Brenda Garcia

Brenda Garcia

North County family service providers at CALM have selected marriage and family therapist Brenda Garcia as their 2019 annual staff member of the year.

Garcia works at CALM’s Santa Maria office primarily in the Great Beginnings program, serving families with children ages 0-7 who are most at risk for abuse and neglect, or who have already experienced trauma, with services aimed toward prevention and early intervention.

Using evidence-based treatments, the program aims to support and nurture families; and help parents form strong, healthy attachments with their children, and learn healthy parenting strategies. Other goals include fostering optimal social-emotional development and recovering from any trauma exposure.

Garcia’s colleagues describe her as a strong advocate for both her clients and for the Santa Maria community. They say she is a “warrior princess who will stop at nothing to improve the lives of her community, her clients, her family, and her colleagues.”

In addition to working with at-risk children at CALM, Garcia has been involved in community task forces to combat gang violence, and can often be found at city hall meetings.

She organizes wellness challenges for her colleagues, and works outside CALM helping people recover from substance abuse.

“She is brave and strong, and we are lucky to have such a skilled warrior in our midst. Her advocacy for all human life is inspiring,” said colleague Sarah Valverde.

Garcia’s award was presented to her by CALM’s North County Community Relations Committee (NCCRC) at its recent event Ladies Get Loud for CALM, an annual fundraiser held this year at the Radisson.

Inspired by the rigorous efforts of CALM’s Santa Maria staff to end child abuse, CALM’s NCCRC created the annual award in 2016 to honor employees who do emotionally demanding work.

“We want them to know that we appreciate and support their efforts to treat the effects of abuse and trauma and violence in our community,” said Mike Gibson, CALM board trustee and NCCRC member.

Asked to comment on the honor, Garcia cited the positive outcomes she sees in the families she works with as the driving factor for her hard work. “These children, and their families, can heal. With support, they can live happy lives after tragedy,” she said.

For more about all of CALM’s services, call 805-614-9160, or visit

— Sandra Fuhring for CALM.