Sebastopol World Friends Board Members
Sandy Andresen has lived in Sebastopol for 26 years along with her husband Eric and daughter Alea, 20, who traveled to both Yamauchi/Takeo and Ukraine as a student ambassador. She has worked as a assistant to the Friendship Circle, a program for seniors of the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, Psychotherapy Intern for True to Life Children’s Services, Social Services Director at Beverly Manor in Petaluma, as a Health Educator with Kaiser Permanente, and a Spiritual Care Volunteer Chaplain at Memorial Hospital. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education and a Ph.D. abd in Clinical Psychology from Meridian University in Petaluma, Ca. Sandy has been on the board to SWF since 2008 where she has co-chaired the Takeo Exchange program and is now on the Takeo Exchange committee. In 2011 she traveled to Takeo, Japan, as part of the Sustainable Development Exchange Program aimed at sharing Sebastopol and Sonoma County’s best practices in Sustainability internationally.
Val joined the SWF Board in 2001, after her son, Morgan, was selected as a student ambassador in 2000. She was a chaperone for the 2002 student group to Yamauchi, and was co-chair during the 2003/2004 student exchange with Yamauchi, when her daughter Brenna was a student ambassador. Val also chaperoned a group of high school students to Chyhyryn in 2011. Val has held other board positions including Recording Secretary, Second Vice Chair, and served as Chairperson from 2008-2014. She is now enjoying the role of First Vice Chair/ Membership Coordinator.
Val was attracted to SWF because it helped to alleviate a feeling of helplessness in promoting world peace, answering the question “how can one make a difference without being a philanthropist or joining the Peace Corps?” She believes wholeheartedly in the mission of SWF, that by fostering understanding and friendships between people of different cultures, we can go a long way in securing world peace. One of Val’s goals now is to help neighboring communities establish strong sister city relationships.
Val works as an RN at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, and enjoys hiking, gardening, and traveling in her spare time. Val has lived in Sebastopol since 1987, where she and her husband, Jeff have been fortunate to raise their four children.
Abigail Evans moved to Sonoma County in 2002 and realized at once that she had come home. She has been enthusiastic about foreign languages, international travel and friendship-building since her first trip abroad to France at 15. She holds a double Bachelor’s Degree in History and Russian from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s Degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from U.C. Berkeley. She has been involved with Sebastopol World Friends since her eldest child took part in the exchange program with Takeo, Japan and she and her family learned first-hand of the wonderful opportunities for international friendship and community building that sister city relationships make possible; she became Chair of Sebastopol World Friends in January of 2015. She teaches at the REACH School and takes a wide interest and part in many local organizations and events. She has three children, assorted pets, a garden, and is an avid reader, thinker, maker, and walker.
Beth Lamb is a 14 year Sebastopol Resident. She became involved with Sebastopol World Friends when her daughter Hana was chosen to be a student ambassador to Yamauchi Japan (now our Takeo Program) in 2006-2007. Beth has a deep connection to Japan since she lived in Japan and taught English in Ibaraki prefecture from 1989 to 1991. In addition Beth has an interest in the Ukrainian culture because she traveled to the Ukraine in 1971 as a high school student. Beth understands the value of cultural and educational exchange programs because she was a college exchange student studying Geology in Bergen Norway. As a professional Geologist Beth has also traveled to many distant places, including the North Slope of Alaska, Scotland, and Norway. She has friends around the world. Beth currently works as an Engineering Geologist managing contaminated groundwater cleanup sites in Northern California for the State of California. Her Daughter is now away in college so she has more free time to enjoy her other hobbies including gardening, hiking and entertaining friends.
Patty Levenberg’s love of cultural exchanges began in high school when she was an exchange student to Thailand for a year. When her own daughters were in middle school they were student ambassadors to our Sister City, Yamauchi, Japan. Over the years her family has hosted numerous students and adults from both of our Sister Cities. A retired Physical Therapist, Patty enjoys volunteering at Luther Burbank’s Experiment Farm in Sebastopol, bicycling with her husband, and playing with her grandchildren.
Meg Mizutani is a native of Japan and has lived in the U.S. since 1989. She is a translator (English-Japanese) and a Japanese language tutor. She also teaches Japanese culture and Taiko drumming in Sonoma County. She has been actively involved with Sebastopol World Friends since 2006 and working closely with its Japanese sister city, Takeo Japan. Her life goal is to promote global peace through grass-root diplomacy.
Leaf Roberts married Will Roberts and moved to Sebastopol in 1965. She has four children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. She completed her Bachelor and Masters Degree in Nursing at University of California San Francisco and her Master of Divinity Degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She worked for 43 years in nursing for the State of California at San Quentin and Sonoma Developmental Center, retiring in 2003 as a Unit Supervisor (responsible for 24 hour supervision of the clients and staff for a specified building at the center.) Rev. Roberts continues as the Associate Minister of the Good Samaritan Community Church of Sebastopol.
Leaf and Will Roberts were among the first group recruited for the City Commission which became Sebastopol World Friends (SWF). Leaf has held many offices in the organization including Chairperson and has been successful in obtaining several grants for SWF. She has been Chair of the Chyhyryn Committee since its beginning in 1993. She is always willing to share her experiences on three adult delegations to Yamauchi/Takeo, Japan, and ten trips to Chyhyryn, Ukraine.
Sunny Galbraith has lived in Sebastopol for 18 years. She has been involved with Sebastopol World Friends since her daughter Pearl hosted a Takeo student in 2013. Her son Leo hosted a student in 2017.
Sunny is a high school chemistry and independent study teacher at Orchard View School in Sebastopol. In the summers, she coordinates with local businesses to teach math and science to 9th graders with the Mike Hauser Academy. She received her B.S. in Biology from U.C. San Diego and her mathematics and biology teaching credentials from Sonoma State.
Sunny founded and runs the compost and recycling program at Apple Blossom and Orchard View Schools in which she trains fifth graders and high school students in composting and recycling lunch waste. She also works with the Laguna Foundation, restoring and creating wildlife habitats with high school students. She volunteers with 350 Sonoma, a local climate activist group.
Sunny loves participating in cultural exchanges and is particularly fond of the challenge communicating with people who speak different languages.
Jake More has been a Sonoma County resident for 10 years. Both of his daughters are currently attending Analy High School. His youngest, Ella, is part of the 2015/2016 Takeo student exchange.
Jake is an avid traveller and has visited Japan twice along with many other Asian, South American, European, and Australian cities. Jake and his wife are also fortunate to travel for work where they bring yoga teacher trainings to many locations across the world. This love of traveling and other cultures is what inspired Jake to get involved with Sebastopol World Friends, and to encourage his daughter to get involved with the exchange program.
“I’m proud of the area we live in, and want to be able to share that experience with other students and adults as they visit us here in Sonoma, and I also want to help our community members learn about other cultures and meet people from different areas.”