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Welcome Marin City Health and Wellness Center!

Welcome Marin City Health and Wellness Center!

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. We have linked arms with Marin City Health and Wellness Center to imagine a more equitable future for their communities. Marin City Health and Wellness Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center headquartered in Sausalito, CA. Founded in 2006 by a grassroots effort, the organization’s mission is to provide innovative health and wellness services to all, making primary care accessible for low-income families of a historically African American community. The Marin City Health and Wellness Center’s goal of African American Health Equity speaks to Marin City’s historical significance within the African American community dating back to 1942 when the Bechtel Company built a housing center for its employees during World War II to help meet the demand for new ships. When the war ended, many of the African American shipyard laborers who had migrated from the Southern United States became permanent residents of Marin City either by choice or due to various racial discriminatory laws limiting housing opportunities in other parts of Marin County (Source: Marin City Development Corporation). The organization now operates 3 different locations throughout the Bay Area including its flagship location in Marin County, the Bayview Clinic in San Francisco, and a women’s health clinic in San Rafael. Marin City Health and Wellness Center is also on pace to open a new location at 100 Philips Drive in Sausalito in 2021 which will provide patients with high-quality primary medical care services, dental care, behavioral health care and recovery services in a beautiful, modern, and technologically advanced setting. The Bayview Clinic in San Francisco has a rich history of providing health care services in one of San Francisco’s historically black neighborhoods. For decades, the clinic was led by Dr.... Read More

The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. At the inauguration, we heard words that echoed deep within our bones and stirred our hearts. These are words that bear repeating again and again. Here is Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb. When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. And the norms and notions of what just is Isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished. We the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one. And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge a union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even... Read More

Thank you Corporate Members!

Thank you Corporate Members!

At the end of this year, Vesper Society will move from a two-tiered governance structure to one board of directors.  This is a significant event in the life of our organization and we wanted to honor this moment. Governance structures can sometimes be a bit of a mystery in the nonprofit world. In our case the Corporate Members for decades oversaw a complex organization with multiple boards of directors and programs. In the late 1990s, under the leadership of Barbara Varenhorst, Vesper Society began to streamline the organization and in 2001 became a private operating foundation. We express our gratitude to the current Corporate Members: Eric Reynolds, Rod Lorimer, and Randy Schieber for entrusting the future of Vesper Society to its Board of Directors. We acknowledge our living former Corporate Members: Barbara Varenhorst, Bob Skare, Judy Larsen, Tony Tanke, and Ted Carlstrom. We celebrate the lives of our legacy Corporate Members: Bob Cummings, George Spindt, Bob Brorby, and Mel George. Please join us in thanking all Corporate Members for their steadfast dedication and service to Vesper Society through all these decades! We wish you and your families a healthy holiday filled with love and goodness. Miyoko Oshima,... Read More

Welcome Ancestral Guard!

Welcome Ancestral Guard!

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. We have linked arms with Ancestral Guard in Del Norte County (north of Humboldt County) to create long-term solutions for a healthy future. Ancestral Guard is an indigenous organizing network focused on youth empowerment and environmental advocacy.  We interviewed its co-founder, Samuel Gensaw. (Photo credit:  Ancestral Guard.) We love the name Ancestral Guard.  Where did the name come from and how did it all start? When I was sixteen years old, a group of us were known as the “smokehouse boys” because we regularly smoked the fish we caught. Then someone asked, “what about the girls?” In response I wrote “ancestral guard” in my notebook. At the time I was thinking that we need to protect our children who will someday become someone’s ancestor.  We are making sure our future ancestors will be strong and healthy. Food sovereignty is essential for your community because it is difficult to access healthy foods. What are you doing to solve that problem? We were determined to create victory gardens for expectant mothers so they would have access to fresh foods.  We secured property to build the gardens, cleared the location using heavy machinery, contracted with a nursery to start the seeds, and consulted with a master gardener along the way. Now we are producing cabbage, snow peas, green and purple beans, squash, pumpkins, arugula, lemon cucumbers, carrots, dino-kale, and broccoli. Ancestral Guard members are taking fresh produce boxes to families living in Yurok tribal housing in Klamath and Crescent City. One family said “Before they began delivering veggies to our family, we didn’t have any access to fresh produce in our area. Now we get fresh meats and vegetables delivered right to our house.... Read More

Clinical Laboratory Services at United Indian Health Services

Clinical Laboratory Services at United Indian Health Services

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. We have linked arms with United Indian Health Services (UIHS) in Humboldt County for the past five years to serve the Native American community. Vesper Society extends its gratitude to the health care providers and clinic employees who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deploying essential medical equipment is an important part of delivering quality health care and we are thrilled that Vesper Society was able to support the expansion of laboratory services at UIHS. We interviewed John Reeves, CEO, and Kristie Madden, Laboratory Manager. What challenges was UIHS facing with the clinical laboratory services? UIHS outsourced its laboratory services to a third party where specimens were flown to southern California for analysis. Providers had to wait an average of three to five days for results. On some occasions the sample had to be retaken and it was hard to get patients to come back. At other times we had to wait over two weeks for the results which is too long if a patient needs immediate attention. We wanted to improve the turnaround time for laboratory results to provide same day or next day diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and medication adjustment. This is important for our rural community where some patients live in remote areas and transportation is difficult. How did you expand the clinical laboratory services? We installed instruments for hematology, immunochemistry instrument, urine culture, and molecular sexually transmitted disease. In addition, we upgraded the laboratory information system to accommodate more complex testing. We were so excited about the new analyzers that we nicknamed them “Big Momma” and “Bob.” What was the impact of installing this new lab equipment? In one quarter, we performed 3,800 tests. We... Read More

Street Level Health Project responds to COVID-19

Street Level Health Project responds to COVID-19

Vesper Society believes a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being.  We have linked arms with the leaders of Street Level Health Project to create a healthier, more sustainable future for migrant communities in Oakland, California. Street Level Health Project is an Oakland-based grassroots organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area.  Since 2002, they have been responsive to the needs of day laborers, low-income to no-income, uninsured, under-insured, and recently arrived immigrants.  Many day laborers have no social safety net to fall back on, and Street Level Health Project provides an array of vital resources to the immigrant community. The circumstances of COVID-19 have exacerbated the well-being of day laborers in California.  Due to the nature of their work, issues of food insecurity, intensified health issues such as chronic illness, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in the immigrant community.  During the beginning of the shelter in place that began in Alameda County on March 17, workers reported that jobs decreased by as much as 90% at the six hiring sites throughout Oakland. In Alameda County, COVID-19 is impacting people of color the most.  Street Level Health Project is located in zip code 94601, Fruitvale which has the highest number of cases in the county, particularly among Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. As a grassroots organization, Street Level Health Project has been guided by the community’s needs.  The organization immediately pivoted its programming to create a support hotline that fields calls. They have conducted community outreach and wellness checks for over 600 community members. Staff and volunteers distributed food bags, reusable masks, sanitization resources, diapers, hot meals, clothes and other essentials on a weekly basis. Over 2,421 support bags have been... Read More

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