Editor’s Note: Read about Mama Lucy’s incredible 35 years of service to children and watch a video of this amazing woman who is profiled today in the Los Angeles Times by columnist Steve Lopez.
Inevitably when I meet former residents, their only question is about the staff members who cared for them. Since Lucy Garabedian Abdelradiy, also known as Mama Lucy, has been with us for 35 years, more often than not she is the one for whom they ask.
Lucy is perhaps one of the most memorable people you will ever meet. She is enthusiastic about life, proud of her convictions and determined to raise you up no matter what might preoccupy you. To residents, staff and visitors alike, she offers a welcoming smile and an encouraging word that relieves you of apprehension and eases anxiety.
Hillsides would be ineffective but for faithful employees like Lucy who serve more than anything else because of the opportunity they have to make a lasting impact on the most vulnerable children and youth. Children know when someone is authentically caring. Lucy, along with the rest of our staff, break through the understandable resistance of many of our residents because they are genuine, caring people.
The demands of staff working in a residential program are enormous as they reach out to children and youth who have been poorly served by a broken foster care system. In spite of the children’s skepticism, tendency to withdraw and at times impulsive risky behavior, it is the consistency of dedicated staff members that teaches them to trust adults, feel safe and hope once again.
The feature of Lucy in the Los Angeles Times column recognizes not only the contribution she makes but honors the selfless service provided by so many like her to the most vulnerable children and youth of this great county.