Estella Family Services
Community Partner

A longtime partner helps advance the impactful ideals of Jesuit education in San Jose.

Starting in 1987, one of the longest standing partnerships between the Ignatian Center and a local partner in community-based learning has been with Estrella Family Services.

For over 35 years, Estrella Family Services has worked to strengthen and enrich the lives of low-income children and families in Santa Clara County. As a well respected nonprofit in the community, Estrella’s mission is to “ensure equal access to family services that enhance youth development to build the foundation for a lifetime of success.”

Estrella is located in San Jose with four different sites: Gardner Academy, River Glen Elementary, Galarza Elementary, and Paseo Senter. Guided by goals to promote family stability and prepare children for success, Estrella offers several enrichment programs for children, between the ages of 3 and 12, and their families. These programs include a full-day preschool program, half-day family literacy preschool, before and after school care, and a summer camp.

SCU students have worked with children and teachers in preschool and school-age classrooms at the Gardner Academy site.

“I’m not sure who is more excited about the Arrupe volunteers, the kids or the teachers, because they forge terrific relationships with the kids, and provide great support to the teachers,” said Cathy Boettche, executive director of Estrella Family Services. “In this time of economic challenges and budget cuts, where teachers are asked to do more with less, it’s been great to count on the students from SCU to help us provide quality care to our families.”

In 20 years, Estrella has co-educated more than 1,300 SCU students. Faculty in nearly 15 different academic disciplines, such as anthropology, business, education, history, and political science, have gained engaging community-based experiences for their courses.

For more information about Estrella Family Services or to support their vision of preparing children of all backgrounds for greatness, visit

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