Let’s Feed A City!

Victoria Williams, age 87 of North Richmond, is known in her community as “Mother Williams.” Last year, Community Presbyterian Church, Danville (CPC) launched a food drive, Summer of Hope, to provide non-perishable groceries to help her feed the hungry. It was then that CPC came to know why “Mother” is the perfect name for her.

Mother Williams feeds about 150 people every Friday, noon, in North Richmond at McGlothen Temple Church of God. She has been bringing hope and providing hot meals to the hungry for 27 years. Each Wednesday Mother Williams collects groceries from the food bank and continues her work on Thursday and Friday for preparation—storing, washing, cutting and cooking. On Friday mornings Mother Williams arrives, full of energy and ready to work at 6:00 AM, to prepare the perfect meal. “It’s a lot of work and you have to be mission minded.” Volunteers are eager to help after finding her passion to help others contagious. Mother Williams also provides clothes and motherly advice, offering wise guidance to manage through life’s struggles. “If I can help in any way, I am there for them.”

North Richmond has its challenges; from gang violence, murders, drug use and it is home to families where most fall below the poverty line. Operation Richmond began two years ago to inspire collaboration with the City of Richmond and local church pastors representing the African American, Latino and Caucasian communities. All are key players in the effort to defeat the drug-inspired violence that plagues Richmond. Providing a complete and healthy meal and lots of love is Mother William’s way to partner with Operation Richmond. She offers hope in the midst of the hard life many experience in this part of the Bay Area. And, she plans to continue to be “Mother” to these families. “I don’t think I’m going to retire. I’m in it until the end. I want to work until the day is done.”

Summer is typically a time when charitable giving can fall short. Yet, the needs of those who fall below the poverty line remains. The contagious compassion of Mother Williams and those like her caring for people in need, is a blessing to many families.

CPC Welcomes ALL to Participate in Summer of Hope!
Last year through Summer of Hope, the CPC congregation and Danville community donated 3,000 bags of groceries. This year CPC is looking forward to Summer of Hope’s 2nd annual food drive, with a “double” challenge to collect 6,000 bags! CPC welcomes all who would like to participate and make a difference this summer. Groceries donated will be distributed to support Mother Williams at the McGlothen Temple Church of God, kitchen. Christian Home Baptist Church and Garden of Peace, Ministries are two other churches who will be distributing donations through Summer of Hope. See below for details on how you can help Feed a City.

Please support Summer of Hope and Victoria Williams so she can continue her important work in North Richmond, caring for and being “Mother” to everyone she meets.

Scan the QR code to view a video of Mother Williams or view the video at www.cpcdanville.org

Please donate non-perishable groceries or canned goods (no alcoholic beverages) delivered in a paper, plastic or cloth bag, to: Community Presbyterian Church, 222 W. El Pintado Dr., Danville California 94526, on Saturday, August 25th 5:00 to 6:30 pm and Sunday, August 26th, 9:00 am to noon. For more information, call (925) 837-5525, or e-mail SHARE@cpcdanville.org

Crow Canyon is Dueling for the Discovery Counseling Center

The Crow Canyon Country Club Athletic Committee is hosting their second annual fundraiser benefitting Discovery Counseling Center (DCC), a non-profit organization based in San Ramon Valley. The community is invited to enjoy an evening of comedy and music on Friday, August 24th at the club. Some may recall the huge success of last year’s Crow Canyon Rocks concert featuring Scarlett Machine (formerly MdK). This year’s event is geared more toward adults capitalizing on the current popularity of dueling piano acts. This year’s headliner will be 2 Grand Entertainment, featuring Michael Mastromatteo and David Alan on dueling pianos.  Opening the show will be award-winning local comedian, David Vanavermaete.

“This is the second year in a row that the Crow Canyon Athletic Committee has chosen the Discovery Counseling Center as our charity to raise funds for,” said Dan Cottam, Club Aquatics Director. “Because we are in so much contact with all the youth in the community with our summer, fall and year round swim programs, tennis and golf programs we felt this organization provides an incredibly valuable service to the kids and families of the community.” Cottam adds, “we expect to sell out the event on August 24th and raise as much money as we can for the Discovery Counseling Center.”

If laughter and music are the best medicine, then the beneficiary of the event brings hope of a better outcome for troubled teens. Discovery Counseling Center offers affordable and high-quality mental health services for the entire family, but the most compelling aspect is their work with the local schools. Since 1988, DCC has been providing counseling and intervention services at all 34 elementary, middle, and high schools in the San Ramon Unified School District. The program helps children by offering counseling sessions at no cost by intern counselors supervised by DCC staff therapists.

“Having the opportunity to work with teens who are suffering from the challenges of life as an adolescent is very rewarding,” said Kathy Kane, DCC’s Clinical Director, “Teens quickly humble you by reminding us of that tumultuous time, not so long ago, when there were so many roads to choose from. The counseling relationship can provide a bridge for them between their world and the adult world.”

The wonderful results experienced by all involved in the School-Counseling Intervention Program (SCIP) bring added value to the Discovery Counseling Center. “The teens, their families, and the community are very positive about their involvement with SCIP,” said Kathy Chiverton, DCC’s Executive Director, “Teens recognize that the counseling helps them cope with the many pressures they experience between peer relationships, academics and family issues. They often report feeling stronger, less depressed or anxious, and “back on track” with their life following a course of counseling. Parents report relief that their children are less distressed and, frequently, feel reconnected to them. Parents and schools also see that counseling helps the teens become more aware of how their behavior expresses their emotional turmoil and that they begin to make healthier life choices and decisions.”

Those who attend the fundraiser event will be benefiting the local community and supporting the honorable mission of Discovery Counseling Center. “If the mission of DCC were achieved, everyone who is struggling with mental health issues would seek help early and often,” said Chiverton, “There would be no barriers to their getting the support that they need to cope with life’s challenges. Counseling would be recognized as an essential component in achieving a happy and healthy life.”

The fun-filled evening will include food, libations, raffle and an auction. Tickets are $35.00 per person which includes dinner and a no host bar. Child care will be available (call ahead of time). Full tables and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Kathy Chiverton of Discovery Counseling Center at (925) 837-0505.

About Discovery Counseling Center
Discovery Counseling Center is a community based non-profit organization in business for over 40 years in the greater San Ramon Valley. DCC is committed to providing affordable and high-quality mental health services for families. Visit: http://www.discoveryctr.net/

The Real Story

Few people recognize Peter Finch, the KGO radio personality, when he enters the room. He’s tall, wears glasses and smiles easily. But as soon as he walks to the front and speaks into the microphone, his voice is recognizable. It’s the post-Christmas ‘Real Stories Bay Area’ show in Walnut Creek and the theme of the evening is ‘Gifts’.

“I walk by homeless people every day in San Francisco. It’s tough because I’d like to do more, but sometimes it’s overwhelming so I do nothing. On this one day there was this guy—he was relentless—not in an annoying way, but in an upbeat, very charismatic way. I gave him a few bucks and then—he offered me his coat! ‘Try it on. It’s practically brand-new. You can have it.’ It fit me perfectly. So then I offered him my coat. There we were on Van Ness and Sutter,- exchanging jackets.” Everyone laughs. “Only later did I realize my key to the radio station – was left in my jacket pocket.” More laughter.

Diane begins her story for the night’s theme of ‘Family Matters’ witha brief history. “For the first forty-three years of my life I was a man, and my name was Daniel. I was married and worked in construction until a beam fell and almost killed me. It was during those months in the hospital when I realized how much I wanted to live, really live – no more pretending. That was five years ago.” Diane smiles warmly to the people sitting in the front and with a hand holding each side of her skirt continues, “And tonight, when I told my ex-wife I was coming here to tell a story, she rushed over and helped me pick out this outfit.”   

Though now into its third year, ‘Real Stories Bay Area’ had humble beginnings downtown Walnut Creek on the second floor of ‘1515 Restaurant & Bar’. Once a month, on a Thursday night, storytellers gathered to talk and people came to listen. As it grew, it moved to larger venues and also to a weekend night. Produced on a shoestring budget and with minimal advertising, most people have learned about it through word of mouth. There’s a dedicated following, and shows sell out.

Past evening themes include: T.M.I., Animal Kingdom, Looking for Love in all the Weird Places, Odd Jobs, Got Balls? Stories of Courage from Nuts to Guts. Storytellers have been equally unique from ex-cons, chefs, comics, authors, to accountants to food tasters.

Storytellers follow a few simple rules: all stories must be true, personal, told in ten minutes or less, without notes, and relate, however uniquely, to the theme. The idea is not original, ripped straight from San Francisco’s premier storytelling event ‘Porchlight’.  Anyone with a great story related to an upcoming theme, is invited to send a brief summary through Facebook or the website.

Live storytelling is experiencing a revival. “We spend so much time with technology, it’s refreshing to connect on a personal level,” says Debbie Johnson, who came with friends. “It’s like an podcast, but you get to see the real person behind the story. I always talk about it at work the next day,” comments Katie Pearstaff.

“Some people come with a great story, but are nervous about telling it. It’s not a performance or speech. If some part is forgotten, just say: ‘I forgot this part’ and move on. But I do ask them to prepare and practice. We usually run through it together. I work with lots of people to help flush out their story. A good storyteller understands the balance of action and details and can make a walk in the park fascinating,” says the producer of RSBA, Kay DeMartini.

Storytelling is moving past entertainment and into business. Steven Jobs has been declared an Iconic Storyteller; he used story to both brand a product and hook the listener. Creating a visual through words makes a message memorable, adding emotion into the mix and that story becomes dynamic and powerful.

“I still think about Peter Finch wearing that jacket from the homeless guy,” smiles Kay, “that story reminds me to just lighten up and tune into the fun of life.”

* * *

Saturday, Sept 8, 8pm, Lesher Knight Theater, $20. Advance online tickets recommended! www.lesherartscenter.org (925) 943-7469 Real Stories Bay Area: ‘I’m Out!’ Stories of quitting, bailing, walking away and not looking back. *Includes special guest from NYC: Mollena Williams, ‘Ms. Leather’. Audience encouraged to wear leather /or pleather.  More Info: www.RealStoriesBayArea.com


Kay DeMartini is a Comic, Creative Producer of Real Stories Bay Area, Walnut Creek, co-produces UnFiltered Stories, Oakland with travel writer Jeff Greenwald, and teaches corporate executives and business leaders presentation skills in her program, ‘Stand Up Straight & Speak Good’. www.KayDeMartini.com