I have always said that my connection to Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference was divine. I worked in Public Education for 16 years before I took time off to raise my children and operate a small local boutique catering business. When both kids were school age I found myself with more time on my hands during the day and catering became a challenge taking up my evenings and weekends. At a crossroads with how I wanted to reenter the workforce I casually looked at employment opportunities through the El Dorado County Office of Education. I found the listing for the Hands4Hope Youth Development Coordinator, intrigued, I started researching. When I understood the concept of empowering youth through leadership and service I knew it was the perfect fit! Fun fact it was such a spur of the moment decision to apply that I did my first interview via facetime while on the beach in St. Thomas.
Flash forward seven years and I have been all in for the duration. When I started my journey at Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference it had a great foundation, passionate executive director and huge potential! I have been so excited and inspired to be a part of rebranding, focusing and expanding the work we do! When I started at Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference in 2014 there were only four employees. Now we have eight and are in the process of hiring a new member to the team. We also only had one dedicated space, a youth center/office, now we have two, our Youth Center in Placerville and our Youth Center and Administrative Office in El Dorado Hills.
My vision for Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference programming over the next 3-5 years is to continue to develop and lead the premier service-learning program in California. Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference is unique because we work with our youth leaders and participants as equal partners, encouraging and celebrating their contributions to how we teach servant leadership, empathy and community pride through service-learning. My goal is to continue to expand our programs to ensure more youth have access, and to help the greater community better understand the immense benefits of the service-learning model.
When I’m not working I love to spend time with my family, my husband Rick and two teenage children Liv and Jack who are all actively involved in Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference, as well as our two dogs Beaumont and Cooper. I particularly enjoy cooking and entertaining, and pre-pandemic it was normal to come to a party at my home with 25-30 people regularly. Helping to make somebody’s celebration special is a true passion of mine. I also enjoy hiking, kayaking, reading in my tree hammock, and through the pandemic I found a love of watercolor painting!
When I reflect on what I have enjoyed the most through my involvement as a staff and volunteer with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference, it is truly the positive, and at times profound, impact providing service to others has on youth. I feel privileged to work with young people in such a way that I can help them work to find, or better define their thoughts, ideas and goals. One of my very favorite things to do is to catch up with our alumni and learn how they have taken the skills and concepts from their time in Hands4Hope and applied them in real life in college and/or career!