Staff Spotlight: Yolanda Gonzalez
Meet: Yolanda Gonzalez
Job: Resource Support Specialist
District: North Puget Sound
More than seven years ago, Yolanda Gonzalez needed a mammogram. She contacted Familias Unidas, LCS Northwest’s Latino community resource center in Everett, for assistance. When she arrived for her intake appointment, Yolanda was warmly welcomed and helped by staff. She immediately knew that she had found her calling to serve.
That visit led to volunteer opportunities at Familias Unidas, followed by a part-time position doing breast cancer outreach and other community health work with Spanish-speaking residents served by the center. Four years ago, Yolanda was hired full time as a Resource Support Specialist – the position she holds today.
Her work is varied and focuses on the needs of Yolanda’s participants. She might help one couple understand their rights as tenants, assist another participant with completing health care paperwork, then refer an undocumented worker to an immigration attorney for a consultation.
Her greatest reward is watching a client who is worried and feeling insecure about their situation transform into someone who smiles confidently and feels hopeful about their future.
“I have known some of these families since I was a volunteer,” Yolanda said. “I may have helped them with clothing and school supplies some years ago. Now I am talking to them about university scholarships or how to apply for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).”
Yolanda understands their struggles. She has been in their shoes herself. Originally from rural Mexico, she married young and quit school. She and her husband moved to Tijuana, then to California for job opportunities. In 2009, they relocated to Seattle when her husband was offered a new position.
As her children grew older, Yolanda studied English and earned her GED. She credits LCS Northwest with helping her grow professionally. She participated in workshops and job-related trainings, and the agency gave her the flexibility to attend Edmonds College and earn a certificate in Family Support Studies.
“Thanks to LCS, I have continued to improve my knowledge and acquire the tools needed to help my participants overcome new challenges. I am a stronger, more confident woman today,” she said.
When she’s not working, Yolanda enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband of 37 years have three grown children and five beautiful grandchildren. She also likes to dance.
Fun fact about Yolanda: She loves to take selfies! She takes them with family, friends and co-workers, and to document work and personal events. Selfies are fun and they make people smile, she noted.
What a beautiful story! Inspiring!
Good morning everyone. First I want to say that I personally know Yolanda and I know that she is a wonderful person, I do not base myself on the basic things in life but on the things that are really worthwhile because they are what make us who we are and what people appreciate in us.
Yolanda’s vocation is to serve and give love at the same time and those two things involve many more things such as empathy, sincerity, affection, understanding, friendship, help, support in many ways and some more that escape me. I think that she feels very special to offer the best of herself and what is best, people feel it and appreciate it in her Heart. Yoly thanks for your good work to the community
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Yolanda for many years now. She is my go to person when I am looking for quality resources for the families I work for in the school district. She is professional, resourceful and overall just a kind human being who is dedicated in heart and soul to helping others. I cannot express enough and in words how amazing she is. Thank you Yolanda for all you know for the community and simply for human kind. We are lucky to have you.