Amazing Grace Community Award
Chief Executive Officer
Friendship House Association of American Indians, Inc.
Growing up in New Mexico, Helen Devore Waukazoo remembers her beloved Navajo father telling her she would “walk in two worlds:” that of the Native American and the white American. At 13, Helen and two of her siblings were torn from their family and forced to attend boarding school in a government attempt to move and integrate American Indians from their reservations into non-Indian communities. Helen’s school was in Utah, a thousand miles and a world apart from any life she had known. Separated from her parents, she was forced into a foreign world in which she was forbidden to honor her own culture and language. It was a traumatic experience and the moment she was free to leave, she did. In her early 20’s, she volunteered at a drop-in center started by a church group, located here in San Francisco. It was a place for American Indian people to connect in the midst of what often felt like a foreign world. Helen worked her way up into several positions, including secretary, bookkeeper, Board of Directors member, Executive Director and now Chief Executive Officer. Under her leadership, Friendship House Association of American Indians, Inc., became an American Indian owned and run non-profit corporation. Today, it is proud to be Licensed and Certified by the State of California and Accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and the recipient of many awards for the high quality of its services. Ms. Waukazoo’s innovative blending of Native American traditions with non-Indian substance abuse strategies has been honored many times. She is also a member of the state Commission on the Status of Women. She compares what Friendship House does to weaving: “Weaving broken lives back into their families and community. Success comes from many threads carefully woven together, one by one.”
Amazing Grace Agency Award
Good Shepherd Guild
This year we honor the women of the Good Shepherd Guild who, for the past 80 years, have tirelessly raised money to help young women served by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd Guild was once famous for its annual rummage sale and today puts on fundraising events such as Oktoberfest, the Annual Christmas Luncheon and the Spring Fashion Show. They also act year-round as ambassadors to the community promoting Gracenter’s mission and values--truly embracing the tradition of “women helping women.”