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Capstone Project Video

Fabulous Human Services student (now graduate) Chris Lee put together this video to highlight the work of as many of our capstone projects as he could this year.  Not all are there and we will have another post soon highlighting each of them, but the ones who are there are showcased beautifully.  Thanks, Chris for this great video, thanks to all who participated for letting us highlight your work, and thanks to all of the 2016 capstone students for the amazing work that you are doing in the community.


Women in Management Guest Speakers

A few weeks ago San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White spoke to our class (see Facebook post for details).  We’re also pleased to have had the chance to learn from Fire Chief Bruce Martin (an alum), Belmont City Engineer Leticia Alvarez, local attorney Leticia Toledo, and SF General Hospital Children’s Asthma Clinic founder Nan Madden.  This past week we welcomed NDNU President Dr. Judi Greig for a wonderful conversation about her career journey, her experience as a woman in leadership roles, and the classes’ observations about what they have learned thus far in the course.  The overall theme was one of inspiration, learning from each other and from leaders in various settings about various opportunities and approaches.  Thanks so much to this awesomely interesting and inspiring class and to all of our guest speakers.

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Senior Capstone Projects

Congratulations to the following students who presented the results of their capstone projects last month.  We had a wonderful celebration, everyone awed at the results and the meaning that they brought to both the students involved and to the organizations with which they worked.

Senior Seminar F15

From left to right:  Jesus Castaneda, Sandra Villegas, Connie Ruiz, Madge Warren, Erin Davis, Kristin Dawson, Bianza Zaragoza, Lonnie Rouser, and Leah Glaister.  (Not pictured:  Bettie Citizen).

Jesus Castaneda created an awareness program for The Sequoias, Portal Valley. Employees at this Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services site have new access to EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services.

Erin Davis raised money for the Art of Yoga Project, a non-profit organization in Palo Alto that uses yoga and creative arts to help girls with a history of trauma and incarceration move toward creating a new sense of self. She coordinated a partnership with a local yoga studio, Peacebank, and raised several hundred dollars to support the project by hosting several donation-based yoga classes.

Kristin Dawson developed a training program for a Social Skills class for developmentally disabled adults. According to her project sponsor, the classes were full and had “full and enthusiastic participation,” which met project goals. In addition, her project sponsor said that Kristin’s positive outlook caused the staff to project her enthusiasm, reinforcing class goals. Her sponsor credits “the clear class outline and spirit [Kristin] has… brought to the group” and said that she is “delighted and grateful.”

Leah Glaister created free publicity for the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center, executing a Visibility Campaign that gathered client stories for use in social media, news publications, government reports, and donor appeals. Her sponsors reported that “we are delighted with the outcome of [this] project… the writing is excellent, lively and descriptive, and portrays our clients with dignity and respect.”

Connie Ruiz did a fundraising drive to assist Middle and High School students at Realm Charter School in Berkeley who aspire to travel to Hollywood for an upcoming musical competition. Thanks to the efforts Connie coordinated with parents, teachers, and the community, the school will be able to send approximately 40 students to this competition.

Madge Warren partnered with the McHenry House family shelter in Tracy on a project titled, “Hope Chest for Transitioning Families.” Through it, she began distributing household essentials to families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. Pastor Clint Yandris, of Faith Tabernacle Church in Tracy, CA, said gratefully that, “so many churches in the area assist with providing meals… no one has previously thought of providing monthly household essentials.”

Sandra Villegas worked with CORA, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those affected by domestic violence. Her project involved raising money to purchase car seats for families in need.

Bianca Zaragoza worked with a youth group at an East Bay Catholic parish to raise funds to help send young people from an East Palo Alto parish to World Youth Day in the summer of 2016. This ongoing effort saw remarkable results during the official project and is well-projected to continue its positive work in the new year.

Human Services Capstone Projects – Belmont Class

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

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.

Running 105 Miles in 8 Days to Help Bay Area Kids

MMRCHuman Services senior Martha Montiel is taking a leadership role in this endeavor; check it out!

Starting on April 20th, Heidi will be running 105 miles in 8 days (8 half marathons) in different locations in California where the MMRC program is established. This event will be documented by her support group with videos, blogs etc. creating a documentary. We are hoping that her story will inspire other women to give back to the younger generations, and equally important, it will help establish the MMRC program.

The event will start on Monday, April 20 at a school in Fort Bragg and finish at a school in El Niño, Mexico on Wednesday, April 29 (with two days of rest in between). The plan is to establish a route in each city finishing at a school where the MMRC program is established. Heidi could run the last mile or the last few laps with girls there.

First City is Fort Bragg – Monday, April 20

Second City is Sacramento – Tuesday, April 21

Third City is San Jose – Wednesday, April 22

Fourth City is Santa Cruz – Thursday, April 23

Fifth City is Watsonville – Friday, April 24

Sixth City is Los Angeles – Monday, April 27

Seventh City is Chula Vista – Tuesday, April 28

Eight City is El Niño, Mexico – Wednesday, April 29

The above was posted on radio station ALICE’s blog and Facebook page where they add, “so the program is amazing… wait ’til you hear Heidi’s TedTalk about how the program even got started! It’s genuinely inspirational.”

Great project, Martha… and really impressive marketing!  Well done…

Image courtesy; text courtesy Alice.

Discerning Meaning Through Storytelling

DSCF2960In the past few weeks, Human Services seniors in their capstone course have presented their portfolios, electronic records of their accomplishments in career, academia, family, and community.  Each has inevitably gone beyond a mere tally of events experienced, papers written, or positions held to explore the meaning behind the story that this compilation of facts represents.

National Geographic presents a story that expands upon the value of finding meaning through storytelling.  From their blog, “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is retracing on foot our ancestors’ migration out of Africa and across the globe. His 21,000-mile odyssey began in Ethiopia and will end seven years later at the tip of South America.”  And: “Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden world walk is an exercise in slow journalism. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is engaging with the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by walking alongside the people who inhabit them every day. As he traverses the globe from Africa to South America, he is revealing the texture of the lives of people he encounters: the nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fishermen who never make the news…. When his seven-year journey ends, Paul will have created a global mosaic of stories, faces, sounds, and landscapes highlighting the pathways that connect us to each other—a unique archive of our shared humanity at the start of a new millennium.”

If you are interested, you can follow his reports by subscribing to the blog at the link above.  The story fascinates me because it reveals the promise within the power in storytelling, which is both individual and shared.  See the “class work” tab at the top of the blog for stories from our students.  These are equally inspiring stories of triumph and achievement and we are honored to celebrate their many accomplishments.

Image courtesy