Congratulations to Walden Family Services’ CEO Teresa Stivers for being named to The Daily Transcript’s list of 50 Influential Leaders.
As the CEO of San Diego-headquartered Walden Family Services, an organization dedicated to finding loving foster homes for special-needs, hard-to-place youths throughout Southern California, Teresa would like nothing better than to be put out of business.
“We’d do that through prevention and making sure that future generations don’t end up in foster care,” said Teresa. “We’d really like to see ourselves serving [fewer] families because we’ve done so well at making sure that children and families have the tools they need to stay together and be successful.”
Teresa estimates that Walden has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 10,000 children and families since she took the organization’s reins in 2010. Teresa said referrals come from various counties.
“They know we specialize in working with children who are very hard to place because they have special needs,” Teresa said. “We’re most often the last resort before a child either has to go into a mental facility of a high-level-care group home.”
Before Walden, for which she oversees about 110 employees in five offices and an annual budget of $13 million, Teresa worked in advertising and public relations. She was once deputy chief of staff to former San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.
“I wanted to start helping children, so I transitioned into the field that I’m in now and I love it. I feel like it was my life’s calling,” said Teresa, adding that one of her top priorities is to ensure Walden’s economic stability and, thus, its existence. “The more children and families we can catch, obviously it brings us joy and we know that we’re making a difference in the life of the child.”
As long as there’s a need, Teresa will make sure that Walden Family Services doesn’t go out of business.