From the Director
St. Joseph’s Family Center is celebrating 31 years as a provider of safety net services to families and individuals living in South Santa Clara County.
I feel fortunate being part of this history for the last 11 years. I took over the Executive Director position from Marge Albaugh, one of our founders. Marge guided and helped build the solid reputation our organization still enjoys today. It was her passion and foresight that started addressing critical community needs, and helped set us on the path to programmatic growth.
My career as a â€œdo-gooderâ€ started shortly after I finished college. I joined a community development organization that was based in Mexico. It was supposed to be a one year commitment as a volunteer. What happened is the familiar story of someone’s life changing with that decision. I ended up volunteering for over three years, but was lucky enough to be promoted to a paid-staff position, where I remained for another seven years.
While in Mexico, I experienced something I never had encountered before â€“ a true sense and identity of the word â€œcommunity.â€ While I worked in communities that had no running water, electricity, plumbing and very little infrastructure, I always found the people willing to work together to make their lives better. It was done out of desire, but also out of necessity. If they wanted schools for their children, they had to build them. If they wanted to eat more nutritiously, they worked at creating and tending community gardens. If they wanted a home, they had to build one, no matter how it looked or what it was made of. A lot of what these beautiful people achieved could not be done alone. They had to count on one another for their survival, health and happiness.
When it was time to leave my work and friends in Mexico, I had decided to settle somewhere in the Bay area. I had visited a few times, and in my mind, there was nowhere else I wanted to be. A few job offers came quickly, mostly with larger non-profits in larger cities. I hesitated taking them for one reason â€“ I doubted these opportunities would give me the sense of â€œcommunityâ€ that I wanted, or truth be told, needed.
Luck was on my side once again, when a friend at San Jose State told me about the position at St. Joseph’s Family Center. He helped connect an interview with some members of the Board of Directors, and the rest is history.
Needless to say, I found community here in Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill. It is this sense of community that defines us, that strengthens us, that motivates us to help whenever needed. The best example of this is St. Joseph’s legion of volunteers, people from all walks of the community, young and old, that donate their skills, time and love to make our cities a better place.
St. Joseph’s Family Center is also blessed with a very dedicated staff. My administrative duties keep me insulated from the day-to-day struggles that they face as program coordinators, but I still enjoy the chance to get into the trenches when possible. There is no greater satisfaction than being able to help someone in need or a greater sadness when we cannot.
My personal motto is a simple creed: Do what you say you are going to do, and treat people with kindness, respect and good manners. It is much easier to hurt someone than it is to please them.
On behalf of St. Joseph’s Family Center, a sincere thank you to all our friends, supporters, volunteers, donors and community partners that make our mission a success â€“ and the lives of thousands better each year!