Dedicated to improving the lives 
of at-risk children, youth and their
 families in Alameda County

Winter E-Newsletter
December 2013
"We're new to Ann Martin and our therapist, Christine, was quickly able to create a meaningful connection with my daughter. She has really provided a life boat unlike any other resource or support we have."

(All names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of our clients)
Greetings from our Executive Director

Dear Friends,


We're gradually settling into our remarkable new home in Emeryville.  The clinic has 19 psychotherapy offices, 10 educational therapy offices, several conference rooms, and a new multipurpose lecture hall.  The facility consolidates our three clinics previously located in Piedmont and Oakland.


So far, the feedback about the new setting has been terrific with kids, families, staff, and visitors enjoying the breathing room and just being under one roof... finally.


Our relocation, over four years in planning, will position Ann Martin Center for many new possibilities in the months ahead.


The core services Ann Martin Center remain child psychotherapy, educational therapy, psychological and educational testing for over 1,000 at-risk children each year.  Our Professional Development Lectures and new Parent Education Program will enhance these services through training and by sharing knowledge and experience. 


Altogether, these efforts are part of making Ann Martin Center a valued hub in the community that supports healthy families and children connected to learning.


Your generosity will help Ann Martin Center improve the lives of underserved youth and families in our community:


$100 (Supporter) - Purchases therapeutic play materials for clinic and school-based counseling programs.

$250 (Friend) - Provides three months of educational therapy for a high potential, underachieving child struggling with learning issues. 

$500 (Patron) - Supports six months of intensive individual counseling for at-risk children in need of guidance.
If you've already given, we thank you for joining us in our mission. If not, your generous gift today will help support AMC's programs throughout the coming year.
Please help us reach our Annual Campaign goal of $350,000 by donating today!  Remember that a generous gift of any size makes a difference for our work at Ann Martin Center. 
On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and the families we serve, best wishes for this holiday season!


David S. Theis, DMH

Executive Director

Parent Education Program (PEP)
Exciting project on the horizon!

Over the next few months, Ann Martin Center is launching a new initiative, our Parent Education Program (PEP).  Through a combination of presentations, workshops, and individual consultation, we will be offering support to parents and caregivers who have concerns about their child's social-emotional development and progress in school.  A two-year grant from the Nicholson Family Foundation will seed the design and implementation of PEP.


Topics will cover a wide range of issues, such as bullying (and cyber-bullying), emotional intelligence, how to connect with your teen, avoiding homework battles, and how to maintain a healthy marriage when parenting a special needs child. To get the ball rolling, Ann Martin Center and CommunicationWorks recently co-sponsored a lecture on speech and language problems in school-aged children. Julie Glover, MS, CCS-SLP, a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist at CommunicationWorks, provided an overview of how children develop language skills and she identified warning signs for speech problems.

In developing PEP, we will seek input from educators, child mental health professionals, and of course parents themselves. We will also benefit from a partnership with the UC Berkeley Haas Business School that matches MBA graduate students with nonprofit organizations.  Two students, Stephen Deng and James Tinker, are working with us to create a financially sustainable plan to offer accessible parent education and support.

With a focus on prevention, we hope PEP will strengthen parent-family-child relationships by providing guidance, tools, and skills to assist with the challenges and rewards of parenting. 

The PEP project complements our ongoing popular Professional Development Lecture Series that features conversations on contemporary research, theory, and technique relevant to educators and child mental health professionals.  Speakers reflect diverse expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of learning, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and school-related problems.  We recently enjoyed a dynamic discussion on ADHD with Meryl Lipton, MD, founder and Medical Director at Rush Neurobehavioral Center in Chicago. Visit 
our website to find more information about this lecture series.
Cornerstone Therapeutic Playgroup 
Ten years and going strong!

Linda Hirshfeld, PhD and Katrin Braune-Krickau, PhD with children in a playgroup session

The Cornerstone Therapeutic Playgroup was introduced to Ann Martin Center by our Clinical Intake Coordinator and longtime clinical staff member, Linda Hirshfeld, PhD, in November of 2004. With the support of our Learning Director, Betty Peterson, MEd, and dedicated clinicians, the program has grown to become a very special niche, serving some of our youngest children at Ann Martin Center.  
The Cornerstone treatment model is derived from a research-based method called "Reflective Network Therapy", developed by Gilbert Kliman, MD, over 40 years ago. The treatment helps children with varied social, developmental and emotional problems, including those associated with autism spectrum disorders.   
Originally designed for a preschool classroom setting, Linda implemented the same principles from the Reflective Network Therapy to accommodate playgroups outside of the school. The twice-weekly Cornerstone playgroups were initiated at Ann Martin in 2004 with Dr. Kliman's support, including a generous grant from the Children's Psychological Health Center, as well as his ongoing involvement as a program consultant.   
Linda views therapeutic playgroups at Ann Martin Center as an empathic, play-based approach, focusing on in-the-moment interactions with her, as well as between the children and others present during the group.  The treatment technique yields positive and impactful improvements in children's verbal and non-verbal communication, overall behavior and social learning. Led by Ann Martin Center clinicians, small groups of four to six children (between the ages of 3 and 6 years of age) participate in playgroups that meet twice a week at our Emeryville clinic. Each playgroup has its own unique characteristics based on the ages of children involved and the activities that best suit the group members' specific developmental challenges and strengths.
Parents are encouraged to be involved in the treatment process, often serving as active observers or directly engaging with the children. These real-time opportunities to observe and participate in the Cornerstone groups allow parents to better understand the context of their child's communications and behaviors. Thus, the guiding principle is to establish a "reflective network" of back-and-forth communications between the child, other adults and peers. This process supports the development of different capacities in each child.


Linda's expertise in early intervention is a valuable asset to our outpatient psychotherapy clinic and the expanding community it serves.
Psychotherapy at our Clinic
Hallway inside Ann Martin Center

Psychotherapy services at Ann Martin Center help children, adolescents and their families, as well as individual adults, many of whom are parents of children and teens being seen in their own treatments. Clients request assistance dealing with challenging life circumstances, developmental stressors, family conflict, distressing thoughts and emotions, relationship issues and/or behavioral difficulties. 
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a client-centered, collaborative process built upon establishing safe, non-judgmental, confidential therapeutic relationships where clients are encouraged to explore whatever is on their minds. Psychotherapy explores the "here and now" in relation to past experiences, what is known to the self vs what is "hidden" and as yet undiscovered, the "conscious" as well as "the unconscious"- via wishes, daydreams, fantasies, and dream material.  We make use of the relationship between client and clinician to explore and understand worries, fears, hopes, desires, realities, achievements, losses and disappointments.  

Commonly identified psychotherapy goals include: improving communication skills, strengthening connections within families, learning to express emotions, tolerating and reducing painful feelings, changing problematic behaviors, increasing self-esteem and overall functioning in daily life. 


Save the Date! Spring Gala 2014
Celebrate the Spring season with Ann Martin Center
We're pleased to invite you to Ann Martin Center's Annual Spring Benefit Gala on Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the beautiful Kaiser Rooftop Garden in downtown Oakland!  Over 200 guests from the East Bay community will gather to celebrate Ann Martin Center's extraordinary achievements to support the needs of underserved children and families in Alameda County.
Auctioneer Abra Annes will dazzle the crowd with getaways, dinner parties, and more! The evening will include a live and silent auction, seated dinner, program, entertainment, video presentation and special appeal. 100% of proceeds will benefit Ann Martin Center's vital programs and services providing psychotherapy and educational support for at-risk youth in the East Bay.
Tables and tickets are on sale, but space fills up quickly! Please RSVP by January 31st by visiting our online registration page or mailing in your reply form.


Past featured auction items include:

  • Idaho Fly Fishing Getaway at Teton Valley Lodge!
  • Private Tour of Pixar Studios!
  • Themed Dinner in Beautiful, Historic Piedmont Home!
  • Weekend Stay in Squaw Valley Home!
  • And more! 

We are seeking donations for the live and silent auction.  Bottles of wine, dining certificates, get away packages, and private dinner parties all make terrific items that will generate valuable bids to support Ann Martin Center's work!  If you have an item or a service that you would like to donate, or for information regarding donations, please contact Nu-Nhi Nguyen, Development Associate, at (510) 655-7880 ext. 304 or


Download our Auction Donation Form.

Ann Martin Center is currently inviting leading socially-minded Bay Area businesses with local community giving programs to partner with us through our sponsorship opportunities.  To receive promotional materials and information about sponsorship and visibility benefits, please view our full listing here. For more information contact Lynn Peralta, MSW, Development Director (510) 655-7880 ext. 308 or

If you've given thought to supporting Ann Martin Center, now is the perfect time to contribute to our cause and make a real and lasting impact for underserved children and families in our community. 

We hope you can join us for this grand affair!
Board Spotlight: Peter Laufenberg
"When each individual thrives, we all thrive."
Peter Laufenberg
Board Treasurer, AMC Board of Directors

Ann Martin Center Board Member Peter Laufenberg has served on the Board since 2008.  As board treasurer, he currently chairs the Board's Finance Committee.  Peter is a Partner of the law firm Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP in Oakland, where he specializes in insurance and risk management in large-scale real estate development projects.  

Peter grew up in Albany, California, earned both his bachelors and law degrees at U.C. Berkeley, and now lives in Oakland with his wife Becca and two sons.  Having lived in Alameda county most of his life, Peter sometimes jokes that he and his wife will be going outside the "510" and visiting the "408" to celebrate their next anniversary.  

"In my time as a Board Member I've seen AMC grow, change, and adapt.  What I appreciate most -- and what makes serving on the Board worthwhile -- is the caliber and dedication of the Center's leadership, clinical professionals, and staff to accomplish our mission of improving the lives of at-risk children and their families through the psychological and educational services we provide.  When each individual thrives, we all thrive." 
In This Issue
Board of Directors
Hill Blackett, III

Linda Saag Baker, MS 
Vice President
Lilly Krenn

Peter Laufenberg, JD

MaryAnn Pearson

Marian Rothschild

Betty Simpson, LCSW

John White, PhD
Executive Team

David S. Theis, DMH

Executive Director
Administrative Manager
Laurie Lober, LCSW
Clinical Director
Development Director
Learning Director
Chief Financial Officer
"When I first came to the Center, I was unsure of what my child needed. Since we started receiving services here, my daughter and I have grown emotionally, spiritually and academically. 
In the past two years, she has become more open and confident in herself. With Educational therapy, she's been able to raise her grades and test scores! I would like to thank Ann Martin Center."

- Parent, Client Feedback Survey 2013
Our Location
Ann Martin Center
1375 55th Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
Tel. (510) 655-7880
Fax (510) 655-3379 

Announcing our Stanford ACT Team, 2013-2014 

In September, the Stanford Business School Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) accepted our proposal for a pro bono assessment of the business model in our Learning Program. Courtenay Yates, Senior Director of Global Alliance Management at EMC, along with Betty Chen and Amanda West, will be leading the six months of evaluation and planning. We are so excited to share this news with you and look forward to the promising future this would mean for Ann Martin Center's expanding services.

"My son really enjoys having an hour each week that is 100% focused on him. Our therapist, James, really helped us through a very difficult time with the death of Tray's father this year. Tray's mood has been much more stable and he has been able to express himself in a  more constructive way than before."

- Parent, Client Feedback Survey 2013
Professional Development Lecture Series
Ann Martin Center sponsors lectures on contemporary research, theory, and technique relevant to educators and child mental health professionals. Speakers reflect diverse expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of learning, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and school-related problems. The series is offered as a free service to the professional community and all presenters have donated their time.

Thank you everyone who attended the Open House!
Betty Simpson (Board member), David Theis (Executive Director) and Buzz Blackett (Board President) cutting the ribbon in front of Ann Martin Center

"Sometimes people don't understand how a special needs child impacts your life. There is grief, shame, guilt, difficulties with your partner that need to be negotiated, and just the sheer work and time it takes to search out and find resources for your child. 
There have been times when I've broken out in tears and our therapist, Rebecca, has been there to understand, support, and advise me. Without Rebecca in our life, it would have been so much more difficult and lonely. Just having Ann Martin's resources available to us has been invaluable."
- Parent, Client Feedback Survey 2013
Donations Fiscal Year 2012-2013
We are so grateful to all the individuals, corporations and businesses that supported us through financial and in-kind gifts last year. 

Without you we would not be able to do what we do best here at Ann Martin Center: improve the social and emotional well-being as well as academic skills of children and empower the parents who care for them.

Your commitment year after year allows us to provide the psychological and educational therapeutic services for the underserved community who are unable to afford the needed services.

Thank you for being a part of our family at Ann Martin Center and walking with us towards bringing wholeness to the lives of our clients and their families.

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"The therapist who sees my brother is a true godsend. She is extremely approachable and compassionate. Her ability to explain and relate to the issues my brother experiences has been a great asset to me. She's truly one of the good ones as they say. 
- Parent, Client Feedback Survey 2013

Ann Martin Center | 
1375 55th Street, Emeryville, CA 94608 | 510.655.7880

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