Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations in San Luis Obispo County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

Helping families thrive.
  • Promotores Collaborative Program Successes!

        The County of San Luis Obispo Preventive Health Grant sponsors the professional coordination services required for a high functioning Promotores Collaborative. Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) provides leadership development and… Read more…

  • CFS and The LINK: Working Together To Do More for the Community

    Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) and The LINK Family Resource Center now work closely together to provide enhanced community services and resources to improve life for overburdened families. This collaboration creates an integrated… Read more…

  • The Success of Nurse-Family Partnership

    SLO County’s Amazing Hero-Nurses for First-Time Moms The Nurse-Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (NFP), is a tremendously successful maternal and childhood health programs for low-income first-time mothers. As a national… Read more…

  • CFS Promotes Staff Member

    Center for Family Strengthening promotes Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia to Director of Promotores Collaborative. “We are thrilled with Erica’s accomplishments in driving the growth and success of Promotores Collaborative,” said Lisa Fraser,… Read more…

  • CFS Welcomes New Program Coordinator

    Gwendolyn Garcia has joined Center for Family Strengthening as Program Coordinator for CFS’ major programs: Parent Connection, Kidz Tool Box for personal safety, Promotores Collaborative, Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition and… Read more…

Board of Directors

2018 Board of Directors

Bob Watt, President

Principal, Cambria Elementary School, Coast Unified School District.
First 5 Commissioner, SLO County.




Patti Hempenius, Vice President

Patti brings more than 50 years of experience in both social services and business.  She has served on multiple Boards of Directors in both the nursing industry as well as the lodging industry and has a wealth of experience inlocal, national and international business.  Patti is currently serving as a Board Member of Central Coast Funds for Children. As a registered nurse she holds the California state designation “Public Health Nurse” and is currently retired from nursing. Patti has been a very successful business owner of nine lodging properties on the Central coast. She graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is married to Jerry Hempenius, is the mother of a son and daughter and is a grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.


Mary Bianchi, Treasurer

Mary Bianchi is County Director for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.  She is a member of and recent Chair of the Model of Care Partners Oversight Committee (MoCPOC) working in support of Martha’s Place Children’s Assessment Center in San Luis Obispo since 2006, and a founding member of Friends of Martha’s Place.



Cherie Fields, Secretary

Supervisor, Nurse Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County





Sharon Baldridge, Board Member

Sharon is one of the silent heroes on the Central Coast who has been “helping others in need” by working on behalf of the disadvantaged, victims of domestic violence, recovering alcohol and drug users and protecting our precious kids from sexual abuse for over 40 years.

A native of San Luis Obispo Sharon graduated from SLO High School in 1955 and went on to major in the arts at Woodbury College in Los Angeles. After a divorce Sharon found herself a single mom of two young girls. She returned home to the Central Coast to raise her daughters. 

Sharon is a former board member of the S.A.V.E. (Sexual Assault Victims Education) nonprofit organization. In June 2015, S.A.V.E merged with Center for Family Strengthening. Through this merger, Sharon facilitated support for the expansion of the Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety program for preschool age children. Sharon is also an active member of Central Coast Funds for Children


Meghan Burger, Board Member

Youth Services Supervisor, City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation

Since High School Megan has been working in support of youth. She began her professional life teaching for 8 years, and for the past decade has worked in the City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation. In her role as Youth Services Supervisor, she oversees programs that serve over a thousand children per year.

Meghan served on the Child Care Planning Council for SLO County for over 5 years and is currently the Past President on the California Parks and Recreation Society’s District 8 Board of Directors. She believes that likeminded and community-focused individuals can inspire greatness, support positive opportunities for communities served, and provide launching ground for program development in support of youth and families.

Meghan is a mom of two young boys, an aunt to many, and passionate about the sanctity of childhood.


Pamela Pall









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