Mark Your Calendars:

Access to Adventure 2016!

Saturday, May 7th, 2016
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Bandshell Music Concourse
Golden Gate Park

Join us at this annual fun-filled event to experience and explore

music - arts - sports - food - live entertainment

To register, CLICK HERE or call 415-920-5040

Want to get involved? We are looking for volunteers, exhibitors, sponsors, and
in-kind donations.
For more information, please contact volunteer@supportforfamilies.org

Family Special Events this Spring!

This Spring!


Friday, March 18th; 5:30pm: Boxtrolls

Friday, April 15th; 5:30pm: Inside Out

Friday, May 30th; 5:30pm: Minions

Join us for a family-friendly movie while munching on fresh-popped popcorn and pizza right here in our office! Our playroom will also be open!

Movie Nights are held at Support for Families at

1663 Mission St., 7th Floor, San Francisco

To register, Call 415-920-5040

SFCD Event Recaps

Holiday Ice Skating Party

Photo by: Chetan Tekur

It may have been cold outside but that didn’t prevent families from attending our annual Holiday Ice Skating Party on Dec. 19th where they got to enjoy delicious hot chocolate, desserts, free books, and a chance to skate with Santa! Huge thanks to our amazing volunteers, staff and friends at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center for making this event a success. We hope everyone had a jolly good time!

Special Needs Family Appreciation Night with the Warriors!
Monday, March 7th; Game starts at 7:30pm
Oakland Arena, 7000 Coliseum Wy, Oakland, CA

Support for Families was excited to partner with the Golden State Warriors again to offer discounted tickets and exclusive opportunities to families of children with special needs! Tickets for this event sold out quickly!

Donor & Volunteer Recognition Party: Thank You!

Our volunteers, donors, sponsors, and community partners are the reason why our organization has been successful in serving so many families of children with disabilities and professionals in the community. We’d like to thank everyone who attended our Donor & Volunteer Recognition Party on Wednesday, February 17th and helped us honor some amazing groups and individuals

Support for Families is pleased to honor the following recipients of the 2016 Donor & Volunteer Award:
Theta Delta Xi, Donor
KISS FM, Media Sponsor
ChengCheng Huang, Volunteer
Michaela Azzopardi, Volunteer
Ashlynn Kalahele, Parent Mentor
Martha Membreno, Parent Mentor

PMP: Parent Mentor Program

The Parent Mentor Program (PMP) is one of the oldest programs at Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD). The support families receive through a Parent Mentor provides them the feeling that they are not alone in their special needs journey.

This past year the PMP has taken on a new training series – Project Leadership. Similar to the Special Ed series, the eight month training (September - May) helps Parent Mentors gain an understanding of health care systems and public policy advocacy. Originating under Family Voices through funding from the Lucille Packard Foundation, the curriculum provides insight in understanding systems process and addressing concerns through various outlets, including participation in committees and planning bodies, providing testimonies at state and federal hearings, and sharing their stories through the media.

More importantly, training on “how” a Parent can mentor other families is covered in the extensive Parent-to-Parent (P2P) Training. The P2P provides helpful information in order to be responsive to families’ needs. Training includes accessing Support for Families as a resource, active listening techniques, and communication skills. This training occurs twice a year, in June and December.

Interested in becoming a Parent Mentor?
Contact us for information or to register!

Joan E. Selby (English)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, Ext. 113
Email: jselby@supportforfamilies.org

JoAnna Van Brusselen (Spanish)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, Ext. 141
Email: jvanbrusselen@supportforfamilies.org


What is Stepping Stones?

Stepping Stones forms part of the Positive Parenting Program (Tripe P) system of family intervention for parents who have children who are at risk of developing behavior problems, and it includes adaptations for children with disabilities.
At SFCD we just finished our third Triple P parenting series and here are some of the comments from the caregivers who participated:

“I valued the relationships I built and knowledge gained from other parents in the class, each of whom, like me, are more than happy to share their wisdom as well as frailties!”
(Chris Roe)

"No more yelling at home, happy parents, happy kids!”

“I love the class and I would recommend it to anyone. It has helped me a great deal with myself and helped me know how to deal with my son. I also used the techniques at work with people I encounter!” (Jose Farias)

Infant Massage Series

Infant massage is a fantastic
way to connect with your baby,
reduce stress and postnatal
depression, and increase closeness! Studies have shown infant massage can help babies sleep better, gain weight, reduce fussiness, improve health and relax.

This FREE 5-week series welcomes ALL infants birth to one year and their parents/caregivers. Each week we will be learning information and strokes that build on each other, so attendance at all sessions is ideal.

New Session begins in March! Call 415-920-5040 or visit
supportforfamilies.org for more information


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Inclusion is All Around Us

by Alison Stewart, SNIP Manager, astewart@supportforfamilies.org
This Tipsheet was developed by SNIP with funding for CVS CAREMARK Charitable Trust

Literature that reflects the natural diversity of our world, along with honest and thoughtful conversation, helps children deepen their understanding of differences in themselves and in others. This list is a small sample of books for a range of ages and interests. In each section, books are ordered from easiest to more advanced. Enjoy

Books that represent inclusion:

Characters with differences and disabilities are part of a story, but the story is not focused on their disability.

Cave, K. (2004). That's what friends do. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. This charming early childhood picture book about friendship sets the stage for discussion or reading about inclusion. Pair it with My Friend Isabelle. (see below)

Parr, T. (2001) It’s Okay to be Different. New York: Little, Brown and Company. This lighthearted early childhood picture book has bold, colorful line drawings       of many differences, including various disabilities (and also having a pet worm).

Slate, J. (1998). Miss Bindergarten celebrates the 100th day of kindergarten. New York: Dutton Children's Books. (series). Lenny the Lion uses a wheelchair and is fully included in all of the class’s adventures, with no mention of his mobility by Miss Bindergarten or Lenny’s classmates.

Lionni, L. (1963). Swimmy. New York: Pantheon. Swimmy the fish discovers how to be himself while also being part of a community. Artful illustrations (plus big words and small print) make this book better as a read-aloud than independent reading for young children. Interesting metaphors stretch it into mid-elementary.

McCloud, C. (2006). Have you Filled a Bucket Today? A guide to daily happiness for kids. Northville, MI: Ferne Press. This whimsical picture book is recommended as a family, class, or even school-wide read. Illustrations are diverse in age, ethnicity, and physical ability and the message of kindness is universal.

Books that teach about differences and disabilities:

Woloson, E. (2003). My friend Isabelle. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Thrasher, A. (2004). A teacher's guide to My Friend Isabelle: classroom activities that foster acceptance of differences. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Charlie and Isabelle are dear friends who like to do many of the same things, but are also quite different from each other. Charlie and his mom talk about these differences, and agree that “life is more fun with friends like Isabelle,” who has Down Syndrome.

Lyon, G.E. (2010) The Pirate of Kindergarten. New York: Simon & Schuster. (Schneider Family Book Award Winner) In this high-energy book, a feisty kindergartener discovers that most people don't see double. After a vision screening, she gets glasses and an eye patch, becoming the pirate of kindergarten!

Polacco, P. (1998). Thank you, Mr. Falker. New York: Penguin.** This autobiographical story captures the loneliness and self-doubt of a child who has difficulty learning to read. It highlights the positive impact of a strengths-based approach.

Asare, M. (1997). Sosu's Call. Ghana: Sub-Saharan. (Winner: UNESCO Children's and Youth's literature in the service of tolerance, IBBY Outstanding book for young people with disabilities) Sosu is excluded from his village because his legs “don't work”, until he saves many lives during a great storm. This picture book vividly contrasts the experiences of exclusion and inclusion.

Uhlberg, M. (2010). Dad, Jackie, and Me. Atlanta: Peachtree. Beautiful watercolors illustrate this enjoyable story of a boy and his father who closely follow Jackie Robinson's first season. With a gentle touch, the story shows the parallel discrimination faced by Jackie, the first black major league baseball player, and Dad, who is Deaf.

Binkow, H. (2008). Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart. Lerner. (series) This book features a child with ADHD, but the central message of this captivating book is “be yourself.”  Whoever you are, Howard will help you celebrate your unique qualities.

Petrillo, G. (2007). Keep your Ear on the Ball. Gardener, ME: Tilbury.** In this true story of teamwork, Davey’s friendly classmates learn how to include him without doing everything for him. Davey is a polite, capable boy with a visual impairment whose story offers a wonderful introduction to disability etiquette and creative examples of auditory cues.

Palacios, R.J. (2012) Wonder. New York: Knopf.** Multiple characters narrate this New York Times bestseller, including a boy whose first day of middle school is also his first day of school ever, due to a medical condition. Strangers are afraid of his unusual face, but the kind and loving Auggie becomes part of his new community.

Brenna, Beverly. (2012) The White Bicycle. Ontario, Canada: Red Deer Press. (series)** Typical teenage highs and lows are magnified by Taylor Jane’s unique perspective as a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her first job, supporting a boy who uses a wheelchair and an alternative communication device, is key to this insightful and often funny coming-of-age story.
**Books especially recommended for adults to read for their own understanding and enjoyment.

Additional Resources to Build your Library:

Look for characters with disabilities are shown in positive, realistic roles, fully contributing to the story and a range of settings (urban, rural), cultures (languages, religions, traditions), perspectives (age, social class) and all of the other ways that humans are diverse.

This Tipsheet was developed by SNIP with funding for CVS CAREMARK Charitable Trust

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Where to Get Help with a Child's Special Education Services

by Joe Goyos, Education Program Director, jgoyos@supportforfamilies.org
Compiled by Support for Families and San Francisco Unified School District

It is important for parents to know where to get help if they believe there are problems with their child's special education services. It is in the best interests of your child to resolve problems at the earliest indication of communication breakdowns, and to seek resolution at the school site first whenever possible.

The following is SFUSD's system of resolution options:

1. Discuss the problem with your child's classroom teacher and/or other school staff member who knows your child's needs. This can include your child's special education teacher, counselor, related service provider (i.e. speech, occupational therapy, etc.), psychologist, or other specialist helping your child. It may also include the school site family liaison, who may be able to help with school site communications with staff.

2. Review your child's IEP and determine if the plan is being implemented. Does it need updating to meet any changing needs of your child? You may request a review of the IEP at anytime. A meeting must be held within 30 days of your request. Be sure to ask that all relevant IEP team members be present to address your concerns.

3. If there is no resolution, discuss the problem with the school principal. Your principal may assign staff with responsibility for special education to help. You should also speak with the special education program content specialist assigned to your child's school. The special education teacher and the school principal will be able to provide you with the contact information for the special education content specialist. It is also located on the Special Education Services website, http://www.sfusdsped.org/

4. If there is still no resolution, call SFUSD Special Education Services at (415) 759-2222 and ask for the Special Education Supervisor for your school.

5. If you feel that your concerns haven’t been addressed through the above four avenues, you can call the Special Education Ombudsman at (415) 241-6185 x 3236 for help resolving your concerns. The Ombudsman can work with appropriate SFUSD staff to address your concerns.

6. You may also call the appropriate Assistant Superintendent, Elementary & K-8 Schools (415-241-6310), Middle Schools (415-241-6607), High Schools (415-241-6478), County/Court Schools (415-241-6478). The Director of Charter Schools can be reached at 415-241-6121. For the Chief of Early Education please call 415-750-8599.

7. For issues not related to the IEP, parents may contact Ramon Martinez (415-241-6150) in the SFUSD Office of Family Voice for assistance with addressing concerns regarding to the school site climate, bullying, and other issues that can’t be addressed in the IEP.

8. The California Department of Education (CDE) coordinates the Procedural Safeguards and Referral Services, which provide technical assistance information and resources for parents, school districts, advocates, agencies, and others of procedural safeguards regarding students between ages 3-21 with disabilities and their educational rights.


Procedural Safeguards & Referral Services
Toll-free Help Line: 800-926-0648; Weekdays 9am - 4pm
Fax: 916-327-3704 or email: speceducation@cde.ca.gov

The current (2009) Special Education Rights of Parents & Children, Procedural Safeguards Notice can be downloaded (in multiple languages) from the CDE website at:

CDE compliance complaint process:
1. Request for Compliant Investigation Form: Click on Request for Complaint Investigation (DOC; Revised Nov-2006) at the bottom of the following web page:
2. Special education dispute resolution process:
3. For systems issues, the CAC for Special Education is an advisory committee to the Board of Education, made up of parents and professionals, whose purpose is to advocate for quality special education. The CAC welcomes all to attend meetings and share information the 4th Thursday of every month, 7pm, at SFCD. You may contact the CAC at cacspedsf@gmail.com or visit their website at www.cacspedsf.org

And as always, you can contact SFCD with any questions at 415-920-5040.

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The Well Visit Planner: Making the Most of Your Child’s Well-Child Visits to the Health Care Provider

For more information about FVCA or this article, contact Pip Marks, FVCA Council Manager: pipmarks@familyvoicesofca.org

Busy families, busy health care providers! Time is of the essence for everybody, and so making the best use of the time we have is critical. Well-child visits—those regularly scheduled trips to the doctor for your child’s checkups and shots—provide important time with your child’s health care provider.

The Well-Child Visit
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 13 well-child visits during the first three years of your child’s life. These are over and beyond any visits for illness or those with specialists. Well-child visits are all about prevention and promotion of healthy habits. Recommended vaccinations are given during these visits, as well as routine screenings for such things as vision or hearing problems, anemia, autism, and other issues. It is the perfect time to share what your child is doing and learning, and to share any questions or concerns you might have.

It’s also a good time for your child’s health care provider to learn about your family and your cultural and family traditions and anything that affects your child’s health and development.

The Well Visit Planner
A new tool can help you make those visits as meaningful as possible: The Well Visit Planner. The Well Visit Planner is an online tool to help families prepare for their children’s upcoming well-child visits to the health care provider.

• It’s free to use
• It's available in English and Spanish
• It takes 10-15 minutes to fill out before each visit
• It can be printed and taken to a visit
•It helps families be better partners in their child’s health care

To use the Well Visit Planner, go to:

To learn more about the Well Visit Planner, check out two videos on the website:
• The Well Visit Planner, Part 1—Making the Most of your Child’s Health Care Checkups: An Overview of the Well Visit Planner
• The Well Visit Planner, Part 2—Using the Well Visit Planner: A Step-by Step Guide: A Tour of the Planner—the steps involved and the kinds of questions it asks.

The Well Visit Planner (WVP) was developed and created by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) (www.cahmi.org). National experts, families, and pediatric providers worked together in the design, development, and testing of the WVP. The information contained in the WVP is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures Guidelines for the Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents (https://brightfutures.aap.org).

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Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library

The books below are a few examples of the types of books added in our lending library. The library is open when the Family Resource Center is open (MWF, 9:30am - 4:30pm; T,TH 12:30pm - 8:30pm) and during onsite clinics and workshops.

What Does It Mean to Be Safe?
by Rana DiOrio

This book for children received the Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence. The publisher, Little Pickle Press is based in San Francisco. Their mission is “to cultivate conscious, responsible little people….”. I find this to be a book that teaches values surrounding the idea of being safe. Some of the ways of being safe are to respect the power of things that could hurt you, knowing how to respond to emergencies and looking out for others. A couple of more areas that are emphasized are listening to your inner voice, being accepted for who you are and not revealing information about yourself to strangers. The illustrations are a delight and reflect the diversity of cities like San Francisco. I enjoyed reading it because it taught me essentials about being safe without being scary.

What Does it Mean to Be Kind?
by Rana DiOrio

This is a second book by the same author. Maybe this will become a continuing series of books for young children about the philosophy and values of being a good person. I enjoyed the humorous illustrations in the beginning that explained what being kind is not. Some examples of being kind that children will relate to are: giving someone a compliment, holding the door open for someone else or sticking up for someone being bullied. It does an excellent job of introducing or expanding courtesy to others and good manners.  It would be a wonderful resource for preschools and kindergartens. The book is well made, colorful, uses a sentence per page and again expresses a diverse community setting.

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, Having the Courage to Be Who You Are
by Maria Dismondy

Maria Dismondy has written a series of books for children about challenges. She bases this book about courage and bullying on an actual childhood experience of her own. The main character, Lucy, lives with her grandparents is creative and different from most of the kids at school. Ralph, a loner, chooses her as his target for mean teasing.  The book covers how with advice from her grandparents and with her own  inner courage changes Ralph into a friend. She ends the story with 10 rules of living in the words all children understand.  As an endnote, this book is now a musical. I would recommend it as a book for kindergarten and up. Enjoy the brightly colored illustrations.

Speech & Language Development & Intervention in Down Syndrome & Fragile X Syndrome
by Joanne Roberts, Robin Chapman & Steven Warren

Brookes Publishing Company has created a series of books called the Communication and Language Intervention Series. This textbook is a part of that series. Even though it is considered an upper level college text, parents will benefit from the birth to 3 years language developmental milestones. It compares speech and language attributes of children with each diagnosis.  There is useful information about the genetics involved in each disorder and offers techniques to use for speech problems throughout the lifespan. It is well-indexed, has a comprehensive table of contents and end of chapter bibliographies.

Reaching and Teaching Children Exposed to Trauma.
by Barbara Sorrels

The target audience of this book is the Early Childhood Professional. I feel it is also useful to foster parents, adoptive parents, blended families and so many more people who care for children. I learned a lot about signs of neglect, abuse and trauma and the signs to be aware of when communicating with a young child. The comprehensive table of contents introduces the reader to chapters on fear and stress-based behaviors, sensory processing issues, self-regulation, social skills, development and learning. There is a lot of good information on the formation of attachments, techniques to sooth a traumatized child, conflict resolution and healing. The book can be read in parts due to the index. There are internet resources and a bibliography. It is easy to use and offer new hope and strategies for this becoming too common part of the life of our children.



Reviews by Elaine Butler, Librarian

Each of these books has been personally researched and requested for review purposes by me for introduction to you, the reader.

Support for Families maintains the Joan Cassel Memorial Library which is a lending library for families and professionals, comprised of multi-lingual books, reference materials and media related to children with disabilities and special health care needs. The library is open during regular business hours.

If you have the title or author of a book you’d like to read, please go to our website and do a search. Go to this link and enter the title or author or subject and click search. If we have the item, call us and the librarian will hold the item for you until you can come to the office to pick it up. Try the online catalog or come and browse the shelves by category, new items added weekly.

Visist our library online at: http://www.supportforfamilies.org/library.html

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Support for Families is Hiring!

Support for Families of Children with Disabilities is a non-profit organization that offers parent-to-parent emotional support to families who have children with disabilities, and information and educational services to families and the professionals who work with them. Support for Families is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and those who are LGBT-identified are encouraged to apply.

Position: Accountant
Hours: Full Time
Salary: DOE + benefits
Position Available: Now
Job Location: Support for Families

Position Description:  The Accountant ensures compliance with generally accepted accounting principles and Support for Families policies and procedures regarding contracts and assists to prepare budgets and revisions for grants and contracts. Assists to prepare cost allocations, spread sheets and projections, financial statements, monthly, annual budget and revisions, as requested. Support for Families has subcontractors. The Accountant will assist to develop and put into practice fiscal “processes” to ensure ease for users, will assist subcontractors with preparation of their respective budget, budget revisions and invoices. More Information [pdf]

Position: Social Worker Bilingual Cantonese
Hours: Full Time
Salary: DOE + benefits
Position Available: Now
Job Location: Support for Families

Position Description: The Social Worker Bilingual Cantonese provides short-term counseling and short-term case management for families of children with disabilities and other special health care needs and families facing high risk challenges; provides regular follow-up to ensure that the child and/or family needs were met through the referral, provides referrals; works with a team of Family Resource Specialists; represents agency in mental health settings; data collection and writing monthly reports. More Information [pdf]


Position: Family Resource Specialist Bilingual Spanish
Hours: Part time
Salary: DOE + benefits
Position Available: Now
Job Location: Support for Families

Position Description: Provide families of children with disabilities information, education and peer support on a warm line and at the drop-in center. Family Resource Specialist staff also provides professionals with information. Duties include: answering a warm line, meeting with families and providers, outreach to families, and providing follow-up support. More Information [pdf]


Position: Inclusion Support Specialist
Hours: 40 hours per week
Salary: DOE + Benefits
Position Available: Immediately
Job Location: Support for Families

Position Description: Support for Families seeks to increase opportunities for children and youth with special needs to participate fully in community recreation, cultural activities and in out-of-school time (OST) programs. We want our families to feel welcome and our children and youth to participate in museums, performances, sports and recreation programs.  The Inclusion Support Specialist will collaborate with community organizations to create opportunities for children and youth with special needs to be included in recreation and OST activities alongside their typically-developing peers. S/he will provide outreach to develop new partnerships with organizations that provide recreation and cultural activities in San Francisco. S/he will provide staff and volunteer training, staff coaching and technical assistance. More Information [pdf]

Donations received
November 1, 2015 - January 31, 2016
Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups, and businesses. We apologize for any omissions or misspellings; please contact us so we can correct our records.

Additional Wine+Design 2015 Donations
The Kimball Foundation
Audrey & Russell Vernick

Foundations, Groups, Businesses
The Benevity Community Impact Fund
Bill Graham Memorial Foundation
Moca Foundation
Physicians at Pacific Professional Building
ProSight Specialty Insurance
Thendara Foundation

John Ball
Angela Bennett
Barbara Bysiek
Chiachi Chen
Alycia Chu, in honor of Juno Duenas
Lorelei Chun, in honor of Mei Mei Chun-Moy's 2015 High School Graduation
Michael Conte
Magnolia Cornel-Yee
Shelley & Andy Forrest, in honor of Jessica Zoe Forrest's 27th Birthday
Gail Green
Hank & Carla Greenwald
Heidi Hapin
Richard Hobbs
Roshan Isaac
Maryann and Alain Lajoux, In honor of Michael Boussina
Phung Lam
Nancy Lim-Yee
Betty Lituanio
Ingrid Lusebrink
Rebecca Lynn
Deborah & Peter Magowan, in honor of Dr. Timothy Chuter
Ruixia Marco
Maureen McCarthy
Susan Monson
Calvin Pon
Paul Rauschelbach
Robert Hines & John Seeman
Antje and Dick Shadoan, in honor of Helen Rossini
William & Margaret Stewart
Rebecca Stiewig
Larry Turley
Julie Tse
Anne Marie Siu Yuan
Olga Zilberbourg, in honor of Juno Duenas & the Support for Families staff
Rafael Zuniga, in honor of Heather Fischer at Christmas

In Memory of Robert Lanzone
Tracey Bowen
Bronwyn Brunner
Tosca and Tom Clark
Ariel Kelley
Arlene and Robert Mathias
McGuire Real Estate
Jennifer Rosdial
Laurie Strawn
Yvonne Toracca


In-Kind Donations
Jane LaPides & Murray Cahen
McCall’s Event Management
Trader Joe’s

Workplace Giving
Anonymous, AT&T Corporate Employee Giving Programs
Marianne Campbell, Wells Fargo Community Support
Stephen Mahoney, Allstate Giving Campaign
Angela Wong, Chevron

Corporate Matching
Adobe Matching Gifts
Chevron Matching Employee Funds

Holiday Ice Skating Party 2015
McCall’s Event Management
Trader Joe’s

Volunteer Groups
National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA)

Individual Volunteers:
Alec Kenilvort
Alex Bender
Ana Plasencia
Bridget Macko
Caroline Fyfe
Chetan Tekur
Christina Luah
Cristian Baca
Daisy Jimenez
Daniel Sullon
Danlei Zhou
Deidra Owen
Emily Barker
Eunice Zhou
Geoff Faulkner
Jashley Campa
Jenay Tower
Joe Walsh
Joseph Menzel
Mary Rhoades
Michaela Azzopardi
Robert Leon
Sam Hsu
Sandy Ross
Soledad Sullon
Tara Pozzi
Veronica Pederson
Wayne Low Kum

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