Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Toby Simon sets up her tent and art supplies on the Tenderloin Hub, providing a class to the community that is aptly named, “A Space to Draw.” At surface level, the art class explores different forms of drawing and technique, allowing students to build upon their skills. But for many of the participants, A Space to Draw dually provides a space for healing, self-discovery, and reflection.  

The idea for A Space to Draw came about when Toby attended a volunteering event with The Kitchen SF, at GLIDE. Toby was struck by GLIDE’s mission of radical inclusivity and the breadth of services offered to the community. She then posed the idea of incorporating a space to make art at GLIDE and create a classroom where one did not exist before. She was soon popping up her tent in GLIDE’s parking lot, with clay, canvasses, and paints. The art class quickly became the highlight of the week for her students. 

A Space to Draw set up and ready for students   

“As an art educator, I think the greatest impact I can make is imparting a sense of growth mindset on the community,” Toby says.  “I think that a lot of the community members have experienced years of abuse, neglect, and bad luck, and years of this trauma can really be detrimental to self-worth and mental health. Students come in and realize that they have a voice, and they can share their ideas.” For Toby, learning new skills, such as art, is an important mechanism for building self-confidence, which in turn permeates into all aspects of a students’ life.  

Art teacher Toby Simon

In vulnerable communities, arts and culture can be powerful tools for community development, shaping infrastructure, transportation, access to healthy food, and other core amenities. In communities of color that have been systematically stripped of agency, art is an avenue for strengthening cultural identity, healing trauma, and fostering a shared vision for community.  

A Space to Draw consists of two classes, “Drawing From Life” and “Rhythmic Drawing.” Rhythmic drawing teaches mindful and meditative techniques such as pattern making, doodling mandalas, and coloring pages, all of which are simple, meditative forms of drawing and painting where students can get into a creative flow. Drawing From Life teaches techniques on how to draw realistic form, shading techniques, and figure drawing.  The class allows students to tap into their inner resources to have moments of self-discovery while creating pieces of art.   

“Make something out of nothing” a lesson on drawing Mandalas  

“Art serves as a form of communication,” Toby says. “People are constantly opening up, thinking about the significance of what they made.” Toby recalls a time when one student made a drawing that portrayed her desire to pursue an education. The student had made a shape on one side of the page, which represented her regret of not graduating 8th grade. On the other side, the student illustrated her ambition of returning to school and graduating.   

“A benefit of a drawing class is that it empowers people, women especially, who feel like they’ve lost their voice,” says Toby. “Experiencing trauma or constant marginalization severely impacts a person’s sense of self-worth. Our students have so much to contribute, and I simply offer them new methods of expressing themselves and a space to share their stories.”


GLIDE Voices is highlighting Filipino American History Month. We asked Lanie Igtanloc, Director of Family Youth and Childcare Center, what GLIDE value resonates with you this month and why?

“One of the GLIDE values that resonates with me most is the value of For the People. At FYCC we welcome everyone; we help everyone regardless of who you are or what circumstances you have in life. FYCC will work with families no matter what; we are here for them. One of the best examples of this was during COVID, when we closed our Childcare and Afterschool program because of the virus. One of the things that we did following our site closure was call the families and children. We asked if they were okay, what they needed, and how we could help them through this crisis. Our teachers – together with our Family Resource Center thought to distribute food among our parents and families. We did this not only for our parents enrolled in our Center but for the entire Tenderloin community. FYCC became a food distribution site. This is what the value For the People is all about. We always think about our families, parents, and children. 

I grew up in the Philippines, in the Visayan region. As a Filipino coming here to the United States and sharing my culture here at GLIDE, I share similar values. Being ready to help each other is inspiring and enough to feel proud to be a Filipino. Beyond resilience, adaptability and courage are important to have in facing very difficult times, as well as always being ready to help anybody in need.  

What I love most about working at GLIDE is that you make a difference in the lives of children and families.” 

Lanie Igtanloc, FYCC Director

GLIDE Voices is honoring Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we asked Julia M. Williams, Case Manager for Women’s Center what GLIDE Value resonates with you most this month and why?  

“The GLIDE value that most resonates with me is Celebration. My mom has been in remission from breast cancer for five years now and we celebrate every day together. Her surviving cancer has taught us to never take our time together for granted and to cherish every moment. 

I’m a certified domestic violence counselor and what I try to do is provide help and support and share my story, because I think that can be really impactful. If I can make it out, I feel like that gives them courage that they can too. I generally like my clients to feel comfortable enough to share those things with me. I don’t really like to pry. So sometimes, it doesn’t come up unless I’m doing their needs assessment. But a lot of clients experience domestic violence, especially those who are experiencing homelessness as well.  

Domestic violence can look like a lot of things. In general, it’s really debilitating, and it’s not always physical. I think a lot of people look at domestic violence and think ‘Oh the person has to be physically assaulted for it to be considered domestic violence,’ but it can be emotional, it can be sexual, it can be financial. Even technological, like hacking onto someone’s social media, or tracking them through GPS. And it can result in a lot of physical and emotional issues. Things that come to mind would be chronic pain, PTSD, depression, substance use. It’s this all-encompassing issue that can have a lot of different faces. I think it’s really important for people to realize that it’s not always physical, it can be a lot of different things that are equally as traumatizing as physical violence. And it has no limits and no boundaries, it can be a lot to deal with. 

I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I’m also the daughter of a single mother. So, the unique needs of women are really close to my heart. I feel like women need a lot of services that are overlooked, even though 47% of the homeless population in San Francisco are women. So, I want to step in and provide that care for them.” 

Julia M. Williams, Women’s Center Case Manager

August included Overdose Awareness Day and GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice and Harm Reduction Services marked the observance with an inspiring panel discussion that clarified what harm reduction is and is not and focused on policies that help or continue to harm. Harm Reduction As Justice was moderated by Director of Harm Reduction Services Juliana DePietro, and included panel members CSJ Policy Manager Wesley Saver, Harm Reduction Services Program Manager John Negrete, and Code Tenderloin Founder and unofficial Mayor of the Tenderloin Del Seymour. 

Dear GLIDE Community,

​​​​Please join us in honoring the life and legacy of artist, activist, teacher and GLIDE Co-Founder Janice Mirikitani.

What: Celebration of the Life of Janice Mirikitani
Including live dance and musical performances, poetry readings and special guest speakers

​​​​​When: Sunday, August 15, 2021
            12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Livestream: GLIDE’s Facebook page  

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, we ask the GLIDE community to please join us virtually online. There will be very limited space on-site outdoors at GLIDE.

In lieu of flowers, a GLIDE Memorial Fund for Janice Mirikitani has been established to support programs serving women and children. I hope you will join us in celebrating Janice on August 15. In love and solidarity, 
Karen Hanrahan
Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE


Dear GLIDE Community,

Early Thursday morning, July 29, 2021, our beloved Co-Founder Janice Mirikitani passed away with family and friends by her side. Our hearts are full with both grief and the tremendous love that she embodied. Janice brought fierce courage and spirit to everything she did. She spoke her truth and inspired others to accept and celebrate themselves, each other, and all our differences.  

Janice co-created so much of the early vision and the roots of GLIDE’s impact. Her work touched many areas, both in the Church and on the street in the Tenderloin and in San Francisco. She took deep pride in serving the most marginalized communities, including support for women and children, education, recovery, primary and mental health care, job training, and housing.  

A memorial is being arranged. Updates regarding times and locations will be shared with you soon. Keeping with Janice’s wishes, a Memorial Fund has been established to support Women and Children’s programs at GLIDE.

Please know that our Co-Founder Rev. Cecil Williams is being held with love and support in this sensitive and difficult time. He and their family remain in our hearts.

While words cannot adequately express our sadness, we will honor Janice’s memory and her legacy by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work she loved so much. We will get through this together. 

In love and solidarity, 
Karen Hanrahan
Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE

For the past four years, a small group of dedicated volunteers have met inside GLIDE’s kitchen facility at approximately 8:30 am on Fridays where they braid, egg wash, and cook up to 80 one-foot-long loaves of Challah bread and hand-deliver them to the GLIDE staff. It’s an activity inspired by GLIDE’s Rabbi Michael Lezak, who in his work at his older congregation, met up with a congregant named Jeff Kirschbaum. “We knew him as Chef Jeff and he would bake 80 challahs a week for our congregants, in particular for families who had new babies, were in mourning, or had new joys to celebrate in their life,” says Rabbi Lezak. “Chef Jeff, his wife, and I dreamed up this vision of baking and serving hot challah, and I wanted to share this tasty Jewish Sabbath tradition when I came to GLIDE.”   

Pouring flour into the mixer and removing the dough once it’s finished rising.
Braiding challah

The group of bakers consist primarily of members of The Kitchen (a religious community Rabbi Lezak and his wife, Noa, founded ten years ago). Several members come to GLIDE every two weeks to prepare giant batches of challah dough. The dough consists of yeast/flour and water slurry, and once it’s finished rising, goes into a freezer and comes out as needed for Friday challah making. Volunteers remove a portion of it early in the morning so it will be ready by 8:30 am.

One of the breakfast volunteers Valerie Miller has been helping to bake the Challah since the beginning and shows no signs of stopping. “We get to share the Jewish tradition of putting effort into creating beauty with our rituals. The beauty is important because it’s an expression of love. With the handcrafted beauty of the braided bread, we get to convey a little beauty and caring to each person’s day. Plus, I just love the energy at GLIDE, and being able to make the staff smile in a small way is a wonderful expression of our heartfelt appreciation for all they do.” 

Applying egg wash

On a recent Friday morning, members of The Kitchen donned their aprons, and rolled up their sleeves to take part in an act of Chesed for GLIDE. It begins with flour dusting across wooden butcher blocks. Batches of Challah dough are distributed. Small lumps in the dough are removed and each piece is flattened out, eliminating any unwanted bubbles. To braid a challah correctly takes a little practice, but in short order the folding comes together with three interwoven strands. Egg wash glistens the tops and Kosher salt is sprinkled over the loaves. After about 20 minutes in the oven, the challahs are cooled for a few minutes before each is placed inside a signature small brown bag. 

Before challah distribution, the group of volunteers gather for an end of the week/pre-Shabbat ritual, reciting the Hamotzi, a Hebrew prayer for bread and taking inventory of the past week. All participants are invited to sample a piece of the hot challah, smothered in salted (or unsalted) butter and basking in the motto, “more butter than you think you deserve.” “We give this bread to help sustain the work performed by those at GLIDE,” says Debby Hamolsky, who’s been making challah for the past two years. “And we’re putting into practice this idea of us all being “one city” and GLIDE is an organization that really supports taking care of this part of San Francisco. Plus, I don’t want my justice juices to get rusty. And it’s fun on top of everything else!” 

Salting the challahs and individually sorting them
Reciting a prayer for the bread

On this morning, the Challah group celebrated the 67th birthday of Marilyn Heiss. Marilyn has worked tirelessly for the past four years making Challah. Feeding people is a mainstay of Marilyn’s sense of Jewish identity. “If you want to learn about unconditional love, GLIDE is the place to do it, “said Marilyn.  

“When I serve GLIDE clients, I ask myself. What were they like as children? How did they get to this point? We all started some place. This experience has been transformational. It’s taught me more about compassion than I will ever know. Radical inclusivity. That is what GLIDE is about. I’m part of the GLIDE family and it’s an honor.” 

GLIDE staff celebrating Marilyn Heiss’s 67th birthday

Dear Friends,

June is always a special time at GLIDE. It’s Pride Month, and GLIDE is Pride. For decades, we have been leading with love and driving progress in the LGBTQ+ community – our community. We began by opening our doors when other doors were closed. We welcomed all into our safe, unconditionally accepting space to feel love and to learn what it means to love ourselves. We stood on the front lines of the movement for LGBTQ+ rights, demanding equality and acceptance, and showing what true diversity and inclusion looks like. Embracing those rejected by their families. Fighting for those harassed by law enforcement. Officiating same-sex unions. And providing comfort and solace during harrowing times of loss, particularly during the AIDS crisis.

Today Rainbow and Progress flags fly high, and in more places than ever. We have won long-fought battles towards marriage equality, transgender rights, access to healthcare and representation. We now have a president who knows that trans rights are human rights – a president who has appointed Dr. Rachel Levine to a key role in his administration. White House executive orders recognize sexuality and gender identity in sex discrimination statutes, protect queer and trans people from workplace bias, and strike down a previous presidential ban on transgender people serving in the military. And most recently, the Biden administration designated the site of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial.

Yet, alongside these advances, strong forces are at work to undermine progress. More than twenty anti-LGBTQ+ measures have become law across states like Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, West Virginia, and Tennessee. These bills ban transgender girls from playing sports, prevent hormone therapy for transgender youth, and prohibit transgender people from correcting their birth certificate gender. The scope of these new laws is growing, with more insidious techniques to limit the full expression and participation of the LGBTQ+ community. We have learned from the reproductive rights and voting rights movements the power of state laws to chip away at fundamental freedoms. These anti-LGBTQ+ measures are born out of continued bias and divisiveness in our nation and underscore the reality that the fight for equality for all must continue, unwavering.

June is a month to celebrate, not just our victories, but all we have been through together in the fight. At GLIDE, we know that change can be revolutionary when it is born out of unconditional love and inclusion that influences hearts and minds and builds empathy capable of transforming perspectives and actions. Until we see this kind of transformative change take root across this country and the world, we will continue to wage this battle for equality.

In love and solidarity,

Karen J. Hanrahan
President & CEO, GLIDE

Dear GLIDE Community, 

Celebration is a cornerstone of our values at GLIDE. Seeing our national leaders align to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is a joyful moment. This historic step forward represents progress towards a new vision of American inclusivity. It reflects a new ownership of our collective history. It is an important step forward towards our nation’s growing awareness, acceptance, and honoring of our diversity. It also recognizes our collective history of the enslavement of people of African descent.

Juneteenth isn’t just part of African American history; it’s American history. It’s a day for inspiration and recognition of the foundations of our society. What we celebrate as a country – and what we choose not to celebrate – reflects our national values, our worldview, and our cultural priorities. Juneteenth is a day to recognize the lived experiences of African Americans, a journey through oppression marked by the Middle Passage, chattel slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration. It is a day to honor and celebrate the triumph of Black genius, courage, resilience, family, faith, love, and artistry, along with the profound impact Black people have in shaping this nation.

For those of us who have been working on systems change for decades, it is encouraging to see forward progress, unprecedented investments, and efforts to remedy longstanding racial inequities across sectors. Every step towards justice and equity counts.

Still, much more must be done. At GLIDE, we are focused on the critical work necessary to address a legacy of systemic racism. We continue to build on our history of fighting for the people and advocating for policies and investments that address the consequences of racial injustice, including homelessness and intergenerational poverty. Our racial justice and reconciliation programs deepen understandings of systemic racism and build empathy in private and public corridors of power to transform lives as well as institutions and to drive systemic change.

As we commemorate Juneteenth in America, together, we also look forward to a future when the Federal holidays of this nation truly reflect the diverse nature, values, and people of this country. This is an important step; taking the moment to celebrate gives us strength to keep going. Every day at GLIDE, we work to advance this vision. This is what we do. At every level. We embody the spirit, the vision, and the purpose of Juneteenth.

In love and solidarity, 

Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE

GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Programs (VIP), Community Safety Team, and Daily Free Meals Program joined forces for Men Matter, a wellness and self-care event for men in the GLIDE community. The day-long event on June 18th took place on the car-free 300 block of Ellis Street as a special feature of the Tenderloin Resource Hub in front of GLIDE. The gathering provided an opportunity for men to have fun, socialize with one another and obtain valuable community resources in a safe space free of violence. 

The festive event included a free clothing bank where participants could pick out pre-loved, gently worn clothes, shoes, and accessories, free haircuts provided by YWAM, and an acupuncture clinic. Nutritious meal options included garlic-chicken fried rice, shish kabobs provided by Tae’s Tasty Treats, a Black-owned catering service. Also on the menu were grilled hotdogs and cupcakes provided by the Daily Free Meals Program. 

Many of GLIDE’s programs participated in the Men Matter event, providing a host of tailored integrated services and outreach to support, inform and affirm. The Center for Social Justice handed out “Know Your Rights” cards while the Community Safety Team created a game zone with dominoes, chess, cornhole, and a pool tournament that featured two $50 gift cards, also from YWAM. GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Program and Walk-In Center teamed up to share wellness bags with new socks, San Francisco Giant shirts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and the Women’s Center on hand with women’s resources as well. 

“One of the things we do well here at GLIDE is that we collaborate to help reach people in need and make a difference in their lives,” said Saundra Haggerty, GLIDE’s Violence Intervention Programs (VIP) Manager, who coordinated the gathering. The Men Matter event is one of several initiatives in VIP, which, among other things, conducts court-ordered domestic violence intervention workshops for men and provides peer support to prevent repeat offenses. “We meet them where they are and want them to know we can help,” said Haggerty.

In addition to the many featured services, GLIDE’s Family Resource Center also provided parenting resources and information for fathers. And in keeping with GLIDE’s values of Loving and Hopeful and For the People, the event also featured an open-mic forum to allow participants the chance to be seen and heard. 

Being recognized is important observed GLIDE Clinical Director Roderick Penalosa, who said the event provided a welcoming space for men in a marginalized community who may feel invisible“The Men Matter event brings awareness that men, particularly men of color, can be misrepresented and characterized in ways that don’t often reflect the true essence and value of their humanity.”

“As an organization that advocates for inclusivity and radical compassion, GLIDE aims to raise the visibility of positive and healthy expressions of masculinity,” added Penalosa. “Men need to take accountability and responsibility for their behavior, but it is also critical for them to know that they are significant, accepted, and capable of being loved.”

Haggerty agreed and added that GLIDE looks forward to making community-focused gatherings like Men Matter annual events. “We want to come together to let the men in the community, and those we serve, know that we are here for them. We support them, and we want to help them in their healing process.”