Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Experience Corps Fundraiser a Success

Guests Arriving
Guests Arriving
This past Saturday, November 20th, Experience Corps Bay Area held its first-ever fundraising event. Held in a private home on a steep hill in Mill Valley, up a harrowing one-lane road, the event was sponsored by Savory Thymes, an organization formed to support arts, cultural and other non-profits through hosting fundraising and networking events.
With an Honorary Committee consisting of the Superintendents of Schools of Oakland, San Francisco and San Rafael, and a Host Committee of community leaders from throughout Northern California, the event was key to both raising funds and furthering awareness of our program and the impact it has on both seniors and children. The organizing committee of David Moren, Michael Lynch, Susan Kraemer, Eunice Nichols and Paul Olsen did the heavy lifting required for such a successful event.
Almost 80 supporters of Experience Corps Bay Area – volunteers, staff, teachers, principals, donors and friends – braved the weather for a tasty locally produced lunch and a program featuring volunteers from Marin and Oakland, Principal Wendi Caporucci from Emerson Elementary School in Oakland, and Eunice Nichols, the former Experience Corps Bay Area Director who presided over its expansion from San Francisco to the 3 cities it serves today.
Paul Olsen
Paul Olsen
Highlights included the acknowledgement of Aspiranet CEO Vernon Brown, who had raced from a speaking engagement on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento in order to participate; his counterpart Barbara Hood, the CEO of Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services, the organization that sponsors the Marin operation; Roy Earnest, who runs the Northern California field office of the Corporation for National and Community Service; and School Board members from the cities in which we serve. Other dignitaries at the event included Michael Funk, who brought Experience Corps to California, and remains actively engaged in its success.
Ali Ghiorse of Savory Thymes welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support of Experience Corps. Paul Olsen, Director of Experience Corps Bay Area, acted as emcee, seamlessly weaving together the speakers and their remarks with observations over the short but intensive time he has been with the organization. Susan Kraemer concluded the program by holding the free raffle for the Hawaiian vacation, along with Marin Experience Corps member Ron Benjamin, who donated the raffle prize.
Elsa Kessler
Elsa Kessler
The heart of the program, in many ways, was hearing from the speakers and the stories they told about how Experience Corps has changed their lives, and the lives of the children in the schools where we serve. Elsa Kessler, from Marin, kicked off the speakers with a touching story about the effect her student had on her, and wondering if she had had an effect as great on him, stating, “While it can be difficult to measure the impact of my presence on Daniel, I can say that Daniel has definitely impacted my life.”
She was followed by Principal Caporicci, who made it clear that Experience Corps members have a huge impact on the children they work with, pointing out that her school has gone from a score of 500 to a score of 737, and attributing the partnership of Experience Corps members and a caring staff to that growth.
Susann Calkins
Susann Calkins
Susann Calkins of Oakland followed up by describing her search to find a program that would support her in doing the work she wanted to after retiring. Susann noted that “It was more difficult than I thought to find a volunteer literacy program with the components I felt helped struggling readers learn best:
  • Training
  • Team support- coordinators who served as trouble shooters and liaisons with school leaders, fellow volunteers who continued to learn
  • Time – ongoing relationship with individual students (in my mind at least 2 sessions/week) and a program that continually evaluated its effectiveness” and urging those in the audience to help get out the word about Experience Corps.
Eunice Nichols
Eunice Nichols
Finally, Eunice Nichols linked each of the stories to the research data proving our impact, to the dozens of people in the room whose lives have been changed by their involvement in Experience Corps Bay Area, and to the real need the program has for sustainable funding.
Eunice noted that through the underwriting of the event by Savory Thymes, and individual donations from friends and family, the event had raised almost $15,000 and a private donor had contributed an additional $15,000 to underwrite some program expenses as well. Eunice challenged those attending to offer further financial support to the program with a call for supporters of Experience Corps Bay Area to match the previous gifts with an additional $15,000 as part of the year-end campaign.
This is the perfect time of year to offer thanks to all who participated in making this event a success, and to all who continue to make the work of Experience Corps Bay Area successful. I am thankful for the opportunity to be, along with you, a part of such an inspiring organization.
Paul Olsen, Director
Experience Corps Bay Area

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reintroducing Aspiranet.org

Check out the newly redesigned Aspiranet website!

We have made it easier for our communities to access the different areas of Aspiranet. Some of the newest features include:

  • Stories of how we change lives in our day-to-day work 
  • How people can get involved through volunteering, parenting, careers, donations or partnerships
  • Overview of the counties, corporations, foundations and community-based organizations whose support allows us to work toward our vision
  • Ongoing updates on Aspiranet news and events
  • Agency background information and leadership profiles 
  • Ability to explore our network of diverse, statewide services by category, name and location

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Adoption for Monterey County Parents

 Thanks to KION Central Coast News for raising awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families at last night's Question Center.  Check out last night's story of adoption in Monterey County

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aspiranet featured on KION46 News

Aspiranet will be featured on the evening news on KION46 TV tonight speaking about National Adoption Month and answering adoption questions from callers.  If you are in the area tune in to the 5:00 and 6:00 Central Coast news in Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz to watch live.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Help a teen find her inner [Hero]

Over the next month look for Aspiranet ads online at:   
Listen for ads on the radio at:  

Look for Aspiranet newspaper ads in: 
If you know anyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent or adopting a child through foster care visit http://www.aspiranetheroes.org/ or call 877-380-HERO.

Friday, November 12, 2010

National Adoption Day at State Capitol

National Adoption Day will culminate the month-long effort to promote awareness of foster children and youth in search of permanent families. Join AspiraNet, EMQ FamiliesFirst, Lilliput Children’s Services and Sierra Forever Families for a dawn to dusk event featuring a candlelight vigil, community adoption information fair, pancake breakfast, foster child awareness walk around the Capitol, adoptive family of the year presentations, fun children's activities and calling out of names.

View Flyer (PDF) >

Date:  Saturday, November 20th

Time:  6am-6pm

Location:  California State Capitol West Steps, 10th Street, Sacramento

Website:  www.cacfs.org/adoptionmonth.html