Clovis City Council recognizes Safe Place Week

City councilmembers posing with: Sequoia Gibson (front left); Joe Martinez, Outreach Manager of Sanctuary and Youth Servcices of FCOE (front center); and Misty Gattie-Blanco, Director of Sanctuary and Youth Servcices of FCOE (front right). PHOTO BY RON SUNDQUIST/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

One year ago, 22-year-old Sequoia Gibson was homeless. She didn’t have a job and no way to pay rent. Adding to her anxiety, her best friend had just passed away.

“The trick I use to dig myself out of any hole is to find something to be excited about and here I didn’t have anything,” Gibson said.

Gibson finally found hope when she learned about the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, which provides drug abuse counseling, hot meals, health care, vocational counseling, job placement services and shelter.

With the help of the Fresno EOC, Gibson settled into an apartment.

On Monday, March 11, the Clovis City Council recognized the EOC’s Safe Place Week, taking place from March 17- 23. As part of Safe Place Week, the EOC recognizes local businesses, community organizations, youth service agencies and volunteers that are part of the Safe Place program and work for the safety and well-being of at-risk youth.

Gibson stood in front of the Clovis City Council and expressed how the Safe Place program came to her rescue.

“Fresno EOC Sanctuary and Youth Services provided a safe place to lay my head, warm food and a hot shower, essentials I couldn’t provide for myself,” Gibson said. “Some people go their whole lives without ever having the support I have received.”

With the EOC providing the essentials, Gibson began her relentless pursuit to land a job.

“I filled out thirty, maybe forty applications for a job, but there was only one I wanted,” Gibson said. “I decided to be extremely annoying. I went into the store three different times asking for the manager.”

Her tactics worked. She landed two interviews and eventually a job as a Starbucks barista.

Gibson now enjoys going back to her apartment after work and doing everyday things, such as checking her mailbox.

It’s a long way from the days where she would get kicked out of fast food restaurants.

“I remember being kicked out of a Taco Bell for apparently hanging out in their lobby too long,” she said.

While her circumstances were unstable, Gibson said she learned that there is always something to be grateful for.

“There are endless opportunities available to not only myself but all of you here,” Gibson said. “We must pick the opportunities we genuinely want to pursue. Then and only then will everything else gravitate right into your direction. There will never be a right time, only a ready you.”

Tomas Kassahun
Tomas has been with us since 2016. His willingness to always step up to the plate and his diversity in reporting is what makes him special to us. Whether it is sports, city council meetings, board meetings, profiles, or breaking news - this guy can do it all.