Being the Difference

A Local Shop Makes a Big Impact
Pieter Neethling, Volunteer Resource Coordinator
October, 25, 2017 -

Each year, the Family Care Network has the honor of partnering with local organizations and businesses to make a difference in the lives of the children, youth and families we serve. Recently, we had the pleasure of partnering with Old Navy to create a unique opportunity for our young adults who are eager to learn about employment and working.

We were initially contacted by Allyson Gardner, who is the General Manager of the Old Navy store in San Luis Obispo. Allyson explained to our team that the mission of Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy) is to "Do more than sell clothing." She shared that Don and Doris Fisher, the founders of Gap, are huge supporters of working with underserved youth in every community that they have stores.

From there, Allyson invited us to participate in their On the Job program, a unique program which provides an in-store job shadowing experience as well as employment workshop aimed at teens, to assist them with gaining work experience. It was a honor for our organization’s youth to be chosen to participate in this impacting program.

On the Job seemed to fit nicely with our existing career mentor program and we immediately jumped in, recruiting young people who could take advantage of this valuable opportunity. On the day of the initial workshop, we had 10 young people come to the Family Care Network office to develop their employment skills.

Allyson and her fellow manager, Stephanie, invited class participants into a conversation about employment though icebreakers, activities and teaching. It was a wonderful opportunity for young adults to get direct and informed answers to their questions about the hiring process.

Two weeks after the workshop, participants were invited to get a behind-the-scenes look at the San Luis Obispo Old Navy. At the store, participants were able to dress a mannequin on the store floor, learn about signage and explore a variety of positions in the company. The experiences was an ideal introduction into the work environment for foster youth who had yet to get their first job.

It was a delight to partner with Old Navy in providing this experience for our young people. Community support truly makes a difference in the lives of those we serve. You or your business can also impact the life of a foster youth by simply sharing your story and inspiring them to pursue their dreams.

For more information on partnering with FCNI, please contact us at (805) 781-3535 or visit our site at