Meet Ari and Dawnelise Rosen, the recipients of this year’s Wetzel Community Leadership Award.
Ari and Dawnelise Rosen are familiar faces in Healdsburg, the place they have called home for more than 20 years. As proprietors over those years of two popular restaurants, Scopa and Campo Fina, and co-founders of Corazón Healdsburg, their lives are woven deeply into the fabric of the greater community.
The founding in 2011 of Scopa Has a Dream (officially launched as Corazón Healdsburg in 2016) was a bold, much needed initiative to address the disparities and inequities facing Healdsburg’s substantial, mostly low-income Latino population. Today, Corazón Healdsburg is a thriving hub of activity and an essential part of northern Sonoma County, supporting and creating greater opportunities for thousands of low-income families and individuals through a range of programs, direct services, community engagement, and disaster relief.
The idea that two restaurateurs would turn their attention and direct their energies to opening the town’s first independent community services nonprofit geared to its Latine community is perhaps only surprising to those who don’t know Ari and Dawnelise. When we asked them who their role models were, they answered, “All people who give of themselves for the greater good of humanity. This includes, in the case of our parents, modeling that taking care of oneself is a key factor in a balanced and healthy life.”
For their years of creative, unstinting devotion to equity and justice as well as a balanced and healthy life for everyone in our region, the Healthcare Foundation is very pleased to recognize Ari and Dawnelise Rosen with the 2023 Wetzel Community Leadership Award.
The following is taken from a recent conversation with Ari and Dawnelise.
What do you most appreciate about the work you do and the place you live?
Healdsburg has been a place where we have experienced community spirit bloom. We loved the Piper Street Block Party, where neighbors really got to know one another and connected through food and music and dancing, in the middle of the street, bonding in community appreciation. We were lucky enough to live on a street where there were lots of diverse families and multi-generational Healdsburg residents. It was a true education in many facets of our community, including its beauty and cultural riches, and also the struggles our neighbors were facing. It exemplified what was possible in community when you show up with authenticity and heart. It was immensely bonding and powerful.
We obviously love and have profound gratitude for the families created in both our restaurant projects, Scopa and Campo Fina, as well as our nonprofit family of Corazón. The community built through both these projects has become an extended forever-family. We are forever changed by our experience in these arenas. Nothing is impossible with teams and communities like these.
“A healthy community first and foremost recognizes that it is only as healthy as its most underserved individual. It recognizes that each member’s vitality is interconnected with all its members. It acknowledges that, ‘I must see myself in you and you in me.’ Only from this place can a community truly be healthy.”Dawnelise and Ari Rosen, Wetzel Community Leadership Awardees
How do you view health at the community level?
A healthy community first and foremost recognizes that it is only as healthy as its most underserved individual. It recognizes that each member’s vitality is interconnected with all its members. It acknowledges that, “I must see myself in you and you in me.” Only from this place can a community truly be healthy. In practice, this means everyone having access to GOOD physical and mental healthcare, and everyone having access to fresh food, healthy housing and educational opportunities.
Grounded in this place, we must also create vibrant public spaces where all strata of the community can connect, build relationships and grow together, both in moments of loss and of celebration.
What do you see as Healdsburg’s greatest strengths, challenges, and potential?
Healdsburg has the greatest ability to come together that we have ever seen. We love this town. Healdsburg’s spirit of community has unified it through multiple natural disasters in the last decade and welcomed new cultural heritage traditions, representative of its actual demographics. “Together we are more” is a statement of and about Healdsburg. It is tenacious, inventive, delicious and fun.
We see Healdsburg’s biggest challenge to be that, as a community, we haven’t landed on a shared vision of what we want. We want for this town a vision that will guide us through the next 20 years, a true plan of action to measure our progress against and build toward.
More specifically, we see challenges in the cost of living, lack of affordable housing, ecological infrastructure to support our climate goals and our farmers in water catchment and carbon sequestration, lack of a dual language immersion elementary school like Windsor, and not having a community-owned-and-operated Arts and Cultural Center.
We are experiencing a moment of massive growth and development which needs to be harnessed for the good of this community. People should be able to say, “Yes, we live in a busy town with a tourism economy, but my kid goes to one of the best public schools in the state which unifies my community through a dual language immersion program.”
With proper infrastructure we could harness funding so all kids have access to free city sports or an amazing recording studio/media center for teens or an amazing playground or community center that rivals other communities of wealth and opportunity.
Our hope is that our current growth will be channeled to enhance the quality of living for all residents. May Healdsburg offer the opportunities needed around housing, education and healthcare that support all families thriving here. All locals should feel like VIP’s and be the reason visitors feel welcome and want to be a part of our lives.
2023 WETZEL AWARDS
Thursday, November 2nd 8:30-10:00am
Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
Please join us for a celebratory breakfast reception and ceremony honoring this year’s Wetzel Community Leadership Award recipients Dawnelise and Ari Rosen and Spirit of Wetzel Award recipient Dra. Daniela Domínguez. These inspiring community leaders demonstrate extraordinary community leadership in support of health and wellness in our region.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Community Health Sustainers
Community Health Builders
Community Health Supporters
Costeaux French Bakery