During a 2016 family vacation, Briseida “Bee” Courtois, Program Director for Substance Use Treatment Services, and her 12-year-old daughter, shared food from across the table with a man they had never met, listening as he told tales of his time in Texas, and how he ended up there — in a small roadside diner, alone and hungry, somewhere out in California. Bee didn’t think twice about purchasing a gift card to buy the man food, but instead took action as if duty had called. And all the while an impressionable young girl would be watching yet another act of kindness from a mother whose compassion knows no bounds.
How do you console a grieving family whose expect-ations of a “normal,” healthy baby has just been derailed by a medical diagnosis of spina bifida, cerebral palsy or down syndrome? Will my child walk, talk, and be able to do things for himself when he’s older? What happens to her when I pass away?
These are questions Zaida Yzaguirre, ECI Program Director, has helped thousands of families work through since 1980 when she began her life’s work serving babies and toddlers with special needs. As a college graduate, Zaida, who was 22 at the time, spent her first years answering what she now considers “God’s calling” on the…
On a cold winter night in 2009, Zachary Bullard found himself in a familiar place — the back seat of a police car — hearing some very unfamiliar words.
The officers told Zachary that SAPD, the Sherriff’s office and The Center for Health Care Services had started a new program and they could take him to 601 N. Frio — the Restoration Center, or they could take him to jail.
“For almost two years, I was in and out of detox and I ran the gamut of recovery programs —Salvation Army, Lifetime, all of them. I would sleep at The Courtyard in Haven for Hope sometimes.
Bernadette Herrera’s lifelong career began as a young college student when she found herself working with a very special population — people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). 32 years later, Bernadette’s job title and day-to-day responsibilities may have changed, but her passion for serving people “who have so much to offer and ask for nothing in return” remains steadfast. “The people we serve through DAHS, have different abilities not disabilities,” said Bernadette. I’ve known some of these wonderful people for over 30 years, and I believe I’m a good person to advocate on their behalf,” she added.
On a Tuesday morning late December, Quentin Thomas, Director of Justice Programs for CHCS, was approached by a man on the street who appeared disheveled and in desperate need of something. Anyone else might be quick to pass judgement, but not Quentin. As he would learn, the man simply needed directions, something Quentin would guide him across the street to find at a local café. Cindy Gomez Dandridge was born into the lifestyle. Her mother kept a drug-infested home, and Cindy and her brother were subject to abuse and neglect. Somehow, she got good grades in elementary school, but she was struggling.
When a person wakes up addicted, the plan for the day is always the same: get money, buy drugs. They don’t hope for an alternative— substances seem to be the only alternative. They feel stuck in the lifestyle.
Cindy Gomez Dandridge was born into the lifestyle. Her mother kept a drug-infested home, and Cindy and her brother were subject to abuse and neglect. Somehow, she got good grades in elementary school, but she was struggling. By her middle school years, Cindy started running away from home and staying with friends or a boyfriend. She started drug use at 14 and had her first baby when she was 18.