The Women’s Center of San Joaquin County and Family and Youth Services (FAYS) formally merged July 1 to create the Women’s Center-YFS, combining the focuses of the two formerly independent agencies, according to Joelle Gomez, who is executive director of the combined agency. She formerly served in the same capacity for the Women’s Center before the merger.
Family and Youth Services ministered to minors who have runaway from home or who are homeless, while the Women’s Center helped provides counseling, shelter and resources for women and other victims of domestic violence.
Gomez said the retirement of director Linda Mascarenas-Colgan from FAYS provided the perfect opportunity for a merger, as she said both organizations had “significant overlap” in terms of client need.
“It is conservative to say about 80 percent of the clients from FAYS experience domestic violence or sexual assault,” Gomez said.
She said that though there has been less money available for charities in recent years, especially from the local level, the move isn’t because of financial reasons.
“We were two strong agencies,” Gomez said. “It had absolutely nothing to do with loss of funding on either side.”
The combined nonprofit’s annual budget is estimated at $3.1 million, Gomez said, and provides services at eight sites in the county, including safe houses for domestic violence victims in Stockton and Tracy. The location of the houses are undisclosed.
According to Gomez, the Women’s Center-YFS will offer all the same services as the old Women’s Center, including those at its Tracy office, 35 E. 10th St.
Gomez hopes the Tracy location will also provide youth services to the community within 12 months.
“(We’re in the) process of looking at what services we can bring from the youth standpoint over to the Tracy office,” she said. “This merger is going to create many more opportunities for services to Tracy residents.”
One of the services new to the Women’s Center is therapy, which Gomez said will be a boon in assisting victims of violence. Two licensed therapists were brought in from the FAYS side of the merger, and Gomez is looking for a clinical director.
She added that the merger allows the organization to reduce some costs and eliminate duplication, which means more money can be used to help clients.
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a glance
• WHAT: Women’s Center-YFS
• WHERE: 35 E. 10th St., in Tracy; 620 N. San Joaquin St., in Stockton\
• INFO: 833-0300 or 941-2611