Daly City Youth Health Center celebrates 25 years
Daly City Youth Health Center was founded 25 years ago to provide better service for youth in local schools. Over the years, 48,000 teens have been served by the DCYHC.
As Kimberly Gillette, director of the DCYHC noted at the gala celebration Thursday, the center began when a needs assessment demonstrated low-income teens in Daly City, in particular, had trouble accessing health care. That turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, many students have relied on the DCYHC for mental and medical health care and reproductive health information.
A partnership formed 25 years ago between the Jefferson Union High School District and San Mateo Medical Center to serve youth as a safety net. DCYHC started in a small office serving 100-150 teens a week. Now DCYHC is a comprehensive health center with youth development programs serving more than 600 youth a week.
San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier hosted the gala at Lake Merced Golf Club. Two guest speakers, State Senator Mark Leno and Jan Masaoka, CEO of California Association of Nonprofits, addressed the sold-out audience of 200 attendees. The event raised $41,000 for DCYHC.
Leno is budget chair who spoke of a problem he faces all too often -- partisanship getting in the way of passing the state budget. He spoke of the value of Proposition 30, and called it a historic fact to have voters raise their own taxes in support of education.
A video message from Congresswoman Jackie Speier noted nationwide, teen pregnancies are down by 57 percent. Locally, the DCYHC provides reproductive health information to high school students through the center and through Project PLAY and the schools' sex education squads deployed to JUHSD schools. In the Sex Ed. Squads, students are trained to teach their peers and to answer their questions.
In addition, the DCYHC Elements for Success program provides school-to- career/college transition assistance. It focuses on developing academic, leadership, and vocational skills for JUHSD students who have barriers to completing high school and finding a job. The program includes workshops and counseling on jobs, life skills and career exploration, field trips to explore career options and assistance with enrollment in post-high school programs and college.
Three people received honors at the gala. The Carol Forest Service Award went to Danamaya Gorham, NP, the Jane Hipe Memorial Award went to Jacquelyn Guerra and the Ball Varney Philanthropy Award went to Janet Chaikind MD.
Carol Forest presented the award to Gorham by introducing her as DCYHC's first employee in 1990. Gorham is a member of the DCYHC's Provider Wellness Committee. She has been a clinical preceptor for nurse practitioner students from UCSF since 1997.
"She has brought her love and respect for teens and advised these young people in many ways," Forest said.
Gorham, in accepting the award, said, "A lot of people on the staff have been together a long time. As healers, we do intimate work," and described the historical conjunction of medical centers and healing over time and in various cultures.
Tissier presented the Jane Hipe Memorial Award to Jacquelyn Guerra, who received counseling services at DCYHC. Now she is a confident student graduating next month with a communications degree from San Jose State University. She also volunteered as an intern at DCYHC providing assistance for a number of events and on fundraising drives.
Janet Chaikind, MD received the first award in honor of Pacificans Jennifer Ball and Mike Varney's Philanthropy Award. Ball and Varney donated $25,000 to the DCYHC.
Chaikind is chief of staff of San Mateo Medical Center and a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist. Before that, she was the medical director at DCYHC and still serves as an advisor to DCYHC.
Chaikind thanked Ball and Varney for their generous support.
"We are lucky to have Jennifer's passion," she said.
The other guest speaker, Jan Masaoka, spoke about how to manage non-profit organizations.
Melissa Ambrose, wellness counselor at Oceana High School, spoke of the value of the DCYHC.
"This is so important," she said, and noted how important it is to get the next generation motivated to take on the causes of health care and education.
Carole Groom of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, presented Gillette with a proclamation of appreciation from that group and celebrated the many years of collaboration between the JUHSD and San Mateo County Medical Center.