SonRise Volunteers

SonRise Volunteers included Alana…

By Nancy L. Clark

Sunday, June 26, was a special evening at Incontro Restaurant in San Ramon – it was taken over by “horses.”  “Incontro” expanded to a whole new meaning—not only does it signify the coming together of the cuisine from owner Gianni Bartoletti’s mountainous Northern Italian region of Piemonte and Southern Italian region of Puglia, but, on June 26, it also included a coming together of Bartoletti’s wonderful cuisine and SonRise Equestrian Foundation volunteers.

Del Chandler

SonRise Volunteer, Del Chandler, trying to keep the order straight.

To raise money for the Foundation, Bartoletti invited the SonRise volunteers to wait and buss the tables with all gratuities going to the foundation.  For one night, attorneys, accountants, management consultants, store owners, etc., took orders, served food, filled water glasses, and cleaned tables.  “This is hard work.  The professional staff were great and thankfully kept us all organized,” said Del Chandler, who served a large group from the Danville-Sycamore Valley Rotary.  “I am just pleased that I got the order right and didn’t drop anything!”  Our club was represented by 8 Rotarians with spouses, family and friends, 20 total.

As one of the volunteers, this writer can attest to how difficult food service is.  With no restaurant work experience, I too jumped into to help.  My feet, back, and patience clearly prefer the role of customer as opposed to busboy.  No surprise that we needed about 5 volunteers for every professional.  Although we volunteers may have fumbled our way through the evening, the customers were delighted at our effort and our eagerness to serve.

Melanie Buerke and Gianni Bartoletti

Melanie Buerke, Founder of SonRise Equestrian Foundation, and Gianni Bartoletti, Owner of Incontro Restaurant

“Gianni (Bartoletti) is so kind to help our foundation.  He definitely cares about the community and is willing to take the risk with us as his staff,” said Melanie Buerke, Founder of SonRise.  “We raised $2000 which will help us continue to provide a therapy equestrian program that connects youth and horses.  For all our aching feet, it is worth it to see a young person build self-esteem or to see a child with autism speak for the first time by connecting with our horses.  Thanks to all our volunteers and a wonderful giving community, we can help so many.”


This article can also be found with others about SonRise at

SonRise Equestrian Foundation is a non-profit organization guided by Christian-based values that makes a positive difference for youth living with social, emotional, or physical challenges including terminal illness.  Participating children develop confidence, integrity and responsibility through mentoring and peer relationships centered around the care and enjoyment of horses.

For more information, go to

Incontro Restaurant is located at 2065 San Ramon Valley Boulevard in San Ramon (925. 820.6969) and is open Tuesday – Sunday for dinner.  For more information, go to