• June 2022

    Erin Buchla

    Cruising to a New Career Suki Wessling Erin Buchla, like anyone who worked with small children for many years, is good at problem-solving in the moment. Faced with a devastated customer, a boy who had lost his Pokémon cards after leaving them on top of the car, she got to work. “I invited all these parents to come out with their kids and bring a couple Pokémon cards,” Erin recalls. “We put them out on this 14-foot table and the kids all shared a couple cards with the boy that lost them and he was just so happy.” Erin owns Cruise Coffee Cafe in Scotts Valley—a drive-through and a full…

  • May 2022

    Sierra Ryan

    Sierra Ryan: Saving Water for Our Children’s Future Suki Wessling ’m lucky that I feel like some of the work that I do is really for her, so sometimes when I feel like, ‘Oh, I’m working again,’ [I tell myself] I’m doing it for Faye and for her future here. “You need a bit of a reminder on the rough days,” admits Sierra Ryan, Water Resources Manager for the County and mom to 3-year-old Faye, about being a full-time working mom. “Like, why are you doing this? How does this fit into your life?”Like many working moms, Sierra has to balance her commitment to her career with her commitment to…

  • April 2022

    Social Justice Warrior

    Mom, Principal, Social Justice Warrior Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who give back to our community while also raising their children. Research shows that even in families where both spouses are involved, women face more obstacles while attempting to juggle parenting and work. We love to celebrate you, moms! When Jen Ra’anan and her husband arrived in Santa Cruz nine years ago, she was seven months pregnant. Not a good time to look for a job as a teacher.  “It was great,” Jen remembers of the unplanned time off. “It was also really necessary—I didn’t sleep for the first, I would say, nine months! I…

  • February 2022

    Yvette Brooks

    Yvette Brooks, Mom and Problem-Solver Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who give back to our community while also raising their children. Research shows that even in families where both spouses are involved, women face more obstacles while attempting to juggle parenting and work. We love to celebrate you, moms! Before the start of the pandemic, Yvette Lopez Brooks “had it all.” Not only was she married and mom of a kindergartener, but she worked for the County Office of Education, had successfully run for Capitola City Council, and was starting her term as Mayor. Suddenly adding teacher and full-time caregiver to her list of duties…

  • January 2022

    January 2022’s Mom

    Carmen Clark Teaches Art for Life Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who give back to our community while also raising their children. Research shows that even in families where both spouses are involved, women face more obstacles while attempting to juggle parenting and work. We love to celebrate you, moms! You know it’s serious when they devote a whole room to art. When Carmen Clark, 42, a classroom aide and owner of Crooked Beauty in Felton, moved into a new home with her husband, Aaron Clark, co-owner of Bro Prints, she had one firm request: their dining room would be dedicated to making art. Her…

  • December 2021

    Mrs Victory

    Mrs. Victory, Kinder Superhero Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who have faced the task of pandemic parenting while also continuing their work in our community. Research has shown that women have suffered greater economic and personal fallout from the pandemic, losing jobs or having to work while also caring for children. Robin Victory is one of the rare teachers in Santa Cruz County who shepherded three of her own children through the school where she teaches.“I wanted to be here at Rio del Mar Elementary with my kids,” she explains. “I live in the community and I got [the job teaching kindergarten] when my oldest…

  • November 2021

    Vanessa Silver Linings

    Vanessa Garcia Seeks Silver Linings Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who have faced the task of pandemic parenting while also continuing their work in our community. Research has shown that women have suffered greater economic and personal fallout from the pandemic, losing jobs or having to work while also caring for children. Avid readers of Growing Up might remember Vanessa from last month’s article, “Pandemic-era Birth Stories: Unknowns, Rainbows, and Hard Choices.” About two minutes into the interview about her difficult Covid-era pregnancy, I knew I needed to feature her as our next Mom Who Makes a Difference. But this article is different because until…

  • October 2021

    Dana Ramsey

    Dana Ramsey Finds Fertile Ground in Santa Cruz Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who have faced the task of pandemic parenting while also continuing their work in our community. Research has shown that women have suffered greater economic and personal fallout from the pandemic, losing jobs or having to work while also caring for children. When she opened her new business two-and-a-half months before Covid-19 hit Santa Cruz, Dana Ramsey remembers feeling her stress level dive. “It was life-changing to go from practicing full-scope midwifery for the past 15 years to a much slower-paced, patient-focused practice,” Dana remembers. “It gave me flexibility to pick my…

  • September 2021

    Hallie Green

    For Hallie Greene, It’s All About Community Suki Wessling Welcome back to our monthly feature of moms who have faced the task of pandemic parenting while also continuing their work in our community. Research has shown that women have suffered greater economic and personal fallout from the pandemic, losing jobs or having to work while also caring for children. Many people lost homes in last year’s CZU Lightning Complex Fires. Hallie Green lost three. On neighboring Boulder Creek properties, the fire took the home she was living in, her childhood home over the ridge that her parents lived in, and the home nearby where her two daughters’ dad lived. Their…

  • August 2021

    Mariah Roberts

    Suki Wessling Unlike other local organizations, which are just now waking up after over a year of closures and online approximations of their services, County Park Friends got busy implementing plans that had been pre-pandemic pipe dreams. Mariah Roberts, Executive Director of County Park Friends, has a unique view from her corner of the pandemic. As someone who ‘activates’ outdoor programs, she suddenly found her organization front and center when other organizations were shut down. “What we’re tasked with doing, and got funding to do, was to activate parks through health and wellness and focus on communities that haven’t been able to access existing resources historically,” she explains. “Because we…