The latest from El Centro de Libertad and our impact on the community.
The year 2020 delivered us an emotional rollercoaster. From Covid to the fight for racial justice, from fires to political upheavals, from fear of financial security to a very real sense of isolation, we have seen it all. The 2020 Presidential Election had us all fired up, stressed out, and terrified of the outcome; regardless of what side of the political spectrum you come from. We have watched as the drug epidemic was exacerbated by the global pandemic. Most days we felt emotional extremes we are not used to. We sat and waited for 2021 to usher in a new era for us. After all, there was new National leadership and a vaccine on the way, right?
2021 arrived much like 2020. Our Nation’s Capitol was attacked, along with the very fabric of our democracy. The vaccine rollout is progressing slowly, and deep divisions in our National discourse seem to persist. Do we lose hope and faith? Do we stop trying to make a difference? No. Throughout this unprecedented period, the Team at El Centro has been preparing. We have spent time upgrading our facilities, our infrastructure, and strategically preparing for the day when the pandemic, financial crisis, and deep divisions start to heal. They will heal. We are sure of it. The need for our contribution to the community has never been more evident.
As January comes to an end, we are seeing reasons to hope. There is progress in the vaccine delivery. We are seeing our clients reaching out for support. We watch as our partners join us in rising up to meet the community challenges ahead. We watch as our National government rises up to meet the needs of a nation. We watch as the conversations around racial equality become a front burner issue. We see hope for the future!
El Centro de Libertad is stronger than ever and ready to do our part in healing our community, as a new era emerges for all of us. We have formed new partnerships with other agencies to ensure that no one suffering from addiction is left alone in the fight. El Centro is here, and we are ready!
“We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it”
-From “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
So, who is George Borg and why does he get his own day? Great question! George Borg is the founder of El Centro de Libertad/The Freedom Center. For years, George was known in the community as the owner of a successful auto repair shop. Most did not know the struggle he had on a daily basis. Then, in 1985, the unexpected happened. After nearly thirty years of addiction to drugs and alcohol, George entered and completed the Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Program at Sequoia Hospital. Instead of fixing cars, he decided to spend his life helping people find and maintain recovery. “You have to experience recovery to want more of it”, he said. George understood that the gift of renewal he had received required him to give it back to those seeking a better way to live.
My last day at El Centro is May 1 (May Day, how appropriate) and Mr. Jeff Essex has been selected by the Board of Directors as Executive Director.
I have been involved with El Centro since around 2005 or so, and assumed the top leadership role in 2015. I leave a 2020 El Centro a somewhat different place than when I found it, but yet we have stayed true to George Borg’s vision: abstinence-based individual and group counseling services are still the core foundation of the agency, we still use the Steps as tools towards recovery, and we still make sure nobody is refused services because of inability to pay.
Supporting county and agency partners and still providing services during any emergency is part of the job, but it becomes (and will continue to be) a bit tricky during a pandemic; however, even now, new opportunities are emerging and relationships are being forged.
Make a gift to support the agency or one of our programs! El Centro de Libertad/The Freedom Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency and all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.