September 2011 Newsletter

Newsletter | September 2011
Did You Know? 

Most of Upper Noe’s planted flowers and pulled weeds come thanks to the Ladybug Gardeners?

This month’s updated hours:

9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tot Room:


Wed & Fri


(varies, depending


9-3:30 p.m., 7-8:30 p.m.

Wed & Fri
1-8:30 p.m.

9-8:30 p.m.

10:30-1:30 p.m.

Greetings, Friends! Read On…. 

Elementary School Fair September 25
Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires Play for the Tots
Ladybug (Gardeners) Threatened with Extinction
A Wall of Support for Upper Noe
layground Surface Repaired Quickly

Our Fair Schools

It’s that time of year again: the season before elementary school applications are due. Anxious parents will spend hours touring schools, analyzing test scores, consulting friends and reading blogs and listservs, hoping to find a school to fit their families.

In the spirit of supporting local schools and local parents, the Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center will host an elementary school fair Sunday, September 25, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Parents and administrators from public, private and parochial schools in Glen Park, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, the Mission, Eureka Valley, the Castro, Miraloma Heights, the Market Street Corridor and the 280 Corridor will be on hand to answer questions.

Parents for Public Schools will host an enrollment workshop between 9 and 10 a.m. This nonprofit organization works closely with the San Francisco Unified School District, and its representatives know the ins and outs of the new enrollment system.

The San Francisco Public Library will have a Bookmobile on hand, and you’ll be able to apply for a library card. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will have staff available to register you for a family account, sign you up for classes and answer questions.

Please visit our Noe Schools fair website (  for links to the schools, which we have divided by location and by program. The site also contains school-hunting tips and more information about the public school lottery. Feel free to email organizer Kate Haug with any questions or offers to volunteer.

From Nightclub to Upper Noe
Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires will get the kids swinging to their cabaret pop sound at Upper Noe Recreation Center Saturday, September 10, from 9 to 11 a.m. 

“This will be our first exclusive all-kids show,” said lead singer Brazill, who writes the music and plays acoustic guitar. Though the band is accustomed to entertaining the big kids at nightclubs like Cafe du Nord and Bottom of the Hill, Brazill has long been playing music for the elementary school students she teaches.

“The songs have a lot of imagery,” she said.

They also have a lot of interesting accompaniments: Kelley Corton will play the musical saw and glockenspiel (similar to a xylophone) and Johnny Sidaris will play his homemade cigar-box slide guitar, a washboard and a clarinet. Joe Wilcockson on organ and Dawn Mermer on standup bass will make up the rest of Saturday’s band.

Brazill, known to many Noe Valley children as “my piano teacher,” describes the band’s sound as “scratchy Tom-Waits-ish instrumentation and cabaret-meets-jazz vocals.”

In addition to original music, the band will play some cover songs for the kids, like “Rattled” by the Traveling Willburies, “Creep” by Radiohead, and “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d a Baked a Cake.”

Tot Rock is sponsored by The Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center through community donations. All families with children under the age of 5 welcome.

Ladybug Gardeners Urgently Needed
The Ladybug Gardeners return to Upper Noe’s grounds Saturday, September 10, at 9 a.m., following a two-month summer hiatus taken for want of volunteers. 

“The city did not want to put in any more overtime for gardeners if there’s only one volunteer showing up,” said lead Ladybug Joan Lionberger. For the past few months, only three volunteers were on hand to assist the city gardener, she said. She hopes to have more like 12 this month.

“A dirty dozen would be great,” she said.

The need is more urgent than ever because the site’s regular gardener has taken sick leave, and the temporary gardener is not as attentive, Lionberger said.

“If people look around they will see the weeds and flowers dying and plants torn out,” she said. “We need help on redoing birdfeeders, picking up trash, pulling weeds—everything that accumulated over the summer.”

Ladybug Gardeners meet the second Saturday of every month at the same time the concerts for tots are running. The gardening is a great way for families to spend two hours a month, too, Lionberger said.

“I’ve got games and gloves for the kids, if they come,” she said. Adults are advised to bring their own gloves and a trowel or two.

“My thought is if the kids see the parents working, they’ll take a little pride, too,” she said. For more information, email us.

Tiling for Dollars
The last commemorative donor tile was laid into the wall surrounding the playground this month, bringing to a close a fundraising campaign that helped usher in an Upper Noe Recreation Center renaissance. 

Thank you, donors—come take a look at your tiles!

Thanks to neighborhood support, Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center raised more than $75,000. The money bought the sound system that rocks the tots on the second Saturday of each month, a video projector as well as new sports equipment, toys and art supplies. There is money set aside for ongoing projects like communications and plantings as well as for unforeseen expenses, like the need for a sandbox cover and an outdoor bulletin board.

The bulk of the tiles were laid in December 2008, three months after the facility and grounds celebrated a grand re-opening. The 1950s era building had been closed for two years while it and the surrounding 2.5 acres underwent an $11.6 million city-funded renovation that included a reinforced gym roof, new heating and electric systems and a new playground.

During the closure, Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center formed under the leadership of neighborhood moms Alexandra Torre and Molly Sterkel. Through parties, teas and tiles, Friends raised money and a sense of park stewardship in the community. Behind the scenes, volunteer Daphne Humes deftly handled the administrative tasks.

Twenty-five tiles were bought in this second round, said Kate Haug, co-chair of Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center. Though the campaign has ended, you can still make a tax-deductable donation to Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center by visiting our website, Your contributions will go toward equipment, toys, supplies, plants and events like our tot concerts.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive 

Friends co-chairwoman Molly Sterkel reports that the Recreation and Parks Department quickly fixed the weathered playground surface beneath the merry-go-round after she brought it to the attention of department heads at the end of July. The partnership between an attentive parks department and observant park users keeps our playground safe and spiffy, so please email us if you notice things that need fixing.

Volunteers Needed

  • Serve a two-year term on Upper Noe Recreation Center’s Community Recreation Council and help shape programming at the center.

Please contact Levi Johnson at 970-8061. The form is available on our website and at the center. Please either drop it off or mail it to: Levi Johnson, UNRC, 295 Day Street, SF, 94131.

  • Tabling on September 10 from 9 a.m. to noon. This opportunity is ongoing. We need volunteers to tell people about our organization during our free family concerts in the Auditorium the second Saturday of each month. Come meet your friends and neighbors and let them know about the Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center!
  • Volunteers to assist the Ladybug Gardeners on the second Saturday of each month.

Please contact us.

  • Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center is organizing an elementary school fair that will feature public, private and parochial schools from Noe Valley, Glen Park, Bernal, Outer Mission and Potrero Hill. We need people to contact the elementary schools and local preschools. We also need volunteers on the day of the event, Sunday, September 25, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Parents for Public Schools will also participate. Sponsored by the FoNVRC.

Please contact Kate.

Community Events

September 10
Live Music in the Auditorium (tot room)
Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires
Saturday, September 10
9 to 11 a.m.

The Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center is glad to sponsor Saturday morning live music in the Auditorium/Tiny Tot room at the Rec Center. Tot room open, too! Come by with your child and enjoy the music.

September 10
Ladybug Gardeners
Saturday, September 10
9 a.m. to noon
Recreation Center grounds

Grab your gloves and take a trowel to keep Upper Noe’s grounds looking spiffy. Joan Lionberger has coordinated with our city gardener to determine where the Ladybugs will focus their attention. Fun for families, too!

September 25
Elementary School Fair
Sunday, September 25
9:30 a.m. to noonThe Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center are sponsoring a free elementary school fair, featuring public, private, and parochial schools convenient to families in central and southern neighborhoods.

Parents and administrators from schools in Glen Park, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, the Mission, Eureka Valley, the Castro, Miraloma Heights, the Market Street Corridor and the 280 Corridor will be on hand to answer questions.

Outside the Center:

September 14
Noe Valley Wine Walk

Wednesday, September 14
4 to 8 p.m.
24th Street between Diamond and Chattanooga streets

Wine tasting along 24th Street. A $30 “tasting wristband” buys a wine glass and map of tasting locations. Hosted by the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association and Steven Restivo Event Services, LLC.

Thanks for your interest and support of your park! Please contact us with any questions or suggestions. Let us know about any community events you are planning at the park so we can promote them. Please forward this newsletter to your friends and neighbors who use the Noe Valley Recreation Center. We want this newsletter to help build the park community — please help us connect with members of the community.
Enjoy your Park!

Molly Sterkel (
Friends of the Noe Valley Recreation Center

Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center



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Friends of Noe Valley Rec Center
397 30th Street
San Francisco, California 94131
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