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Madelyn Centeno 

Madelyn Centeno had been out of work for six months when she came to Lao Family Community Development in February of 2008. A single parent of two children, Madelyn had been taking care of her seriously ill parents and working at a large hardware store. She was offered another position, which she accepted, but which subsequently fell through.

“I was at the point where I needed some income," says Madelyn, “and so I applied for assistance with CalWORKs.” This program, funded by the Workforce Investment Act, was established to transition people from public assistance to gainful employment. They sent Madelyn to Lao Family. The counselor interviewed her, assessed her skills and then sent her to interview at RichmondWORKS One Stop Career Center. After a 15 minute conversation with the director, she was offered a volunteer position there, and three months later she was hired.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” says Madelyn, “and the reason all this came about is so I can help other people who are in the same position I was. I love this job, and I love what we do here.” In addition to her job and raising her children, Madelyn is pursuing a degree in business management at Contra Costa College. “Lao Family was very helpful to me, and I’m grateful and happy with the way things have turned out.”