As Patricia Macias relishes the sweetness of peaches atop cottage cheese—her dessert—she glances to the Dream Center inside the Family Dining Room at St. Vincent de Paul, searching for her children.
Itzel, 11, is steadfastly coloring with a volunteer at one of the center’s craft tables. Hannah, 6, is completing a school assignment in the homework room. And five-year-old Mateo…
“Where’s Mateo?” Patricia asks herself. “He’s always up to something!”
She eventually spots him jumping on the play mat with friends, and she focuses back on her youngest child, Gael, 2, who she’s holding on her hip.
For four years, Patricia has brought her children every week night to Family Evening Meal and the Dream Center for community and tutoring.
“I’m absolutely in love with it,” says the mother, who also has a 19-year-old son in community college. “I come every night because my children get help with reading, writing and math. I want them to excel in life beyond what my husband and I have provided them.”
Patricia is a full-time mom, caring for her children and home while her husband works installing granite countertops in remodeled kitchens across the Valley. They’ve had trying times, but it doesn’t get Patricia down. She says she and her husband have built their marriage, family stability and peace on their faith.
In fact, it’s through that faith that she found SVdP. She learned about the Family Evening Meal and Dream Center opportunity through a church friend’s recommendation. And now, Patricia has made it her family’s routine because she considers the help her children receive invaluable.
“I’m beyond grateful to the staff and volunteers,” Patricia says. “My children have grown so much. They get good grades, and their teachers tell me how well they’re performing.”
“Last year, she mastered her grade-level tests, and her teachers considered bumping her up early to the next grade,” Patricia says.
Dream Center Supervisor Cindy Bernardo attests to the same growth in the Macias children.
“They are just tremendous,” says Bernardo, who has seen them develop over the years and notes their character achievements as well. “They are so helpful, kind and always cheerful.”
“And they have dreams,” Bernardo continues, “dreams that they talk about.”
Back at the dinner table, Patricia smiles as she looks around. She’s happy because tonight they may be her children’s dreams, but the Dream Center helps make them tomorrow’s possibilities.
Endowment funds are critical to the long-term health and stability of nonprofit organizations like St. Vincent de Paul. They can be given toward general funds or designated for a specific program. They enable us to level out our funding sources over good times and bad. Your gift of any amount, whether $50, or $50,000, will insure that SVdP is here today, tomorrow, next year and forever.