When we look for staff at Harley Farms, we consider what they bring to our farm community, and to the larger Pescadero community.

Pescadero is a deeply romantic place to live and work, given its scattering of cottages and farms on a saltwater marsh bordered by fertile fields and gentle hills rolling back from the coast. We have a strong community here, not least because so many people who live here are generous and humble, ready to relinquish their time and efforts for the benefit of the community. Adults and young people from all backgrounds see themselves as having a role in supporting the whole community.

I see this clearly at South Coast Children's Services, which works with  - not for - local children to provide sports and art, youth employment, and youth involvement across the state. Be it an excursion to a chocolate-making factory, snowboarding, the annual delegation to the YMCA's Model United Nations, or the position of Youth Thrift Shop Manager, local young people have honed their leadership, financial and planning skills in organizing these opportunities.

SCCS is a genuine community-based organization, established in Pescadero in 1977 by community members, with all decisions made by community members. The more community-based organizations we have, the stronger we are as a community. It has been a pleasure and a great strength for me to have been part of SCCS for many years.

Local young people at the 2010 South Coast Children's Services Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Through SCCS, I learned of the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, whose glorious mission is to "bring joy, simplicity, trust and effectiveness to grant-making." It has been an honor for us at the farm to use one of these grants to support our employees from Hope Services. Hope trains people with developmental disabilities to live and participate in their communities, across the Bay Area. Using our grant, Connie Fortino here at the farm has been able to retrofit a minivan to carry a wheelchair, purchase dental insurance, a hearing aid, and extra clothes and shoes. Immediate "on the ground" support for wider community members.

So, for our staff, it's never just a job. We are a community.


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