Posted by John Dean on Mar 10, 2020
President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | KCB Trading LLC) introduced several visiting Rotarians, including Jeanne Gnuse from New Canaan, CT, who is in San Francisco visiting for another month; and Donna Collins from Anesbury, MA, who has been a Rotarian for 32 years.
A number of guests attended, including:

Helen Vista, a Chase branch manager from Berkeley, who was the guest of Carlos Infante (Banking: Management | Chase Bank);

Mary Liu (Real Estate: Sales | Vanguard Properties/JM Real Estate Group), who introduced three guests: her sister, Jenny Campbell; Sherry Campos of San Francisco; and Edna Casteel;

Colleen McCarthy (Nonprofit Management | Catholic Charities), who introduced Mary Widdifield, a grant writer and fund raiser;

Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles), who introduced Jessica Hansen, the new Executive Director of Alliance for Smiles, and Hayden Gubernick, Project Manager at AfS, both of whom will be joining as AfS corporate members; and

Jianying Chen (Healthcare: Acupuncture | American Institute of Zhizhen Therapy and New Qigong), who introduced his wife, Estela.
President Casey thanked Social Chair Stacey Poole (Law: Family | Lerner Poole & Stewart, LLP) for organizing the recent Club Social at Zingari Ristorante. A large number of members and guests was present at this Social.
Next, President Casey went over the March 2020 Club calendar. Of importance is April 10, 2020 when grant applications for the 2020-2021 Rotary year are due.
Mary Liu, Vice President of Vocational Services, gave a brief overview of the Rotary Means Business event on March 14. The event is intended to be educational, but also provides an opportunity for business networking. Speakers will address topics including women’s empowerment and accessing global talent.
President-elect JT Forbus (Accounting | Bogdan & Frasco) announced that members have been sent the annual Club Survey. There are only a few questions, but lots of room for comments. Response to the survey is critical, as it provides JT and his incoming leadership team with feedback and guidance as they plan for his term of office. Please take a moment to complete the survey.
President Casey announced several Paul Harris Fellows: Ann Daugherty (Financial Services: Private Trading | IBN Financial Services) and Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group), both of whom earned the “+3” designation; and Stacey Poole, who earned her “+5”.
David Dye (Management Consulting | Retired), who serves as District 5150 Youth Services Committee Chairman, reviewed youth protection protocols. He noted that during his three-year term, he has worked to update and improve the youth services protection across the District. The new Youth Protection Certification process applies to ALL Rotarians working with youth. It consists of three components:  a volunteer affidavit covering personal information; character references; and interview questions. All adult leaders and mentors working with youth (including counselors at RYLA Camp) must complete the certification process, which also includes fingerprinting and a background check. The online training component can be accessed via the District 5150 website. If you are working with youth programs such as RYLA or Interact, please get this process completed as soon as possible.
$20 for Twenty Seconds included: 
  • Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing | GRANTdog), who expressed her support for Mary Liu, the current Vice President of Vocational Services. Rhonda cited her own recent experiences where fellow Rotarians have used their professional skills to assist her.
  • Carlos Infante, who thanked Stacey Poole for a great social event at Zingari Ristorante last week.
  • John Mathers (Management Consulting | eVo Associates), who encouraged all members to attend the District 5150 Assembly, noting that it is a chance to offer support to JT Forbus as he prepares to assume the role of President.
  • Lilian Tsi-Stielstra (Insurance Services | Retired), who noted that she recently attended TWO “make-up” meetings: one in Portland and one in Vancouver. When she was a younger, working Rotarian, she had been somewhat envious of fellow Rotarians who spoke of attending “make-up” Rotary meetings in distant cities.
  • Harold Hoogasian (Retail: Florist | Hoogasian Flowers), who announced that he now felt his vision for Rotary Meadows atop Mt. Sutro had been validated. Member Lily Muldoon (Healthcare: Physician | University of California, San Francisco) informed him today that while attending UCSF Medical School, she often went to Rotary Meadows to relax and decompress.
  • Christopher Wiseman (Event Planning | Glaucoma Research Foundation), who made a “public service announcement”. With many stores sold out of hand sanitizer due to the coronavirus, he suggested that members make their own; the recipe is two parts rubbing alcohol to one part aloe.
  • Anita Stangl, who invited everyone to the Alliance for Smiles offices on March 11 from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM. This will be a welcome party in honor of Jessica Hansen, the new Executive Director of AfS.
Guest Speaker
Today’s guest speaker was Sunny Schwartz, speaking on behalf of the Home Free Project and Five Keys. An attorney and life-long advocate for criminal justice reform, Sunny is frequently cited by the media and has been seen on PBS, Larry King, Oprah, and other television programs. Initially aspiring to be a criminal defense attorney, Ms. Schwartz soon became very disillusioned with the criminal justice system. Through an acquaintance, she met former San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey, and soon accepted a position in the Sheriff’s Department focused on training and vocational programs.
The challenges were and remain significant: 90% of those in jail have a substance problem; 75% are high school drop-outs; most read at the 4th to 7th grade level. Released prisoners typically re-offended and simply re-entered the criminal justice system on a sort of “revolving door”. Under former Sheriff Hennessey, San Francisco sought to develop a comprehensive response to recidivism. The program needed to address substance abuse, vocational training, education, and violence prevention.
In 2003, Sunny created the first jail-based charter school. The program was unique at the time but has now expanded to more than twenty jails with a total of over 5,000 students. The program aims to provide students with a GED high school diploma by the time they are released.
Sunny is working on another novel project: a post-release home for women released from prison after serving lengthy prison sentences (often for murder of abusive partners). Many of these women are ill-equipped to survive in the modern world after being incarcerated for decades. The home is being finished on Treasure Island, with design assistance from students and faculty at the Academy of Art University. Residents will receive safe living quarters and training for survival (and success) in the community.
Door Prize
Visiting Rotarian Donna Collins won today's door prize, which was a Rotary t-shirt, as well as a mug, coffee, and hot chocolate mix.
Photos by Janet Krahling (Real Estate: Sale | Compass)
Edited by Dora Dye (Education: Community College | City College of San Francisco)