A Cure for Societal Blues

To cure our societal blues, we escaped to 826 Valencia’s Tenderloin Center for a day of storytelling, pirate gear, and inter-generational bonding.

Episode Notes:

Sponsor: On this segment of Ask Rickey!, we’re following up on the care conversation and finding out the type of roles you could be asked to fill and what to expect. Ask Rickey! is brought to you by Rickey Bowen, CRPC, CEP, financial planner with Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc.

Host + Volunteers:  Shout out to 826 Valencia in the Tenderloin for hosting The Ambassadors Circle’s #DoMoreGood volunteer day! We are also grateful for these folks who are teachers and students, and volunteers who share their thoughts on this episode: Catherine Salvin (teacher), Dominic Green (volunteer), Francisco de Sena (teacher), James Jordan ( volunteer), Rochelle Urzua (teacher), Ronal Cruz (student).

Join the Circle: Join the Circle and connect with like-minded individuals on a mission to inspire and equip our tribes to #DoMoreGood. Click here for member benefits!

Time For Some Action:
Take one day and volunteer. Sample orgs…

South Bay:
Greene Scholars
St. Anthony’s
826 Valencia
Huckleberry House
YMCA's Reach & Rise program in San Francisco

East Bay:
East Oakland Youth Development Center
Hack the Hood
Youth Radio
Urban Ed Academy

Guest Profiles


Kona Lai, Programs Coordinator, 826 Valencia

Kona Lai, Programs Coordinator at 826 Valencia, grew up flying between Taiwan and her hometown in sunny southern California. After studying Spanish at Wellesley College and International Education at NYU, she travelled around the world and worked with youth in France, China, and Ghana. She recently completed both the Camino de Santiago and the Kumano Kodō, two historical pilgrimage routes on opposite ends of the globe. When she’s not dreaming up new ways to connect and learn with students, volunteers, and community partners at 826 Valencia, she can usually be found folding origami, reading fanfiction, and petting cats at the SFSPCA. Personal Website | 826 Valencia Website | 826 Valencia Twitter | 826 Valencia Facebook | 826 Valencia Instagram | 826 Valencia Pinterest


Gerald Richards, Former Chief Executive Officer, 826 National; Founder, Black Unicorn Consultants
Gerald is the former CEO of 826 National where he oversaw the strategic direction, administration and building of resources for affiliate organizations of 826 National. He is currently the founder of Black Unicorn Consultants, which supports diversity in nonprofits by providing executive coaching and consulting to leaders of color, hoping to build the pipeline of staff that are doing the work of helping our communities #DoMoreGood. With more than twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, Gerald is a respected trainer and sought after speaker on topics of youth writing and creativity, and education access. He has also served as an education expert for national marketing campaigns promoting creativity in and outside the classroom. Gerald is also the winner of the 2016 NewsCorp Community Hero Award and a new fellow in the Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellowship. Gerald has a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 826 National Website | LinkedIn | 826 National Twitter | Black Unicorn Twitter | 826 National Facebook | 826 National Instagram | Black Unicorn Instagram


Randy Seriguchi, Jr. , Ambassador; Executive Director, Urban Ed Academy

Randy believes education is the civil rights issue of our times. As the Executive Director of Urban Ed Academy in San Francisco, Randy’s team helps 3rd-5th grade students succeed academically and become productive citizens with the support of their parents, families, schools and communities. Randy is a graduate of American University’s Washington School of Law as well as the University of Michigan. Go Blue! LinkedIn | Twitter


Bita Nazarian, Executive Director, 826 Valencia

Bita earned her BA in English literature and her MA in Education from UC Berkeley. She has been a passionate educator in SFUSD for eighteen years, serving as a teacher, leader, and administrator. She currently supports new school administrators by facilitating a class for UC Berkeley’s Leadership Support Program. Bita fell in love with 826 when the organization established its first Writers’ Room at Everett Middle School in 2003, and then was ecstatic to build a second Writers’ Room at James Lick Middle School, where she was principal. Bita joined 826 Valencia’s Board of Directors in 2006 and served for five years, three of them as President. She was recently recognized as a Super Bowl 5o Fund’s Playmaker and as one of 7×7 magazine’s 2015 Hot 20. 826 Valencia Website | 826 Valencia Twitter | 826 Valencia Facebook | 826 Valencia Instagram | 826 Valencia Pinterest


Alyssa Aninag, Volunteer Coordinator, 826 Valencia

Alyssa was raised in Stockton, California, the Asparagus Capital of the World. (We’re spear-it-ed!) She studied English and Media Communications at the University of San Diego, and from there headed to the magical “City by the Bay” where she earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco. She joined 826 Valencia in the summer of 2014 as a volunteer, continued as an AmeriCorps VISTA Associate, and is honored to be staying on to support the volunteer outreach efforts of the organization. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

What’s the 411:

Top 5 Events:

  • Sunday, October 1 • 11:00 am - 6:00 pm, Oakhella's signature Garden Brunch is back by popular demand. Join us on at Bottoms Up Garden for good food, chill vibes, and live music. All your favorites will be there! We're offering pre-sale tickets for $5 online so get yours at the link below today.
  • Sunday, October 1 • 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, The Alex Nieto 2/5 Mile, Walk/Run
    Alex Nieto, 28 years old, was murdered by San Francisco Police March 21, 2014. San Francisco lawmakers later approved a permanent memorial in Bernal Heights for Alex Nieto, the first memorial ever in California dedicated to a victim of a police killing. Donations raised from this Walk and Run will go to build the Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial on the site where he was killed. Registration begins at 9:00 am. There will be food and entertainment. You can also donate to the memorial campaign HERE. Location: Bernal Heights Park, San Francisco • More info
  • Monday, October 9 • 5:00 - 9:00 am, Indigenous Peoples' Day Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz
    Sponsored annually by the International Indian Treaty Council, Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering is a commemoration of the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz by the “Indians of All Tribes.” Tickets cost $11 (children under 5 free) and the ticket booth opens at 4:15 am with boats departing from Pier 33 at 5:00 am, 5:15 am, and 5:30 am. Purchase tickets online in advance. Location: Alcatraz Island, Ohlone Territory, San Francisco • More info
  • Saturday, September 30  • 6:00 - 9:00 am, Run With the Zombies 5k, September 30, at Kelley Park in San Jose. Tickets
  • October 6-8 • 12:00 - 7:00 pm, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Oct 6-8 in Golden Gate Park • More info

Production Credits:
Sound Design by Courtney Grace with Hosts Becca, LT, Christianne Harder and j-
Guest Relations by Andrea Rush with Production Assistance by Jen Huynh
Content Development by Sophia Cross
360BayArea Intro Music by Courtney Grace with vocals by ElleT

Featured Music + Clips:  
Courtney Grace - Ask Rickey Theme Music, What’s the 411 Theme Music                                       
Tinker Material “Play Pause Stop
Marcos H “Beach House
Nomadic XXL “Party On
D.A.H. Trump “Sungazing,” “Mm Mm Mm,” “Waiting For You,” & “Hanakotoba
Ross Bugden “Epic Pirate Music
Optimistic “Puddles
The French Connection “Stuck in a Loop” and “20 Minutes
Garrett Bevins “As the Light Changes
Yanivi “The Monkey Funk
Drake “Grammys”
K. Solis “Wavy
Beatzunami “Chocolate Muffin
Phil David “We Chillin
Blossom Learning “Quantum
Kyle Preston “Crossing

Last Word:
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher

“The problems we’ve made as a planet, as a community, is depending on politicians to do things for us. Especially as young people, our futures are so directly connected to the way that we address climate change that we have to be at the forefront of the conversation that we’ve traditionally been left out of. So we are demanding that the federal government protect us from the adverse impacts of climate change. There was a motion to dismiss filed by the federal government and by the fossil fuel corporations, and after two different federal judges reviewed the case they denied it. So now we are going to trial on February 5th against the Trump administration demanding they uphold our constitutional rights as American citizens.”

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