Monika Grasley is the Executive Director and has a heart for seeing people develop their potential. Monika teaches individuals and groups on Asset Based Community Development and coaches community workers.
Monika grew up in Germany and came to the US at 24 to learn English and go to school. She worked on her degree in Community Development when she met her husband who was on his way for a 1 year commitment in China. After their marriage in 1987 they continued to live in the Los Angeles area until they moved to Merced to be closer to family before they returned to China. Over the years Monika’s passion for Holistic Community Development grew. While working at Gateway Community Church Monika had the opportunity be more active in the community and realized the tendency of individuals, churches and groups to give ‘hand-outs’ which often only perpetuated the problem of people in poverty. Monika received training on ABCD principles and practices and now is involved in various communities to equip community members and in the region to coach churches and organizations. If you want to know more about Monika personal story, you can read the Merced SunStar article.
Tunde Osungboye is a former AmeriCorps member who works and lives in the Merced Meadows Apartments, located in the Loughborough neighborhood – an area considered by many to be one of the city’s poorest and most dangerous. He works with children (usually ages 3 to 13) in the neighborhood, helping them with their homework and providing various after-school activities. You can read his story in the Merced Sun-Star article.
Ernie and Rosemary Solis works and lives in Winton. They have been volunteering at the LifeLine Community Center for many years. Ernie, a former AmeriCorps member, is passionate about bringing community members together for the common good of the community, and Rosemary loves working with the children in the community. Along with the help of other volunteers, they are dedicated to “putting Winton on the map for something good.” Some of the projects they’ve been involved with include a community garden, kids’ club, ESL classes, VITA (Free Tax Preparation), emergency food, graffiti abatement, reading, writing, and computer classes, bible study, and many other community events. You can read more about Ernie’s story and his work in Winton in the Merced County Times article.
David Abbott returned to Winton in May of 2010 after graduating from Simpson University, located in Redding, California, with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration. David has been a major blessing to LifeLine, especially in its efforts in Winton. He has served for two years as Site Coordinator and Return Preparer for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. During the 2012 filing season, David along with his volunteers were able to return over $90,000 to low- to moderate-income families. He currently is teaching computer classes to teens and younger adults of the Winton community to give then the job skills that they need to be successful. During all this, he works a temporary job as well as studying online to earn his Masters in Business Administration degree from Crown College, located near St. Paul, MN.
When asked why he gives of his time, he says that, “I have been blessed so
I want to help the rest.” He enjoys the opportunity to serve those in the
community because he sees the contribution that it makes to those around
him. He hopes to have a full-time job soon where he can contribute his time and
abilities in paid employment. He plans to continue to volunteer, as he is
able. We are very thankful to David and his commitment to serve in Winton.
Adrian Esquivel (better known as FATZ) is our former AmeriCorps member and worked at the Winton Community Center. He loves to get young people together to improve the community. He headed up the graffiti abatement youth team, met with officials on addressing community safety, organized groups to help senior citizens, and started a community garden. He recently enrolled in school to become a chef, but he is still involved in helping make Winton a better place.