I met Joe by happenstance on the shore of the Eel River. As we discussed tubing and whether or not there were eels in the river, I came to learn that Joe is a Bay Area native who’s passionate about teaching San Francisco’s children. Since that first introduction, I have come to be inspired by Joe’s passion for children, for ensuring their education reaches beyond the books and believing that his job is to be their teacher and their advocate — making sure each student has that one caring adult. Here’s to the lucky youngsters who have Mr. Siedman this new school year.
At the Prevention Center, one of my favorite places is our Playroom. Most days it’s filled with uproarious laughter, with bangs and kerplunks, stories being told, and friendships being forged. But when it’s not chock-full of children, you will occasionally find a staffer on its back patio practicing hoops or big people sitting in tiny chairs in a makeshift meeting room. On Tuesday nights, it’s full of families and a whole lot of finger-licking food. The Playroom is home to the Holiday Toy Store and so much more. One thing is constant though, without a doubt, whatever is happening in the Playroom, Russell’s going to be there. He’s there creating, coaching, and cleaning — ensuring that San Francisco’s kids have a safe refuge to be just that — kids.
On Thursday, 600+ people gathered together at the Fairmont Hotel to show their support for our one shared mission: to stop child abuse in our city. It was the 19th Annual Blue Ribbon Luncheon. I am proud that we raised essential funds to support the children and families we serve , but what really got me was the passion and excitement in the room. It was inspiring to see so many allies in one room dedicated to protecting children. It gives me hope that we can, in fact, end child abuse in this city. It gives me hope for the future of our community.