PRRC 2017 ANNUAL REPORT
Meeting our Strategic Goals
BEING AN EXCELLENT EMPLOYER
As many of you know, we are midway through an ambitious three-year strategic plan, and with your support, we are well on our way to accomplishing the goals we have set for ourselves and for the community we serve. As you read this Annual Report, you will see highlights from each of these areas of impact, as well as our first steps toward our other strategic goals.
I am grateful to report that the Pomeroy Center remains on sound financial footing. At the beginning of fiscal year 2017, we received a rate increase (which have been very few and far between in the recent past) from our major state-funding agency, the Golden Gate Regional Center. We were fortunate to receive numerous foundation grants that support our OneCenter program, our Afterschool Program, our Brainstorm Program, and more. And a number of very generous individuals have made gifts to Pomeroy in their wills, all of which go directly into a board-designated endowment, a fund that ensures we can be here for the people we serve, in the event of some unforeseen challenge.
Most importantly, we are very happy to report that the City of San Francisco has renewed our lease for another 25 years (with an option for 25 additional years). This renewed investment in our programs and our participants by the city is a testament to the value we provide not only to those we serve today but also to those we will serve in the future. While we expect some financial pressure to return during FY18 and 19 due to mandated wage increases and other increases in operating expenses, at least we now have some breathing room for a short while and we look forward to re-investing in our facility and our staff this coming year.
Lastly, I want to send a special thanks to the more than 800 of you, individuals who give and give again to this organization and to the community you love. Your commitment is amazing and moving to me. Each gift you make helps provide the gift of education and rehabilitation to our participants every day. We could not and cannot do this without every one of you. Thank you.
With deep appreciation,
MESSAGE FROM THE CEO:
I would like to thank our employees, our Board, and all who volunteered their time, donated money, needed materials, or in any other way supported the Pomeroy Center to help make 2017 a tremendously successful year.
P.S. If you are taking the time to read this report, why not take the time to visit the Pomeroy Center in person? Because while we can describe the impact of your donations, our words cannot accurately paint a picture of what your giving has supported – the improvements we’ve been making to our buildings and grounds, the daily care and support our staff provides, and the quirky, unique community built by our participants. Call me to schedule your visit at (415) 213-8564.
Become a compelling community center
for a diverse population
The Pomeroy Center has long been a home away from home for people with disabilities. What would it take for people without disabilities to feel the same way? When we set this goal for ourselves, we knew it would be a challenge. What does the larger community want from us? A place to exercise? A place to learn something new? A place to hear music? A place to make new friends? As we consider these different ideas, we will be reaching out to you, our supporters and neighbors, to find out how the Pomeroy Center could make a difference in your life. In the meantime, we hope you will attend an upcoming event, enjoy the warm waters of our pool, or sign up to volunteer in our programs. We’d like to be YOUR home away from home, too!
Over the past year, with the generous gifts of supporters, Pomeroy participants have experienced the health benefits of exercise, nutritious food, and activities that promote good physical and mental health.
A grant from the USGA’s Alliance for Accessible Golf underwrote golf instruction for our participants throughout the year. This training culminated in an inclusive tournament at Harding Park’s Fleming Meadow. Foursomes of community members and Pomeroy participants experienced all the health benefits of the game and had a really fun day on the links.
With funding from San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, the Pomeroy garden is bursting with edible plants, herbs, natives, succulents, and fruit trees. Participants in wheelchairs can roll right up to our two new accessible raised planter beds and harvest cherry tomatoes or strawberries. Workers on our Able Gardeners crew installed drip irrigation throughout the garden, so the Swiss chard, beets, corn, raspberries, pumpkins, and cabbage plants are all happily producing healthy, delicious treats. Cooking classes make good use of these items to prepare soups, salads, and other tasty snacks. Our chickens lay organic eggs and the two roosters keep us entertained.
Yoga and dance are important components of our health and wellness programs at Pomeroy, but classes often have to be held in the cavernous gymnasium or in the main hall. We’ve secured grants from the San Francisco Police Officers Association and the Banner of Love Auxiliary to underwrite the renovation of our old weight room. Once the transformation is complete, we will have a yoga/dance studio, outfitted with a barre, a mirror, a beam for hanging occupational therapy equipment, adjustable lighting, a small sound system, fresh paint, and abundant storage for mats and other equipment. It will be the perfect space for yoga poses, hip-hop dance, and quiet meditation.
Basketball games are a regular feature of our calendar here at Pomeroy, whether we are playing against St. Ignatius College Prep or the employees of Google. Our undefeated basketball team, the Pomeroy Wildcats, are now shooting baskets against new backboards in the Pomeroy gym, thanks to a grant from the Olympic Club Foundation. Along with the hoops, the grant pays for portable bleachers, providing easy seating for spectators at games and the many other activities we have in the gym.
At Pomeroy we are committed to supporting health and wellness for individuals with disabilities. We are so fortunate to have a community of donors who feel the same way!
Become a leader in expressive arts programming
for people with and without disabilities
The Pomeroy Center provides a rich array of arts offerings for participants. From drama classes, dance, music and crafts to fine arts, there’s something for everyone. Pomeroy Center artists create some outstanding artwork and it deserves to be seen. To that end, we have increased our focus on getting work by our artists out into the community. We’ve opened an Etsy store (search for Pomeroy Center Artists) and participant artwork is now placed in cafes, restaurants, county fairs, and places of business where it can be seen.
Night City Alive - Marilyn Wong
One Pomeroy artist, Marilyn Wong, has been coming to the Center for a long time. She’s been making art even longer. Her preferred media are markers and paint. Her favorite subject to paint is flowers, but she does not limit herself. She also likes painting sunshine, puppies and other animals, and people in different settings, like at the beach. Among the fans and buyers of her work, she is known for her trademark paintings of buildings with dozens of tiny windows.
When Mary Gassen, owner of Noe Valley Bakery, stumbled upon one of Marilyn’s building paintings at the Pomeroy Center’s gala, Banner of Love, she was instantly smitten. She was opening a second location for her bakery in West Portal and needed something for the walls of the new space. She offered to hang – and sell – work by Pomeroy artists, starting with a set of paintings by Marilyn.
How does she feel when she’s painting? “Happy!” No wonder Marilyn wants to keep making art forever.
In September, in partnership with Autism Fun Bay Area, the Center launched Pomeroy LIVE, a public “all behaviors welcome” concert series. At our first event an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the brilliant Ramana Vieira and her Fado Ensemble performing a program of soulful traditional Portuguese music; Portuguese sweet treats and wine added to the experience. Pomeroy participants were there as attendees and to serve as ushers and work concessions. Additional concerts this season include Susana Y Su Orquesta Adelante, the Five Spot Jazz Quintet with Mike Greensill, and Kitka women’s vocal ensemble. Come join us! For more info, see www.prrcsf.org/live.
Respond to trends in changing demographics
An increasing number of children and teens with autism are enrolling in our Afterschool Program. In response to this trend, we have been growing our occupational therapy offerings. Occupational therapy, in spite of its name, has very little to do with the workplace; rather it focuses on ordinary daily tasks or experiences that can be a struggle, everything from walking on uneven surfaces and handling a fork to adjusting to transitions and making friends. Learning these skills can increase both independence and connection to the community, reducing frustration and social isolation – everyone wins!
“If I clean the mess, I’ll be happy!”
Become a leader in supporting
clients in work and volunteering
Individuals with disabilities have much to contribute to the community.
Many of the people we serve have a strong desire to work or volunteer outside of the Center’s walls,
and our programs are evolving to address these needs.
Last year, we focused on building up our group volunteering opportunities, solidifying partnerships with San Francisco Marin Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and St. Anthony’s; through these organizations, dozens of clients now make regular grocery deliveries to home-bound seniors and help sort and fold items for homeless customers at a thrift store.
For clients who want to work, we provide a pathway as well. Through our Work Ready program, staff train individuals both in the “soft skills” they need to be successful both at the interview and in the workplace and the “hard skills” they need to be ready for a particular type of job. At a recent Soft Skills class, five students practiced what they might say to an interviewer who asks, “Why do you want this job?” or “Tell me about yourself.” They learned that they should speak confidently; they joked about how the interview wasn’t the right time to ask about vacations and breaks.
Marcela Goldberg is one of the students on the Work Ready track and she is already working doing janitorial work at the Center. Before coming here, she attended another day program in Burlingame and she had some part-time work through that program, packaging up tea into boxes. She enjoyed the work.
What Marcela really wants to do is get a cleaning job at a Holiday Inn or another hotel. Her work at the Center is helping prepare her for this. She describes her duties: “Clean the girls’ locker room, take out the trash, clean the sink, clean the benches, clean the toilets and stuff, clean the mirrors, clean the [changing room on the] other side of the pool.” How does she feel after she’s done cleaning? “If I clean the mess, I’ll be happy.”
Marcela is paid minimum wage for her work at the Center. She is saving up her paychecks for a trip to Mexico and, ever the practical person, for “dental health.” She is also saving up for a little bear that sings “I love you” when you press a button.
Steffany Dignum, who runs the Work Ready program, has been working closely with Marcela to get her ready to go out and interview for jobs. One thing all the Work Ready students learn is how to describe their strengths. Sometimes you can have a strength but not know how to describe it. With Steffany’s encouragement, Marcela is learning to use the word “dependable” to describe herself. Steffany notes that she used to check up on Marcela at the end of her shift, just to make sure she had done all of her tasks – and she always had. Pretty soon Steffany realized she could count on Marcela – that she didn’t need to check up on her anymore. “That’s the kind of employee you want, right? The kind you don’t have to check up on!”
POMEROY BY THE NUMBERS
Between our Community Employment Services, Work Ready Program, volunteer program, and our other community-based and on-site training services, in the 2016-2017 fiscal year we supported:
Adult clients working at a job in the community: 20
Adult clients receiving on-site work adjustment and soft skills training: 6
Adults doing group community volunteering: 25
Adults who have earned money by selling their art in community venues: 20
Teens/transition-aged youth working on-site after school: 6
Number of hours those youth worked: 354.5
Note: Every one of these programs has grown since the end of the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
We look forward to sharing even more exciting numbers with you next year!
To be an excellent employer
PRRC staff member Katy Dyas embodies what is possible at Pomeroy for employees who are ambitious and committed. And she is a great example of the Center’s progress toward its strategic goal to be “an excellent employer and develop staff capacity.”
At the Center for just 16 months, Katy has already received two promotions.
Katy’s family ran a Bay Area therapeutic horseback riding program for kids with disabilities, so she was outdoors a lot and around people with disabilities from age 5 to 11. These two elements, being outdoors and being around people with disabilities, would go on to become a recurring theme in Katy’s life.
With her early exposure to disability, she was never much fazed by difference; to her, each student at the riding program “was just another kid to hang out with.” At that age, she notes, “you’re completely unaware.”
Her path to the Pomeroy Center wasn’t a straight line – she stepped off the schooling track for four years and debated over what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Luckily, she stumbled on Recreation Therapy and realized it was the perfect blend of her two lifelong loves; she had come full circle. Katy earned her degree in Recreation Therapy from Sacramento State University, worked for two years at a riding program similar to the one her parents ran, and completed her internship in Omaha, Nebraska, in physical rehabilitation and adaptive sports.
Her first position at the Pomeroy Center was what we call “Program Leader II” where she was a direct service staffer, leading and supporting classes, helping with lunches, changing, feeding people as needed. She loved the work and found herself wanting to do more, looking around for something to add to her responsibilities. She says, “I realized that I liked doing the administrative stuff. It’s the behind-the-scenes work that enables all the recreation and direct service to happen. Nothing can happen without that admin work.”
Her supervisors noticed her champing at the bit, and promoted her to Program Specialist, where she took on increased responsibility. Now she was in charge of a lot more: scheduling, planning, placing staff in different classes. Now, instead of being the one running around to pick up lunch supplies, she was the one making sure the lunch supplies were well stocked for other staff to pick up.
True to form, once Katy got a good handle on the new role, she began looking for more responsibilities. Anywhere she identified areas where there didn’t seem to be a lot of direction, she would find herself saying, “I’m just going to do this because no one else is!” Unsurprisingly, three weeks ago, Katy was promoted to Assistant Supervisor of a department and of OneCenter 2.0, the Center’s newest curriculum for participants who are interested in expanding their volunteer and vocational skills and experience.
Being an Assistant Supervisor includes more of the administrative work that Katy is drawn to. She’s now involved in scheduling and planning for participants’ annual ISPs (Individual Service Plans), making sure the packets are prepared for meetings with social workers and family members. She has performed a few intakes and observation days with potential participants and spends time making sure client files are up to date. She also has much more contact with parents and siblings of participants, so she may be the first to hear if they have something they need us to know.
Katy doesn’t just do paperwork, though. This semester, she’s lead teaching three classes and supporting several others. In her General Store Cooking Class, participants prepare food that will be sold at the Center’s weekly General Store; the first week of class featured focaccia. “We’re starting out basic and building up skills as we go!” Her Jogging Group is designed for clients who are physically able to run but don’t get enough exercise; the goal for the class is to be able to run two miles by the end of the semester. If you’re passing through Harding Park, keep an eye out for the group! She also teaches a class called Nature Documentaries. “I love being able to show clients the world, especially for those who don’t have the opportunity to travel. The classes usually begin with looking at a world map and talking about where we’re going that day and what animals and plants will be there.” Katy says, “This class was just a small group last semester, but they all liked it and they came back for more!”
Katy really enjoys spending time with clients and getting to know everybody individually. There’s one participant she is particularly intrigued by, someone any visitor to the Center will likely meet: Rodney. Rodney is boisterous, animated, and friendly. On most days he can be heard laughing or calling out from across the campus. Katy has discovered his quiet side, which comes out when Rodney is experiencing something new or something beautiful. She took note of his fascination with one tank at the aquarium at the Academy of Sciences, as well as the day her boyfriend came and played the piano and Rodney spent an hour standing by himself in the corner, listening with great calm.
How did it feel to get those promotions? “It felt good! This place has been around for so, so long. Like a lot of places, promotions at Pomeroy used to go by seniority only. Now, it’s the people who prove themselves and demonstrate the desire to do more – it’s really nice to see that taken seriously here.”
Does Katy still feel restless? “Most days I feel like I have enough to do; some days I wish I had my hand in other areas.” She keeps looking for ways to learn more, and Pomeroy is happily supporting her drive to do so!