Thursday, January 22, 2015

Homeless Vets Get “Hand-Up” Not a “Hand-Out”



MC Volunteer Bob Sitzwohl's video “East Bay Stand Down: Forgotten Faces” is live on Youtube and playing on our channels.   The video captures a four-day event that takes place every two years at the Alameda Fairgrounds.   The Military, the US Department for Veterans Affairs (“VA”), corporate donors and civilian volunteers join forces to stage Stand Downs across America which provide essential services for homeless and at-risk Veterans.

Nationally, estimated numbers for homeless veterans run as high as 250,000.  In the Bay Area, the VA reports that 7000 veterans are living on the street.  In addition to providing food, showers, shelter, clothing and new personal items like backpacks, the Veterans receive dental, medical and psychological services. Posted signs state “There Will No Arrests Made At The Stand Down.”  Insuring a safe experience is an important guarantee for homeless veterans, many of whom, not surprisingly, suffer from PTSD.  Social workers, financial advisors, lawyers and even county judges are on the spot to advise and in many instances provide immediate solutions to problems such as debt relief, clearing up misdemeanors, driver's license renewal and finding permanent housing and jobs.   Bob points out that on their own veterans don’t know where to begin to resolve financial or legal issues that keep them out of the work force. By bringing judges for 8 of the 9 Bay Area counties to the Stand Down, veterans receive immediate relief.

Organizers of EBSD do not understand why San Mateo has declined to send judges since the program’s inception in 1999.  Vets with legal problems in San Mateo County do receive legal advice but are unable to get on-site assistance from a judge in clearing up their record.  Other than that, Bob said it was amazing to see how quickly and efficiently all these people coming together could solve problems that seem insurmountable to a Vet.  That is the miracle of the Stand Down.

Bob has personal reasons for his involvement.  He is a Veteran and he was homeless in the mid to late seventies. He came out of the Navy disillusioned and lost.  Bob says that he can relate to homeless vets:  “Most of them really don’t understand how they came to be homeless or why they are homeless, whether it’s through loss of loved ones, PTSD or they went in broken and came out even more broken.  It’s hard to understand unless you’re in it.  I want people to empathize with homeless veterans.  They did all they could to protect us.  It’s time for us to honor that contract.”

To learn more about East Bay Stand Down visit: http://eastbaystanddown.org or feel free to collar Bob in the hallways when he's volunteering here at your local cable access TV station.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lifetime Warranty Gifts

Tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow many of us will be opening gifts.  Others of us opened our last Hanukkah gifts last night.  We’ve all occasionally stopped unwrapping to affirm to one another that the best gifts don't come in packages……health, love, etc.  

This year,  I’m very aware that I got five precious, un-box-able gifts over the months leading up to our second storytelling salon called “Foreign Correspondents: Immigrant Odysseys.”  Five people shared their personal stories with me and allowed me to help them shape 10-minute performance pieces that they gave freely to an audience at the Media Center, November 20th.

Their stories included daring escapes from oppressive armies and or poverty as well as amazing accomplishments - ranging from one septuagenarian woman’s first time in a voting booth to one man’s involvement in the first moon landing.  It was a great privilege to be let into their lives and their stories were gifts that they opened for me.  


Four of them presented their stories in the Media Center’s TV Studio.  One had to cancel because his traumatic story unleashed a terrifying wave of PTSD even 35 years later.  He allowed me to tell a story about him that included some of what he’d shared with me.  I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know these five neighbors of ours on a deeper level and I’m certain that the audience at our salon felt the same way.


If you would like to receive another gift over these holidays then I encourage you to open up one or more of the links below and immerse yourself in the stories – no gift wrap to recycle.  If you are surrounded by family and your time is completely booked then I encourage you to sit down with a relative and ask for their story. You’ll get a gift that will last your whole life.


Al Kuhn recounts the amazing trajectory of his life.....from his family's escape of Nazi Germany to a remote mountain in Bolivia...... and decades later helping the US land a man on the moon.

Liz Gulevich tells a captivating story about the empowerment of her immigrant mother during her sunset years in Palo Alto, California.

Roberto Munoz shares the details of his passage over the border from Mexico when he was 15.

Amber Stime tells how a bomb altered her life path from Ethiopia to Minnesota.

This is a story I told (with permission) about one of our storytellers who had to withdraw from the event due to the PTSD his story triggered.


The stories are part of a larger project called Made Into America featuring an archive of family stories of immigration throughout US history.  Come visit the web site and read about some of your neighbors.  You can even subscribe to the site to get new (mostly written) stories as they appear (never more than one a day).

shared by Elliot Margolies of the Media Center


Monday, November 17, 2014

9th Biannual Zoomie Awards - The Double O's Have It!

Toni and Becky Unveil The Zoomies Perpetual Plaque
The Media Center's Zoom In Video Production Collaborative celebrated its community of producers Saturday night, November 8 at its 9th Biannual Zoomie Awards Gala in the MC Studios.  Zoom In diehards, friends and family of our field producers joined us for an evening of screenings, conversations, and applause.  It seemed to be the night for double O's at the Zoomies.  Toni Gooch and Margaret Yoon took top honors to have their videos immortalized on the Zoomies Plaque.

This season's panel of judges was made up of three legacy Zoomers: playwright Lessa Bouchard, Community Activist and Booster Joyce McClure, and Management Consultant and MC Volunteer Beth Charlesworth plus MC Board Member Sue Purdy Pelosi.  They met the week prior to the Zoomies and reviewed 26 videos produced since the last ZOOMIES held in May.  Based on their review, finalists in the graduate category were:

Visiting Deer Hollow Farm, Toni Gooch
Rustridge, Bob Sitzwohl
Bring Back Our Girls, Renee Marchol
Litquake, Margaret Yoon
Volunteering at Deer Hollow Farm, Toni Gooch

And Finalists in the student category were:

College Track, Jackie Gallagos
What Are You Waiting For, Ana Angel
Silent Train, Monica Womack
What’s in a Name, Eric Brown
Running For Success, Jason Auzenne
The Art of Procrastination, Alexis Faust
College Track, Norma Capi

After each video was screened, the videomakers joined host Becky Sanders at the front for a lively discussion with QandA about their video.

Frazier, Monica and Becky discussing SILENT TRAIN.

In the graduate category, Toni Gooch's video about Volunteering at Deer Hollow Farm was tapped for Overall Excellence.


Toni's video about visiting Deer Hollow Farm won the Audience Award.



 Community Impact went to Margaret Yoon for her coverage of Litquake at the JCC.   Margaret was not able to join us in person as she was out of town, but the tech team (Scott Van Duyne, Stan Ng and Bill Dimitri) G-chatted her in on the big screen to hear the news of her award.



In the student category, Running for Success by Jason Auzenne won for Overall Excellence and the two College Track Videos by high school students Jackie Gallagos and Norma Capi and Silent Train by Monica Womack TIED for Community Impact.  The Audience Award went to Alexis Faust for her whimsical "Art of Procrastination."

Jackie, Norma, Becky, Jackie's mom Sylvia and Alexis
While the audience awards were being tabulated by the tech staff, we viewed a video about international craftsmen and craftswomen attending the International Folk Art market.  The annual event in Santa Fe provides access to the US market to artists who usually have little way to get their work distributed beyond their own villages, much less to the world.  This video has become somewhat controversial as it depicts Palestinian weavers creating and selling their wares.   Take a look and see if you think this video makes a political statement.  How or why and would you change it, and if so what would you do?  Let us know!  Helping impoverished people find a way to sell their work is something that producer Beth Charlesworth (an avid folk art fan herself and collector) believes is very important.  And she dedicates a significant amount of time and resources each year interviewing the artists in hopes of bringing more attention to these amazing creations and their creators.




Per usual, the Zoomies would not have had that touch of glamour they did without the underwriting of Vicky Ching of Ming's who donated two dim sum platters plus gift certificates for prizes for our winners.   Joyce McClure's Catered by Ladybugs provided elegant snacks and beverages to round out the festivities.

Lindon and Joyce
Food provided by Ming's and Catered by Ladybugs!
Thank you to Doug Kreitz for taking the beautiful photos and making them viewable and sharable on SmugMug and thank you Doug for being the reason the Zoom In maintains such stability and sustainability.  You keep improving the formula!   Thank you David Simon for updating and teaching the Editing exercise for ZOOM IN. Thanks to Stan and Scott and Bill -- for giving us that look and feel we depend on at the Zoomies.

Folks visit http://midpen.smugmug.com/Media-Center/ZoomIn/9th-Biannual-Zoomies-Awards/ to view all the pictures Doug posted from our gala.

Peter, Henry and Rich enjoy the fete.

To watch all of this season's Zoom In videos, view the entire playlist on the Zoom In Youtube Channel.

And a big thank you for all of the team of volunteers and producers that make me look forward to each day's unfolding - changing our community one video at a time, right here at Zoom In!


Monday, October 27, 2014

MC PRODUCERS BRING HOME 9 PLAQUES FROM VENTURA



Of the 16 Media Center programs that were named finalists for the 2014 Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) Awards, 9 were awarded top honors last Friday night at the ceremony at the   Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura, California.  The Awards were the crowning event for the Alliance for Community Media's Western Region Annual Conference.

The Media Center garnered more awards than any other access center.  Staff members Jesse Norfleet and Becky Sanders were on hand to collect the awards and bring them home.   They were so numerous and heavy, they had to split them up.  Sally Rayn was in attendance to accept the award for Talk Art which she co-produced with Nance Wheeler.  Sally became a twice-minted winner with a video that she helped her middle schoolers produce about the drought in Hillsborough. 

The Media Center celebrates these winning videos and congratulations their hard-working producers:

Abilities United Presents Community Connections with Dr. Temple Grandin, produced by Andrea Throndsen (Accessibility-Abled Programming)




Urban Chatter, Urban Scents, produced by Ned Uysal (Animation and Special Effects)




Darkness in Silicon Valley, produced by Misha Lavva and Emma Bridgland (Community Issues)




Youth Philanthropy, produced by Lynne Cudden (Special Audience)




Storytelling to Squirming Buckets of Id, produced by Amanda Kovattana (Documentary)




Toastmasters Bay to Bay: Hsieh and Speakers Tips, produced by Birgit Starmanns and Stan Ng (Educational Access)




Veterans Helping Veterans: What is TBI?  Interview with Dr. Maya V. Yutsis, produced by Sheryl Shaffer (Educational Access)




The Stephanie Herman Show: Conversations with James Redford, produced by Stephanie Herman (Informational Talk Show)




Talk Art: Clay Monoprinting with Martha Casillo, produced by Nance Wheeler & Sally Rayn (Instructional/DIY)











Thursday, October 9, 2014

MEDIA CENTER GARNERS 16 WAVE AWARD NOMINATIONS


16 Media Center programs were named finalists for the 2014 Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) Awards sponsored by the Western Region of the Alliance for Community Media.   An awards ceremony will be held on October 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura, California, as part of the ACM regional conference, taking place October 22-24.  The western region comprises the six states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico and Nevada.


The Media Center congratulates our finalists:

Abilities United Presents Community Connections with Dr. Temple Grandin, produced by Andrea Throndsen (Accessibility-Abled Programming)




Urban Chatter, Urban Scents, produced by Ned Uysal (Animation and Special Effects)




Grief Relief: Golden Gate Bridge, produced by Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley and Alba Misciagna (Community Issues)




Darkness in Silicon Valley, produced by Misha Lavva and Emma Bridgland (Community Issues)




Youth Philanthropy, produced by Lynne Cudden (tapped 3 times - Community Issues, Documentary, Special Audience)




Storytelling to Squirming Buckets of Id, produced by Amanda Kovattana (Documentary)




Toastmasters Bay to Bay: Hsieh & Speakers Tips, produced by Birgit Starmanns and Stan Ng (Educational Access)




Veterans Helping Veterans: What is TBI?  Interview with Dr. Maya V. Yutsis, produced by Sheryl Shaffer (Educational Access)




Toastmaster Time: Youth Leadership Program, produced by George Marshall, Trich Gray and Alan Zoraster (Educational Access)




Heroes of Tango: Homero Manzi, produced by Leah Rogers (Informational Culture)

Heroes of Tango from Alex Roitman on Vimeo.


The Stephanie Herman Show: Conversations with James Redford, produced by Stephanie Herman (Informational Talk Show)




Talk Art: Clay Monoprinting with Martha Casillo, produced by Nance Wheeler & Sally Rayn (Instructional/DIY)




3 Cups of Fun! Episode #3, produced by Nancy Bain & Alba Misciagna (Instructional/DIY)



High Five Fitness: Total Body Bootcamp, produced by Denet Lewis (Instructional/DIY)




Congratulations to our winning producers and to our future and past winners.  We appreciate and celebrate their efforts to transform community one video at a time!


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Thursday, October 2, 2014

LIVE CALL IN SHOW WITH THE NEW-PERINDENT! Students Interview Max McGee


The city of Palo Alto is buzzing with the frankness and accessibility of the newly named PAUSD Superintendent Max McGee. Here’s your chance to meet and speak with the new Palo Alto Unified School District leader, Dr. Max McGee. The live TV show will feature student hosts interviewing Dr. McGee with questions solicited from students and parents, and also during the show from interested callers.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2014 - 6:30-7:30 pm

 View it on Comcast Channel 28, or ATT Uverse Channel 99 or via our Channel 28 webstream at: http://midpenmedia.org/local-tv/watch-now/

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Get Inspired - Local Heroes 2014 - Playing Now on Our Channels and on Youtube


Front Row: Amber Stime, Louise Pencavel; Back Row: Amika Guillaume,
Gregory Novick, April Pekary, Shannon Pekary, Sabrina Watts, Mary Dunn
The Media Center studio was packed for our 8th Annual Local Hero Awards Screening and Reception, Saturday night, May 17.  The event was hosted by producer Louise Pencavel.   Six video profiles were shown to an enthusiastic audience, sharing many meaningful moments including smiles, gratitude, tears, laughter and, perhaps most importantly, a reverence for being in the company of people whose heart for service filled our own.  A Media Center annual highlight, these videos are a must-see for those interested in public service in the Mid-peninsula and beyond; or for those who seek inspiration to change the world and in doing so become a “local hero.”  You will be inspired and encouraged, guaranteed!  Watch this provocative series in its entirety:  http://midpenmedia.org/faces-of-local-heroes .

All of the nominations come from the public, so we encourage you to start thinking about someone YOU might want to nominate for next year’s series.  If you know anyone who lives or works locally and has overcome hardship or contributed over-and-above to the community and has an inspiring story to tell, you’ve got a nomination!

This year’s Local Heroes:

AMBER STIME is a former disabled orphan and the creator of African Cradle, an adoption agency that pairs American parents with Ethiopian orphans.

APRIL AND SHANNON PEKARY gave up lucrative careers in high tech to move to East Palo Alto, where they have created an innovative program that brings together soccer and religion to mentor underserved young people.

MARY DUNN is the creator of a very successful program for troubled high school students in the Sequoia Union High School District.

GREGORY NOVICK emigrated from Russia at the age of 65 and has become an institution among the local Russian Jewish community by helping hundreds of Russian Jews settle in the Bay Area.

AMIKA GUILLAUME is the principal of Caesar Chavez School and Green Oaks Academy in East Palo Alto.

SABRINA WATTS, once a troubled youth in rehab, has become the founder and director of an unusual non-profit organization that brings together troubled teenagers with shelter dogs, providing training, rehab and therapy for both the young people and the pets.

And a warm thank you to Karen Adams, Media Center Production Manager, and her able crew of Lupita Segura, Zbigniew Zee Leo Stanczyk, Steve Hall, Bob Sitzwohl, Eve Sutton, Bill Dimitri, Alma Love, and Cathy Keys for staffing the event.

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