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Remembering George Spindt (1920-2016)

Remembering George Spindt (1920-2016)

To make a contribution in the world: This was George Spindt’s desire across his almost 70 years of ministry. In Vesper Society, where he served as an executive and board member, he found kindred spirits who shared his ambition. Born on June 21, 1920, George grew up in Pasadena and attended Trinity Lutheran Church where he assisted the pastor with worship alongside Vesper Society cofounder Bob Cummings. In 1949, George went to Germany as director of a refugee resettlement for the Lutheran World Federation where he was immersed in the challenges of post-war Europe and the role of the church in building a new society. George returned to the U.S. in 1951 and led churches in Tucson, Arizona, and Van Nuys, California. A tragic 1957 midday plane crash on a junior high school playing field in the Southern California community of Pacoima highlighted the need for a local hospital. A group of congregations mobilized to launch Pacoima Memorial Lutheran Hospital and George served on the hospital’s board.  It was this connection that led to the eventual sale of San Leandro Memorial Lutheran Hospital to Vesper Society. In 1963, George became pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Redwood City, California. After Pacoima Memorial purchased San Leandro Memorial, George became a point of contact for the troubled venture in Northern California. George had stayed in contact with Bob Cummings who was now in real estate development and was providing management consulting services with a mutual friend, Gene Heckathorn. After Gene and Bob founded Vesper Society in 1965, George connected them with San Leandro Memorial’s banker, and in 1966 Vesper Society took over formal management of San Leandro Memorial Hospital. Gene and Bob regarded the hospital as a laboratory for lay leaders to work out their vocation in the world.  And George... Read More

Welcome Imperial Valley 4-H

Welcome Imperial Valley 4-H

At Vesper Society, we are dedicated to long-term solutions that help communities help themselves. One example of this is the University of California Cooperative Extension’s (UCCE) 4-H youth development program in Imperial County. Around the world, 4-H encourages young people and adults to volunteer. Through service learning—a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection—members learn civic responsibility and strengthen their communities. 4-H youth who excel in leadership and community service are selected to serve the 4-H Youth Development Program as a 4-H All Star—a leader among the organization. And Imperial Valley 4-H’s five-day Team Camp Council program helps youth foster awareness and behavior change in areas related to environmental sustainability. Learn more about Imperial Valley 4-H here. Miyoko Oshima,... Read More

Introducing IVROP Project RISE

Introducing IVROP Project RISE

Bordering on Mexico, Imperial Valley youth work towards a better future. In a county with a 21% unemployment rate, and where agriculture accounts for 49 percent of all employment, the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program (IVROP) is a public education service that introduces students to new career opportunities and teaches them technical and life skills. It was formed by seven unified school districts in collaboration with the Imperial County Office of Education. One of IVROP’s projects, Project RISE (Relationships Inspire Success and Excellence), aims to create an asset building culture that contributes to the educational developmental of young people. They do this by engaging schools, social services, health care organizations, and businesses in Imperial County. In January 2015, with support from Vesper Society, Project RISE surveyed over 1,100 Imperial County high school freshmen attending Brawley Union, Central Union, and Southwest. The survey, the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP), was developed by Search Institute and has been administered to more than 5 million diverse children and youth to date. It identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. As a result of Project RISE’s survey in Imperial County, a group of freshman students created the Brawley High School Asset Ambassadors “Wild Cats in Action” after attending a three-week Leadership Asset Training course. Their projects included attending the Brawley Parks and Recreation Summer Camp in 2016, where they were each assigned a group of young people to mentor and were able to apply their leadership skills in group activities. Vesper Society believes that the future well-being of our communities lies in the hands of our youth. Tomorrow’s leaders need support and encouragement to make maximum impact on our communities. With support from Vesper Society, IVROP’s Project RISE has established long-term... Read More

Welcome Women’s Community Clinic

Welcome Women’s Community Clinic

At Vesper Society, we seek out overlooked communities and help them devise ways to create a healthy future. One of the ways we do this is by supporting the Women’s Community Clinic (the Clinic) in San Francisco. Though San Francisco is known as a thriving and prosperous city, many of its residents—especially low-income, homeless, and marginalized women—have limited or no access to preventative healthcare. The Women’s Community Clinic, founded in 1999 by a group of volunteer graduates from the UCSF School of Nursing, believes that preventive, educational care is essential to lifelong health and that all women deserve excellent healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. The Clinic works hard to ensure that each client feels comfortable and safe in a warm and welcoming environment. Their treatments are culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and tailored to each client’s needs and circumstances. Learn more about the Clinic here. Miyoko Oshima,... Read More

Welcome New Board Members!

Welcome New Board Members!

We are delighted to welcome two new directors to the Vesper Society Board this year, Irene Heinemeier and John Larson. Both new directors attended the City of Oakley Youth Summit last November where they saw our core value of service in action. Vesper board members conducted workshops for middle and high school students and volunteered as room monitors. Irene Heinemeier has been in healthcare her entire career, first as a medical technologist and the last thirty years in healthcare administration in California, Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland. John Larson is a speaker, teacher, and motivator who began his journalism career at the Boston Globe in 1979 and was an NBC correspondent for 14 years. Learn more about board members Miyoko Oshima,... Read More

Light The Way

Light The Way

Recently, we created a new brochure to celebrate Vesper Society’s 50th anniversary. We hope you’ll take a moment to read it and join us in reminiscing about our past and looking ahead to our future. Within the brochure, we see a photo of four children running across a field, evoking Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Such is the essence of Vesper Society. Through the years, we’ve been faithful to a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. Our dedication to strengthening communities runs deep, and we will continue to apply our partnership approach to improve the lives of our neighbors. We look forward to introducing our fabulous partners in California to you in the coming year. During this holiday season, we are grateful to have you in our circle of friends and it gives us great comfort to know you are engaging in acts of compassion to heal our world. May we find a way towards peace. Miyoko Oshima,... Read More

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