Questions? Contact:

Carolyn Woolf, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Shree Starkman, Assistant Director of Development

 

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Niamh and Gabe

We are a pretty "Marin Normal" family with a little more travel lust than most.

We use our passports about four times a year. Niamh was raised in rural Ireland and has seven siblings that span four continents. She moved to California for biotech work in her early twenties, visits her Irish home about three times a year, and enjoys visiting other European countries on route. Gabe was raised in a Russian community (Washington, DC) with a German mom and has visited 48 countries.

We hope to give Finn the education, joy, and humility that travel brings. He's already visited Australia, Croatia, and Ireland five times (pre-Covid).

Gabe once read about a classmate in Mill Valley who celebrated Shabbat with her family by turning off all electronics. We similarly continue to look for family traditions. Each morning we have "coffee hour" before MMS drop-off. We celebrate the middle of the busy work week with family dinner together ("Hump day") to make sure we have a common meal. On the eighth of each month, we celebrate the day we met in SF (our "Luniversary"), and on the eleventh of each month, we celebrate the day Finn was born.

The Bay Area is a special place to share diverse cultural narratives. 

We make a special effort to pass on our family stories. Niamh's family has a long history in Co. Carlow, Ireland. She named Finn after the Fionn McCool from Irish mythology (with a relationship to her own Gaelic name and Finnegan's Wake). We are raising Finn bilingual. Gabe has translated many of his paternal grandfather's 500 poems about pre-Revolutionary Russia. His maternal grandmother left her memoirs from post-Nazi Germany, which he translated and shared with Unity in Marin (on YouTube). 

We love that MMS has philanthropic outreach. With privilege comes enormous responsibility. Niamh practices the Irish word "flaithiúlacht" (flaw-lukt which means "over-generous") to describe the Irish traditions of hospitality and giving. Every time we read the news, we are reminded to prioritize ethics and empathy in raising Finn. We plan to have Finn volunteer as soon as he is able. Before Finn was born, Gabe often took his nephews to the Tenderloin to distribute socks to the homeless. He recently joined the Larkspur City Council and Marin Wildfire Prevention Agency to work on disaster prevention, housing, and equity issues in Marin.