Meet the Gubbio Project's staff!Laura Slattery, Executive Director, has been the Executive Director of the Gubbio Project since 2010. Prior to that, she worked at Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service for 7 years as a nonviolence trainer, workshop facilitator and organizational coordinator. She is co-author of the workbook “Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living.” In addition to her work at Pace e Bene, Laura has experience as a chaplain, teacher, Catholic Worker, and military officer. She received her MA in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and her BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She lives with her spouse, Cile, in Oakland. Tina Christopher, Program Manager, was born in Hayward, but lived most of her life in Solano County; she moved here to San Francisco in April 2010. Tina has two grown sons and has recently remarried. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going on trips, and riding her motorcycle. She began working at The Gubbio Project April 2011 when she had a free day of no classes at CCSF. She had the opportunity to volunteer and thought, "Why not?!" She says "My life has been forever changed and there is no doubt that this is the path I am supposed to be on. I am thankful that I get to spend my days using my own life experiences and the knowledge I received from CCSF here at The Gubbio Project with my unhoused brothers and sisters. To share time with and learn more about the people in our community, to somehow be a help in making their day or their life better, and to be a part of their life is all a blessing and an honor."
Ed Bowers, Hospitality Monitor, has lived in the San Francisco Tenderloin for 14 years. He doesn't remember to much before that; though he remembers that he graduated with a "worthless" English major degree from the University of New York at Binghamton. He was married twice, and has written a few poems. Now, he says, "I am honored to work at a job that for me is from the heart instead of the wallet."
Megan Wilson, Development Specialist, has worked in non-profit development, planning, management, and visibility for over 15 years, ranging from in-depth strategic planning and organizational development to grant writing and research. In addition, she has extensive experience with program development, community organizing, and social and economic justice activism. Megan is also a visual artist and writer whose work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally, including projects in Indonesia, Japan, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. Beginning in 2014, Wilson and her partner/collaborator Christopher Statton launched their project "Better Homes & Gardens Today" to 1) Heighten awareness around “home” and the realities of homelessness; 2) Cultivate a dialog within communities and amongst disparate groups about housing instability; and 3) To raise money to benefit the Gubbio Project, the Coalition On Homelessness, and At The Crossroads, organizations all working to address homelessness in San Francisco. To date the project has raised over $10,000.
John Brett, Site Coordinator, grew up on a wheat farm far from metropolitan SF. He began work at The Gubbio Project in June 2016 after having slept on the floor of Saint John the Evangelist during a street retreat with The Faithful Fools. He's a seminarian and has chosen to work with The Gubbio Project as he continues his formation and discernment. He continues to work as a ministry assistant with the San Francisco Night Ministry and previously completed a Chaplaincy Residency at John Muir Health in Concord. Prior to seminary, John completed his BA in Spanish and Performance Studies at Dartmouth College and arrives to Gubbio with a background in non-profit work, having served as the director of a regional legal aid program in Washington State.
Drake Manalo, Vincentian Service Corps Member was born in Cleveland, Ohio and received a BFA in Graphic Design at DePaul University in Chicago, IL before making his way to San Francisco. After working full time at a tech startup there for two years, he chose to dedicate a year to the Vincentian Service Corps to immerse himself into The Gubbio Project's mission. Drake has a twin sister, two younger sisters, and two younger brothers. He thanks his entire family for giving him the support and love he needs to extend that love to others.
Laura Hassel, Menonnite Volunteer was born and grew up in Essen, Germany. After her high school graduation she decided to go abroad and to do a year of service. She began working at The Gubbio Project at the beginning of September. Laura is a Hospitality Monitor as well as Outreach Coordinator. In the past Laura already worked with unhoused people in a German non-profit organization and she also volunteered as a leader of a youth group in her hometown church.
Porsha Dixon, Hospitality Monitor
Leonard Gardiner, Hospitality Monitor
Rosanna Kauffmann, Development Associate
Interview with Leonard - 12 October, 2016
Drake: Why did you choose to work at The Gubbio Project?
Leonard: I heard about Gubbio through a friend who was once using the services as a homeless person. I met with Tina and was impressed about what I saw. I immediately asked Tina if I could volunteer. And that was it. I started coming every day from 5 to close, 5 days a week for almost a year. Just as a volunteer. I also worked at The Living Room for a bit too while volunteering. I like the whole idea about what we’re doing and the services that are offered. I never saw that kind of thing and it moved me very much.
Drake: What inspires you here?
Leonard: The compassion and the staff - how they open up their paths and the things they do… First I was thinking I couldn’t do it, I kept volunteering, I could see how devoted and compassionate the people were. And I never looked back since then. They trust my heart so much, and I decided I need to give something back to society, and this was my way to do that to help my fellow people in any way I was called.
Drake: Are you religious? (I was just curious to ask this question myself!)
Leonard: Yes, I am Catholic. Being at The Gubbio Project gives me an excuse to be at church every morning. I come in and it gives me a chance to say Thank you, Lord. I wanted to give myself to something, and this was it.
Drake: What is the biggest challenge you face here?
Leonard: Interacting with people - that was the hardest at first (people with mental illnesses) and not knowing what to expect. That worried me a little bit. Plus, wasn’t sure if I could say no to people. I got in trouble a few times because I gave away a lot. Got too involved, felt too sorry for guests, still effects me once in awhile… sometimes saying no gets to me. Learning to say no, and going home and sleeping alright, and still feeling good about the work.
Tina was a big help for me. I watched her every day and how she was doing her job. Gave me more confidence every day. I learned from her and walked with her. You just can’t match her. She was a big influence on my time at The Gubbio Project. I could count on her for anything when it came to the people, she taught me a lot without knowing it. People even referred to me as “Little Tina.”
Drake: How would you describe The Gubbio Project in a few words or phrases?
Leonard: Very compassionate. Understanding. Devoted. And generous.
I’ve never seen anything like this before. I took pictures and sent to them back home. My family could not believe it. I had a friend from Barbados, brought her into the church to see. And she was in awe. Maybe you should come there and start it there? Even in Nigeria, I don’t think anyone would do that. Too much corruption. It just wouldn’t work over there. People won’t believe or trust it at first. And then it would be corrupted because of the government. So this is one of a kind.
Drake: If you could talk to other churches in San Francisco, what would you say?
Leonard: Come to the Gubbio at the church and see what we do. It’s an example of what it’s like to be to love your fellow brother and care about your fellow brother. This is what the Gubbio does. They do not discriminate, and they care of everybody like your family. That’s what I believe the Church should do. Care for your family for those in need. Not just the elite and those dressed up. Open the door for the poor, because then it’s a church. Take care for the needy, not just on Sunday’s. There’s no reason why any other church shouldn’t open the door, especially for the homeless. If I had the power, authority, to force things. I would force it on every church. For you to be a church, for you to be non-profit, you have to cater to the homeless. That would be my prerequisite to being tax-exempt. And show me that you’re doing it.