Each year, the Community Living Campaign honors San Franciscans who volunteer their time and care to make their neighborhoods better places for us to age and thrive together. They are some of the many neighbors who contribute to vibrant communities all over our City. Join us in celebrating the impact these Good Neighbors working with us have had throughout San Francisco. Together, we are keeping our neighborhoods vibrant and connected.
Read about this year’s good neighbors below and watch the accompanying video in the link below each neighbor’s picture.
Cayuga Community Connectors – Marilyn Driscoll
Marilyn has been a fixture in the Cayuga neighborhood for almost 50 years. As a real estate agent, she sold many neighbors their first home. A third-generation San Franciscan, Marilyn loves her hometown, and there isn’t anything she likes more than making people feel welcome in it. When Glenda Hope came to Marilyn for guidance starting the first Connector Program, Marilyn opened her home for early organizing meetings, always supplying refreshments. “I don’t know how we would have gotten the Connectors going without her. – Glenda Hope, Cayuga Community Connector
“When I first had the idea for what became Cayuga Connectors, I went to Marilyn for guidance on who to contact. She knew the ‘hood well, and I left with a long list. She opened her home for early organizing meetings, always supplying refreshments. Pushing her walker, she became a regular participant in those early programs, including exercise classes. She was always ready to talk about the neighbors I had contacted and to give me more names and a little background. I don’t know how we would have gotten the Connectors going without her,” Glenda said. “It is uncanny that with the intent to visit Marilyn either at home or in rehab or the hospital and bring some comfort and fellowship to her, it undeniably always turns out (at least for me) that her attitude brings comfort to me!” – Glenda Hope, Cayuga Community Connector
Neighborhood Tech Connect – Chinese Language – Mingshu Yu
“Mingshu has been our longtime tech class participant since the beginning of the Senior Computer Program. She comes to class regularly and works hard to learn computer skills. She knows learning basic computer skills is very important for seniors. She recommends her neighbors attend our computer classes. She has worked hard to help the neighbors register for the course, get into Zoom, and help them solve their computer problems. She goes to her neighbors’ houses to help them. She did that through the phone with me, the computer trainer. With my help, she helps some of her neighbors come to the class and keep up with the class.” – Wan He Liu – Chinese Connector
Chinese Language Community Connectors – Luona Wang
“LuoNa Wang has been volunteering for our Cultural Program to teach Mandarin since the beginning of the program. She is 82 years old and a cancer survivor. At the beginning of the pandemic, she was diagnosed with cancer. She needed to learn to use Zoom to communicate with her doctors and family. She and I, the trainer, worked together for days, and finally she could get into Zoom. Now that she has recovered from the cancer, she wants to give back to the community and use of her talent as a Mandarin teacher. She volunteers to teach Mandarin to our participants every Wednesday afternoon. Luona says: “Good neighbors should help each other and learn from each other.” – Wan He Liu – Chinese Connector
Inner Sunset Community Connectors – Deborah Thompson
Deborah started our Inner Sunset walks once the lockdown opened to meet outdoors. From the beginning, she was joyful and encouraging to all participants. She has introduced our programming to several friends and has been a key initiator in bringing more people to our Monday Tai Chi in the Gardens. She helps me gather paperwork, suggests important activities to bring us together more, checks on neighbors who are sick or haven’t been around, and always thinks about how to engage us more as a community. She is a major catalyst for bringing neighbors together outside of CLC activities and is key to keeping our community involved and active. I am so grateful for her presence in our lives and look forward to many more years with her influence on our group. – Marina Lazzara Inner Sunset Connector
Merced Extension Triangle Community Connectors – Sue Harless
“Good Neighbors come in many descriptions, and Sue Harless is both special and ordinary. She is special because she always greets us at Merced Extension Triangle Community Connectors (METCC) with a smile and positive energy, participates, and lets me (as the Connector) know when she can’t attend. She’s special in how she takes quiet care of friends and ME neighbors…leaving class right at 11 am to pick up “that” sandwich for her 94/95-year-old friend in time for her lunch… and other ways that we quietly know of. She’s ordinary in that she’s a genuine good neighbor, one that many of us have experienced in our lives and come to expect. Sue is active in the MET Neighborhood Association, has been on the board for several years, and participates in her neighbor’s events such as Neighborfest. Her sense of connection extends to her family, friends, neighbors, and especially her dog pal Finn. Sue’s neighbors in our CLC METCC program nominated her, and we all consider her a good neighbor. Approachable, helpful, friendly, positive, dependable, and accompanied by a well-loved dog (Finn). ” – Laura Atkins, Merced Extension Triangle Connector
Midtown Terrace Community Connectors – Sohair Ammouri Hassan
“Sohair Ammouri Hassan is the Midtown Terrace CLC Good Neighbor of the Year awardee. She is a loyal enthusiast of Midtown. Sohair regularly attended Midtown until family illnesses took her to San Diego and beyond. She has many siblings that she is very close to but not geographically close. Her relatives live in places such as San Diego, Michigan, and even Canada. Her family originated from Lebanon. Sohair stays very busy with exercise, embroidery projects, family, and helping her daughter (who has a high-level and stressful professional position?).
“What is remarkable about Sohair is her enthusiasm and loyalty to Midtown. She comes to exercise and often attends the extra events sponsored by CLC and activities led by Midtown. She participated in the recent FREE Safety workshop, Piano Flowers in Golden Gate Park, and plans to join the Muir Woods bus trip. She demonstrates friendliness and caring for others. She engages in conversation and shares her cultural background, bringing to life the meaning of diversity at CLC. When we celebrated Chinese Valentine’s Day, Sohair enlightened us with the Middle Eastern story of Layla and Majnun. We learned from Sohair that these archetypes cross cultures, languages, and the ages! I am grateful to have Sohair as a friend.” – Nicky Trasvina, Midtown Terrace Community Connector.
Miraloma Park Community Connectors – Michael Burton-Williams
“ Michael is a great photographer! He takes pictures on his travels and publishes beautiful picture books. Michael has many other talents; he is an excellent cook — great enchiladas! His abilities in the kitchen go beyond cooking. Michael is a great baker, and we are so lucky that when Community Connectors get together, Michael provides us with a delicious cake. Michael is also a sweet man. He is caring, sensitive, dependable and never passes up a chance to serve his fellow connectors. He shows up whenever asked. I have enjoyed getting to know Michael over the years and wouldn’t trade the relationship for anything. Michael also serves our community and is always asking what he can do. Michael enjoys our exercise and walking program and is there to take a picture of our connectors on their walks all over San Francisco. I am proud to see that Michael Burton-Williams is our 2023 Good Neighbor.” – Darlene Ramlose, Miraloma pARK
Crocker Amazon Community Connectors – Nancy Tham
“Every year, Community Living Campaign’s (CLC) Connectors get to choose someone for our Good Neighbor Awards — someone who helps out, engages, welcomes all, and helps build our community in the Crocker Neighborhood. This year, I’ve chosen Nancy Tham. I am so grateful for & growing from Nancy’s mentorship and all she does for her exercising neighbors. I am especially thankful for her attention to timing and the multilingual interpreting and translating needs as we grow at Crocker. She’s helped us with initiative, critical feedback, and break-time guidance.” – Lorraine Grumet
“Thank you, Nancy, from one healing heart to another! You’re a wonderful Blossom, recalling from last year how humbly you showed our group the peaceful and balancing Tai Chi positions you selected for us to try. I hope you see how special you are to us and lead us again sometime.” Lorraine Grumet, Crocker Amazon Community Connector
SF ReServe – Daniel Grumet
“Daniel has been a blessing to so many of our neighbors. He routinely offers to help in all the most critical ways — delivering goods, helping set up and break down events, and delivering calendars for our community events. He is the well-known partner of community connector Lorraine at the Crocker Amazon. Daniel’s delivered prepared meals during the pandemic and supports the Sidewalk Search Parties (he even wears his duck inner tube). And one of his many talents includes bringing music to everyone’s ears. Daniel is a trained musician who volunteers for TK community orchestras, bringing music to people all over the Bay Area. He plays the French horn and trumpet. Daniel joined neighbors each week during the pandemic and played as they walked around the streets to visit the housebound. He played many happy tunes and brought happiness and caring by customizing his music: ‘Happy Birthday, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, Happy New Year, and other songs appropriate for the mood or holiday.’
“Daniel has delivered meals weekly to the homebound for the last three years. This required him to pick up at Open Hand and give to each home. He provided a lifeline to these people during such uncertain and challenging times. Daniel exemplifies what it means to be a Good Neighbor; he most deserves this honor.” – Jamie Goddard, Head of SF ReServe
St. Francis Square Connectors – Rolene Walker
“Rolene Walker is a standout community member recognized by her neighbors for her exceptional contributions to San Francisco neighborhoods. Rolene, a long-standing member of St. Francis Square co-op, has played a pivotal role in fostering community connections. One notable initiative she introduced is a walking and talking group, providing a space for residents to engage in physical activity and meaningful conversations. Additionally, Rolene has been instrumental in bringing Stephanie, an exercise professional, to lead weekly sessions, enhancing the well-being of her neighbors.
“Rolene’s commitment extends beyond physical well-being; she actively contributes to the community as head of the futures committee, showcasing her leadership and organizational skills. Beyond her community involvement, Rolene’s musical talent as a harpist adds a unique dimension to neighborhood life, entertaining fellow residents at St. Francis Square.
Rolene, with her multifaceted contributions, epitomizes the essence of a good neighbor, embodying the values of the Community Living Campaign and enriching the lives of those around her.” – Betty Traynor, St. Francis Square Community Connector
Senior Power – Debbie Dyas
“Technically, Debbie doesn’t live in our district. She lives near 26th & Geary. She was recommended to me by Marina 1+ years ago as a Senior looking for ways to be ‘helpful.’ I needed someone to help me with the USPS mailing of my newsletter to my participants who do not have (& are not interested in) access to the internet. I interviewed her & offered her the ‘job.’ She volunteers her time 3x/month: drives to my house, picks up the printed newsletter & takes it home to correlate (including extra fliers, CLC calendars, etc.), puts the proper postage on, hand addresses each one & delivers to a postal box. She is reimbursed for travel (mileage); otherwise, her time, effort & enthusiasm are all donated. Debbie also helps with Senior Power activities. I know she also helps Marina at some of her events.
“Debbie, a senior herself, enthusiastically supports all Senior Power & CLC programs. Her diligence & exacting nature are tempered by her efforts to do the best she can in whatever project she takes on, no matter how humble it might be. She is an inspiration to us all.” – Margaret Graf, Head of Senior Power.
Sidewalk Search Party – Kevin Wallace
” Kevin has reported to 311 the highest number of sidewalk defects within a four-block radius. We want to nominate Kevin Wallace as this year’s Good Neighbor for his outstanding efforts in reporting sidewalk defects within a four-block radius. Kevin has reported the highest number of 311 cases concerning damaged sidewalks. Typically, we receive only a few reports from concerned neighbors, but Kevin went above and beyond by sending me 39 sites to investigate. Kevin possesses the qualities of being determined and well-organized and can get his neighbors involved. An instance of Kevin assisting his neighbors is when he helped organize the Waddle in his community. He used Next Door to advertise and contacted the neighborhood association to coordinate a campaign to repair the sidewalks. Kevin embraces the Connector program’s desire to turn strangers into neighbors and neighbors into friends. Kevin represents CLC – he noticed an issue in his neighborhood and took action to organize and seek outside support to address the issue. He aimed to raise awareness that dangerous sidewalks in one area could also be present in others. ”
– Jennifer Walsh, Head of Sidewalk Search Party
Sunnyside Community Connectors – Tina Gonzalez
“All of us have an opportunity to meet a hero! I have had the chance to meet Tina at the Sunnyside program writing class before COVID. She had powerful stories, and she was always friendly with the seniors at every connector program. Tina is always ready to help others in her community. For example, when she talks to other community members about our program and encourages them to leave the house, she is helping in our mission to end isolation. She participates in several sites’ programming and sends cards to our participants for their birthdays and other occasions. She is a regular at community walks and a great friend to our connectors. I honor Miss Tina Gonzalez as the Good Neighbor from Sunnyside for all those reasons.” – Olivia Franco , Sunnyside Community Connector
OMI Food Network – Eddie Cruz
“The Oceanview-Ingleside Food Network-Community Living Campaign and I are grateful to Eddie. His wonderful and dedicated volunteer work has been instrumental in carrying forth the Community Living Campaign mission of helping and serving seniors and people with disabilities in our Oceanview-Ingleside Community. Eddie’s compassion and dedication to volunteering in our neighborhood are invaluable. The heart he shows to the people we serve inspires us all. I’ve witnessed how much compassion, kindness, and respect Eddie has for everyone, no matter what the situation involves. We know how stressful it can be for people in need, and Eddie’s words and actions go a long way toward helping them keep their dignity. His work has not gone unnoticed. Only with the assistance of local volunteers such as Eddie can the Community Living Campaign meet the challenge of serving Oceanview-Ingleside seniors and people with disabilities. Thank you, Eddie, for all that you do. – Deb Glen, OMI Food Network Connector