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Guardians' Angels Needed
San Francisco Superior Court appoints guardians for children who need them, for a variety of reasons, including situations where the parents are not available. Afterwards, the court needs to make sure the children are getting the proper care and that guardians have the information they need to carry out their responsibilities.
To handle this monitoring task, the court established the all-volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program in 1994. "We started the volunteer program because there were no public funds to help these children," says Mary Joy Quinn, director of the court's Probate Department. The monitoring program is now recruiting volunteers, to be either records researchers or court visitors.
Records researchers work in the Probate Court, reviewing case files to get the current address and phone number for the guardian and child. Then they prepare a report for the court visitor. Records researchers need to be patient, well-organized, and attentive to detail.
Court visitors actually go to the child's home, to observe how the child is doing and talk with the child and guardian. Later they report their findings on a standard form. For this role, it helps to be a good listener and observer.
Before tackling the job, volunteers get training in how to communicate with children, what to look for on visits, and how to use community resources.
If you have three to four hours a week to volunteer, call the Probate Court at 551-3650 to receive an application.
Lung Cancer Rally
Do you know someone who has lung cancer or who died of lung cancer? Honor them by attending the Rally for Recognition to be held on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon on the steps of City Hall. The rally is one of several across the U.S., and is timed to launch November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
According to rally organizers, lung cancer will kill more Californians this year than breast, colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancers combined, and 26,800 more women will die of lung cancer than breast cancer nationally. In spite of this, the National Cancer Institute spends only $950 per lung cancer death annually on lung cancer research, compared with $8,880 per breast cancer death, $3,667 per prostate cancer death, and $3,192 per colon cancer death. What's more, few states are spending tobacco settlement money on anything to do with tobacco-related illness, let alone on lung cancer research, screening, or patient services.
Speakers at the event will include doctors, lung cancer survivors, anti-smoking activists, and a national expert on the epidemiology of the disease. "Rockin' Lloyd Tripp and the Zipguns" will be on hand to do the musical breaks.
The rally is co-sponsored by UCSF's Thoracic Oncology Program and by the Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE). For more information, call Carolyn Clary-Macy at UCSF at 885-3882 or Jan Healy at ALCASE at 1-800-298-2436.
Indie Film Fest
"I shot again and, well, it hit him. It's like the world stopped -- I didn't see any blood, I didn't see him fall, there was no wind, the clouds were not moving, there was no air -- it was just still, everything was still...."
This chilling statement is from an interview with Jennifer, one of six women chronicled in Blind Spot: Murder by Women. This documentary about women imprisoned for murder is the latest offering from Oscar winners Allie Light and Irving Saraf, both Glen Park residents. The two won the Oscar for In the Shadow of the Stars, a portrait of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, and they more recently made Rachel's Daughters: Searching for the Causes of Breast Cancer, broadcast nationally on HBO.
Blind Spot opens the 16th Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema in a special benefit preview on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theater. From Thursday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 5, the festival continues with more than 70 films and shorts, grouped by common themes, shown at the Roxie Cinema. Closing night (Nov. 5) will feature a special preview screening at the Asian Art Museum of Erica Jordan's new digital feature shot in San Francisco, In the Wake, a drama about a heartbroken woman who finds solace through her art.
Noe Valley is well represented in the festival. Rising Waters, a film by Noe Valleyan Andrea Torrice, documents the effects of global warming on the people of Pacific island nations. It will run on closing night as well, at 5 p.m. at the Asian Art Museum. Corpus Camera (Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 p.m., at the Roxie), by Noe Valley resident Hrabba Sigurion Baldur, explores the tradition of postmortem and funeral photography in Iceland.
Neighborhood denizen Patrick Donohew's documentary Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait is about women coming of age in the Depression and how personal hardships affect family ties. Other local offerings include Ray Rea's 9-minute film Straightboy Lessons and Maria Leech and Dina Marie Munsch's 28-minute film Breaking the Glass: The American Basketball League, 19961998.
The full program and schedule for the festival is available online at www.film arts.org, and in several local coffeehouses. Tickets for opening night are $8 for FAF members, seniors, and disabled, and $10 general admission. Tickets to the opening night cocktail party (after Blind Spot is screened, in the theater) are $40.
Tickets to all screenings at the Roxie Cinema are $6 for FAF members, seniors, and disabled, and $8 general admission. Tickets to closing night screenings at the Asian Art Museum are $7 and $9.
To order tickets, call 552-FILM or visit www.filmarts.org or www.kozmo.com. Day-of-show tickets will also be on sale, depending on availability. The Roxie Cinema is at 3117 16th St., the Castro Theater at 429 Castro St., and the Asian Art Museum in Golden Gate Park.
Finding Your Baby's Spirit
Taking time to prepare emotionally for having a baby may be the biggest gift we can give to our children. So says Noe Valley native Staci Boden, facilitator for a new series of classes at Natural Resources called "Baby Spirits."
Over the course of five weeks, from Nov. 16 to Dec. 18, mothers- and fathers-to-be will discover how to communicate with their baby in utero and grapple with the many issues couples face during the transition into parenthood. Central to Boden's teachings are intuition and "body knowing." Her philosophy, "Practical Spirituality," says that by integrating the mystical and emotional, we can become more balanced and able to make choices.
After graduating from Brandeis University in Boston, Boden got a master's degree in Women's Spirituality from the California Institute of Integral Studies. A mother of two, she chose as her master's thesis "Dancing with the Shadow: Transformational Pregnancy as Practice for Living Daily."
Each class is $18 for Natural Resources members, $20 for nonmembers, and will be held at Natural Resources at 1307 Castro St. from 7 to 9 p.m. The two November classes are titled "Baby Spirits: Connecting During Pregnancy" (Nov. 16) and "Pregnancy as Basic Training for Motherhood" (Nov. 27). A Dec. 4 class will focus on "Becoming a Family": how mothers can balance career and caregiving, and how fathers and partners can co-parent and nurture publicly.
For information about the entire series, call Natural Resources at 550-2611 or check out Boden's web site at www.staci boden.com.
Party for St. Luke's E.R.
For months, a group of Noe Valley elves has been working zealously on the 49th Annual Holiday Musee, a December fashion show, lunch, and auction to benefit the emergency room at St. Luke's Hospital on Valencia Street.
"We're all on the same team," says Carol Maerzke of Diamond Street, who's president of St. Luke's Auxiliary. "If we all work together, we can support St. Luke's Emergency Department. And we can have a lot of fun in the process."
Maerzke points out that St. Luke's operates the only private E.R. in the southern sector of the city, serving about 80 patients a day. Each year the hospital provides $8 million in charity care, and the emergency room has a pediatrician on staff at all times.
Dr. Mark Snyder, the department's medical director and a 22nd Street resident, notes, "We're smaller than the other private emergency rooms, yet we're open 24 hours a day. Our staff work really hard to accomplish that. It's more than a job to them." To that end, the St. Luke's E.R. house jazz band, with Snyder as drummer, will play at the Musee.
The event will also feature fashions and accessories from Jaeger, Alfred Dunhill, Dottie Dolittle, and Hats on Post, and even pet attire from Martin Dollard. The flower arrangements will be donated by Dolores Street resident Bill Fox. "I'm happy to help in any way I can," says Fox.
Janet Bollier, another Dolores Street resident who's been active in the Auxiliary for 13 years, explains the neighbors' commitment to St. Luke's: "Because many of us are members of HMOs, we don't always go to the hospital nearest us, but there are a lot of people in this community who really need St. Luke's, and it's important to support that. Good emergency care is critical for all of us."
The Musee, dubbed "Holiday in the City," will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. For tickets and times, call the St. Luke's Auxiliary at 641-6538.