downtown sebastopol

The Sebastopol community will have the opportunity to learn more about local issues related

to food, housing, the environment, education and more and how to support local nonprofits and other community-based organizations responding at the virtual Sebastopol Community Needs Summit on Wednesday, May 12. To register for the summit, click here.

The summit runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. over Zoom, organized by the city, local service clubs and CoMission, the city’s community vitality consultant. Craig Litwin, CoMission principal and CEO, said the effort is ongoing to arrange for a Spanish translator.

Mayor Una Glass is scheduled to give the opening remarks, followed by a summit overview by Hal Kwalwasser of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol before a series of panel discussions begins, according to the event description at the registration page.

In an April 8 interview, CoMission Principal and CEO Craig Litwin, also a former Sebastopol mayor, said panelists from nonprofits and community benefit organizations would discuss their resource needs with potential volunteers and service clubs that have access to funding at the summit.

The first panel will cover food and housing at 4:25 p.m., featuring West County Community Services Executive Director Tim, Sonoma Applied Village Services President Adrienne Lauby, Food For Thought Executive Director Ron Karp, Arthur George from West County Homeless Advocates and Herman J. Hernandez of Los Cien Sonoma County Latino Leaders, according to Litwin.

Another panel will discuss mental health and schools at 5:20 p.m., bringing together Analy High School Principal Shauna Ferdinandson, Brooke Ransom-Burr from Social Advocates for Youth, Elizabeth Smith from Sonoma County PACEs and Superintendent David Rose of the Gravenstein School District and Superintendent Renee Semik from the Forestville School District, Litwin said.

Next, the third panel at 6:15 p.m. focuses on the environment and community, assembling Sunny Galbraith of the Zero Waste Committee, Ariel Majorana, Russian Riverkeeper’s environmental justice outreach specialist and Dr. Wendy Trowbridge from the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

Last, at 6:50 p.m. is a dialogue on community enrichment, featuring Sebastopol Senior Center Executive Director Katie Davis, Teresa Ramondo from the Western Sonoma County Historical Society, Creative Director Catherine Devriese of Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Sebastopol Community Cultural Center Vice President Philena Chantha, according to Litwin.

Closing remarks will come from Vice Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney at 7:20 p.m.

After witnessing the pandemic exacerbate local need in the area already rocked by recent natural disasters, local service organizations that historically fund organizations’ efforts to address local issues joined up with the city to create this conference, Litwin said in an April interview.

Per Sebastopol’s community newsletter, the summit aims to provide the public a deeper understanding of the issues facing the area and “will align supporters’ interests where possible with those already doing good work, addressing new and existing issues with efforts that have been uncovered, identified or underutilized.”

CoMission’s event flyer named members of the service organization council facilitated by CoMission at work with this project, including the Sebastopol Grange, the Kiwanis Club of Sebastopol, the Community Church of Sebastopol and Soroptimist International of West Sonoma County.

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