Winter Newsletter

Photo of Ann Gimbel
Anne Gimbel
From the desk of our  
Executive Director

As summer closes, let us try to remember those tranquil, sunny times.  Entering winter, we think of the holidays, community, and family and friends.  Our "family of residents" at Maitri is thriving! Daily, we see a resident sharing  a time on the patio, or watching a television program together in the Living Room, or  one younger resident pushing the wheelchair of an older resident in the hall. We model  building relationships and learn from one another the coping strategies to find comfort, strength, and hope in a compassionate and safe environment.

Our new clinical staff, RN and Clinical Supervisor, as well as our new Program Director have brought seasoned insight and professionalism to our home, and we welcome them. (see bios below). I would welcome a time to give you a tour of Maitri and our home.

Anne E. Gimbel, M.A., LMFT
Executive Director


Volunteer Update

Maitri welcomes the October cohort of freshly minted Volunteers, or "Volts", on to our team.  Volunteers are a critical part of Maitri's mission, helping with all aspects of daily life at Maitri. From taking residents to medical appointments, to organizing trips to the Zoo, Maitri couldn't do what Maitri does without our Volts.  Whether it's sitting with an ill or dying resident or lending a hand on administrative projects and fundraising events.  Whatever they do, Maitri Volts are essential.
Our next one hour volunteer orientation is November 10th, at 9:00am. If you yourself, or someone you know has the focus, smarts, compassion and energy to become a Maitri Volt - then step this way.  For more information about volunteering, or to get started today, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, David Valentine, (415) 558-3004 or


I remember walking into Maitri and wondering "how can I help this special place?"   Apparently Kirsten Havrehed had this experience back in 1997 and she decided yes, she could find some ways to help. And she did. She volunteered continuously nonstop for over 20 years.  She had a green thumb and a beautiful garden in the outer Richmond District.  When her dahlia garden bloomed she took the fresh cuttings to Maitri - by bus - and then carefully arranged them so that every resident and public space within Maitri had fresh flowers. She did this weekly, changing the water and putting fresh flowers in their place. Someone took notice and decided to help her; an anonymous donor began to send a large box of flowers directly to Maitri for Kirsten to arrange! She brought in beauty, and her warm heart, and always left beauty behind so it could help those living and working in that special environment. 

For the holidays she would organize her annual fundraiser; a home craft a jam and bake sale. Table upon table was filled with homemade preserves and jams, and lots of holiday decor. She was on a mission, because she knew Maitri needed help. Her delicious cookies and shortbreads were part of the solution. She also donated over $60,000 over those years, and countless hours of her time.

Her stay at Maitri was brief, and she passed away peacefully within the week of arriving. She had room #5 with a garden view. Greg and Mary Anne personalized it; flower-themed artwork, fresh flowers and gentle classical music. I had a chance to visit her and say goodbye. I told her that I represented so many other people who held her in their hearts and who surrounded her with their love. I reassured her she was not alone; in fact, she was at Maitri, with incredible people who would administer comfort and care to help her transcend her pain so she could feel safe and secure.  Her close friends organized visits and Maitri staff visited too. 

She brought in beauty,
and her warm heart,
and always left beauty behind so it could
help those living and working in that
special environment.
The Maitri environment -which she lovingly poured herself into - surrounded her with comfort in her final days.   The beauty which she sought to provide others was also provided for her.  It was one of those magical Maitri moments to witness this great Dane pass away at a place she held so close to her heart. 

Kirsten loved her church and Maitri. If you walk in front of St. Francis Lutheran church on Church St., notice the gingko tree. Kirsten told me years ago that she had reserved a spot for her ashes to be interred near the church under the sidewalk by the tree. In fact, many of her SF friends had chosen to be there as well, so there is basically a community of friends near each other for eternity. This was remarkable and inspiring to hear. By design she knew where she wanted to remain. So remember Kirsten as she choose a spot for her ashes to be be interred around the corner so she would always be close and surrounded by friends.   

Rest in Peace Kirsten. Thank you for teaching us and sharing with us your beautiful way of seeing things, and your generous way of helping others. You made a difference in so many people's lives. You brought loving kindness and compassion to everyone at Maitri. Looking back its hard to imagine Maitri without Kirsten's presence. 
Rest in peace, dear Lady of Maitri. 
Traci Teraoka, 
(Former Board President and former Interim Executive Director )

picture of flower
Photo by Peter Bucks on Unsplash


New Faces at Maitri

Maggie Henry, RN, CHPN

Maggie Henry, RN, CHPN

Maggie has always wanted to work for Maitri and considers her current position as Nurse Manager her "Dream Job".  Maggie spent her first clinical rotation at Maitri while attending the nursing program at the University of San Francisco and the support she received from the leadership team was so remarkable that she decided to dedicate her career in palliative and end of life care.  Maggie comes to us from Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco where she spent 10 years as a nurse consultant on the palliative care team and was mentored by the highly regarded palliative care physician, Dr. Jeffrey Beane.  Maggie has a special interest in caring for the underserved community in her native city of San Francisco and received the prestigious Ida B. Cannon award for her dedication and expertise in upholding the values of social work.  On her free time, Maggie most enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, watching documentary films on any subject and studying the cosmos. 

Crystal Russell, LCSW, LCAS, MSPH

Crystal has been active for years in program development in the fields of public health and social work, dedicated to serving marginalized and often forgotten populations, individuals with substance abuse concerns and mental health diagnoses, and persons with HIV/AIDS and other chronic medical conditions. She comes to Maitri from the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was the Supervisor of the Social Work Team, working within the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grant to assure that patients receive appropriate and necessary services. She has a Master of Science in Social Work and a Master of Science in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill, and specializes as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. Her undergraduate degree is from Duke University. She most enjoys traveling with pups Kima and Franklin, and experiencing the culture, especially food, of new places.

Crystal Russell, LCSW, MSPH

David Vargas-Hernandez, LVN

David Vargas-Hernandez, LVN

David has a passion for working in palliative and end of life care. As a Licensed Vocational Nurse, he's worked at various levels of care in mental health and other nursing specialties before moving into leadership and management. He then was agency nursing supervisor and crisis program manager for Westside Community Services for several years before joining Zen Hospice Project as Nurse Manager. David lives in the east bay with his wife Patricia, currently in law school, 2 small dogs (Hanna & Lenni), and 1 small kitten (Doja).


Thank You "Dreams on a Dime"!

We were surprised and delighted that Jessica Goldblatt of the wedding and event planners,  Dreams on a Dime , graciously donated flowers from a wedding over the weekend.

Dreams on a Dime Floral Bouquet 3


Maitri's New Location Update:

Work continues apace on the buildout of Maitri's ground floor space.  Both our new tenants, Core Power Yoga, and Castro Animal Hospital are due to open up by the end of the year.