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Annual Donation Helps Local Children In Crisis
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From left, Susie Martinez, Elsie Martin, Art Cutler and Christine Riley pose with warm hearts and warm smiles. Martinez and Riley are representatives from PG&E in San Francisco. They took some time to visit the Guardian House that serves Stanislaus County children in need and to present Martin and Cutler with a framed certificate and photo. Longtime PG&E employee, Cutler, makes a substantial donation annually to the Guardian House. - photo by Virginia Still/The Leader

The Children’s Crisis Center of Stanislaus County is a non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter for abused, neglected, and at risk children. Some of the other services they provide are temporary childcare for families in crisis, meals, nutrition education for families, one-on-one guidance to high risk families, resources, and referrals. These services are all provided free of charge to families in need. Currently there are five children’s shelters in the community, three in Modesto, one in Turlock, and the Guardian House in Oakdale, which serves youth in Oakdale, Riverbank and beyond.

The Guardian House on West F Street was co-founded by Elsie and the late Augie Martin, with the doors opening in February, 2002. The Guardian House is 5,000 square-feet, features seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and is equipped with security cameras and equipment to help insure the safety of the children needing its shelter.

Each room is decorated with a different theme. Elsie Martin recruited artists to paint the murals that can be found throughout the house as well as an interior decorator. A variety of area businesses and individuals have donated to the Guardian House over the years.

“It took a community of different people to make this happen,” stated Martin.

The Children’s Crisis Center has helped over 11,000 children between all five of the shelter sites and there are plans to build three more houses in Stanislaus County in the near future.

One of the most dedicated supporters for the local Children’s Guardian House is Art Cutler. Born and raised in Oakdale, he is a longtime PG&E employee. He previously worked in Oakdale, now works at the PG&E office in Angels Camp and comes back to the community every year to make his donation to the Guardian House.

The relationship between Cutler, Martin and the Guardian House started years ago when he made his first donation of $5,000 to the organization. When asked why he donates his own funds to this particular cause, Cutler was very humble.

“I had change in my pocket so I gave it to her. It’s a great organization,” Cutler said.

This year, his donation was $25,000 to help the kids in need.

A special presentation was also featured this year when Cutler made his donation, as two representatives, Susie Martinez and Christine Riley, from PG&E’s San Francisco office, made their way to the Guardian House. Both Martin and Cutler were presented with framed certificates indicating the successful venture that has helped reach kids in need over the past 10-plus years at the Guardian House. Their story was also included in a PG&E newsletter.

Executive Director of the crisis center, Colleen Garcia, gave an informative tour of the Guardian House for the San Francisco visitors before they returned to their Bay Area office.

Cutler’s annual donation helps meet needs that might otherwise be passed over for lack of funds, making his gift that much more important to the community.