When Anna Marie San Juan learned about Wayfinder’s work, it struck a chord in her. “My parents were teenagers when I was born,” she says, “so I was raised by multiple family members early on.” She recalls that this difficult upbringing caused her to lack confidence and security as a child and even through early adulthood. “That experience helped me see what children need and deserve through their youth, and how those years shape them into the future,” Anna Marie says.
Anna Marie knew Erica Fernandez, secretary for the Wayfinder Board of Directors and member of the Community Council, from working at the same financial institution in the past. At lunch in 2021, Erica mentioned that Wayfinder was building up its Community Council, which raises funds and awareness of Wayfinder in Northern California. “I was looking to become engaged in an organization that I strongly believed in,” says Anna Marie.
After reading about Wayfinder’s comprehensive services for children and families on the website, Anna Marie knew she wanted to be a part of the Community Council. “What’s really important to me is Wayfinder’s focus on finding care for children who lack it for whatever the reason,” she say. “Wayfinder makes sure children are cared for, that they have resources, and that they feel loved and secure. Yet it doesn’t end as children are placed with families. Wayfinder also provides support to help parents and children navigate becoming a family and the many changes in life.”
Anna Marie had little board experience, so she didn’t know what to expect. “The board and council members have been very welcoming,” she says. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds and is respectful and collaborative. They really helped educate me about ways to get involved and contribute.”
Anna Marie dove right in. She secured donations for school supplies and a sponsorship for Wayfiner’s annual Derby Day fundraising event from JPMorgan Chase, where she is the treasury services executive director and group manager. Also, Anna Marie coordinated a team of colleagues to fill backpacks with school supplies for Wayfinder children.
“Wayfinder is making a positive impact on the future of many lives—children and families—and many communities,” says Anna Marie. “I feel empowered that they allow me to contribute to that.”
Anna Marie believes that giving to Wayfinder improves the lives of children and families. “I donate to continue supporting the growth of the programs,” she says, “and to provide more resources to children and families throughout our local communities.” Continuing to support Wayfinder is a priority to Anna through the many fundraising events, while sharing the mission of the organization.
August 29, 2023