VESTIA Board of Directors
Together, we can strengthen our communities and help our neighbors who fall on hard times. Many of the families we serve are the “working poor” – those who are barely able to scrape by and are transitioning from public assistance to self-sufficiency. We admire their persistence, and are here to offer a hand when help is needed. We are optimistic that VESTIA will again meet the challenges that face the families of Country Costa County because of the dedicated volunteers and generous supporters.
VESTIA Board of Directors
Anne Smith, President
After volunteering at VESTIA’s annual Holiday Helpers Warehouse Program for 5 years I was honored to be invited to join the Board of Directors and help VESTIA reach its goals. I have spent the last 20 years working in the advancement/develop departments of Carondelet High School, De La Salle High School, and JFK University doing fundraising and special events. I look forward to bringing my fundraising skills and knowledge to VESTIA and ultimately helping provide support to clients of Employment & Human Services Department when no other resources are available. I have a Bachelors degree and Certificate in Non-Profit Management from CSU East Bay. I am a resident of Pleasant Hill and enjoy spending time with my 5 grandchildren and making wine from our vineyard in the fall.
Carolyn Harley, Vice President
I have been an active member of the VESTIA Board of Directors since 1997. During the past 20 years I have served as President, Co-President, and Secretary. My interest in VESTIA was stimulated by membership on the Civil Grand Jury where I became familiar with the far reaching activities of Contra Costa Social Services (now Employment & Human Services Department). Prior to VESTIA, I served as President of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation and was Run Chair for “The Run for Education”. My husband and I raised our three daughters in the San Ramon Valley.
Jerry Falgien, Financial Reporter
I have lived in Contra Costa County since 1959 when I moved to El Cerrito with my parents and for the last 30 years have resided in Martinez with my wife Dolores and 2 children. I attended El Cerrito High School and UC Berkeley and worked for Chevron for 40 years before retiring in 2008. I joined VESTIA as a volunteer in the 80s to help provide foster children toys during the holidays through the Angel Tree Program. I have been on the Board of Directors since 2014.
Michelle Barnaba, Secretary
I’ve been volunteering with VESTIA since 1989. I was always active in my children’s school activities and programs when I discovered there wasn’t as much of a need for parent volunteers when they entered middle and high school. That’s when I found VESTIA, and the organization’s ability to reach out to so many in our communities in so many ways. It provided me with insight into some of the programs generated by the County to assist our neighbors. I joined the Board of Directors in 2007 and enjoy being hands-on with the Holiday Helpers Warehouse Program, Angel Tree Program, and as a “shopper” for used clothing for clients of Employment & Human Services Department. I like to think we’re giving a helping hand to future generations who, in turn, will reach out to those in need when the time comes.
Members at Large:
Most of my professional career was spent working with children and working in hospitals. Upon retiring I continued the love of helping people when I started volunteering with VESTIA in 2001 for their Holiday Helpers Warehouse Program. In 2010 I joined the Board of Directors and have been the President from 2013 until present. It makes my heart sing to know that I am responsible for putting smiles on people’s faces and wiping some of their tears away.
I am a product of North Richmond and attended schools in the Richmond Unified School District. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Welfare from Fresno State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Minority Studies from Hayward State University. In 1976, at the age of 27, I was recognized nationally as the youngest African American independent theater owner and operator in the United States. For 9 years I worked for the City of Richmond in the Model Cites Program / Community Development Department and 23 years with Contra Costa County before retiring from the Employment and Human Services Department in 2008. I served as Executive Director of Neighborhood House of North Richmond for 5 years and as a Program Manager for Contra Costa County Human Resources Department for 13 years. I have been serving on the VESTIA Board of Directors for 8 years and am currently a Trustee Board President, Chairman of the Capital Campaign Committee, Ministry to Men Board, and Men’s Chorus at Davis Chapel C.M.E. Church in North Richmond.
I was first introduced to VESTIA 29 years ago when my son was in 2nd grade at Green Valley Elementary School in Danville. I was the Homeroom mother and we were participating the in Adopt-A-Family Program. We provided clothes and toys for a needy Contra Costa Family. I made it a family project and we went out shopping together for the family. I used this time to explain to my kids about my childhood and how I grew up. My sister and I grew up in Oklahoma City with a single Mom who had mental health issues. My parents got a divorce when I was 6 years old and my mother worked part time jobs but always struggled to make ends meet. I remember one holiday when we stood in line at a Church for food and a toy. I could relate to the families that we support in VESTIA. My girlfriend and I have a Holiday Party each year and ask our friends to bring unwrapped toys and clothing for those Contra Costa families in need. We also collect back packs and school supplies each summer for the Back to School program. I have served on the board for the past 5 years and I am proud of the support we give to the local Contra Costa families and their needs.
I am honored to be a VESTIA Board Member. Before I became a member of the Board, I knew nothing about VESTIA. Now I am glad I know. I sit on the Board representing the Advisory Council on Aging with Contra Costa County Employment & Human Services Department (EHSD). The former manager if Aging & Adult Services at EHSD was aware of the challenges and needs the families we serve face. In many instances, grandparents are a primary presence in these vulnerable young people's lives and their being in the home impacts the entire family. VESTIA's goal is that the young people we serve will be equal to their peers whatever setting they are in. VESTIA has made a positive difference over the years in these young people's lives in that they provide resources when needed several times a year. They give hope to the hopeless Being on the Board is a great experience. At each meeting, event or when I think about VESTIA, I am amazed to see and learn what the Board members do to make the Program flourish. Without generous donations from businesses, foundations, Board and individual donations this Program could not survive. We are always seeking new members and donations. I am honored to help in any way I can & wish others would help to fill this need as well.
VESTIA Logistics Team