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“What is a problem YOU can help solve?”

SLOBs Speaker Series: Founder of Magical Bridge----

Our SLOBs Speaker Series hopes to promote educational and charitable endeavors that foster both community and responsibility. Our 2021 year was filled with many different speakers, and as we look forward to 2022, we reflect on the wonderful opportunities our members had to listen to pillars of our community.

At the September general meeting, local Los Altos High School senior and founder of MidPeninsula Post, Tomoko Chien, discussed why he created the local paper featuring independent high school news writers. Subjects he touched upon included challenges in running a local paper while being a full time student and recent topics presented in the paper.

In the November general meeting, Olenka Villarreal, founder of Magical Bridge, discussed how she solved a problem which impacted her family. While at a local playground with her children, she realized that standard playgrounds were not inclusive. Through her research, she discovered that one in four people have a disability and often these disabilities are not physically apparent. There were many challenges in creating these innovative and inclusive playgrounds. For example, she discussed that tan bark, often used for the ground, is not wheelchair friendly, and most playgrounds are not fenced in. After a long seven year journey from start to finish, her organization built the first Magical Playground in Palo Alto. Since then, her organization has received requests from many cities in the US and across the world requesting assistance in building inclusive playgrounds. Her message to SLOB members is to ask yourself, “What is a problem YOU can help solve?”

In the most recent January SLOB meeting, Michelle Gracon, VP Meetings, reviewed the Meyer Briggs Personality test. Even though the meeting was online due to covid-19, members took their own personality test and were able to see their 4 letter MBTI type. The MBTI can help individuals develop a better understanding of themselves; however, it was emphasized that some may have exhibited different MBTI characteristics in different environments such as in work versus home.

We could not be more excited for 2022, as we continue to grow our organization. Our Speaker Series has provided incredible opportunities, and we are looking forward to the continued success of the series!

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