Golden Gate Senior Services (GGSS) was established in 1975 to serve the seniors and now, the younger disabled of San Francisco. We were part of the original group of service providers funded by the San Francisco Commission on the Aging. Starting with one donated desk in the back of an Economic Opportunity Council office on Haight Street, our original purpose was to provide outreach to the seniors of this neighborhood. We soon realized San Francisco needed a network of neighborhood senior centers. During the past 34 years, GGSS has established senior centers in the Haight-Asbury, Castro, Noe Valley, the OMI, and the Richmond districts. Presently GGSS operates the Richmond and Castro Multipurpose Senior Centers. Since the early 1980’s GGSS has been integrating developmentally disabled adults into our Centers. In 1994, we established our own program to serve this population – Project Integration.
Our Board of Directors consists of a maximum of fifteen members. Eight of these fifteen are elected representatives from the participants at our two Senior Centers. This ensures that consumers have a majority vote in all Board decisions. Golden Gate Senior Services has been in the forefront of providing compassionate, high-quality, efficient and fiscally responsible services for over 3 decades.
Golden Gate Senior Services does not require membership dues from the participants who come to our two senior centers. There are also no fees for any of the activities provided at the centers. Occasionally we may ask for the cost of materials used in a program. There is also a cost to participants when we go on out-of-town trips. Project Open Hand, our meal providers, asks that seniors make a $2.00 donation for the daily lunch. This is strictly a donation, however, and no one is ever turned away.
GGSS has two major funding sources. We have a year to year contract with the city and county of San Francisco through the Department of Aging and Adult Services. Project Integration serves our developmentally disabled seniors. It is funded by the State of California through Golden Gate Regional Center. From time to time we apply for and receive grants for specific projects. An example of this is our Intergenerational Poetry Program.
We are also very grateful for individual donations. We are a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. Donors may deduct contributions to us and receipts will be given for this purpose.
MEET THE STAFF
Program Director, Richmond Senior Center
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kaleda has served non-profits in San Francisco for more than 20 years. Paying for her college education by working as an independent living counselor for young adults with disabilities would solidify her commitment to a career in non-profit leadership. Upon finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Theater at San Diego State, she flew off to Thailand to serve in the Peace Corps. After her time as a volunteer abroad she returned to the continue her work in education programs serving low-income youth and families. She spent a few years working in animal welfare but found herself drawn back to working directly with people and in 2009 began working with programs serving senior communities and eventually with the Village movement. At the Richmond Senior Center, she aims to build a true community center that will become the hub of inter-generational activities and support for all who wish to continue to live and thrive in the Richmond District of San Francisco.
Program Director, Castro Senior Center
Patrick has worked more than 30 years with seniors and persons with disabilities in support of their efforts towards maintaining independence and the best quality of life possible. With a professional background in counseling and adult education Patrick joined the Castro Senior Center in 2007 drawn partly by the potential for developing exciting new programs and services but mostly for the chance to meet and work with the diverse group of elders who visit the center daily and treat it as a vital part of their lives.
During his time at the Castro Center Patrick has developed a strong exercise curriculum, addressing the health and wellness of seniors. In support of the agency mission and in recognition of the needs of Lesbian-Bisexual-Gay Transgender (LGBT) seniors the Castro Center now offers unique programs and discussion groups for LGBT seniors monthly. Along with the other dedicated staff and volunteers Patrick welcomes all San Francisco seniors to stop by and meet us and see what makes the Castro Senior Center so special.
Program Manager for Project Integration
Karen has a Masters Degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. She has lived in San Francisco for 30 years and is originally from Pennsylvania.
She has worked at Golden Gate Senior Services since 1993. Her position is Program Manager for Project Integration. This program is unique in that its goal is to integrate seniors with developmental disabilities into two generic senior centers in San Francisco.
This program is her “baby”. She wrote the initial grant proposal and nurtured it along over the years. It has been a challenge, but we feel she has achieved many small successes and have positively influenced the lives of the disabled individuals that have attended the center. Karen is most proud of the fact that, on a typical day, one could not differentiate our disabled participants from the non-disabled seniors that attend the centers.
Director, Golden Gate Village
Shelley Wood began working as the Director of our village at the start of April and brings with her a wealth of experience in membership development, volunteer and program management, design and fundraising for nonprofits. She holds a Master of Science in International Business, a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in History and is currently working to obtain an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate from Stanford University. She joins us after many years of working for as Innovation & Business Development Director. She is also a writer working on a book about leadership and community. Beside her impressive credentials she is incredibly easy going and fun to be around. And best of all, she is a Richmond District resident!
Shelley can be reached by emailing Shelley@ggvillage.org
Executive Director of Golden Gate Senior Services
Nick came to San Francisco in January 1968, and, almost immediately, found himself involved in the anti-war movement, the strike at San Francisco State University and many of the social change programs that were starting in the City. The area of health care became a special focus and, as a result, he got involved in the whole “free clinic” movement. He helped build and establish Blackman’s Free Medical Clinic, The Tooth Trip (a free children’s dental clinic), and a free podiatry clinic.
In 1975, Nick was on the Board of Directors of what was to become Golden Gate Senior Services. The following year he was hired as the Executive Director. In this capacity, he is responsible for the establishment, administration, operation, and evaluation of the programs we operate. Over the past 34 yeas, he has been blessed with a very supportive Board of Directors as well as a dedicated Staff.
“I can look up from my desk directly into the main room of our senior center and be constantly reminded of how our programs affect the lives of the people we serve. I am very grateful to have been in this position for more than half of my life. I can honestly say that I have never woken up in the morning with the feeling that I did not want come to work.”