Our Do'ers Profile

Article excerpt

In Our Do'ers Profile, we highlight some of the hardworking and talented individuals in public human services. This issue features Ana Pagan of the Merced County Human Services Agency in California.

Name: Ana Pagan

Title: Director, Merced County Human Services Agency

Years of service: I have worked for 14 years for public human service agencies. Before that, I worked for 12 years in agricultural human resources. Meeting the needs of farm laborers involved field social work. Housing, health care, legal issues-I helped hardworking people with limited resources deal with them all.

Rewards of the job: My move from the private sector to public sector was intentional. The drive to make the world a better place is what brings people to human services. In human services, like teaching, the motivation is to mine the good stuff in human beings and bring it forward.

This past year a young man walked up to me in a store. He asked, "Ana Pagan? You might not remember me because I was 8 years old the last time you saw me. I have always wondered what happened to you and hoped one day I could thank you. You really saved my life. Because of your work with my parents, I was encouraged to go to school, earned a degree, and I have a wife and child. My life is good."

I cannot begin to tell you what an incredible feeling it was to hear him say I had been important in his life.

Accomplishments Most Proud of: When it was clear in the early 1990s that welfare reform was coming, I started a program to train welfare recipients to become licensed childcare providers and engaged the business community to help us move people to work. More recently, I have positioned a medium-sized Central California county to be an innovator in human services. Merced County has been a leader in bringing back integrated services, improving accuracy rates, bringing law enforcement on staff, and working with the animal shelter on the link between animal abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and child maltreatment. …