“To thine own self be true.”
Established in 1950 to serve San Diegans experiencing homelessness and poverty, Father Joe’s Villages has grown to include a comprehensive campus and scattered-site programs that house over 2,000 people nightly. Agnes Claire Sung Reiss has dedicated her support to Father Joe’s Villages because of the tremendous impact they make on the lives of those who suffer on our streets.
#1 I was born and raised in Southwest China.
#2 My father was a rock to me and the most loving father. He was of Chinese descent and fell in love with my mother who was from Greece, which was not common in those days. He converted to her Catholic faith, and they were married in Geneva when he was serving in the League of Nations.
#3 Growing up in China as a little girl, I had a small pig that followed me everywhere. When I was 9 years old, he was killed defending me against some aggressive dogs. It was a hard experience for me.
#4 My Catholic faith is very important to me, and it begins with a quote I hold in my heart and soul – “Love thy God and love thy neighbor”. I do not know how to have one without the other.
#5 My bucket list includes letting go fully of the things I cannot control and trusting in a loving and merciful God.
#6 Something that I always wear is a golden crucifix. It is always an affirming sign to me of the importance of love of God and love of neighbor.
#7 After his family became homeless and began living on the streets, Mikey spent much of his time in a stroller where he was safest from the elements. As a result, at 18 months old, Mikey was delayed in all areas of development. He did not walk, avoided eye contact and had no facial expressions – essential skills in social development and attachment. Thanks to the highly trained staff at Father Joe’s Villages’ Therapeutic Childcare Center, in just two months, Mikey walked into the lobby on his own, was making eye contact with adults, smiling and even laughing.
#8 Homelessness is especially difficult for children. On the streets, access to nourishing food is limited and without a safe place to play, kids miss out on critical aspects of development. The Therapeutic Childcare team at Father Joe’s Villages helps children in need achieve developmental milestones, practice healthy socialization, ensure physical wellness and complete nutrition, and so much more.
#9 In 2021, Father Joe’s Villages’ Therapeutic Childcare Center served more than 450 families and over 900 children.