"At Metropolitan, we believe that to lead, we must serve. We know from experience that serving makes those we serve and us stronger."
- Ric Estrada, Metropolitan Family Services CEO

Vanessa was born and raised in this community. “My heart has always been in South Chicago,” she says. “This is my love. This community has been my love forever.”

As Executive Director of Metropolitan’s Southeast Chicago Center, she is passionate about seeing it grow. “I see a lot of greatness, but I see a lot of gaps that need to be paid attention to, and hopefully together we can help South Chicago rise up.”


» Working with community organizations
“We’re a small community. We definitely need to know one another to make referrals – know the contact person, know the criteria for clients. What a place looks like, feels like. Really be integrated.”

» Expanding meaningful out-of-school time programming to kids
“My biggest passion is around providing afterschool and Community Schools services. Parents won’t be able to continue working if their kids aren’t in a safe space after school, if kids are out more in the streets or home alone. That creates a problem.”

» Addressing the critical need for behavioral health programming through new partnerships and integrating services into existing programs
“It’s a desert for behavioral health. We serve one of the five community areas in Southeast Chicago, but some people are afraid to come into the area, and expansion in any direction will make a significant impact.”




Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that Mpowers families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities.