When Sylvia Gonzalez, Human Resources Manager at the Center for Children, arrives at work, she brings something to the office that makes her even more effective. Yes, she has worked in her field for more than a decade, but she also has first-hand experience of being in the foster care system.
When she is interviewing candidates for open positions at the Center, Sylvia knows how important it is to hire the right people to do a challenging job. “Every child at the Center for Children is different, but the one thing they all have in common is that they want to fit in and participate in the same things the other kids do. My goal is to help anyone — clients, staff, clinicians, colleagues — see our children in that way.
“With the people I interview for positions at the Center, I try to be a voice for the children we work with here — because I was once a child who was helped by professionals like them.”
Sylvia and her six siblings entered the foster care system when she was only five-years-old, and she remained in the system until she aged out at 18. “I was a young mom,” she told us. “I got pregnant and had my son between junior and senior year of high school.” However, the independent living skills she learned through the foster care educational program helped her prepare for being a mother and trained her to work in human resources. “I had my first apartment at 17 and my first HR job at age 18,” she continued.
Today, Sylvia is married, her son is 12 years old and she has a wonderful career, in part because of the help she got when she was a child. She knows firsthand how important it is to have the right therapist, teacher, house parent and all the other adults who help a child grow up to reach his or her full potential. “I’m a survivor,” she says. “If I can do it, you can to!”