Amy’s Story: Human Services Day

Members of the Leadership CORPS Class of 2024 visit Coast House. From left to right, back row: Coast House Site Coordinator Lucio Ruiz, Monique Wright Gory, Irma Rodriguez Mitton, Director, Shelter and Services, San Mateo County at LifeMoves Jacob Stone, and Jennifer Johnson; Front row: Christine Boles, Seema Patel, Amy McHugh (circled), Nicole Davis, and Coast House Team Member Elisa Rangel.

Last September I joined an amazing group of people in the Leadership CORPS (pronounced \kor\) Class of 2024. Full disclosure — I’m a Leadership CORPS member and also Leadership Council SMC’s Director of Finance and Operations. I’d like to share my recent, personal experience as a CORPS participant.

Why Did I Join Leadership CORPS?

I am a longtime resident of San Mateo County with an extensive background in business. I have been a community volunteer, serving on many education boards including the San Mateo High School Foundation, Hillsborough Schools Foundation, and parent organizations for our local schools. For a long time I’ve wanted to be in a program like Leadership CORPS. I have been particularly interested in our County, the resources available, and how I might expand my leadership impact. Leadership CORPS was a perfect fit!

January’s Human Services Learning Day aligned perfectly with my goals. Our pre-reading and guest speakers provided tons of great information including an understanding of resources available to individuals across San Mateo County, the gaps in services, and the extensive collaboration and partnership required to ensure these services are accessible to everyone who needs them. It was a lot to take in. 

Then we left the classroom, and all visited local nonprofits in small groups, later returning to share what we learned. My group went to Coast House Shelter in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Visiting Coast House Shelter

Coast House Shelter, run by LifeMoves, provides temporary living accommodations and intensive on-site support services to those experiencing homelessness. They help clients work toward long-term sufficiency and move to homes of their own. 

This has been my favorite Learning Day so far in CORPS. We met the staff at Coast House doing the work and got a real feel for their accomplishments and challenges. Being onsite and seeing this nonprofit up close was enormously impactful.

My Aha! Moments 

I have a few aha! moments from our visit and from listening to the feedback from my classmates' visits. At Coast House Shelter, I was impressed by what’s been accomplished in 2 ½ short years. This is the first shelter on the coast and is highly valued, as many of Coast House’s residents have lived their whole lives on the coast. In addition, the residents are doing well, and the Coast House team has a great track record so far, successfully supporting people to transition into their own homes.

When the groups reported back, I was struck by the fact that all of the agencies we visited operate in a very interconnected world. They have a commitment to working together to ensure individuals and families have the services they need. Their interwoven affiliations are an essential part of their effectiveness.

And - the Coast! I certainly know how beautiful the Coast is, but sometimes it seems far away. After many of us waited in morning traffic to pass through the roadwork on Route 92 on our way to class in Half Moon Bay, we felt how isolated this community can be. Yet the day made me realize how special Coastside San Mateo County is. Wherever we went, we were welcomed with open arms. We saw first hand how each organization puts people first, and how they collaborate and create community with every interaction. 

Yes, it was definitely my favorite Leadership CORPS Learning Day so far!


Leadership Council SMC thanks to everyone who contributed to our Human Services Learning Days (both CORPS and Emerging Leaders):

Participating Nonprofits 

  • Abundant Grace 
  • ALAS
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Coastside
  • Coast House
  • Coastside Hope
  • Senior Coastsiders

Our Speakers

  • Georgia Demetra Farooq - Executive Director, Thrive Alliance, The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County
  • Bryan Neider - CEO, Abilitypath
  • Rita Mancera - Executive Director, Puente de la Costa Sur
  • LaTrice Taylor - Associate Director of Programs and Services, Samaritan House