Northside SF  

What You Can Do
Let’s be grateful and help others

By Lynette Majer

While just about everyone I know has been affected by these times of “economic uncertainty,” on a recent stroll through my neighborhood, I was encouraged to see contractors working on houses, lots of folks dining outside on Union Street enjoying these last few Indian summer days, “Leased!” signs on previously empty storefronts, and a restaurant three-quarters full on a Tuesday night. That’s good news, so let’s be grateful.

Each month I’ve written about something here that’s close to my heart, which I’ll continue to do, and next month we’ll be adding a volunteer opportunities listing to our calendar. I hope this new section will inspire all of you to get involved in a meaningful way, not just during the holiday season but throughout the year to help others who are not as fortunate as those of us here in the Northside. This month, we’ve chosen several ways you can help others at Thanksgiving events, with a special mention of Tenderloin Tessie and the Food Bank; and chef Ryan Scott and the Turkey Trotters (see page 18), whose mission is living gratitude and feeding others before feeding ourselves. We can’t get a much better message for the month than that!
Another cause dear to my heart is Alzheimer’s disease, which finally took the shell of my mother after years of progressively robbing her of her day-to-day functions, her speech, her memory, and her dignity. If you have been close to this disease, you will know the sadness and helplessness it foments. When I discovered that Nov. 15 is the National Commemorative Candle Lighting ceremony sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to remember and honor those afflicted with this brain-destroying illness, I started researching where it would be held in San Francisco. To my surprise, nothing was organized, and all I discovered was a Craig’s List posting, pleading for a venue and mentioning Jazzheimers.
Marlina Teich is founder of Jazzheimers, a group of professional musicians who perform in over 25 facilities that care for those stricken with Alzheimer’s and related disabilities, mainly in the Western Addition and Fillmore district. Music has a profound affect on these people, eliciting smiles, clapping and singing when at other times, words and simple movements escape them. Caregivers and visitors witnessing this effect on their patients and loved ones are likewise encouraged and inspired by this remarkable transformation.
As of press time, Jazzheimers still needs a restaurant performance venue for Nov. 15. They would like whatever proceeds generated during their performance to be donated to their organization so they can continue their important work. The candle-lighting ceremony during their performance would be brief and coincide with others nationwide, honoring the very people the group helps with their uplifting gift of music. The group performs as a public service, with just a small stipend ($50) for the musicians. They’ve recently lost their funding from a foundation because the benefactor acquired dementia, so they are in dire need of support.
Please visit for more information about the group and to learn more about the powerful effect of music therapy. If you can provide a performance venue on Nov. 15 to support Alzheimer’s disease, please contact Marlina Teich at, 415-387-8924, or 415-335-8599.


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September 2011 Issue


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