We would like to introduce Jackie Perez, the Vice President of Community Programs who joined The Family Partnership in May of 2023. Jackie leads community programs including anti-sex trafficking services through PRIDE and Family Home Visiting programs. We asked Jackie to introduce herself and to share her vision for the programs she oversees.
Tell us about your background and what drew you to The Family Partnership.
Hello! My name is Jacqueline (Jackie) Perez and I have been working in the nonprofit field for 17 years now, 8 of those as a program administrator. I am originally from Los Angeles, California and I come from a Central American immigrant family – my mom is from Guatemala and my dad is from El Salvador.
I was the first in my family to graduate high school and, growing up our family faced numerous struggles including financial instability, racism and other forms of discrimination. Fortunately, my parents were extremely supportive of me, and I had a few people in my life that guided and supported me along the way as well, which got me to where I am today.
I obtained my BA in Education with a Sociology minor from California State University, San Marcos in 2006 and an MA in Health and Human Services Administration from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2012. My personal experiences growing up left me with a desire to help others struggling to get by, which heavily influenced my career path.
Throughout my years in the nonprofit sector, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in extensive DEI training and I’ve spent the greater part of my career supporting and advocating for BIPOC, migrant, refugee, LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized and underserved communities. The Family Partnership’s reputation precedes it in the nonprofit world, given the amazing work the organization has done over the years so, when I saw there was an opening that I felt was a good fit for me, I jumped at the opportunity!
How do you see your role as Vice President of Community Programs?
It is also important for me to stay abreast of our ever-changing landscape. Change is constant and this means that it is important for me to stay informed and be aware of changes in the communities we serve, as well as changes in our participants’ needs, and to ensure we continue to provide culturally responsive, gender-affirming services.
I believe it is my job to ensure that all the teams and programs under my umbrella have what they need to do the wonderful work they do! It is my job to support them by advocating for the populations we serve, communicating the needs of our participants to funders and policy makers, and by highlighting the significant impact our services make.Jackie Perez, Vice President of Community Programs
Lastly, I am here for whatever my teams need. I believe in leading with an open mind and an open heart and I understand the importance of my teams’ health and well-being, so they can continue to support our communities. The work that we do is not easy, so it is important to remember to always put your own oxygen mask on first, before assisting others!
This month, we are highlighting The Family Partnership’s anti-sex trafficking services through PRIDE as part of Give to the Max 2023. What made the biggest impression on you when you first started working with PRIDE?
Definitely the team! Although all of my teams work hard, the PRIDE team is unique given the work that they do supporting survivors of sexual exploitation. This particular population has been used, abused and forgotten, and they are wary of others as a result. This means that building relationships takes time, patience and understanding, which can be a lot for one individual.
However, the PRIDE Team works like such a well-oiled machine, not just supporting participants, but also each other. They have wisdom beyond their years, they are kind, and they are compassionate. They treat every single participant with the utmost respect and really, truly meet each participant where they are, and I hope they know how appreciated they are!
What do you want people to know about the PRIDE program?
I want people, not just potential participants, but partners, funders and policy makers, to know that we don’t just “talk the talk” at The Family Partnership, when it comes to anti-sex trafficking. We mean it when we say we meet people where they are, we mean it when we say everybody is welcome in our space and we mean it when we say we are here to disrupt demand and change systemic factors that lead to sexual exploitation and abuse.
We believe that, in order to make progress towards ending commercial sexual exploitation, we need to address both, systemic racism and economic inequities and we are here and willing to do that work!
Every dollar given between now and midnight on November 16th will be DOUBLED to help survivors of sexual exploitation in Minneapolis through PRIDE.
What are your goals for the programs you support?
My goals for the programs I support are as follows:
- To ensure we are able to provide top-notch services to all of our program participants.
- To ensure staff have what they need, so they can focus on what matters most – the people we serve.
- To successfully embed a 2Gen Approach into all of our programming, to ensure families have complete access to the services and resources they need in order to “build health and well-being” for generations to come!
What would you say the number one priority is in the coming year?
The number one priority for us in the coming year is to get fully staffed. We have some new Family Home Visiting programming with Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). Our Healthy Families America program is partnering with NAZ’s doula program, which will help address health inequities for Black pregnant people during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. This partnership makes sure that families receive culturally-competent support as early as possible.
We were also recently awarded a Promising Practices Grant, which will provide additional support to The Family Partnership so that we can expand our home visiting services. So, we are looking to hire two new family home visitors focused on providing services to families in our preschools, North Minneapolis Preschool and Four Directions.
Our PRIDE program is also growing, so we are looking to hire a Mobility Mentor, a Case Manager and a PRIDE Therapist.
There is lots of growth happening with The Family Partnership’s community programming, and I encourage anyone who wants to be part of our amazing team to review the current open positions and consider applying!
This year we are raising $10,000 for Give to the Max in support of anti-sex trafficking services through PRIDE. Your gifts between now and midnight on November 16 will be DOUBLED up to $7,500. Click here to make a donation!