Morgan Hill woman works to help turn around women’s lives

Published in the February 1 – 14, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Longtime resident Lisa DeSilva is the 2017 recipient of Leadership Morgan Hill’s prestigious Leadership Excellence Award. Alumni of the group and friends of the Community Solutions chief development officer learned about her receiving the honor at a hippie-themed announcement party at Guglielmo Winery Thursday Jan. 26.

“A graduate of Leadership Morgan Hill, Lisa is genuine and caring while always positive and charismatically outgoing,” said Cricket Rubino, chair of the nonprofit organization that trains citizens to be local leaders. “It is an honor for Leadership to recognize one of its own with the 2017 Leadership Excellence Award.”

The presentation of the award medal will take place at a fundraiser gala at Guglielmo Winery Saturday July 22.

DeSilva’s work involves supporting and improving the lives of the clients of Community Solutions, a human services agency that serves southern Santa Clara County as well as San Benito County. She loves being able to serve her own local community as part of an organization known for turning around lives of the less fortunate who may be victims of abuse or human trafficking, Rubino said.

DeSilva grew up in Ossining, N.Y. She graduated from State University of New York in Geneseo with a degree in sociology and a minor in women’s studies. After graduation, she moved to Morgan Hill in the early 1970s. Her first job here was working the conveyor belt at Gilroy Foods. She kept her interest in women’s health and women’s rights. After living in the South Valley for six months, she took a women’s studies class at Gavilan in hopes of meeting others with similar interests. A group of women in the class led by DeSilva started the South County Rape Crisis Service.

The group approached another community service organization, known then as the Bridge Counseling Center, and convinced them to adopt the Rape Crisis Service. Through the Bridge Center, they were able to secure funding from the state. This in turn enabled them to hire DeSilva who held various program coordination and management roles. The Bridge Counseling Center became Community Solutions in 1996 and branched out to its many current social service offerings.

Editor’s note: Morgan Hill Life will feature DeSilva as the LEAD recipient in a profile story in its Feb. 15 issue.

Robert Airoldi