Santa Barbara County has issued a resolution proclaiming St. Vincent’s as the longest continuing operational social service agency in the county and recognizing Sr. Margaret Keaveney for the past seven years as president/CEO.
The proclamation was presented Aug. 28 in the Board of Supervisors room.
In 1858, two young sisters from the Daughters of Charity arrived from Maryland opening the first English-speaking school and orphanage.
In 1918, responding to the needs of the families during World War I, St. Vincent’s opened one of the first day nurseries in California. Today it offers up to 98 children quality child care through its Early Childhood Education Center.
In 1996, St. Vincent’s transitional housing opened to meet the needs of single mothers and children. St. Vincent’s has served more than 1,000 mothers and children over the past 22 years.
In 2007, St. Vincent’s opened the largest affordable housing on one campus, serving 455 residents.
In 2018, the Daughters of Charity, along with St. Vincent’s Associates, work together to assure another 160 years of service.
To learn more about St. Vincent’s, visit https://www.stvincents-sb.org/ or contact Lisa Gosdschan, vice president/development, 805-683-6381 ext.110.
— Kathryn Ferguson for St. Vincent’s.
Rosa Paredes, CPA will assume her new position as the first lay president/CEO in St. Vincent’s 160-year history of continuous service to children and families in need in Santa Barbara County.
Paredes has been at St. Vincent’s for five years, the last three serving as the COO/CFO of its multi-service campus.
Paredes is a native of Santa Barbara and a graduate of UCSB.
— Sr. Margaret Keaveney for St. Vincent’s.
Within easy eyeshot of Sister Margaret Keaveney’s desk is an old-timey photograph of children having a snack at the first St. Vincent’s in Santa Barbara, a daycare and orphanage on De la Vina Street that opened in 1858. St. Vincent’s today, sheltered behind tall trees and green grass on Calle Real near Highway 154, was once a pasture for the sheep and goats that supported the Daughters of Charity’s downtown work. As times have changed, so have their goals, and many say it is Keaveney’s long-range focus and tireless advocacy that have continued their success.
Keaveney, of course, would rather give her fellow sisters and administrators the credit, for instance, for creating classes designed to entice the seniors living in Villa Caridad’s low- and very-low-income apartments out of their familiar rooms and into a more social and stimulating class or discussion group. It’s true: The 21 acres of housing she oversees couldn’t operate without its 50 staff members. But it was with Keaveney’s firm guiding hand that the 95 senior apartments and 75 family homes were completed after more than a decade of planning, adding “great dignity for the people who are here.”
That kind of energy combines sweetly with Keaveney’s perceptive empathy in the work she’s taken on since stepping down as CEO and president earlier this year. When she noticed that changes in the young mothers program had sad ripple effects, she devised a stronger program that calmed the waters. At Villa Caridad, Keaveney saw blank walls, so she began inquiring around town of artists who might donate original artwork. The response was overwhelming.
According to Sister Margaret, the secret of St. Vincent’s is its staff, who care and follow through on the help their residents can need. Her own secret, said her staff members, is the delight she takes in simpler things, such as reading stories to the children at the Early Childhood Education Center.