May 2017 |
May 25, 2017 
SFH Garden Internship Program
A key component of Sunflower Hill Gardens is our internship program for individuals with special needs. The overall objective of the program is to significantly contribute to the development of employment skills by providing educational and vocational training in horticulture, lead ership opportunities, and general life skills development opportunities. The program is led by SFH board member Chris Bogert. She works with each intern to identify their personal growth needs and objectives, and the garden team works to provide opportunities to develop work and life skills. 
Since 2015, SFH has had five interns work in the garden. Our first intern, Audrey, completed a one-year internship and then went back to school at Las Positas Community College in Livermore to complete an AA degree in Kinesiology. Another  garden intern, Devan, will be finishing up her internship in July, after which she will be attending college in Sonora.

Alden Lane General Manager, Cyndee Carvalho with Cory

We are also excited to announce that our newest intern, Cory, has secured employment at a local nursery,  Alden Lane! Cory has been working hard in the garden for more than four months and started his official internship in February.  He will be continuing his SFH garden internship while he works part time at his new job. 

Congratulations Cory!!

We are also working on an another paid opportunity for another intern, Teresa, that we hope will be finalized in the next few months.  
Developing work skills that lead to appropriate vocational opportunities is an important goal for the Garden and Sunflower Hill as an organization.  Typically, interns work two to three half days a week or a minimum of seven to nine hours each week in the garden.  For more information on this program and/or to get involved, contact Chris via

Meet the Sunflower Hill Team!
As our garden and residential communities have blossomed, so has the Sunflower Hill support staff. In 2016, the board of directors hired employee #1 - Anis Shaw, as Sunflower Hill's Administration Manager. In early 2017, employee #2, Lina Valenzuela joined the team as Farmer for Sunflower Hill Gardens at Hagemann Ranch. And in Spring 2017, we were lucky to find Abbas Masjedi, who is
representing our interests on the residential construction of both Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch and Sunflower Hill Livermore, serving as Project Consultant.

All three have been valuable additions to the Sunflower Hill Team and are helping our organization grow! Earlier this year we profiled Lina and the great work she is doing at SFH Gardens. If you missed it, you can read about Lina here. This month, we'd like to share more about Anis and Abbas and the contributions they're making.

Anis Shaw
If you send an email to our organization or visit our office in Livermore, chances are you'll have the opportunity to speak with Anis. She manages the day-to- day operations of the organization and works closely with members of the board, advisors, our bookkeeping firm, payroll and HR company, ADP, and other outside consultants to keep our organization on track! Prior to joining Sunflower Hill, she served as a Human Resources Generalist for Synergy Housing and as a Recruiting
and Training Specialist for Musco Family Olive Company. Anis lives in Pleasanton with her husband and son and enjoys refinishing furniture and cooking when she's not working for Sunflower Hill!

Abbas Masjedi is a registered civil engineer who retired from the city of Pleasanton in 2015 after serving 16 years as the Utility Engineer. He also worked as a civil engineer for the City of San Bruno and the City of Rialto and began his career as a construction estimator in Southern California. He has a MS in Public Administration from Cal State East Bay, a BS in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and resides in Castro Valley.

Abbas Masjedi
Abbas will work closely with SAHA Housing and MidPen Housing representatives on the pre- construction requirements, general contractor selection and the day-to-day project management and city interface for both residential communities.

"Anis, Abbas and Lina have each added tremendous value and expertise to Sunflower Hill," said Susan Houghton, board president. "We're so very grateful they're joining us on this journey to create residential communities and vocational options for individuals with special needs."

SFH Launching Inaugural "Rainmaker Award"
The Sunflower Hill board of directors is launching the inaugural "Rainmaker Award" - to be given annually to the entity or individual(s) who helped our organization get to the next level. The definition of a "rainmaker" in its purest form is one who causes rain to fall. Thanks to our first recipients' support of Sunflower Hill in 2016, a great deal of 'rain' was generated - allowing our garden to grow and our organization to prosper! 

It's been said that rainmakers are an intricate part of the magic in a community. They are invaluable to their organizations, industry, associates and clients, as well as their community, charitable causes, and in the political arena. To know a rainmaker is a valuable asset, to be a rainmaker, a legacy.

We are excited to be announcing the first recipients of our Rainmaker Award at our annual Moonlight in the Vines gala on July 29 at Wente Vineyards. We hope you can attend and celebrate our honorees with us!

Moonlight in the Vines on July 29!

Our annual gala,  Moonlight in the Vines,  is on   Saturday, July 29, from   5:00-10:00 p.m.

We will be holding this exciting event at  Wente Vineyards  in Livermore! We are currently looking for live and silent auction items for our big event. If you have anything you would like to donate, please email

To see all the info on sponsorships and to purchase tickets, please go to our website and 
we will s ee you on July 29!

SFH Gardens Update
Just harvested produce displayed on our new produce stand built by Max McGee!
The Sunflower Hill Gardens are flourishing! In April we planted most of our garden produce, which was the main focus of the April Special Needs Family Workday. Much of this produce planted in April is now ready for harvest. 

We have already begun harvesting lettuce, arugula, chard, pak choi, raspberries, strawberries, beats, carrots, scallions, green/yellow zucchini, and herbs, and soon will have some tomatoes, basil, and more.  Produce is available for purchase in the garden Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 
10 a.m.-12 p.m.

We are also working on a few infrastructure projects. Volunteers from Robert Half and Hands On Bay Area added mesh to our arbor to support our gourd, loofa, and wisteria plants. They also helped build a redwood Pergola in a corner of the garden to provide some shade. Our main focus now is the building of our new Greenhouse. We are building the foundation and will be assembling our future new Greenhouse on  June 16/17.

Our next Family Workday is June 3, 9:30-11:30a.m. We will mainly be focusing on the harvesting of produce. You can sign up for the event and get the necessary forms on our website.

Sunflower Hill | | | Phone 925.231.6003
P.O. Box 11436 Pleasanton, CA 94588