Monday, April 20, 2015

A Letter from the Director

April 2015

Dear Dakota House friends and community, 

Thank you for your support of Dakota House, where we continue to love kids and families in one of Fresno’s most challenging neighborhoods. We have been here for fifteen years, now; sometimes I think about how many kids have walked through our door, and it’s astounding to consider. 

I want to give you an update of our staff and volunteers. I’m feeling very good about DH these days, and am grateful for the people God has called to our community center to love and serve our neighborhood.  


Our Resident Staff is comprised of two incredible young men: Andres Martinez and Christan Williams. 

Andres has been with us for a couple of years now, but has recently moved into the lead Resident Staff position. He has a great capacity for loving and nurturing our kids—especially our young men who see him as a role model and a trusted friend. Christan is newer to DH and is already establishing close and valued relationships with our kids. With the help of some volunteers like Luke Freeman and others, Andres and Christan run After School Club, Youth Group, DH Disciples, and more.

I have a new grandson, Mason, who lives in Oakland and needs his grandma sometimes, which is a wonderful new experience for me.  I graduated in May of 2014 with a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Fresno State, where I learned so much about writing, and the art of telling other people’s stories as well as my own. As you might well imagine, I have many great stories of the resilience of humanity after working all these years at Dakota House, and also recently teaching writing at the Fresno County Jail. I am beginning a new season of living and working part time in the bay area--I will be doing a lot of driving back and forth, still overseeing DH and also teaching and tutoring English in the city.

We have a faithful board of directors who have been with us for many years, now, and we are in need of and actively searching for new members. Please consider whether you are interested in joining our DH team. It is a privilege to be a part of Dakota House; I never tire of walking through that front door.  

We are also seeking more female volunteers, as we have recently lost some wonderful young women who are moving on to college or life in other cities and places. 
We need your financial support and prayers. We can’t continue to serve and love the kids that come to us without you.  

Thank you for continuing to uphold the children and families who want more for their lives, who need loving and prayerful encouragement, and who teach me more about life than I could ever have imagined. I am grateful for all the joy (and even the heartaches) in these many years; I look forward to more. 

In love,

Jamie Barker, Director and Founder