Puente’s 360 Degrees of Community Service in Pescadero

 In Board Member, Where's Bill, Where's James

Puente’s Executive Director, Kerry Lobel (left) and Program Director, Rita Mancera (right)

Bill and James recently took board member Albert Horn to Pescadero for a site visit of the Puente program, which has become the community center for the local population.  Though it is right over the hill from the Peninsula and part of San Mateo County, for those people in need, it might as well be an island off the shores.  The physical and cultural isolation weighs heavily.  There is no doctor or clinic in the community as an example.  For many without transportation, a simple trip to the hospital or to a classroom to take a college course can be insurmountable.

In this environment, Puente is heroically providing 360 degrees of service to the community. Touching on themes of transformation, community, and advocacy, their programs range from English and dance classes to food distribution and health screenings, just to name a few.

Even though the day was dreary and grey, one sees the sparkle of adventure and innovation there.  Puente is working with leading Stanford researchers as an example to reach higher and restructure their ESL program to be comprehension rather than grammar-centric.

From left to right:  Suzanne Abel, Academic Director of Puente; Rita Mancera, Program Director; Al Horn; and Bill Somerville

From left to right: Suzanne Abel, Academic Director of Puente; Rita Mancera, Program Director of Puente; Al Horn; and Bill Somerville

Pescadero might seem out of mind except for the occasional weekend outing. They are so close and yet so far – it’s only a short jaunt over the hill. Philanthropic Ventures Foundation has historically been a funder in the area and for the past few years has been the first responder when there was a flood.

We recommend Pescadero for you to see. It’s a place where people know each other, and where you can get a lip-smacking bowl of Caldo Verde soup at the Pescadero Country Store while you’re at it.

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