Sam Barkin Memorial Fund

Greetings! In November of 2018 Matica and I sent out a letter explaining our hopes and wishes to create a Sam Barkin Memorial Fund. We wanted to create something to carry on Sam’s legacy and cement his friendship and his love. One year later we at Camp are happy to tell you the story of our journey this year.

$18,380 was donated by Sam's family and friends in his honor. Here’s how we used the money to carry on Sam’s work:

12 youth were granted scholarships to attend Camp this summer.

The tuition for Camp in 2018 was $1880. Each family stated that they could contribute $50—$300 toward their tuition and we were able to grant them the rest, a total of $15,380.

To support these and other campers physically getting to Camp we were able to hire Osayande to directly follow in Sam’s footsteps and work with the families prior. $3,000 of the money you donated went to pay for his salary in the Spring, something we have not previously been able to do.

The kids that came to Camp through SBMF were from all over the Bay Area and two from the local Cahto Tribe in Laytonville. Many of the pictures in this report are of kids you helped include in Camp! Os was able to meet with the families, get to know the kids, help them with their applications, make sure they had transportation to and from Camp. We were also able to find out if they needed anything such as sleeping bags, swim trunks, etc and provide it for them.

We are asking you to help us continue this work in Sam’s name for 2019!

Sam’s dream was to create year-round opportunities for Winnarainbow to support our campers in this complex world. We are committed to extending our work and our loving, zany camp community in meaningful ways for our youth and families. Please see the back page of this report for how your continued generosity will  be used in honor of Sam.  With deepest gratitude, yatiel, msw, director

Song written and performed by Sam Barkin, recorded by Silver on the Leaf Grove.

A personal thank you…

Dear Friends and Family of Sam Barkin,

My name is Osayande Kokayi and I represent what this Memorial Fund was designed to do. I began coming to Camp Winnarainbow as a 7 year old that had grown up in the harsh and neglected community of West Oakland. My family could not afford the tuition of camp, however through donations and sponsors I was able to attend. I continued going to camp through my teenage years and into adulthood. It was during this time that I met Sam. I was a young person without a clear understanding of what my role was in life and at camp. Sam Barkin took me under his wing and showed me what it was to truly care for others younger than myself. Sam’s dedication to the advocacy of children led me to want to be an advocate as well. For the last 5 years I have worked as a Camper Advocate, becoming the Lead Advocate two years ago. The duty of the Advocate is to ensure that every camper has their basic needs met, is plugged in to the camp community, and is having fun. I also get to know their story, about their life and their hopes and dreams. Like Sam did for me, I get to take kids under my wing and help them thrive.

I was inspired not only from Sam’s work at camp but also from his compassion and dedication to children outside of camp.  This past year with your generous donations in Sam’s name I was hired for outreach work to support our scholarship kids during the Spring. Taking on the role as an older sibling and mentor to young people is my way, and Camp’s way, of carrying on Sam’s legacy.

With deep gratitude from myself and the kids and families I work with,

Osayande Kokayi


100% of your tax deductible donation will

Bring kids to Camp who would otherwise not be able to come

Provide year round support and outreach to youth and families

(new in 2019!) Support Camp to Community spring events where campers and their families can create deeper connections with each other and camp staff as well as systems of support

Continue Sam’s Legacy and dream

to donate:

click the "Donate" button on this page for online giving

mail a check to Camp Winnarainbow SBMF, 1301 Henry St. Berkeley CA 94709

call the office at (510)525-4304 to give a credit card donation that our staff will process




Silly song at breakfast circle.

The following vignettes are some beautiful memories, thoughts and well wishes. If you would like to add to them please email us here.

I still think of Sam when I first met him as the 10'ish year old Space Eat champion improviser, usually wearing the metallic Alien-Spider costume, and conducting some variant of "Person On The Street" for Wavy's class' Tornado piece. His balance of in-the-moment glint-in-his-eye humor, with deep heartful kindness and interest in others, never changed in him.  - Jasper S. Thelin

My memory of Sam that sticks in my head is a more recent one when my youngest son Dana was at Camp for the first time and we came up to visit at the session end. Sam gave me one of those big hugs and big smiles and said to me, “now I know all three of your kids and I love them all!” With verve and great joy, smiling all the way. My best wishes in converting tragedy into joy and peace.

-Todd Keeler Wolf

This world will miss you…so much

We have so much to do now that you are gone…so much

I will love your mama and your sister in your absence

We will never forget you!


I remember Sam at Camp. He was always so loving, caring, considerate, strong. Actually his heart made me swim like a goldfish. He taught me the Triangle of Safety. And I still have confidence that I can fall because of him. I will always cherish his memory and we need to keep making kids know that they can “fall” safely.

-Phoebe Pierce, former camper

I supervised Sam at Highland Hospital last year in Pediatrics. He was so talented as a therapist with children, so creative, caring, insightful and touched their lives. I learned so much from him. My best therapist I have supervised in 25 years. Sam touched my life. We spent 2 hours a week together for a year talking about life, therapy and learning from each other. I will always remember Sam and his positive impact on everyone around him.  

-Jeffrey Lazzarus, PHd

Dear Sammy B, I keep finding you tucked into all the corners of myself. At every turn, there you are, a touchstone in my heart, the sun at the center of so many of my memories, the star of all of my favorite scenes…every memory from Camp that I have since Summer 1999 is dusted in your golden presence. I can’t really imagine being there without you, but I know you’ll always be there.

-Yakira Teitel

I knew Sam through Camp Winnarainbow. From the moment I saw him across the tipi circle on my first day as a camper I knew he was someone I wanted to be around. Although I only took his improv class a few times his joy and enthusiasm was contagious and drew me in. It is the small things that I remember most: spending afternoons in the tipi circle joking around, seeing who could spit cherry pits the farthest, his big hugs that left me feeling so loved, watching him dance in his Sponge Bob costume, his amazing laughter…I could go on forever. I will miss his huge smile, his hugs, talking about life, but of all just being with him. Love always and forever!

-Hannah Gradjansky, former camper

I worked with Sam at the pediatrics clinic at Highland Hospital. As a therapist, he touched the lives of so many children. He taught them how to love and how to be in peace in the world.

-Veronica Correa

improvSam, Mom and DadDorothywavy, sam and ron

Sam, the love you shared with the world will always be a blessing to your family and those who hold your memory.

-Judy Segall

Sam encouraged me to share my voice at Camp when I doubted myself. We worked side by side every day. He was my mentor and incredible friend. I will be forever grateful.

-Leia, Camp Staff

Sammy! Thinking of you. So happy and grateful for every time we were blessed by your smile, hugs, I love you’s and your spirit will live now for all time. I have your song we recorded together. It is so beautiful. A real CATHARSIS. I wish I could play one more game of chess with you! We will pick up the pieces for you now and keep moving in pure love. Love, love, love

-Silver, Camp Staff

Every moment with Sam was a gift. He made me feel safe, understood, cherished and happy. I will carry him with me forever.

– former camper

Sam is the Camp Winnarainbow Improv granddaddy of my family. When I began teaching improv at Camp he supported me. He also taught my daughters improv at Camp and my oldest now teaches at Camp. This summer my youngest will be adult staff for the first time and will likely teach. He will always be part of our family culture and of our joy in play and improv, and our hugging skills!

-Laura Sandage

To know Sammy Sam was to be inspired by him. Since he was a kid, he was bold, creative and outrageously funny. I met him in kindergarten at Prospect School in El Cerrito and spent many afternoons goofing off in Hebrew school. Back then it wouldn’t surprise anyone that he was a jokester, a storyteller and our ringleader…In addition to his fun loving nature, though, he really loved helping others harness their creativity and love in their own spirit and bring it into the world.

For me I will take from Sam that sense of possibility and to remember to laugh even when times are bad. His positivity and generosity of spirit are things I will try to apply throughout my life. I know Sammy will live on in me and all of you through the impact he had and the way he taught us to interact with the world around us – to leave everyone we meet happier for having spent time with us.

-Will L.