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Newsletter 2021-22

This is our annual fundraising letter and also an opportunity for me to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for every person that makes PDS the amazing organization that it is.


I get chills thinking about how much we have all been through and how we have come through the pandemic, stronger and closer than we ever were. Our staff have shown incredible enthusiasm, creativity, adaptability, dedication and loyalty and our clients have been patient, cooperative and resilient. 


We are so grateful to the Odd Fellows organization for trusting People with Disabilities Succeeding and investing in us. We have partnered to create The Friend Zone, a place that is filled with laughter and joy, and where everyone is welcome and celebrated for being their unique selves. 


Almost everyone is back to work at pre- pandemic jobs, like Rolling Hills Club, Diego Trucking, Woodlands Market, Point Bonita (YMCA camp), Cost Plus, Costco and Marinwood Recreation Department as well as new job sites that we have developed such as the San Anselmo Recreation Department, Redboy Pizza and Benvenuto and Drawing Room salons. We are also working on some new employment opportunities with places such as the Social Security court and our own Friend Zone snack cart business. 


Our clients are absolutely thriving and getting along better than ever. The places they hike and go are more and more adventurous, and the meals they cook are more gourmet. Their art has reached new levels of talent and expertise, and they have kept healthy and active with dance, exercise, and table tennis. Our friends who work in the garden have provided lots of vegetables that we enjoy at the Friend Zone. Many people continue to dog walk, and we have added karaoke, meditation, book club, game time, puzzle club and social media to our “in person” activities. Darren has continued on Zoom to provide not just his amazing DJ skills, but also to offer personalized support to people online, before, during and after their program time as well as when they are home sick. 


The pride and excitement we feel about all that we have accomplished is indescribable, but palpable to us all when we are enjoying time together at the Friend Zone. Check out our WhatsApp PDS4FUN chat to see photos and videos of all the happenings and kind words of love and encouragement among all of us. It’s almost as if we have been through a war together, and we mean it when we refer to each other as “friends.” 


Thank you thank you thank you, for hanging in there with PDS through the dark days of the pandemic, for trusting me and for being patient while we worked out plans and solutions. It’s been such a gratifying experience to completely reinvent PDS and to create the Friend Zone from scratch. 


We are in the process of building our new administrative offices, next door to the Friend Zone, which will have laundry facilities and storage for the Friend Zone and will be the headquarters for the snack business. We are also completely remodeling the two hall bathrooms and creating one disabled accessible bathroom. 


We have still not received our rate increase for transportation, but we did get a Health and Safety rate increase for day program, and we have raised our staff salaries and started giving them health benefits. Along with paying our employees as well as we can, PDS covers the costs of Friend Zone coffee, snacks, special lunches, and activities for them as well as the clients. These perks make people feel valued, appreciated, and never deprived. 


Part of what makes our organization special is the high-quality experiences we provide to both staff and clients, which keeps PDS exciting and fun. Anything you can contribute will help with the incidental costs of community activities like bowling, ferry rides, museum entrance fees, cooking, supplies, snacks, special lunches and celebrations for clients and staff, and providing work clothing, shoes, and gear to our clientele when necessary. 


Thank you for donating what you can. And again, it means the world to have your trust and support. 


This is our PayPal link:


And you can also send donations to:


People with Disabilities Succeeding 

1512 5th Avenue

San Rafael, CA 94901


PDS is a non- profit 501(c)(3) Public Charity, and all contributions are tax deductible. You will receive a receipt for income tax purposes. 


Happy Thanksgiving! 


Here is the link to our Halloween 2022 photos 



Lisa Giraldi

PDS Founder and Executive Director

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