Growing Green Hands Dinner &
"Listen to a Life" Essay Awards
Sat.-Nov 20th, 4-6pm. Eagles Club
RSVP 415 657-9858--$9 Advance, $10 at the door.
Proceeds support the GGH work in Brisbane Schools
The below is a response from Tamberly Mott, Executive Director of Growing Green Hands.
I’m all too happy to respond to your questions and concerns.
“IS this event actually raising funds for kids? “
The event – a Benefit dinner hosted at the Eagles club tomorrow 11/20 from 4-6pm is in fact raising funds that will directly benefit the youth of Brisbane, as well as all of the students in the Brisbane School District. And because this program provides community service opportunities for the youth--to teach them the value of giving (reducing entitlement) and civic responsibility, the whole community profits from such activities. However, GGH is an “intergenerational” program and is not limited to serving youth and teaching them to serve others. As our capacity grows, so will the services to the needy elderly in our community.
“What does GGH actually do for kids in Brisbane schools?”
Growing Green Hands currently provides support services at Brisbane Elementary, Panorama, and Lipman Middle School. The need for such services became apparent to me 3 years ago, when I first began providing hundreds of hours of Pro Bono counseling services at Lipman. Driven by the needs of the school district, GGH which was initially conceived as a Mentoring program, developed very quickly into a multi-program organization. By and large, although many community members have indicated some interest in the mentoring program, volunteers have not stepped forward. Consequently, although we are in need of mentors, other services were developed to address needs of youth, until mentors can be recruited and trained. Now, in our second year providing district wide services, GGH provides qualified professional staff 2 days a week at BES, one full day a week at Panorama, and 4 plus days a week at the middle school. In addition, we have added an after school program at Lipman two days a week. We also offer a program to support youth and families when a student has been suspended at school- Alternative to Suspension(ATS). The ATS program alone, gives each family involved service hours that equal $600 per family. Except for GGH After School, (which charges a minimal fee of $50 per trimester), all the services GGH provides is free to the community. GGH also offers scholarships to families with financial hardship, who are unable to pay for the after school fee. The fee covers a fraction of the cost of such a program, but GGH is not a for profit program.
“Are the people running this program good role models for the kids they say they are serving?”
I am very proud of the people who are on the GGH team. I will not detail the full team here in this response, but I would like to share that we currently have 3 fully licensed Therapists, 2 Master’s level pre-licenced counseling Interns, and a Certified Horticultural Therapist-providing direct services and training to other GGH volunteers. All staff and volunteers have submitted themselves to full DOJ background checks and fingerprinting. All staff and volunteers go through a screening process to be certain they are good role models and are the right fit for such an important program. GGH team members such as Sam Moreau, Mary Stodder, and Paul Bouscal, who all have major roles in GGH, are long-time Brisbane residents. I believe their reputations speak for themselves.
“What transparency in funding and spending does this non-profit provide the schools and us the public?”
We have Board meetings the 1st Wednesday of every month at my office (44 Visitacion Ave., Suite 105), which are open to the public. We are more than glad to be transparent about our funding and spending with the community and adhere to all the reporting requirements by the IRS. We are also scheduled to present our program to the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce luncheon in January-where the community can learn more about us and ask us any additional questions.
“I like the idea of GGH but if you visit the website you can't and haven't
been able to pull up the home page for over 4 months. There are no
activities listed in the calendar including this event and no activities have
been listed since before June 2010.”
You are correct in saying we have not given our web site the appropriate attention that it deserves. This is because we have been more concerned about meeting actual needs, than with “virtual” advertising and marketing. I agree with you that we need to do more in the way of technology and marketing, so that the community can see what our organization is doing. In spite of having limited staff and very limited community support, we have still rallied to grow our program even without much spending on web development. We are in need of a Media Chair-person who can help us keep up with a web presence.
“There is no current evidence that our donations are serving youth and not the director or possible the board members of GGH. In today's techno world it is vital, if you are truly striving to serve and promote service to youth, to have an effective, current, and interactive web presence. Yet this group created a web presence and then either abandoned or discarded their own website.”
I am not certain how to respond to this statement. A beautiful and interactive web presence does not necessarily equal evidence that a program is doing what it says it is doing.
“When this program was introduced there was much talk of community but now the community may be left holding the empty bag of promises while others, behind the scenes, profit from our communities generosity. To date the hype hasn't met the reality with only a few served and even less
mentors recruited. It would not be the first time persons, even with good intentions, beguiled the duped a community at the same time.”
We easily serve over 100 youth from Brisbane and Daly City, however, you are correct in saying we have not been successful in recruiting mentors. After the program was introduced, early supporters dropped off and initial interest in mentoring waned. The need for mentors has not waned…in fact, more than ever, I’m convinced that there is a growing need for mentors among our local youth. I cannot tell you how many nights I have lay awake wondering why such a wonderful community such as Brisbane cannot produce more mentors. We hoped many more individuals would step up as mentors, as there are many long-time Brisbane folks who have much wisdom to offer and much to share with our younger generations. We offer excellent training and support for our mentors, and we will be increasing our efforts to recruit mentors in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in supporting our efforts and/or if you have needs that can be met by our organization.
Best Regards, Tamberly Mott, Executive Director
Thank you Mrs Mott (I'm guessing it's Mrs Mott related to the Mr. Mott who is chairman of GGH board) for your response. I was glad to read that GGH staff is vetted to a high moral and integrity standard. I appreciate the strong example of fidelity and responsibility/commitment you and your husband promote and model to our youth and our community. I'm glad that Christian standards, upon which our country has been based and formed, are up front and central to you and your organization.
So to boil down your response you are primarily providing psycho therapeutic counseling services to our youth in our schools. You are primarily staffed by, "3 fully licensed Therapists, 2 Master’s level pre-licenced counseling Interns, and a Certified Horticultural Therapist-providing direct services". My new questions are: Does the licensed therapist volunteer their services? Is there professional supervision of the counseling Interns and is this supervision provided for free by GGH? Does GGH provide all the great sounding services (ATS, after school program, and a total of 8 days a week in our schools) to our schools for free or is there a private contract for GGH services within the schools?
If GGH is truly providing much needed services to our school students for free then this is a very worthy non-profit.
But, if GGH is a non-profit cover for a few professionals (w/o competitive bidding) to make their income on our tax dollar supported schools budget all dressed up and promoted as a green (a new funding buzz word) program, well I might have some problems with that type of bait and switch sales pitch. Especially when honesty could be much more powerful and rewarding.
That said, I'm having trouble finding the "green" part of this non-profit organization. I read about your desire to meet community needs and the sleepless nights incurred over the past 3 years as you grew GGH. I saw the students who spent an hour in the park, last month, cleaning and I applaud such but an hour here and there is not really "green" enough to promote as being actually green based, beyond a love of the ecology and environment. Is there a garden, is your group responsible for a section of community clean-up through out the year? Do you promote and oversee recycling programs on the campuses you serve? Those could be "green" applications and activities for your group.
One more question regarding funding, have you applied for "green" or mental health funding, to support your services to our youth, from governmental(MediCal/MediCare) and private (insurance/foundations) funding sources? If you and GGH are what you have presented to this community to be, how can Brisbane improve your grant leverage?
In today's world not every organization is what it presents to be and while big words and nuanced language("reduced entitlement", "civic responsibility", "inter-generational", "needy elderly" for example) can seem to be something great. However, often the reality is not as sold to the community. Some red flags peaked my curiosity, all power in this organization revolves around your Mrs. Mott and any and all contact/comment must pass through you first. Lots of talk about intentions but little actual environmental interactive/educational results. If the majority of the "over the 100 youth served" are clients of school-based therapy isn't their confidentiality being compromised when they appear as a GGH group? As a community member I'm using this format to examine your community service. Without an agenda I anticipate either to rally praise or question/expose areas of concern.
I do appreciate your interest Piper. And I do believe the City Blog can be a good place to exchange some communications, as it provides an opportunity to connect with our community members at large. However, I am not convinced that this is the best way to satisfy your curiosities and concerns for a couple of reasons. First, while I very much enjoy writing, off the cuff I relate much better to people by speaking in person. I am a face to face communicator first and foremost. This program would not be in place if it were not for the many hours I spent talking in person to the people who would need to know about what I wanted to do here in Brisbane, why, and how. Many of the questions you pose I have already answered, very pointedly and in great detail, to those who also graciously gave me an opportunity to meet in person (e.g. IRS, State Franchise Board, Brisbane City Council Members, School Superintendant Toni Presta and other school board members, principals and school staff members, Mitch Bull and other Chamber Directors and staff, local VIPs such as Bonnie Bologoff and Carolyn Livengood, and Jerry Hill’s Interns and staff, and many more). While ongoing updates and continued transparency are essential to GGH’s future, I must additionally tend to time constraints and other issues that I am forced to balance with these kinds of communications.
Secondly, I am not convinced that this form of communication (public forum blogs) is the ideal way to answer many of your questions. It is very easy to misinterpret someone’s meaning and intent in this format-particularly when there has never been a personal connection. For example, I do not know you and you do not know me. And while I want to believe that you are simply a curious citizen trying to ascertain the credibility of GGH, from the way you have presented your questions, concerns and values, I cannot help but sense some hostility. I read many aggressive nuances and critical overtones/judgment in your words and I am not at all convinced that you do not have an agenda…….even though you state that you do not have one. If we were to have even a single phone conversation, I would know better by the tone and inflections of your voice, what it is you are trying to learn and I could respond more effectively. Sadly, many people hide behind virtual communications and say/write things because they are able to hide behind the veil of the virtual world. I don’t know if you are a man or a woman…I don’t even know if your name is “Piper.” How do I know if you are a person in good standing in this community, a person whom I’d want to answer to? As I stated in my first response, I will be presenting GGH in a program in January at a public chamber event. You are welcome to come and bring your questions and concerns at that time. We will also be scheduling additional meetings to share about our organization and inviting people to join us and/or collaborate with us in the spring.
That said, I do want to invite you to disclose your personal identity and your agenda, along with specific questions that you have and/or call me with your questions if you feel you can’t ask them in public…because I agree that “honesty is much more powerful and rewarding.” I would also invite others reading this thread…to respond with your own questions and or comments regarding GGH. Pro, con, or otherwise curious…let me and others know you are out there. It is my goal that everyone in Brisbane know about and come to trust the GGH non-profit organization because I believe in what we are doing. I value integrity and honesty, and hold myself to the highest ethical standards professionally and personally. If I sense that your questions can be answered here, I will not hesitate to respond. If I sense a hidden agenda and/or if I am limited by time constraints, I will respond by inviting you to join a public meeting or make an appointment to speak over the phone.
Sincerely, Tamberly Mott, GGH Executive Director
IS this event actually raising funds for kids? What does GGH actually do for kids in Brisbane schools? Are the people running this program good role models for the kids they say they are serving? What transparency in funding and spending does this non profit provide the schools and us the public? Where can I find such reporting?
I like the idea of GGH but if you visit the website you can't and haven't been able to pull up the home page for over 4 months. There are no activities listed in the calendar including this event and no activities have been listed since before June 2010. There is no current evidence that our donations are serving youth and not the director or possible the board members of GGH.
In today's techno world it is vital, if you are truly striving to serve and promote service to youth, to have an effective, current, and interactive web presence. Yet this group created a web presence and then either abandoned or discarded their own website. When this program was introduced there was much talk of community but now the community may be left holding the empty bag of promises while others, behind the scenes, profit from our communities generosity.
To date the hype hasn't met the reality with only a few served and even less mentors recruited. It would not be the first time persons, even with good intentions, beguiled the duped a community at the same time.