New head of West Bay Multi-Services in SF to launch college prep program
SAN FRANCISCO — The new person at the helm of West Bay Pilipino Multi-services Center is a woman who brings with her youthfulness, vitality, charisma, a broad perspective and fresh insights in the performance of her duty as the new executive director of the West Bay Pilipino Multi-services Center.
She is Vivian Zalvidea-Araullo an old hand in broadcast (TV and radio), print and social media, which more than makes her an asset to any organization as communications consultant.
Zalvidea-Araullo was West Bay’s communications director for more than a year before being entrusted to her present position last July 2014. So she had been responsible for convincing community, political and business leaders to support and partner strongly with West Bay in serving the Filipino community, especially school children.
She was also responsible for positioning West Bay as one of the most important Filipino non-profits amply covered by different media outfits like Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU, KRON 4, KPIX, KCBS radio, ABC, NPR, KOIT, AsianWeek, Examiner, New America Media, The Filipino Channel, among others. She was recently a correspondent for INQUIRER.net.
Multi-awarded media hand
A European Language graduate of University of the Philippines in Diliman, she was also a multi-awarded media practitioner with an Emmy award in 2013 and numerous Telly awards from 2011-2013 in her stint as editorial advisor of documentary “The Filipino Champions of SoMa” and as ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel as executive producer of news and public affairs program. Zalvidea-Araullo was named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in America by the Filipina Women’s Network in 2012 as an innovator and thought leader.
But she prides on coming up with a series of public service fairs to help struggling Filipino families in foreclosure prevention, debt resolution and immigration. The fairs rendered services to more than 10,000 beneficiaries.
Zalvidea-Araullo felt very honored to be considered and chosen by the West Bay board of directors after her predecessor, Rudy Asercion, retired as planned and decided that he wanted to focus on his role as National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFA) chair for San Francisco.
“When the majority of the board called to encourage me to take the position, I knew I was starting off on the right foot. I think they recognized my contribution to West Bay as a consultant, and they believed I could do more for the agency,” she recalled.
She is determined to continue West Bay’s goal, since 1967, of providing social services and afterschool help to low-income Filipino immigrant families, by building on the solid foundations of predecessors Ed Jocson and Rudy Asercion.
To the next level
“I think my job is to just take it to the next level,” Zalvidea-Araullo stated. “I really believe we already offer a complete service. We service the children, their parents, even grandparents and seniors including the veterans. That’s everybody.”
She added: “What we need to do is to focus on improving these existing programs we can serve even more. I don’t need to add anything else because we already have the right model. It is now just a matter of being able to serve more people and increase quality of those already quality programs. There is nothing more to add because it already complete, a whole package already.”
One thing she wants to start, however, is a college preparation program that would encourage graduating high school students to also take their education to the next level.
“It is time to give the kids form Kindergarten-12th Grade deeper knowledge that would actually increase their chances of going to college. This is in response to the common notion that after high school, you have to go find a job for yourself and no longer think of going to college,” elaborated Zalvidea-Araullo.
She lamented that if you are an immigrant family in this economy and you have children, more often than not, kids are somehow made to work while studying or just go to work to help the family.
“So the aspirations of the child to go to college are often sacrificed. It is okay to work, but let us not stop there. Let us go to the next level. How would we able to empower ourselves further as Filipinos here in America if we do not go beyond high school level of education?” asked Vivian.
Preparation for college
She also would like to reintroduce and reemphasize Filipinos’ firm belief in sending their children to college “even if parents have to crawl in so doing.”
Zalvidea-Araullo plans to have this college preparation program launched in the last quarter of this year for full implementation starting in early 2015.
“When this program gets launched, we will be providing our youth with college tours so they can familiarize themselves with the options available, they can see what college campus life is like, to prepare them mentally. It is different when you see college campus, perhaps you can envision yourself there or you can see yourself in another college. The point is exposing them to a possible bright future.
More and more of the kids being helped by West Bay are becoming 4.0 students. The next step is to provide continuity of service so as to give those kids, or even those who are not 4.0 kids, a shot at college.
Paired with role models
As an element of West Bay’s after-school program, kids are paired up with people who can be role models that can inspire and teach them the ropes no matter how young they are.
The kids are paired with high profile mentors to inspire them. One such student went to Sacramento to visit State Assemblyman Rob Bonta, spent a day there and was motivated to attain higher level of education after high school.
“These things make a difference,” stated Zalvidea-Araullo. “Take this youth from his underserved neighborhood and show him possibilities he may not even know existed and it changes his outlook in life. Inspire, someone to look up to, and in very practical basis someone to get advices from. So there will be immediate impact on them. They see a vision of themselves that is different than if they were not exposed to these kinds of people.”
With this program, Vivian is determined to make West Bay the first Filipino non-profit to offer a college-preparation program for deserving but low-income youth.