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Member Spotlight

Meet our newest Member Spotlight! Each month, we feature one of our Chamber Members. To apply for your spotlight, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

villa de vida photo

Hunter Christian

Villa de Vida

Villa de Vida

Hunter Christian - 760-445-4789 - info@villadevida.org

What is the purpose of your organization?
To enable adults with developmental disabiltities to live and explore life fully.
What made you decide to work with this organization?
I believe that this population is underserved and marginalized. I know that we can make it better. My son has an autism spectrum disorder and I feel compelled to make this world as accessible and fulfilling as possible to everyone with a developmental disability. I am in a unique position to understand the powerful contributions the can be made by people with disabilities and Villa de Vida, Inc. is facilitating their success in so many ways.
What is the most interesting part of your business?
I meet so many people and every situation is different. I love to figure out how to help everyone in a way that meets their particular needs. I enjoy a challenge. Coming to understand how to make the financing work that is necessary to create affordable housing was a phenomenal opportunity for me personally. It meant tremendous growth for me in the field of finance which is where my professional education lies.
What opportunities does your organization have for businesses and the community to get involved, and what is your area of greatest need?
There are many opportunities to become involved with our organization. Villa de Vida, Inc. and its volunteers and work force also want to give back to the community. We are looking for more opportunities to do work and to engage right here in Poway as volunteers. We have a pilot program now. We started on January 31, 2022. Our two groups, 7 participants, meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:15a to 2p. We work for 3 hours per week and we volunteer for 6. Currently Reruns Resales, the thrift store that supports the Senior Community, allows us to volunteer on Wednesdays. We will be shredding at the Community Center one day, we volunteer at Feeding San Diego on some Fridays. Our group also works once a week at Blissful Seeds, a Poway non-profit that makes soap and other wonderful and creative items. We are always looking for future volunteer opportunities and paid employment. The staff at Villa de Vida, Inc. that supervises each of our groups is "hands on", supportive, they make everything happen smoothly and with a lot of fun. Group leader Ko'akea (Ko'a) Gabriel, is particularly gifted at creating adaptations to all situations and abilities. We have one volunteer that is legally blind and we struggled to find something fulfilling. It was Ko'a that ultimately found not one but two jobs for our participant and he is busy looking for more.
Please share a recent success story of how you were able to connect with a Chamber member business to fill a need, a goal, help your constituents, etc.:
I have so many stories. Villa de Vida, Inc. has partnered with Reruns Resales. They gave the new residents at Villa de Vida Poway apartments coupons to shop in the store before it was officially open. I have an on-going list of items that our residents want or need. They often call us when they want to turn over their inventory or have special items that we may be able to use in projects or classes. POWPAC has promised to allow our residents to sit in as audience members during dress rehearsals. Chamber member, Ken Post, welcomed any new resident to Poway by giving them $25 if they came to the Americana Festival in 2021. We had some very happy new Poway citizens.
Tell us something most people don't know about your organization:
We have been around since 2014. The organization began in Pasadena. Our first attempt at housing here in Poway did not pan out. We had to find different partners and another developer before we succeeded in getting the place on Oak Knoll Rd. We applied for Tax Credits 3 times before they were granted. It was just a matter of sticking to it and putting in the work to get the job done. We just opened an office on Pomerado Rd. in addition to our offices in Villa de Vida, Poway on Oak Knoll Rd.
What keeps you inspired?
I am constantly inspired by the people that I serve. They do not give up. They share their wins with the group and keep each other up beat in the face of adversity. I am also inspired by my staff. Recently, Victoria DeFrank, one of our group support leaders told me about helping someone learn to tie up the bags of pears that they were weighing to create food boxes for homeless folks. It took an hour and a few different ways but we finally learned the skill and kept doing it for the second part of the shift. The volunteer, that has a developmental disability, felt such a sense of pride at the end of the day. Victoria's patience, tenacity and willingness to try different options should inspire anyone.
Why did you get involved with the Poway Chamber?
I wanted to connect myself and the organization with the City of Poway. I felt like I was driving over to Poway from my home in Carlsbad and putting all my energy into a place where I did not know anyone. I have been working here for 5 years and it was time to get to know my neighbors and to become part of the tight knit community here. Poway is truly a special place.
What would you tell someone who is considering joining the Poway Chamber?
Joining the Chamber was one of the best things I have done in my capacity as Executive Director. It is a network of trusted companies and services that cover all aspects of business and everyday needs. They are business owners that I trust and feel comfortable referring our residents to and using myself. I see area business owners twice a month. As a result, I have strong connections and can ask for advice and even help. I call them and get referrals and invariably it is to another member that I just haven't met yet.
How can interested parties find out more about your organization, upcoming events, and needs and opportunities you have?
Please visit our website: VilladeVida.org | We have a FaceBook page: facebook.com/VilladeVidaPage and our Instagram: VilladeVidaOfficial You can sign up for our newsletters, we send one out every Monday morning at 8:30a, this lets our Social Club Members and their support staff know what is happening in the week and the coming month. We also have a newsletter that comes out every quarter to give highlights. Both of these can be accessed through our website.

About The Member Spotlight

Members who fill out the form below will be put into a drawing to become our next member spotlight! Spotlighted members will be put into the Chamber Report eNewsletter, as well as featured on the homepage of our website!

Non-Profits: Fill out this Non-Profit Member Spotlight form which has been tailored to non-profit organizations! 

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