Helping the children

After more than a century, Rebekah’s is honored for its service to the community

ACTS OF SERVICE Rebekah Children’s Services earns prestigious award as 2018 Nonprofit of the Year. Photo: Robert Eliason

In any given community hundreds of nonprofits are working to provide support and guidance to better its cause, but one organization in particular has made its name by serving the needs of more than 3,000 children each year.

For more than 100 years Rebekah Children’s Services, (RCS), has made the underserved in our community a priority.

This year RCS was honored with the title, Non-profit of the Year, by the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, the first time the organization has received such a prestigious award.
“It was a huge surprise, a massive surprise,” says Christophe Rebboah, chief executive officer. “This is something we’ve worked so hard for, and to get to ever since I’ve been here. It’s never happened. This is Gilroy, this is our backyard.”

Rebboah, who began his career at RCS in 1994 as a residential counselor says, “to be acknowledged and awarded and to be objectively recognized it’s just fabulous. It just tells me that we’re on the right path.”
Rebboah attended a Chamber of Commerce breakfast late last year where Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Chamber, announced that RCS was chosen to receive the award which was presented to Rebboah in February at the San Juan Oaks Golf Club in Hollister.
“We were just thrilled to death,” says Rebboah.
After finding out about the award Rebboah proudly announced the news to the entire workforce at RCS who he says is the reason behind the acknowledgement.
“People stopped me in the hallways to congratulate me,” Rebboah says, adding that he told them, “Don’t congratulate me, congratulate yourself, you’re the reason why we’re here.”
The CEO is quick to point out that besides an outstanding workforce having the right people in leadership roles is key.
Rebboah believes his executive staff, Chief Clinical Officer, Jennifer Grier, Chief Operations Officer Educational Services, Rebecca Burdett, and Chief Financial Officer, Elsa Dahl, is a winning team.
“I think the fact that we have such a stellar, committed, team of executives it’s really positioned us to where we are today. I feel like we’re just getting started. I feel like we’re still building the foundation but it’s strong, and it feels good,” says Rebboah.
Grier, whose association with RCS began 20 years ago couldn’t agree more.
“I know that we have worked diligently over the past couple of years to really connect with all the community members and really further those relationships so that they’re not just in existence but that they’re meaningful.”
Burdett is equally excited to be part of, “this dynamic and meaningful growth and change.”
“As the needs of our community have changed over the years, RCS has been able to diversify and adapt to better meet the community’s needs. It has also been exciting and humbling to see how our community members, businesses, donors and sponsors step forward to partner with RCS.  
It is because of the generosity of these individuals that RCS is able to serve each and every member of our community that walks through the doors in need of help or support. We truly could not do this important work without our community partners,” says Burdett.
Three years ago, Rebboah took on the role of CEO. Since then he and the executive team have focused on reestablishing awareness within the community regarding the myriad of services offered through RCS.
“Even though we’re here I think people over time really forgot what our mission is, and what we do. We’re committed to ensuring that our community flourishes by building pathways to hope, happiness, and wellbeing. There is no wrong door to come through here, every door is open to any child and family in need. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to serve anybody who is in need of a helping hand,” says Rebboah.
What began as an orphanage founded by the Odd-Fellows in 1897 has transitioned over the years into a multipurpose facility offering not only foster care, with 22 foster licensed homes, and 10 RCS onsite cottages, but so much more.
Currently, RCS offers a Family Resource Center, Hospital Diversion, a non-public school (IEP), Individualized Education Plan, Outpatient Mental Health assistance, Prevention and Education services, Residential Treatment, Therapeutic Behaviors Services, and Wraparound services.
The intention behind each of the programs and services is to provide guidance, information, and support, to children and families in need.
“The more we can expand and get into communities that are in need, that’s very tied to our strategic plan, very tied to our mission statement. It’s all about hope, happiness, and wellbeing and you’re only going to do that if you’re brave and bold and go where the need is,” says Rebboah. “It’s going to take a team of people who are absolutely committed and have a bit of bravery to go where that need is because it’s places where people normally do not go.”
RCS’s current staff count is 230, which includes administrative, licensed and non-licensed clinicians, marriage and family therapists, and licensed clinical social workers.
“I believe we’re well structured. It’s really a family atmosphere, we take care of each other,” says Rebboah.
The driving force behind all those associated with RCS is the realization that what they do does make a difference, and it’s the reason they continue doing that work.
“It only takes making a difference in one kids life that makes all the work worthwhile,” says Grier, adding, “You want a child to have a childhood “
“We don’t take what we do lightly, it’s such a privilege to do what we do,” says Rebboah. “It’s hard work but it’s extremely rewarding. I couldn’t have it any other way, honestly.”

For more information about RCS go to: rcskids.org/about.

Kimberly Ewertz

Kimberly Ewertz

Kimberly Ewertz is a freelance writer for South Valley magazine and Gilroy Dispatch.
Kimberly Ewertz

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About Kimberly Ewertz
Kimberly Ewertz is a freelance writer for South Valley magazine and Gilroy Dispatch.