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Reggie stands smiling in front of her new car

Regina’s Story

For Reggie, a life-long resident of the Bay Area, having a car is everything. “I need to be at work at 5 a.m. If I did not have a car, I would simply be out of a job.” Reggie’s story with Peninsula Family Service started two years ago with her participation in a financial education workshop. Today she is one of the many success stories of our DriveForward program. Thanks to her participation in Peninsula…

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Teacher and Triplets

Norma’s Story

When Norma was a young girl growing up in the Philippines, she never dreamed of being a teacher. “I wanted to be a nurse,” she explains, “their uniforms were just so good looking!” Norma, a pre-school teacher at our Leo J Ryan Child Development Center, found her true calling by coincidence. When she moved to Manilla to attend university, she accidentally enrolled in the school of education instead of nursing. After Norma’s first class, “I…

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Melvina's Photo

Melvina’s Story

Melvina is the face of our Fair Oaks Adult Activity Center, greeting everyone with warmth and openness from the first moment they walk through our doors. Through sheer force of personality, she pulls each and every person right in. Since 2007, Melvina has been a regular volunteer at our center for twenty-two hours a week. You will see Melvina wherever someone is needed, whether that is welcoming visitors at the front desk, passing out brown…

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Success Story: Dependent on Independence

Like many older adults in their mid-70’s, Melvina has hung up her car keys for good. Without her car, getting herself to the grocery store, a friend’s house, or the pharmacy is more difficult than ever. Instead, she’s often stuck at home alone, limited to passing her time in front of the television. However, thanks to the support of Redi-Wheels transportation, Melvina is able to come to our Fair Oaks Adult Activity Center four days…

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Success Story: An Open Road

“I was working two jobs when the transmission went out on my old car,” Kenya explains.  A single mother of two, she relied on that car to get to work, drive her children to school, and shop for groceries. Kenya couldn’t afford the expensive repairs and her low credit score only qualified her for loans with double-digit interest rates. Living paycheck to paycheck, the broken-down car pushed Kenya’s tenuous hold on personal and financial stability to…

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Success Story: Coming Full Circle

At first glance, Gabe seems like the perfect example of Silicon Valley success. Instead of attending college, he spent years honing his skills as a coder, eventually earning himself a coveted position at Facebook. He’s married and has an opinionated dachshund named Reggie. What he didn’t have was a credit history. Without a strong credit score or credit history, it’s nearly impossible to rent an apartment, qualify for an affordable loan, or open a credit…

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Success Story: Undefined by Age

I met Joanne in April of 2015. She was a new applicant to our Second Careers program and I was helping her with her initial paperwork. I remember how warm and capable she was, but what sticks with me the most is how carefully she took notes, jotting down each of the forms and documentation she needed to complete her intake. You could just tell that getting into our program was important to her. Her…

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Success Story: At Home

It’s a Thursday afternoon, and class is in session at Josefina’s small home in San Mateo. Her son Hosea, sits on her lap as they slowly turn the pages of a picture book. “Qué es esto? What is this?” she asks, pointing to a horse. Next to her on the couch, the family’s Case Manager, Claudia, sits beaming. The family is part of our home-based Early Learning program, an approach that empowers parents to be…

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Success Story: Finding Pride

Ask Joan what she talks about with her Senior Peer Counseling clients and she’ll point to her knee. “Battle scars,” she says with a laugh, “knee replacements, arthritis, medications that are working and ones that aren’t.” She is one of 87 volunteer Senior Peer Counselors who joined our program this past year, and among a special handful who work specifically with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients. Each week, Joan is the bright spot in…

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Success Story: Unexpected Encores

In the span of just two years, Agnes faced cervical cancer, breast cancer, and the abrupt conclusion of her 23-year marriage. Decades spent helping build her husband’s business—never worrying about writing a paycheck to herself—disappeared as quietly as the clothes from his closet. Tired, alone, and unable to find employment, Agnes stood on the tipping point between independence and instability. She was 62-years old. Still undergoing daily radiation, Agnes reached out to our Second Careers…

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