Human Services Capstone Projects – Belmont Class

24 05 2015

capstoneSenior Seminar at the Belmont Campus; wonderful class – thank you all!

Kim Samayoa worked with the Amgen Women’s Interactive Network (AWIN) to provide a week of inspiration with events held at multiple sites to coincide with Women’s History month. Amgen is a firm “committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illness by discovering, developing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative human therapeutics.

Steven Bradley worked with Swords to Plowshares to launch its veteran culture primer, which helps service providers to understand veteran culture and experiences and to “further the development of community relationships through demystification of military and combat experiences for the unexposed.”

Agnes Mae de Castro successfully raised over $5,000 for the Silicon Valley-Central YMCA branch. “The Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow, and thrive.” This effort helps to provide financial assistance for membership scholarships.

Kelly Johnson announced the completion of a second annual fundraiser for InnVision Shelter Network, which is a nonprofit shelter network that serves thousands of homeless clients annually through its “Beyond the Bed” services. This is a “proven model that delivers a 90% success rate in returning program graduates to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. In addition, Kelly identified ten new donors for IVSN.

Iris Montes organized the Hope Brokers event for the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, which has been welcoming and supporting immigrants since 1894. At this event, non-English speaking people who received services from Good Samaritan spoke about their story and experience. This took place within the context of being both a community building and process improvement event.

Marie Patea launched a membership drive for the City of South San Francisco Friends of Park and Recreation group. Increased membership will benefit the community and enhance the programs offered by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Joana Voglino worked toward the creation of a “Food App and Meal Card” for use by school students, the elderly, and handicapped individuals so that they can “obtain free hot meals from participating restaurants, cafes, delis, bakeries, and other retail food venders in local communicates. Working with the Ecumenical Hunger Project, she began the process of gathering donations for this ambitious project.

Christen Dilg launched a community service program through Clifford Elementary School in Redwood City. She linked Art in Action with middle school students who were taught to teach the lower grades art classes in return for required community service hours.

Jahmal White completed a social media development project for the Drew Health Foundation. Drew has been serving the community of East Palo Alto since 1967; Jahmal’s project aided their outreach by creating a platform from which to share resources for healthy living.

Misty Blue Foster created computerized charting templates for the nurses at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center at the VA in Menlo Park. This is a program sponsored by the VA in which blind Veterans are given assistance adapting to their vision loss.

Anahi Chavez worked on a fundraising campaign that helped the Sequoia YMCA to reach its $50K fundraising goal. She did this through organizing a phone drive, a mailing campaign, an email campaign, and a celebratory dinner.

Martha Montiel helped the Mini Mermaid Running Club successfully launch and aggressively market their Run.Sweat.Love fundraising event. This included coordinating with eight schools in California, securing sponsors for the events, and coordinating media outreach. The MMRC founder led a 105-mile run through eight California cities to sponsor girls interested in running.

Susie Lahey helped Family Connections, a Parent Child Educational Center to upgrade their infrastructure to allow for Internet connectivity throughout the entire site. This allows for better use of parent-teacher meeting rooms and staff work areas.

Lisa Swanson worked with The Grateful Garment Project to create a volunteer program. This project, which was created as a Human Services capstone project in 2011, has grown to serve a population of over 12 million and organizing the needed volunteers is critical to its ongoing growth and success.

Emme Bogdanska worked with the Professional Studies programs to promote awareness of the programs within the local communities. Her drive stretched from the San Mateo area to southern San Jose.


Previous lists of student projects:

Belmont, May 2015

Belmont, Fall 2014

Mission, May 2014

Mission, May 2013

Belmont, May 2013


Image courtesy

Human Services Senior Projects: Mission College class

24 05 2015

Well done, everyone! 

Hamilcar Cabusi organized a dinner fundraiser for 250 people, raising over $1500 to support the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department. (The web page at the link profiles Hamilar, shown in his firefighting gear. He’s on the right in the photo below and we admire his commitment in volunteering with this important community resource.


Louis Santa Ana worked with a generous anonymous donor to create the infrastructure to support the opening of a safe house for a family fleeing from domestic abuse. His work is ongoing and includes organizing and funding food, appliances, housing, and other needed resources.

Dolores Oya-Zenteno launched successful training in the Spanish language for the Step Into Education Program, which seeks to aim the cycle of recidivism by supporting training for at-risk youth and those being released from prison.

Rosie Moreno collected and delivered five bags of clothing to the Samaritan House Kids Closet.

Judy Munro created an ongoing connection between New Beginnings Community Church Life Group and Family Supportive Housing to raise money and collect supplies for the homeless families served.

Monica Rea worked with Rafael House of San Francisco to raise money through running training camps that she organized, working with Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.

Chantal Williams-Boyd worked with Jaliya to identify grants to support the organization’s mission of expression through African arts. She developed important resources in support of the organization’s goal of obtaining a building for their community work.

Jasmine Thomas worked with the Human Services program and Mission College in Santa Clara to promote awareness of the program on that campus. She designed a brochure and did presentations to several classes, fueling interest in enrollment.

Student Spotlight: Steven Bradley

22 05 2015

Browsing the web, we came across this great article on the Swords to Plowshares site about soon-to-be alum Steven Bradley.  Called, “Veteran Finds His Second Act at Swords to Plowshares,” it highlights some of Steven’s remarkable accomplishments and includes his reflections about his experiences and what he has learned from them.  Congratulations, Steven!  It is wonderful to celebrate you and all that you do!


steven bAt Swords to Plowshares, we don’t just encourage other employers to hire veterans. We’ve hired and worked with plenty of veterans ourselves. In fact, more than 40 percent of our current staff are veterans, many of whom first set foot inside our doorsteps as a client in need.

For Steven Bradley, a California native who recently joined our team as an AmeriCorps VISTA, the journey getting here was long and arduous. At the tender age of five, he lost his whole family and was raised in a series of foster homes until joining the Navy at age 17.

“Because that happened at such a young age, I was destroyed, unfocused, and made numerous misguided choices. You don’t know why you have pain and no one can explain it to you, and all you want is the pain to stop,” Bradley says today.

Having served in the Navy from 1976 to 1980 as a Hospital Corpsman, Bradley’s military service gave him a sense of pride and belonging. Once he got out, however, he lost his way and fell prey to substance abuse—a battle against crack cocaine that lasted more than 20 years and led him to the brink of suicide.

“That was the hardest struggle to overcome—myself. My emotions and the places they take you, choices we make in trying to alleviate pain,” Bradley says. “There had been a lot of attempts and re-attempts to quit, a few years of clean time here and there. The bottom line is not acquiescing to defeat. But getting to that point, it was necessary to face myself over the question of suicide. I had determined a manner and selected a location. I went to the spot to consider…then concluded I wasn’t going to do it, even though life sucked then. I reflected on what I gained from military service as a Corpsman and used examples of the Marines I cared for, and that was to drive on, one foot in front of the other, regardless of the temporary conditions. I had to do something else.”

In Bradley’s case, “something else” meant relocating to Vermont, now his second favorite state in the U.S. Over the years he had worked a string of odd jobs—fishing in Alaska, construction work, dock work as a stevedore—always the wanderer and adventurer. The relocation coupled with his own increasing maturity helped him to focus constructively.

“Mostly, I didn’t know who I was or that I could even create that image for myself. I started many things but wasn’t focused on any one thing. I was living in the immediate as opposed to viewing the continuum of life,” Bradley says. “But when I look back nearly 40 years later, the connection that’s pivotal is me selecting the job as Hospital Corpsman. That now tells me more about who I am. I care for the herd of humanity.”

Today Bradley is on track to earn his B.S. in Human Services from Notre Dame de Namur University later this spring. Meanwhile at Swords to Plowshares, as a Veteran Employment Research & Outreach Associate, Bradley is hard at work researching projects and proposals for our Combat to Community program as well as building relationships with veteran affinity groups in industries such as healthcare.

“Personally I love (Swords to Plowshares). The working style matches my style, plenty of self-direction. There’s assistance and guidance when you need it but not over supervised.”

At 58, Bradley is older than the typical recent college grad who joins AmeriCorps. But it doesn’t deter him—if anything he finds it inspiring to work both for and alongside fellow veterans.

“I like to think I was able to re-establish myself by using the mindset and training methods first instilled during my military service,” Bradley says. “My complaint with the civilian world is there’s not that sense of shared purpose or comradery. With vets we understand the same rules and conditions. Just like in the military, there’s a lot of prep work followed by an event, with all hands on deck ’til the job is done.”

With the aim to one day become a veteran peer specialist, Bradley aspires to perform the same kind of caregiving in social work that he did in the Navy.

“To go through a bunch of stuff in your life and come out on your feet, and work yourself from that undesirable situation to productive citizenship; that’s where I can support other people going through addiction. By being a friend, and being willing to walk with someone as they’re working to find their way back to civilization.”

by Brian Jarvis

Photo and text courtesy Swords to Plowshares

Classrooms Summer Term I

19 05 2015

doorClasses started last night; sorry to post this a day late and glad that everyone seems to have found their classes anyway.  Cuvilly is a construction zone right now, so our classes have shifted to other parts of the campus.  See below:  GH refers to “Gavin Hall,” which is above Tabard (up the steep stairs) and SM is Saint Mary’s, which is where the Registrar and Business offices are.

Also, ‘grab n’ go’ food service is available in the cafeteria from 4-8PM.  Not a huge selection, but students last night reported that the food was good.

Welcome to summer!  (Now let’s hope for some sun before July!)


BUS2600-08 Operations and Tech Systems, Nellis, SM 208

HSP 2248-08 Managing Cultural Diversity, Madden, SM115


HSP 2203 -08 Communciation Skills, Arbore, SM117

BUS 2250-08, Personal Financial Planning, Hua, GH9

REL 2260-08 Islam Faith and Pratice, Lipowitz, SM204

HST 2020-01 World History, Andrews, SM207


BUS 2010-08 Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility, Ladine, GH2

CUL 2248-08, Latin America in Film, Gomez, SM204

PHL 2420-08, Philosophy of Love, Delaporte, GH9

MTH 1114-08 Algebra for College, Wong, SM208

HST 2020-03, World History, Andrews, SM207

Wednesday at Mission College

BUS 2006-08, Professional Writing, Ross, SE3-401 (Main Building, NOT where we’ve been meeting)


BUS 2300-08 Marketing Principles, Holtzman, GH9

HSP 2218-08, Social Research Methods, Arbore, SM208

BIO 2108-08, Contemp. Environmental Issues, Shellabarger, SM207

Thursday at Canada College

PSY 2157-08, Abnormal Psychology, Nyland,

Saturday, June 20

BUS 2079-08, Workplace Coaching, Santamaria, CU6

Job Opportunity: CASA Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator

18 05 2015
CASACASA of San Mateo County is looking for an energetic self-starter to lead CASA’s volunteer recruitment efforts. The Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator is responsible for coordinating all recruiting and community outreach activities for CASA of San Mateo County. Working closely with the Program Director, the Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator develops an active and on-going recruitment plan for new volunteers. The position will require evening work as needed.
To apply and for more information about the position click here
Image courtesy

Graduate Commencement Address 2015

13 05 2015

Zita Judy JakeAs many know, Zita Agazzi is also a former PSP student; last Saturday, she was the graduate student speaker at graduation.  Like Jake Wilkerson, who represented the undergraduates (and the evening intensive students :-), Zita’s speech rocked!  I love her theme:  Inspiration, passion, and service.

Awesome message; thanks Zita, and congratulations (again) to you and everyone who finished your degrees this year.  We are thrilled for all of you.

Zita is pictured here with PSP Advisor Extraordinare Judy King and undergraduate commencement speaker Jake Wilkerson.


Members of the Board of Trustees, President Greig, Provost Ewald, Deans, Faculty, Families, and Friends.

Good morning, I am absolutely honored to represent the Graduating Class of 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our Faculty for their dedication and professionalism, and also to our Staff and Administration at NDNU, for all their help and support. During the years that I have spent studying here I have always been greeted with a smile, no matter which door I knocked on. I am very grateful for the community I found as a student at NDNU. On behalf of the Graduating Class of 2015, I would also like to thank all the families, friends and everyone who gave us the support we needed to make it this far.

I began my journey at NDNU back in 2010 as an undergraduate student in the School of Business and Management, and then, I came back as a graduate student in the School of Education and Leadership. I chose NDNU twice, and I am really proud to be NDNU.

Today I would like to talk about inspiration, passion, and service; traits that I am sure you will recognize in us, NDNU graduates before you.

While some of us turn to famous people, historical figures or heroes as a source of inspiration; I don’t have a famous quote to begin this speech, because instead, I would like to ask all of you here today to take a really good look at the graduating Class of 2015: the biggest source of inspiration and the best example of passion are right here in front of you; wearing caps and gowns.

When reflecting on my entire experience at NDNU, I can say that it is evident that the community here does live and breathe the core values of the university. As a student I have, indeed, learned, worked, and grown together in partnership with both classmates and professors.

As a student of a diverse background, I have felt respected, heard, and valued.

And I have experienced what it means to serve, both during my undergraduate and graduate studies here at NDNU. I have seen my classmates transform senior seminar projects and theses into real-world projects, with outcomes which have made all levels of difference in the lives of people in our larger community. I spoke of inspiration, passion, and service; and today I would like to share with you some examples.

As an undergrad student, I have seen one of my classmates a semester ahead of me transform her senior seminar project, which started with a simple drive for clothing and toiletries, into a full-scale non-profit organization incorporated in the state of CA, currently serving 21 counties in an area of great need. And it all started here, at NDNU, as a capstone project.

I was so inspired by her work that I turned my own senior seminar project into an opportunity to help advance that particular, and then soon-to-be non-profit organization, and after serving in different roles, I eventually became a board member. Inspiration, Passion, Service.

During my Master’s program, I can say that passion is what drove graduate research. I have seen my classmates use graduate research to dig deep into educational issues ranging from teacher preparation, satisfaction, and support; to best classroom practices; to how a particular at-risk group of students is being served in our public high schools; to the role of Catholic identity in Catholic schools in the area. Once again, Inspiration, Passion, and Service.

In sum, no matter the field, NDNU graduates know the meaning of service and its real-world application. My experiences are just a sliver of what NDNU students are capable of.

Fellow graduates, remember that that passion is there. Do continue to inspire and serve. None of us knows for sure what lies ahead, but we have surely seen, experienced, and done great things already, so have no fear. The “real-world” is not waiting for us after graduation today; the real-world is where we have been living as students at NDNU.

You make me proud to belong to this community. Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2015!

Undergraduate Commencement Address 2015

12 05 2015

Jake and ZitaThis beautiful and inspiring speech was given at graduation on Saturday by Jake Wilkerson, pictured at right.  Soon to come, inspiring words from our graduate commencement speaker Zita Agazzi, pictured at left.  Congratulations to Jake, Zita, and all of our graduates!  We are honored to know you and super proud of all that you do.


Hello graduates, parents, loved ones, faculty, administrators and Board Members. We made it, the day that many times seemed like it would never come, is finally here.

We have all heard the saying that we can be anyone or anything that we want to be. Our parents tell us this from the time we are small children. Our teachers and professors inspire the notion. We hear of the American dream and we yearn for accomplishment and success. But who defines success? Is success creating the next Facebook or Instagram? Is it ranking highest in an organization, or making the most money? Is success sacrificing the luxuries of life to serve the helpless and underprivileged of our community? Or, is it having a corner office in a billion dollar tech startup, and no one even knows what you do?

Success is subjective. Because it is subjective, we are forced to ask, potentially one of the most important question we will ever ask ourselves… Who am I? What are my morals, my values? What do I stand for? What will I fall for? What do I believe? For what will I fight? WHO AM I?

My time here at Notre Dame was saturated with professors who, second to their exceptional credibility and knowledge, had a perceived fascination and relentless desire to make me and my fellow students answer this very question. Who am I? Sure, in business leadership or perhaps professional development courses we expect to work through this construct. But when a finance professor or a marketing professor inspires me to look deeper within myself than I ever had before in search of developing my passion and heart for the world… Well then at that point, I cannot deny NDNU is a University that truly values us students as unique and gifted human beings, who, with complete knowledge of ourselves, can surpass all expectations placed upon us by the society in which we live.

“We can be anyone or anything we want to be.” I must tell you that I stand by leadership expert Tom Rath when I say that I do not agree with that statement. I do not agree that we can be anyone or anything we want to be. We can only strive to be the best version of who we are. And in order to be the best versions of ourselves we must truly know ourselves. We were each uniquely and intricately made my God with talents and abilities and strengths… that when applied to our calling and passion in life, will produce a holistic illustration of what truly living is suppose to look like.

As it is time for my fellow graduates and I to say farewell to this amazing University, that has educated and prepared us to go out into the world… I would like to challenge us for a moment. I challenge us today never to forget the bigger picture of life, and the purpose that we serve. We live in a fast paced culture and society, especially here in the Silicon Valley, that demands our attention, our commitment, our intellect, and our heart. But let us it not forget that the same talents we have that make us great business men and women, or artists, or mathematicians, can be used to further the Kingdom of God throughout a hurting and broken world. And let us not forgot that who we are, our heart, our compassion, our ability to love unconditionally is the most powerful tool we will take with us as we go forth.

So I would like to leave us with the essence of the Hallmarks of NDNU as a reminder and a guide for how we should aspire to tackle this next chapter life. Let us develop learning communities which educate for life. Let us act on behalf of justice and peace in the world. Let us commit ourselves to community service as we embrace the gift of diversity. Let us create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve. Let us honor the dignity and sacredness of each and every person. And above all else, let us proclaim by our lives, even more than by our words, that God is good.

Thank you, to the faculty who have supported and educated us beyond expectation and congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2015.



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