The San Antonio Division has selected C. Jill Oettinger to receive the Director's Community Leadership Award.
Mrs. C. Jill Oettinger serves as chief executive officer of Good Samaritan Community Services (GSCS). As conditions became increasingly desperate in an impoverished barrio on the west side of San Antonio known as the "Death Triangle," GSCS (formerly the Good Samaritan Center) was founded in 1951 on San Antonio's near-west side by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Today, GSCS is a private, nonprofit organization, a United Way agency, and neighborhood center providing comprehensive services to over 6,000 low-income individuals annually.
GSCS has been the primary social service resource for residents of the near-west side of San Antonio and has expanded faith-based programs designed to foster education, character development, healthy living, and self-sufficiency to 16 central and south Texas counties. In the most recent program year, completed on June 30, 2009, their extensive educational and family-focused programs benefited 6,279 individuals, including 184 children, 4,981 youth, and 1,114 adults in central and south Texas. The commitment to improving the quality of life in this high-risk area is embodied in their mission: Changing Lives Through Excellent Community Services.
Mrs. Oettinger earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Azusa Pacific University in California and worked as a registered emergency room nurse in various hospital settings and then in the community, conducting outreach to at-risk populations. Mrs. Oettinger's interest in working at the community level brought her to Good Samaritan Center as a board member in 1986. In 1996 she assumed the leadership of the agency and has continued to provide quality direction. Under Mrs. Oettinger's direction, GSCS's annual budget has grown from $700,000 in 1996 to over $8 million in 2007. The agency has undergone capital improvements of over $5 million for new construction and building renovations; the most recent new construction is a new senior center, which opened in March 2005.
Clients serviced by GSCS include young children, youth, adults and seniors—94 percent of whom are Hispanic, 55 percent of the households are headed by a single parent, 68 percent have incomes less than $15,000 a year, and 33 percent live in public housing.
By targeting all facets of the community through GSCS’s many programs, Mrs. Oettinger has exhibited her genuine concern for the welfare and safety of our citizens, and she has been very instrumental in making our communities safer.