The start of 2022 brings with it changes to the Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Board of Directors. Steve Backers, our Board Chair for the last four years, is retiring from this position but staying on the Board as the Immediate Past Chair. His steadfast and dedicated leadership during some of Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference’s biggest growth years, as well as during its most challenging years with the pandemic, kept the organization focused on fulfilling its mission, growing despite obvious challenges, and financially sound. Steve turns over reins of the Board of Directors, having built a strong Board and stronger organization.
Leading up to his reign as Chair, in 2017 Steve facilitated a strategic planning session with the Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference staff and helped create a Strategic Roadmap and update of the organization’s vision and mission statement. This process led to the creation of our Pathway to Change in 2018, and then in 2019, he facilitated an “organization values” workshop at the Staff Retreat, where we identified the organization’s core values that were finalized, approved, and promoted.
As the Chair, Steve led Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference through expansions in Placerville and Folsom. The Placerville Expansion included the addition of two Education Program on campus clubs in 2019 and a Placerville Youth Center, which officially opened in 2021, but initially housed the Emergency Food Pantry in 2020 to fill a need at the start of the pandemic. The Folsom Expansion included adding Hands4Hope Education Program on campus clubs (met via Zoom when safety required it) at Folsom Middle School in 2020 and Vista del Lago High School in 2021.
Steve also led the organization through the challenges brought on by the pandemic over the last two years. This provided Executive Director Jennifer Bassett the needed support to navigate through the many challenges and make decisions on how best to proceed with programs and fundraisers in the safest manner, while staying connected with our youth participants and helping fill the unique and increasing needs brought on by the pandemic.
Steve has always led by example, and this truly showed in our fundraising efforts. He helped to boost our fundraising efforts in a big way with fellow Board Directors through Big Day Of Giving and by volunteering to raise “Bail” at the Route 66 and Endless Summer Fundraising events. Without the ability to have a traditional fund-a-need the past two years, we came up with creative and fun ideas to fundraise and were so appreciative of Steve being willing to climb into a “bucket” on an excavator and ride on a surfboard until he raised his “bail”. Many of Steve’s acquired donations were accompanied by a company “match”, which truly helped our bottom line each year!
Throughout his term as Board Chair, Steve took every opportunity he could to engage with our youth participants, including acting as Mentor for the Ryan Christopher Hersh Scholarship Committee one year, as well as acting as a lead for many outreaches including Green Valley Community Church’s Common Ground, Mercy Creekview Senior Housing dinners, Upper Room dinners, making and distributing meals for our homeless outreaches, and our Winter Boutique. Not only did he get involved, but he created team builds for our Board with the outreaches and engaged his family. His daughter Allie is now our adult lead for the Mercy Creekview dinners.
We are extremely grateful for Steve’s dedication to our mission and organization over the past four years! Steve will continue to serve on the Board and support the new leadership team. With what additional time he has, he plans to get more involved in our Community Engagement program, helping oversee the outreaches. You may also find him at our next event either riding a wave with his cute pup, Mica or filling ice chests to ensure our guests have chilled beverages during fundraising events!