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  • Lisa Starbird

Facility Profile: Saint Vincent’s Day Home

Saint Vincent’s Day Home is a non-profit organization located in the heart of West Oakland in the same Victorian house where it was founded in 1911. They provide comprehensive early learning programs for toddlers and preschoolers, a full-day kindergarten, plus before and after school programs for older children.

With more than 200 diverse pre-school and kindergarten children from low-income families, each class has its own unique name: Butterflies, Caterpillars, Hummingbirds, Starfish, Dolphins and more.

Many of our children’s performers who volunteer for Bread & Roses have performed here at some point in time. We have presented a total of 118 shows to the children at St. Vincent's since 2008.

One of the children’s favorite groups are The Hipwaders, whose business card says “hip music for kids.” They play a variety of catchy tunes that get everyone engaged including rock, pop, folk, reggae and even disco music for kids.

On a perfect sunny morning in West Oakland, The Hipwaders performed for the children on the outdoor playground. They played songs like Baby Brother, Messy Room, Shake Twist and Hop, Stand up to the Bully and Earthquake. What do you do in an earthquake? "Drop, cover and tuck," went the lyrics to the song. Bandleader Tito Uquillas got the kids to stand up and jump like pogo sticks on cue before they all collapsed back onto the floor in fits of giggles. The kids then clambered to their feet for the next song, You've Got to Move as Tito encouraged them to shake, shake, shake. To end the concert, the band did a tune from Sesame Street that the kids all knew and sang together with squeals of delight.

Afterwards the attentive teachers gathered the children by calling out “Butterflies over here, Dolphins let's line up, Hummingbirds here we go…” They all formed their orderly lines for each classroom while still giggling, laughing and smiling.

Bandleader Tito shared his post concert reflections; “The Bread & Roses shows are always the best. It was our new bassist's second ever show and he kept looking at me the entire time with disbelief at the amazing reaction we were getting. He was very moved and kept talking about how it touched him emotionally. He plays with several bands and is used to the usual bar scene crowds. He now realizes playing for kids and families is pretty satisfying - so thank you!”

Saint Vincent’s Day Home is a very special school and we are happy to be able to partner with them. Together -- with our dedicated volunteer performers -- we are making a difference in the lives of many children.

By Lisa Starbird, Event Producer/ Program Associate

Photo/Video Credits:

1) Saint Vincent's children dance during a Bread & Roses show. Photo by Peter Merts.

2) Vice President, Programs Carolyn Gauthier introduces The Hipwaders for their show in 2015. Photo by Peter Merts.

3) Children dance to The Hipwaders singing "Sunny Days" from Sesame Street. Video by Carolyn Gauthier.

4) Tito high fives young members of the audience following his performance. Photo by Peter Merts.

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