Jamaal joined the YMCA Western Addition Family Resource Center (FRC) as its Director with a deep commitment to excellence and a background in education. One of his very first actions? To seek and receive training from First 5 San Francisco:
“Working in Western Addition, we have a high number of African American families who come in our doors. I felt like I needed to be part of the African American Engagement training—although I am African American—because I can’t assume to know our clients’ experiences.”
Prior to his role as Director of the FRC, Tibbs was a seasoned educator. He leverages his experiences in the classroom by serving the Western Addition community with intentionality and a growth mindset. This is evidenced in how Tibbs speaks about his clients and what he has been able to achieve through his leadership.
“Trust is incredibly important and it doesn’t come easy. It’s difficult sometimes to come and in and strip yourself to be open and share your experiences. When I started here, we weren’t bringing in a lot of people and now that we’ve established trust and meeting with our families on a regular basis, they have felt comfortable in opening up and sharing. We’ve been able to help them set up their goals.”
After the number of recurring participants in the FRC’s support groups and parenting classes increased, the FRC has been able to help more families secure basic necessities for their children, learn parenting skills, and receive coaching to reach their personal goals. From providing cribs to simply offering a safe space for parents to share their thoughts and concerns, the Western Addition Family Resource Center has been focused on empowering families so they can ultimately support themselves.
Tibbs does not believe his work would be possible without the FRC team’s ability to foster strong, lasting relationships with clients. He also commends First 5 San Francisco for investing in children and families the Western Addition community.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in the African American community and around the nation. I am grateful to see First 5 cater to this group that others think is a lost cause. I want to let the community know that we are here, that we can assist them, that it takes time and won’t be a quick fix, but we will point families and young men and women in the right direction to achieve their dreams.”