Two members of the staff at Mountain View’s Community Services Agency recently received grants for professional development in the field of human services, which they plan to use to better support those they serve.
Eonis Cibrian Pelayo and Janice Bonello each won a Walter & Marian English Award – created by the English family at The Columbus Foundation in Ohio – in December for their work at CSA. The award comes with a $3,000 grant for training and professional development.
Bonello, a homeless prevention services case manager, has been with CSA since November 2017. She helps unhoused individuals secure assistance with shelter and rehabilitation referrals, along with work applications, and also created a recurring support group before the pandemic.
“(I enjoy) being able to provide a safe space for our clients to heal and grow and learn to be independent,” Bonello said. “That’s what CSA is all about – preserving the dignity of our clients and ensuring that they feel like they have the resources and support to better themselves.”
With the grant, Bonello plans to become a certified case manager and certified crisis intervention specialist, which she hopes will better equip her for helping clients cope with challenges. Later down the line, she said she would like to start a nonprofit organization to aid the underprivileged and in-need populations.
Cibrian Pelayo serves as CSA’s community resource coordinator. Her duties include leading trainings and educational workshops, managing cases and supporting clients’ well-being. With the grant, she plans to complete the HOPE Leadership Institute Program, designed to teach Latinas leadership and advocacy skills, allowing them to foster essential changes within their communities.
“What’s most motivating and exciting about this program is having a program that examines our civil society through a Latina’s lens,” Cibrian Pelayo said. “This grant will allow me to pursue skills needed to become a better advocate to serve our vulnerable communities. My sole goal with this grant is to continue to learn how to overcome systemic institutions that continue to perpetuate our most vulnerable populations and to act as an advocate in a strategic, respectful and honorable manner through research, meaningful conversation and learning how to make appropriate demands.”
Cibrian Pelayo also has the goal of launching a nonprofit. Being a first-generation college graduate and the youngest of six children who grew up in Sutter County harvesting fruit orchards, she wants to return there to help empower the community through social, political, environmental, cultural and economic training programs.
Bonello and Cibrian Pelayo both said they strive to continue their work advocating for underserved populations and find satisfaction in their connections with clients.
“Being able to have everyday interaction with my clients, community and colleagues is what inspires me and makes me feel successful – the moment you’ve built a relationship with someone and they trust you enough to talk about their difficulties,” Cibrian Pelayo said. “They tell you about their hardest and darkest moments, trusting that you will help navigate them and their families.”
For more information on CSA, visit csacares.org.