TRUCKEE, Calif. — On the cusp of leaving the Family Resource Center of Truckee, Adela González del Valle has mixed emotions — sadness for the end of close working relationships and excitement for the future.
González del Valle, who joined the Family Resource Center in January 2006 as manager before becoming executive director within a year, has seen the center through early times of uncertainty and later times of success during her seven years of service.
When she was first hired, the organization, which serves as a resource and information hub for the community and its families, was struggling. It had been closed for three months, was serving 96 households annually out of an office, had limited funding, no employees and was not an independent nonprofit.
Today, the nonprofit has five full-time employees — including the position of executive director — along with several part-time employees and volunteers serving 1,037 households in 2011-12 out of a permanent building; a budget of approximately $450,000; and a board of directors representing key community members.
“It’s been a wonderful roller coaster ride,” reflected González del Valle on Tuesday, three days before her last day. “(There have been) a lot of peaks and little slopes and challenges.”
She emphasized that she did not create what the Family Resource Center is today single-handedly — rather it was a joint effort involving the center’s board of directors, staff and volunteers, along with the help of many community members, organizations, districts and governments, and businesses.
“She totally fulfilled and exceeded all expectations,” said Truckee resident Ruth Jackson Hall, who was involved in the hiring of González del Valle. “We were looking for someone to keep it going and grow it, and we got somebody who could bring it into its own.”
During that process, González del Valle said she learned a lot.
“... I think that’s why I was able to stay seven years, because every day there was a new lesson or adventure in the process,” she said.
Those lessons ranged from how to build a team to the challenge of finding and securing funding for the organization, lessons she said she will take with her as she pursues her masters in business administration with the goal of teaching business at a junior college.
“She’s been the face and voice of the organization, so it’s hard to see her leave that role,” said Jackson Hall, early learning consultant for the center. “But she’s left it in great shape with a strong board, staff and community base.”
The organization’s stability is what’s allowing to González del Valle move on, she said.
“I finally realized everything is in place,” she said. “We have money in the bank, we have a building, so I’m completely confident that my staff can deliver the services if I’m not here. … It’s a well-oiled machine.”
Emily Diepenheim, the center’s current program director, will serve as acting executive director after Friday until an interim executive director is hired, which is expected to happen in April, said FRC board member Michael Holley.
A board consultant along with a three-member executive search committee will help find a new permanent executive director by reviewing potential candidates before making a recommendation to the FRC board of directors, Holley said. While the board will make the final hire decision — expected within six months — community partners will be consulted with on the matter.
“I don’t think we can ever replace her. The new director will have their own skills and abilities, but it will be hard to find someone exactly like Adela,” Holley said.