Isabel Gonzalez, our current Volunteer Coordinator, has decided to begin a new stage in her life and will be leaving her work here in our parish. I would like to publicly acknowledge Isabel’s important service St. Anne over the past year and a half.
Isabel has combined her responsibilities as coordinator of volunteers in the parish with another full-time job as a primary school teacher at a school in Gilbert. She has carried out this work at Saint Anne with many sacrifices, dedicating time that she did not have to complete this new ministry’s tasks for our community.
An important part of her work and effort was aimed at the Safe Environment program, a very important program that seeks to create a safe community for everyone, especially our children and youth. The work for this program was arduous. The problems and challenges are very large. I can say to her credit that Isabel leaves us with extraordinary results. Her work also impressed Melanie Takinen, who until a month ago was the Director of Safe Environment for the Diocese of Phoenix and is currently in charge of that same responsibility at the national level for the United States Conference of Bishops. Last June, Melanie wrote saying, “Saint Anne Parish has done a great job at creating and maintaining a safe environment since the initial visit in 2013 AND IS NOW A ROLE MODEL within the Diocese of a strong safe environment program. “
The main protagonist of this feat was Isabel. The data supports these claims: the number of volunteers who are in compliance with the Called to Protect program is now 96%. When she arrived it was less than 70%. Isabel has met with a huge number of volunteers: the diocese requires 2 – 5 % of volunteers to be interviewed annually. Isabel, in one year, raised our percentage from 5% to 17%.
For all of this and much more that you have given, Isabel, we thank you. We will always remember your joy, your commitment, enthusiasm, and good work. We will miss you. Pray for us and for the next person who will occupy your place. You can feel very proud: you will leave them a ministry that, thanks to your work, is efficient and exemplary.
God bless you always!