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The First Heroes of Marin Awards!
Norm Solomon Interviews Nancy Boyce and Mary O’Mara
MarinLink Founders Honored by the Sierra Club
Volunteers gather in Novato

The First Heroes of Marin Awards!

Pacific Sun Friday November 18th, 2011

With all due respect to Tina Turner—we do need another hero.

And with that in mind, the Pacific Sun, in partnership with Circle Bank, is presenting its first-ever Heroes of Marin awards—a salute to the community members whose dedication to bettering the lives of county residents has helped make Marin the special place it is today.

After fielding more than 100 nominations from Pacific Sun readers, our panel of “hero” judges bestowed awards in eight separate categories. Recipients will be honored in the Pacific Sun over the next four weeks through feature stories highlighting their good works. Additionally, the award winners will receive a heroes’ welcome tonight, Nov. 17, at a reception at Circle Bank in Corte Madera. Here’s a quick look at the 2011 Heroes of Marin award winners in their respective categories:

ARTS AND CULTURE: Elaine Petrocelli, for helping make Marin a mecca for authors and readers throughout the Bay Area and keeping the printed word alive through Book Passage.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Ed and Nancy Boyce, for their dedication to such causes and institutions as MarinLink, Marin General Hospital, Project Care for Children and Crib Club—through the Boyces’ efforts, Marin is a healthier place to live.

COURAGE: Nancy Novack, for creating Nancy’s List, an organization to meet the non-medical needs of people living with cancer and living its mission statement, “No one will ever go through cancer alone.”

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: Sea Stewards, for taking the bite out of the baleful shark-fin industry by leading the state-wide charge to ban the sale of shark fins, which has resulted in the Shark Protection Act, co-authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, and signed into law last month by Gov. Brown.

INNOVATION: Fresh Starts Cooking School, for turning invaluable food-services training into the creme de la creme of Homeward Bound’s job training programs.

RISING STAR: Casey Poore, for helming the Redwood High School Friendship Club and its mission to create connections in the lives of students with learning differences and other educational challenges.

ROLE MODEL: Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity, for advocating and providing a safety net for the county’s homeless and at-risk youth.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: James Dunn, for leading the Mountain Play through 30 years of leg-breaking productions and embodying quality Marin theater over the course of a five-decade career.

Jason Walsh


Making a Difference in Marin Episode #66

Host Lindsay Hassett talks with Mary O’Mara, executive director and Nancy Boyce, founder of MarinLink, a Marin County non-profit that incubates, connects and supports creative community projects. View the video on blipTV.



Making a Difference in Marin

Norm Solomon Interviews Nancy Boyce and Mary O’Mara

Norman Solomon is an American journalist, media critic, antiwar activist, and current candidate for the United States House of Representatives. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR).

Watch the whole episode here on Blip TV.



Volunteers gather in Novato to assemble warm clothing packs for Bay Area homeless

By Jessica Bernstein-Wax
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 12/04/2010 01:36:57 PM PST

Thousands of homeless people throughout the Bay Area will have toasty hands and feet this winter thanks to about 300 volunteers who gathered in Novato early Saturday morning to assemble packs with warm clothing for them.

Volunteers began arriving at Unity in Marin church for the annual Warm Wishes and MarinLink event at about 7:45 a.m. to assemble 5,000 packs with gloves, socks, caps, scarves, rain ponchos and holiday cards from schoolchildren. A mad scramble ensued with volunteers of all ages working in assembly lines, singing carols and carrying boxes to cars waiting outside.

The work was done by about 9:30 a.m., but many volunteers were preparing to make deliveries to agencies around the Bay Area, such as the Ritter Center, Homeward Bound, Glide Memorial Church and the St. Vincent de Paul societies of San Francisco and Marin County. Others planned to hand out packs to individuals on the streets of San Rafael, San Francisco and Berkeley, among other cities.

“I love the chaos,” said Salomi Galodamu, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Miller Creek Middle School who was frantically stuffing packs with gloves and hats with a group from San Rafael First United Methodist Church.

“It’s really fun — I kind of like the working together part,” added her friend, 11-year-old Amaya Hauswald of Berkeley.

From gloves to packs

Bill Hamm, a 57-year-old San Rafael resident, started the program about 17 years ago after giving his gloves on a whim to a homeless man sitting on the ground outside Tiffany & Co. in San Francisco’s Union Square. The man was so grateful that Hamm decided to buy a few hundred more pairs of gloves at the Novato Target and hand them out to homeless people a few days later.

Friends and family later got involved, as well as classmates from Hamm’s 1971 Sir Francis Drake High School graduating class, and the program became an annual event and swelled to its current size.

“I get a charge … to see everybody else have the opportunity that I once had,” said Hamm, who still carries the packs in his car to hand out to homeless people all winter.

“A lot of them are going to go on the street and have an exposure themselves today,” he said, gesturing to the volunteers. “It’s really different. You’re going up and handing stuff out to people instead of trying to avoid them.”

Corporate and individual donations fund the program, which costs about $50,000 a year to run, said Mary O’Mara, MarinLink’s executive director. The suggested donation for volunteers Saturday was $10 a person.

Funding shortfall

MarinLink has only raised about $40,000 this year because of the weak economy and is still hoping donations will fill in the $10,000 gap, O’Mara said.

A group of about 50 current and former University of San Francisco students drove to Novato to join their professor David Griffis of Marinwood, helping out for the sixth consecutive year.

Griffis said volunteer work complements their academic studies.

“I had a professor years ago who used to say, ‘It’s not what you have at the end of the day. It’s what you share along the way,'” he said.

Anh Phan, a 23-year-old business administration student from Vietnam who came with the group, said she welcomed the opportunity to help the poor.

“Especially in San Francisco, there’s a lot of homeless on the street,” Phan said.

Nearby, Supervisor Susan Adams was hurrying across the room, her hands full of bags.

“I’m the garbage lady today,” Adams said with a laugh. “I’m picking up all the plastic bags.”

Socks, hats mean a lot

Volunteer Nathan Bowers, 37, said he became homeless about a year ago after losing his construction job in Savannah, Ga., and is now staying at the Mary Isaak Center in Petaluma. Bowers said he wanted to help out because he’s benefitting from similar programs.

Having warm socks and a hat is indispensable on the streets during the winter months, he added.

“These are the basic necessities,” Bowers said.

“It’s a little chaotic because there’s so many people, but it’s getting done,” he said, surveying the room. “It’s controlled chaos at its best.”

For more information on Warm Wishes, go to To donate, go to

Contact Jessica Bernstein-Wax at


MarinLink Founders Honored by the Sierra Club

News Flash! – October 2, 2010:

The Sierra Club honored MarinLink founders, Nancy and Ed Boyce, by awarding them the Hannah Creighton Award for their tireless efforts to build a healthier community,  provide leadership for children’s healthcare programs, and for ongoing advocacy on environmental and social justice issues.

Congratulations Nancy and Ed!