What can I say about Natalie? She is unquestionably one of the most dedicated advocates for children and child abuse prevention that I have the privilege of knowing. From her time volunteering in the Playroom as a high schooler to her time as chair of our Board of Directors with children of her own, Natalie and the Prevention Center have grown up together. Natalie, thank you for your service, your passion, and your commitment. I have no doubt that you and your family will stay part of the Prevention Center for many years to come.
The Prevention Center is a special place to so many families. It’s a safe base, a refuge for support and learning. It’s also special for the folks that work here; we have some real gems. Molly is, and has always been, one of those gems. Molly is not only our go-to resource for parenting education, she’s also a trusted source of support and friendship to us staff members throughout each week.The clients rave about her parenting groups, and much of the Prevention Center’s success with parents has to do with Molly’s engaging and supportive style. I’ve learned so much working with Molly over the years, and I feel blessed to call her a colleague.
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.
Delia Ehrlich was a passionate philanthropist. The Prevention Center was among the numerous causes that she supported through her membership in the Auxiliary. Delia facilitated numerous fundraisers and grants in support of the Children’s Snack Time program, as well as, the Holiday Toy Program. She was a stalwart supporter of the Annual Luncheon.
A year ago, Brianna chose to bring her talents and enthusiasm to the Prevention Center when she joined our team as a community educator. Over this past year, I’ve had the privilege of watching her command the classrooms of our city’s elementary schools. With ease and humor, she teaches tough topics like gun safety and prevention of sexual abuse — and how kids can keep safe from both. Brianna’s finesse in talking about these difficult topics without scaring the young children, all the while managing wiggles and giggles, truly is a command performance. I introduce you to, Ms. Brianna.
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.
I met Andrea my first day at the Prevention Center and since, she’s always been a bit of a lifeline for me (really, for everyone) because she knows everything that’s going on. If you have a question, she has the answer. From the start I was impressed by how superb she is at her job. Then I got to know her a bit better. Andrea’s one of those people that each time you learn more about her you’re both surprised and impressed. First you find out she’s an exercise instructor on the side, then you learn she wields a law degree, then she school’s you on hot sauce — this southerner knows her hot sauces and is seldom without her favorite, Crystal. Allow me to introduce you to Andrea Rush.
The Prevention Center runs on staff, volunteers, passion, and a lot of pastries. Everything from our 24/7 crisis hotline, the TALKLine, to our Tuesday night dinners, to our community events, are staffed by dedicated volunteers. They are phenomenal, and so is their leader, Lauren Dunford. Lauren recruits, manages, and trains our volunteers (amongst a host of other things) and she makes it look easy. I am proud to introduce you to my comrade in name, (the other) Lauren.