Silicon Valley FACES

Silicon Valley FACES is dedicated to creating and promoting an empathetic and inclusive community free of bias, bigotry and violence through our programs and advocacy. We accomplish our mission through age-appropriate experiential learning programs that teach empathy, inclusiveness, effective communication skills, conflict resolution, and the constructive leadership skills needed to disseminate these attributes among classmates, colleagues, and the community at large.
Oct 31, 2016

I am not alone!

  • Camp Anytown/Everytown is an experience that stays with you through the years. Even after over 15 years after attending camp, many of the lessons learned at camp how up in my day to day both in personal and professional settings. Issues that relate to racial stereotypes, socio/economic backgrounds, and gender discrimination and stereotypes.
  • When I watched the Camp Everytown video from last years luncheon, it brought back vivid memories of my experience of camp. The memories and emotional attachments were so strong and ingrained in my mind that watching the clips of the exercises I did some 15 years ago, brought tears to my eyes as those memories flashed before me. Watching the video made me re-live my camp experience. Something a profound and powerful as my camp experience cannot be easily forgotten. It has shaped who I am today.
  • Empathy and understanding empathy goes a long way. Being able to connect with others and feel what they have experience brings a deeper level of connection, even to strangers. The world would be a better place more people understood empathy and/or found ways to try to empathize with others.  Because of this, I feel strongly that more people should attend camp. 
  • With everything happening in the news around Xenophobia, racial shootings, gay equality, human rights, and many more, it even more important that programs like SV Faces and their effort for Camp Everytown get the support that it deserves. Helping to secure the future of our children start with promoting a culture of empathy, inclusion, and diversity. By informing, educating, and empowering our youth, we can hope that they hep promote a brighter future.
Aug 1, 2016

Postcards from England

Elizabeth Ha & Jim Yang
Elizabeth Ha & Jim Yang

If I had to choose one word for Camp Everytown and Camp Common Ground it would be "AMAZING"!  But one word isn’t enough to describe these two programs.

My story with FACES began in 2012, my freshman year at Live Oak (Morgan Hill) -- going to Camp Everytown. All of us campers were a little apprehensive since we had no idea what to expect. But who knew that taking that leap of faith -- going to a camp no one knew anything about and not having many friends attending -- would change my perspective in life forever?

Camp Everytown was a life-changing experience, and to be able to grow as a person amongst my peers is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Participating in the different activities at Camp made us teenagers become aware of what our actions and others’ actions can do, whether positive or negative. Camp was a safe place, a place where we could be ourselves and not have to worry about somebody judging us or being rude. We got to know and respect each other, and we learned that, if we put ourselves or others down, someone would call us on it.

Being able to talk freely about the detrimental effects of racism, sexism, and bullying, etc., and how to fix the problems that we face in high school and in the world, was an opportunity given to us at camp that we aren't necessarily given at school; it was truly an eye opener, especially when it came time to share our personal stories.

Camp seemed like the longest, yet shortest, four days of my life. And when it came time to leave, no one wanted to. But when we did go back to school, we campers made a big impact by sharing what we learned with others who were not able to experience such a program.

I personally loved camp so much that I went back my sophomore year as a Counselor-in-Training to relive the experience and further grow as a person. And just as I expected, it was even more amazing than my first time.

Then, in the summer before my senior year, I got to expand on my FACES journey by volunteering for Camp Common Ground at Britton Middle School.

Camp Common Ground is a whole other experience compared to Camp Everytown, although they are similar in scope. (Note: Camp Common Ground is for students transitioning into middle or high school.) Being able to mentor incoming 7th graders was so much fun and seeing their transformation from Day 1 to Day 3 was indescribable -- I was so happy to see them grow so much.

I had ten 7th graders, some of whom I still talk to, and two of my students became best friends (Crystal and Savannah). Crystal actually returned to the next year’s Common Ground at Britton to help out as an 8th grader. I was so happy to see her and to know that she still implements what she learned at Camp Common Ground in her life, and that she and Savannah are still the best of friends!

The next year's Camp Common Ground offered the same atmosphere as the year before -- largely due to much of the Ground Crew returning for another year, which was amazing! I cannot thank the Ground Crew team enough because, without them, not much would be accomplished.

And without being introduced to FACES, I wouldn't be the person I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. "Alone we go faster, but together we go farther," is a quote that was stated at my second Camp Everytown, and something that I will always remember. 

And thus has been my story and experience with FACES through Camp Everytown and Camp Common Ground. 

May 6, 2016

How Camp Everytown Helped Me be Me

Me: Then
Me: Then

How Camp Everytown Helped Me be Me

By Linda Z.


There is definitely a long-term impact of attending Camp Everytown back in 2009. During that period of time, I was a high school junior and it was only a year after I was diagnosed with lupus. I was put on a regimen of immunosuppressants and steroids that caused my face to become extremely swollen to the point beyond recognition, even by my closest friends. As an adolescent trying to fit into high school, it was humiliating for me to walk around getting stared at by my peers who didn't understand what I was going through.


However, going to Camp Everytown helped me understand that a lot of judgement by my peers stemmed from a lack of
awareness. I realized that I, too, am guilty of making judgments about others due to my own limited understanding.
Today, I share my story, ask questions, and listen to others in order to develop a better mutual understanding. This open-mindedness also translates very well to the future career in medicine that I envision for myself where being understanding and empathetic is extremely important when delivering high-quality patient care. I just graduated with honors from UC Berkeley this past May with a Bachelor’s in molecular and cellular biology and am currently applying for medical school while working at a startup company in San Francisco. 

Me: Now
Me: Now

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