Martha’s Story

Isaura Resendiz (left), Martha Ochoa (right)

Presentation from Merger Luncheon, February 15, 2018

Isaura Resendiz, Senior Case Manager: Occasionally in life, you are privileged to meet someone who shows you what is truly possible. Someone whose dedication to family, to community, to a brighter future inspires a belief in the goodness of us all.

I met Martha Ochoa over ten years ago and it has been my privilege to be on a journey with her ever since.  Martha came to us in a moment of great challenge. A victim of domestic violence, she had been evicted from her home, was without work, and was facing a major medical situation with her daughter suffering from a ruptured appendix. Martha became a client of our Thriving Families Initiative and we began working together to find lasting solutions within our diverse and amazing community that would help her rebuild her life and her family’s lives.

We found support for her medical expenses and, through the Center for Domestic Peace, found housing in Hamilton. Martha was able to secure an immigration pathway that led her to employment in the Novato Unified School District as a Kitchen Manager.

We were able to work together to ensure a strong education pathway for her three wonderful children –Luigi, Alex and Emily – who have gone on to accomplish wonderful successes at Claremont McKenna College, Cal State Fresno, and Stanford where Emily has just begun. Emily wants to become a pediatrician and wants to help children thrive and grow.

Helping children thrive and grow is a wonderful gift that Martha has been able to give her whole family through her determination, her love and her belief in the future. It has been my honor to be a small part of Martha’s journey, and to see the incredible path she has taken. Our programs and connections to others within Marin were able to open the doors to a new future for Martha, and to even more facilities in the future through North Marin Community Services. Our community came together in such caring support in so many ways. But it was Martha who walked along this path, hand in hand with her family, and made possible a life for herself full of hope, happiness and incredible accomplishments.

Martha Ochoa: Thank you Isaura. It is very hard for me to express how much the Novato Human Needs Center changed my life. You all saved my life and you allowed my family to have hope. You gave me the tools to rebuild my life. You gave me care and compassion. You gave me a way forward.  Isaura, you let me hold my head high and you helped me give my children a bright future. Thank you for being by my side. Thank you for changing my life.