Oh What a Night!  Winners: Families Moving Forward Celebration – A Winning Touchdown!

On September 12th, Peninsula Family Service held its Annual Winners Celebration – Families Moving Forward at the extraordinary and elegant Menlo Circus Club.  The setting for the evening was perfect and the night was filled with inspiration, grace, beauty and generosity.

Judy Swanson, the Chair of the Board of Peninsula Family Service started the evening off pitch perfect, setting the stage for the event and introducing our Interim Executive Director, Glen H. Brooks, Jr.

Glen walked us through the comprehensive programs Peninsula Family Service offers  to families in our community and brought our attention to the Peninsula Family Service lapel pin attached to our programs.  By wearing the lapel pin as Glen so proudly does, we affirm the good humanitarian work we do and are reminded that “We all belong to the same family”.

Glen ended his presentation by sharing a heartwarming and informative video on Peninsula Family Service.

After that, American Broadcast Journalist, Jan Yanehiro took the stage and graciously led us through a dynamic program. First up, Bill Hetts, a Peninsula Family Service Honorary Life Board Member.  Bill introduced us to our first honoree of the evening – Ruth J. Wisnom. 

Ruth received special recognition for her unwavering dedication to Peninsula Family Service for the last 48 years!  Ruth was one of the founding members in 1964 of the Hillsborough Auxiliary to Peninsula Family Service and has been active with Peninsula Family Service ever since; from Auxiliary member to board member and now Honorary Life Board Member.

Ruth’s commitment to Peninsula Family Service extends to her family as well. She is joined by two successive generations of family members who also dedicate volunteer service to Peninsula Family Service.  Bill surprised Ruth by inviting her family up to the podium and announcing, “as a result of Ruth and her family’s steadfast commitment and belief in Peninsula Family Service’s mission, The Wisnom Family Award has been established.  This award will be presented periodically to a family or group that exemplifies the same extraordinary commitment to the mission of Peninsula Family Service as the Wisnom Family.”  In addition to the award, Bill presented Ruth with a framed proclamation from Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Office.

The entire room stood and applauded Ruth and her family.  And, as Ruth looked out into the audience, Bill Hetts declared, “there is one thing about Ruth that has never faltered, never wavered, never diminished…her wonderful smile…it’s a smile that makes a sunrise blush!”

Jan Yanehiro, introduced our next honoree, Olivia Muñoz, by sharing Olivia’s story through another short video.

Olivia is a widowed mother of five who in 1999 started working as a custodian at Peninsula Family Service’s Leo J. Ryan Child Development Center and Club Leo J. Ryan School-aged Program in South San Francisco. Before Olivia began working for Peninsula Family Service, she was an active parent-volunteer at the Center where two of her children were enrolled.  It was during that time when her husband became ill and passed away.  Olivia had to find a way to support her five children on her own so began to work as a custodian at the Center.  Now, 13 years later, she is a teacher’s assistant at the Center alongside three of her children who also teach there, and five of her grandchildren who are enrolled as students.

Liliya Sergiyenko and Ann Torres from Peninsula Family Service presented Olivia with the Families Moving Forward Award.  Judy Swanson stated, “Olivia demonstrates what one can do with courage, determination and the support of Peninsula Family Service to move one’s family forward.  We are so very proud to honor Olivia!”

As the evening progressed, Jan welcomed our special guest speaker to the podium, former San Francisco 49er, Brent Jones!  Brent’s love of sports and commitment to giving back to his community has provided many children with opportunities to participate in sport activities they wouldn’t necessarily have.

Brent delivered a winning touchdown presentation!  His message was simple, yet powerful – live each day outside your comfort zone because that’s the only way you can get improve what you do; get off the sofa and get involved; take a chance, whether it’s in fundraising or in your program get out of your comfort zone – that’s how you will stay sharp!

Lastly, we moved into the Fund A Need.  This year, Leo J. Ryan Child Development Center and Club Leo was the recipient of the Fund A Need and we were honored to have Congresswoman Jackie Speier visit the Center and talk to us through video.  She very graciously shared her personal connection to the Center and to Congressman Leo J. Ryan with the students and teachers and reminded all of us to never give up!

Thanks to Jan Yanehiro and Board Member Diane Kounalakis for helping make the Fund A Need so successful!

The evening was truly magical.  There are so many people to thank who made the event a success.  We would be amiss to leave out our lovely volunteers, Erica, Ali, Lizzie, Ivette and Tomasine – greeting the guests and helping with the Fund A Need brought so much to the night.  And, Mindy Rosenberg, your flowers and center pieces were a work of art – you are truly an artist!

Finally, thank you to our sponsors and everyone who attended – it was quite a night!

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