Vida Joven house director, Sylvia Laborín, tenderly ties a bracelet for one of the children.

Guest blog by Hannah Wilder, Vida Joven Board Member

A persistent man named Jerry Campbell is the president of the (U.S.) Vida Joven board of directors.  (Vida Joven also has a board of directors in Tijuana.)  When Jerry first invited me to join the board, I said No.


I wanted to, but I was too busy to commit to the monthly meetings and the responsibilities of being a board member.  The Vida Joven board does not just sit around and think up projects for the very small staff to accomplish.  Rather, the board of Vida Joven is a working board. I appreciated that, and said No.


Well that same Jerry Campbell asked me again the following year to join the Vida Joven board.  After taking the temperature of my family, and after listening to the Holy Spirit, I said Yes. I’ve been attending board meetings since November 2016, and I’m so glad I said Yes.


Each monthly board meeting lasts about two hours.  We follow an agenda that always starts with the executive director, Beth Beall, sharing stories about the children, their successes and struggles, accompanied by photos. She brings Vida Joven to life with her warm stories about the children, and puts faces to the names.  If any group is looking for an inspiring speaker, Beth would be a natural choice.

Following these inspirational stories about the children, we dive into financial statements and investment questions.  I listen quietly and follow along, offering insights if I have any to share. Thankfully, we have a deep bench when it comes to financial acumen, and mostly I listen and learn from my fellow board members.

The focus of the U.S. board of directors is on raising funds for the children’s home in Tijuana.  Why this focus on fundraising?  Because Vida Joven relies 100% on financial donations to love, protect, and educate the kids.  At each board meeting, then, we discuss fundraising goals and opportunities.  We strategize, plan, and take steps to nurture and expand the circle of people who love and support the kids.

Vida Joven children line up for a trip to an amusement park.

“Yes” to all of us–you too!–coming together to raise these amazing children.

The current board members are an uncommon mix of skill sets and strengths. A few have communication and social media prowess, while others excel at overall strategy and governance. We have a public health expert, a CPA, a lawyer, a development expert, a retired teacher, a marketer, a graphic designer, a couple retired folks and a few of us still in the workforce.

All around, high caliber individuals make up the Vida Joven board of directors.  I am honored to be a part of this group, and honored to be a part of this important work.

So if, perchance, Jerry or Beth sends you an email, and if the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart and asks you to serve on the Vida Joven board, I encourage you to seriously consider it. You will be glad you did!