Mar Vista Family Center has been selected as a 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year.

Mar Vista Family Center honored for contributions to the community

By Kamala Kirk

Mar Vista Family Center (MVFC) was recently selected as a 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year. It is one of more than 100 nonprofits that will be honored by their state senators and assembly member for their tremendous contributions to the communities they serve.

MVFC provides low-income families with quality early childhood education, youth enrichment and educational tools to create positive change in their lives and their communities. MVFC provides for more than 300 families, educational resources for children, youth and adults through enrichment programs to become successful and constructive members of their community.

“After 43 years of serving the community, it feels amazing to be recognized!” said Blanca Diaz-Hladek, associate director of MVFC. “It’s a celebration of all the individuals that have contributed from the staff to the volunteers and the families who’ve all worked together to create a safe environment for everyone to enjoy. We’re grateful to our funders and partners that have been part of our journey throughout the years.”

MVFC provides a safe home for whole families, where they come together to learn and choose to transform their own lives and take leadership roles in their community. During the pandemic, MVFC staff, board and volunteers have needed to step in to provide assistance to these families in multiple ways: computer and internet access for school-age children, meal distribution, home assistance, mental health support, college counseling, tutoring, as well as shifting much of the early childhood and youth program online.

Each year with the support from staff, parents and volunteers, 90 to 100% of their youth graduate from high school and go to college. During this year, the number of individuals MVFC serves has almost doubled since the pandemic began. They gave out 25,000 morning meals and 10,000 boxes with food, diapers, cleaning supplies and masks. They’ve helped more than 100 families pay rent and bills, and more than 300 children received Christmas gifts. With the support of so many people, they are able to continue providing a safe home for many families and individuals.

“Our hope is that MVFC will continue to be here for another 40 years, fostering new leaders every day so that the children we serve now will be the ones who become the leaders of the organization in the future,” Diaz-Hladek said.