When Dorris Dann began a second career in 1987 working at Our Saviour Center, an outreach program of Immanuel Episcopal Church in El Monte, supported by The Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel, it served the community only as a food bank. By 1989 she had seen a need and added children’s services, homeless services and a job training program.
Dann is an excellent fund raiser, grant writer and motivator, and within ten years OSC included a new building housing the Cleaver Family Wellness Center with a full time bilingual medical staff as well as the Beatrice Byrd Computer Learning Center. The Kid’s Campus, which opened five years ago, provides for recreational needs, tutoring help, enrichment programs in art and music and a full scale summer program for the young people of El Monte.
Dann also knew how to recruit dedicated volunteers to serve on her board of directors and staff the many programs now offered.
After more than 20 years the center’s annual Christmas Party has become a local tradition. Entertainment, visits with Santa Claus and wrapped presents attract some 2,600 children and their parents to the Center, and the celebration grows every year. This year’s party will take place Dec. 11.
The annual statistics of all of Our Saviour Center services are impressive: the food pantry serves some 100,500 individuals, the wellness clinic logs 9,000 patient visits, emergency shelter is provided for 4,800 nights for 800 families, and the Kids Campus serves 250 students with after-school programs during the year,with 200 participating in the summer program.
The community’s appreciation for Dann’s work was evident at a luncheon hosted by OSC’s succeeding executive director, Rich Hill. Awards to Dorris Dann were presented by U.S.Congresswoman Judy Chu and California Assemblyman Mike Eng, State Senator Gloria Moreno (represented by senior Field Deputy Bill Baca), and El Monte’s Superintendent of Schools, Jeff Semour.
Tributes were read from parishioners and friends who had worked with Dann on her many volunteer-intensive projects.
During a recent Sunday morning service at Our Saviour Church, Bishop J. Jon Bruno read a proclamation of appreciation from the board of directors of Our Saviour Center. In addition, in early December the mayor of El Monte, Andre Quintero, will honor Dann at a City Council meeting.