Though most of CCRCs staff would attribute their hard work to a passion for strengthening families, board members commit their time and focus without receiving a paycheck.
When he was first approached about joining the CCRC board over 15 years ago, Ed Hill says he was leaning toward turning down the offer until he learned someone in his professional circle directly benefited from the agency.
“I had the CCRC materials laying on my desk when my admin at the time came in and noticed it,” Hill recalls. “She looked down asked how I knew about CCRC. I told her I’d met with them and they asked me to be on their board. She started to cry and said her husband had left her and her child and she wouldn’t have made it without CCRC.”
Hill, who is now the CCRC Board of Directors chair, says he’s still flood with emotion today as he remembers being in that moment, realizing then that he simply had to join the ranks of an organization that had such a powerful impact on the life of his colleague.
It’s that impact on families in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino County communities that caught the attention of Joannie Busillo-Aguayo, whose career revolves around early childhood development research.
“It’s my firm belief that if we don’t support families, we don’t support children,” Joannie said. “I look at it from an ecological perspective that families need communities to support them in fulfilling the needs of their children.”
Through her involvement as an expert member of the board over the past 10 years, Joannie has shared the findings of her research with the board and routinely travels to the state capital to argue for policies that benefit family and child development. She believes more supports, like those offered by CCRC, are needed to help families thrive.
“CCRC is a community-based system that provides the supports families need to create optimal environments for their children and creative more positive outcomes for their children’s development,” Joannie said.
One component that has a strong effect on outcomes for children is mental health, a factor Member-at-large Romalis Taylor has an extensive background in as a retired health clinic director.
“People are struggling out there in the community with the stressors of life and they are not aware there’s help out there,” Romalis said. “These stressors play out in many ways – alcoholism, reclusiveness – it’s about helping them out with that.”
Romalis brought with him to the board his many years of mental health advocacy and training, which he’s applied to program development, prevention strategies, and family resources.
Through their work with CCRC, these board members all say they’ve found a great sense of fulfilment.
“It just makes me feel good inside to do this kind of thing and be part of steering a group like this and hopefully bringing some of my knowledge in how to run a business to help them help others,” Ed, who runs an engineering firm in Glendale, said.
For Joannie, the motivation to support CCRC in its goals of helping families is much more personal.
“I was a teenage mom and was horribly unprepared for that role,” Joannie said. “If it weren’t for some of the mentors and supporters I had along the way, I don’t know if my daughter and I would’ve made it out. I’m fully aware of the importance of support during that stage of development and my goal is to make sure all those families have the supports they need.”
The passion Romalis has observed among CCRC leadership and staff is contagious, he says, and he takes pride in supporting the agency’s goals.
“I get excited to see people have the same passion I have to work with children and families and give back. It’s more than a job. You can see it, feel it, sense it,” Romalis said. “I like to attend the Family Play Days, like the one in Victorville, and I enjoy seeing how much the families appreciate the effort and the way staff is engaging with them, covering all their needs. I’m very proud to work with CCRC and support staff in doing this work.”
There are 17 members that comprise CCRC’s Board of Directors. Each board member brings a unique set of skills and collectively ensures fiduciary responsibility, builds a strong public standing, creates a strategic agency vision and provides oversight of programs and services. Click here to meet all of our board members.