearing and/or vision challenges by providing accessible technology training, neighborhood outreach, and increasing accessibility of meetings and events. The initiative is supported by a generous grant from the United Way of the Bay Area and was developed by CLC Connector LaNay Eastman. For more information or to volunteer, contact LaNay at  or by calling 415-821-1003, ext. 111.

Good Neighbors: Randolph James

“What God puts in you, you have to do,” Randolph said, “I just need to help others.”

Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Randolph as our 2017 Good Neighbor Honoree for the Bayview Home Delivered Grocery Network.

Randolph James was one of the founders of the Home Delivered Grocery program in the Bayview, and has volunteered ever since. Before his knees began giving out, he both bagged groceries and delivered them, now he limits his involvement to bagging groceries.

Randolph’s work with the food program is part of his commitment to the neighborhood: taking care of the people who helped raise him up. Randolph admits he made a lot of trouble when he was a youngster but that was then, now he’s paying back, caring for the families who helped raised him.

Randolph has been clean and sober for 35 years and found his way back to God. “I want to help Bayview anyway I can,” Randolph said.

The Grocery program brings groceries from the San Francisco Marin Food Bank to 75 Bayview seniors and people with disabilities who are homebound or are otherwise unable to stand in line for groceries at a Food Pantry. It has started a pilot project in one housing complex in Visitacion Valley. Before the expansion, the program had five or six volunteer baggers and four drivers. To meet the need in the Bayview and beyond, they’ll need more volunteers. “We need more.  I wish young people were more interested,” he said.

Randolph volunteers through HP-UNITI (Having Pride Understanding the Needs in Troubled Inner City Communities), an organization of Christian men and women concerned about what is happening to the disintegration of low-income communities in the Bayview. HP-UNITI partners with Community Living Campaign to deliver groceries in the Bayview. This program is HP-UNITI’s primary effort at this point. Once they receive their nonprofit status, they hope to be able to provide economic opportunities and education programs for Bayview families.

Chester and Randolph consult on grocery delivery routes.

“Delivering groceries is more than carrying packages up the steps.  When we deliver the groceries,” Randolph explained, “we ask, ‘What else do you need? What else do you want us to search out?’  Then we look for resources and help the senior get what she needs. Some agencies that should be serving the community don’t reach out, and HP-UNITI sees its job as making sure those services are brought to the community.”

But Randolph doesn’t limit his advocacy to the 75 families already receiving food: when he’s out walking in the community, he’ll stop seniors and ask them: “Are you receiving food from a food bank or elsewhere? People in Bayview are prisoners in their own homes, they’re afraid to step out, so many bad things have happened in the neighborhood. If they’re not receiving food, I try to sign them up. Sometimes they’re suspicious of us. I can understand that.”

Randolph commutes from Hayward, where he’s active in his local church and is a crossing guard for the elementary school. While his contact with the neighborhood children is limited, he admits to trying to give “light weight nuggets of hope to the children.”

“What God puts in you, you have to do,” Randolph said, smiling, “I just need to help others.

Community Living Campaign has Food Delivery Networks in three neighborhoods: the Bayview, Oceanside-Merced-Ingleside, and Park Merced/University Park. The program works in concert with the San Francisco Marin Food Bank and local partners to connect isolated neighbors to food and much more. The Home Delivered Grocery Networks are funded through the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services.  

New Aging 360 Workshop Brings ‘Delight’ Factor to Growing Older


 
“It is important to look at the ‘delight’ factor not just the safety factor when making changes to one’s home. As we get older we spend more time at home and our home has to fit us like a glove.” — Susanne Stadler, Co-Founder of AHWGO.

We’re honored to sponsor an exciting new workshop series produced by our friends, At Home With Growing Older. The series, called Aging 360, is designed to help older adults age with “safety and delight.” The three workshops were a huge success.

At Home With Growing Older launched in 2009 as a fiscally sponsored project of Community Living Campaign and we are thrilled to see their vision truly take off. They’re now ready to spin off and become their own nonprofit organization. We can’t wait to see what exciting things they will do next!


BERKELEY, CA:  At Home With Growing Older (AHWGO), a Bay Area nonprofit is launching a creative workshop series, ‘Aging 360’ that teaches participants how to turn their home into an ally that supports a healthy aging experience with safety and delight.

The first of these workshops is being held in San Francisco’s Outer Mission neighborhood, (Cayuga) at Bethel Community Center, 2525 Alemany at Ottawa in a three-part series, June 20th, 22nd, 27th from 10 am to 11:30am. This series is being sponsored by the Community Living Campaign, San Francisco.

AHWGO developed this workshop as a response to a growing need for private homes, from apartments to houses, to adapt to changing personal needs as one ages and to unlock the potential of one’s home as a resource for healthy aging.

  • The number of Californians age 65 and older will grow from 13 percent today to 19 percent by 2030 – rising from 5 million to 8.6 million.
  • A large portion of older Americans cannot afford costly retirement communities or 24/7 care yet do not qualify for assistance from government or nonprofit programs.2

“It is important to look at the ‘delight’ factor not just the safety factor when making changes to one’s home. As we get older we spend more time at home and our home has to fit us like a glove”.  Susanne Stadler, Co-Founder of AHWGO.

The workshop is being taught by thr interdisciplinary AHWGO team, an architect, industrial designer and geriatric social worker. Participants will learn about age-friendly design beyond grab bars and ramps and engage in creative exercises that will allow them to re-envision their home and make improvements that fit their personal short and long term needs.

About At Home With Growing Older: AHWGO was founded in 2009 by an architect and social worker as an interdisciplinary and intergenerational platform to gather professionals, thinkers, activists, and academics interested in more deeply considering the tremendous challenge to “being at home with growing older” with more information, awareness, imagination, and pro-active, cross-disciplinary inquiry.

AHWGO is part of a growing movement that promotes integrated solutions focusing on the home and its context, rather than an institutional environment, as the major contributor to healthy aging.

AHWGO sponsors monthly, interdisciplinary learning forums with the goal to spark conversations and encourage collaboration among disciplines leading to tools and services across life stages towards being ‘at home with growing older’.

AHWGO is developing creative, educational tools such as Aging 360 that engage seniors in being the agents for their own aging experience.

The organization serves individuals, organizations, corporations, cities and neighborhoods.

If you are interested in becoming an ally of our movement, participate in our workshops  or attend one of our free monthly forums in Berkeley and San Francisco, please sign up on our website.