YOUR STORIES
  • LIVE LIVE
    LIVE
  • WORK WORK
    WORK
  • PLAY PLAY
    PLAY
We all want the best for our families: to live in a safe and loving home, to live healthy and happy lives. But too often, opportunities -- education, health, job security -- are defined by our zip code. We are working to change that.

Personal stories are a powerful way to move people from ideas into action as we work to expand opportunity in the Bay Area. Tell us about your struggles and your wins, about the life you live, and the life you hope to live.

Share your story about living in the Bay Area.
We all want a great education and a job that provides security and hope for our families. But not every hard worker gets to go to college or advance in their career. We believe reform to ensure equal pay is needed and everyone who puts in the effort deserves an opportunity to advance.

If you have a story about the highs and lows of the workplace, about your pursuit of education, about what it means to earn a minimum wage salary in the Bay Area, tell us your story.
Time spent with our loved ones, having fun, being active, and pursuing our passion is so important to living a full, healthy life. Exploration, creativity and engaging the heart, mind, and body are all big parts of what it means to pursue our dreams. The Bay Area is known for its geographic beauty, and as a hub for arts and culture.

Do you find that you're able to take advantage of what this region has to offer? How do you spend time with friends and family?

How do you participate in the arts, cultural events, music, dance, sports? Tell us your story.
FILTER BY COUNTY:
FILTER BY TYPE:
reset all
Filter Stories by Type
Filter Stories by County
  • Kimberly A.
    Contra Costa
    Play. Such a simple concept, yet when our heads and hearts are deeply embedded in combating issues of inequity, it’s often hard to remember to play. Having spent twenty-years advocating for young people from San Francisco to Richmond I had strangely forgotten what it meant to embrace fun, adventure, and possibility. That is until seven years ago when I met the most amazing woman in Sonoma at a racial justice retreat, who helped me see the power of play a...
    Read More
  • Marta M.
    San Francisco
    I was eight when I moved to Hunters Point. In the middle of the night, less than a week in, I was awakened by a shootout between police and four teens who had stolen a car and crashed it into a building a block from my house. I heard a crash, gunfire, semi-automatics, then silence. More shots, sirens, helicopters, cops with military grade weapons stomping up and down my street shouting orders. My bedroom would become my family's gathering place for nearby ...
    Read More
  • Kevin W.
    Contra Costa
    I believe that I am fortunate and blessed to have been born and raised in the Bay Area. I have lived here for almost 35 years and I have always believed in the immense “possibilities” in the region. I attended a small high school where I met lifelong friends and then I attended UC Berkeley which was a microcosm of the world with its diversity of ideas and people. I met the love of my life here and I hope to raise a family here. My spiritual community i...
    Read More
  • Carmela M.
    San Mateo
    If you ask me why I work in a primarily Latino, immigrant community, although I am not Latino, I would say: People in this community are working hard to keep our country functioning, and they deserve the same human rights as everyone does, regardless what language they speak or their immigration status. Anyone in their right mind would support them. I was born in Mountain View in 1983. My parents are both descendants of European immigrants - English, Germa...
    Read More
  • Carmen O.
    San Francisco
    Supervisor David Campos held a press conference on February 26 to announce that Circulo de Vida (Circle of Life), a cancer support and resource center for Latino families based in the Mission is no longer facing displacement due to the intervention of tech start-up DoubleDutch. “Circulo de Vida and DoubleDutch have set a powerful example for the rest of the city by coming together to protect this important community resource,” said Supervisor David Cam...
    Read More
  • Shirley K.
    Contra Costa
    I am an aging advocate living in Contra Costa County. I am on the County Advisory Council on Aging and I also represent the County as a Senior Assembly Member for the California Senior Legislature. Why am I writing to the Foundation? The quality of life for all seniors hinges on many issues; housing, transportation, health, protection from financial abuse and other forms of abuse. And yet, the State of California does not devote the resources necessary...
    Read More
  • Fred B.
    Alameda
    I grew up in Oakland. I got to know the city and the people by riding my bike through East Oakland, West Oakland, downtown. My family was very involved in the community, running nonprofits and attending council and community meetings. I often joke that I was that kid with my coloring book in the back of the community meetings. I went to a school founded and run by the Black Panther Party, and graduated from Skyline. My family instilled in me a very strong ...
    Read More
  • Vera R.
    Alameda
    My life in the Bay Area is rich and rewarding - in addition to the weather, the ocean, the people and the food - what I really love about living here is my work in Alameda County's first domestic violence shelter which is also California's first incorporated shelter serving women and children survivors of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking - "Ruby's Place"! AS CEO, I consider myself blessed and fortunate to provide shelter and comprehensive services ...
    Read More
  • Tiffany H.
    Contra Costa
    I was 10 years old and in the 5th grade at St. Joseph’s Elementary School when I first participated in Girls Inc. –West Contra Costa County programs. As a young girl, I was sheltered and timid. During my time with Girls Inc., I learned valuable leadership skills; participated in cooking classes, drill team and double-dutch; and made a lot of new friends. These programs helped me to build my self-esteem, helped me to love myself and allowed me to more e...
    Read More
  • Harriet L.
    San Francisco
    My name is Harriet Larkin and I have worked with at-risk populations for more than 20 years. Originally, I worked as a counselor at several residential group homes and after more than 20 years, I still am in contact with many of the residents. In fact, one such resident completed the 2010 KQED/Union Bank Unsung hero application and I was one of those selected to receive the award. I have been working for Renaissance Parents of Success since 2004 and ha...
    Read More
  • Gwendolyn W.
    San Francisco
    I am a native of San Francisco born and raised in the Haight Ashbury District. I loved San Francisco. I started working in Bayview Hunters Point with the homeless. I operate a nonprofit organization called the United Council of Human Services. Our mission is to meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of homeless, at-risk of being homeless and low income individuals and families by providing food, clothing, life-skills training, medical, employmen...
    Read More
  • Tom F.
    Alameda
    I came to the Bay Area 30 years ago,to join a small brokerage firm.Then I got interested in community theatre,and I discovered Stagebridge,America's oldest and most revered Senior Theatre Co. Our goal is to challenge the common perception of aging as inevitable decline,and to give seniors a chance to make their Golden years truly Golden.We train Seniors in the performing arts,and send them into senior centers and retirement homes to bring the joy of theatr...
    Read More
  • Paul C.
    San Francisco
    My personal work goal is to positively impact the lives of others. I have worked as a non-profit civil rights attorney for over 20 years. I have seen the abyss of the housing crisis in the Bay Area and the pinnacle of success when justice prevails. It is the day-to-day experience of meeting new clients, colleagues and community members from San Mateo County to Marin, and beyond, that keeps me going. It is fortunate to have many of the answers that peop...
    Read More
  • Family H.
    San Francisco
    Family House provides a home away from home for families of children with life-threatening illnesses undergoing treatment at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco. Joy Littlesunday was just 3 weeks old when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (SCID) that runs in Native American populations.  Rushed to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital from Cameron, Arizona and less than two months old, Joy had a successful Bone Marrow Transplan...
    Read More
  • Luis G.
    San Francisco
    The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), of which I am executive director, knows that San Francisco's Mission District is at a crossroads. Post the Great Recession, a bustling economy has added an envied vibrancy to the community, bringing myriad dollars to the neighborhood; however, this new affluence has not benefited all, as many longtime Mission residents and small businesses have been displaced. More than a decade of minimal net-new affordable ...
    Read More
  • Michele R.
    Alameda
    I can't imagine raising my family anywhere but here--I love the Bay Area. I was born and raised in Berkeley; now I Iive in Oakland. Public education has been a constant theme in my life: I attended Berkeley public schools K-12 (mine was the first class to be voluntarily integrated from kindergarten on), got my degrees at SF State and UC San Diego, and now work for a program that supports undergraduate students at UC Berkeley while my daughter attends publi...
    Read More
  • Johnnie D.
    Alameda
    Being on San Pablo Avenue by 24th Street, I watch women and men of all ages from all walks of life living the CRAZY life of drugs and alcohol. However it is a pleasure to be able to build relationships and sow good seeds into the lives of these men and women who are struggling to find themselves. Young girls in short dresses with everything showing, lost and neglected except by that person who is benefitting from selling them. Young men who have nothing...
    Read More
  • Eve M.
    San Francisco
    Near the end of World War II, a family approaches the border between France and Spain. Father, mother, young son, and grandmother present their documents to a guard. Because this coastal road is a popular escape route, he scrutinizes the papers closely. He seems to find a problem and asks the family to wait while he discusses it with his superiors. Now the father leads the family down onto the beach. "We will not allow them to send us back," he says. The...
    Read More
  • Leslie K.
    Alameda
    I was born & raised in the East Bay; my mother was born in Stockton & was raised in Marin County. Her father was a Native Hawaiian traditional healer, coming to California in 1908 and purchasing the first of 8 Chinese restaurants in Sacramento in 1910. When I was old enough to travel on my own, I was sent to Hawaii to stay w/relatives, unbeknownst to me, I was learning my grandfather's healing traditions. Following an on the job injury in 2000 that left ...
    Read More
  • Sandra F.
    San Francisco
    I am a fourth generation San Francisco Chinese American. I was born at Chinese Hospital in San Francisco's Chinatown. When I was three years old we moved to the Richmond district. In those days, everyone went to public schools in their neighborhood and the hours after school were filled with going to and from friends' homes in the neighborhood, bicycling on our single speed bicycles, skating on metal skates and adjusting them with our trusty skate keys. W...
    Read More
  • Angel L.
    Contra Costa
    I am the named plaintiff in the Luevano consent decree 1981 class action case. My efforts changed hiring practices for Latinos, all minorities and women in Federal Employment. My case resulted in merit selection changes to federal hiring practices. I have worked in Civil Rights all of my adult life. I began my Federal career as a summer management intern at GSA and rose through the ranks to become USDOL/OFCCP Deputy Director Program Operations in Washingto...
    Read More
  • Rachel F.
    Alameda
    My career has been dedicated to helping aging individuals remain in their homes and communities, despite changes to their health and functioning, because I believe we should support each others pursuit of a fulfilling life. Sadly, low income seniors living in San Francisco are in trouble. Many elders report some level of housing crisis that put them at risk of not being able to remain in their home. In most cases they are unable to afford to m...
    Read More
  • Naomi S.
    Alameda
    I was born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up in the outer Sunset; then Noe Valley, and attended public school all the way through: New Traditions, Presidio, School of the Arts. My parents are visual artists, and I feel blessed to have grown up surrounded by art, culture, loving family and friends and such diversity - of experiences, cultures, languages, ethnicities. All this made me who I am today. After I went away to college in '92 I started notici...
    Read More
  • Shaun T.
    Alameda
    In Dec 2010, my mother Jane Tai was managing her Oakland small business when she was robbed by two young men at gunpoint. She wasn’t physically hurt, but the event compounded problems she was already experiencing. In addition to being a victim of crime, my mom found it difficult to reach new customers outside her generation. Owner of a furniture design studio at 26th and Broadway—her family business of 46 years—she had been left behind by the digital...
    Read More
  • Argentina .
    Contra Costa
    I have resided in Contra Costa County since the year 2000. As a resident I am concerned about the future lives of our children, youth and young adults. As a Social Worker I would like to better their lives by providing more opportunities and choices. I would like to focus on programs that will enhance their health, education and economic development, through careers and jobs. I would like to focus on empowering future global leaders through our Ambassad...
    Read More
  • Dana E.
    Contra Costa
    As Superintendent for the Brentwood Union School District, out of 1,000 transitional and traditional kindergarten students arriving for the 2015-2016 school year, 400 will already be behind in school. In the ongoing debate about universal preschool, the severity of the challenge is often glossed over. 40% of children start kindergarten behind, with 50% of those at least 2 years behind. Multiple research studies show that this range in academic achieveme...
    Read More
  • Shirl S.
    San Francisco
    Read More