Name: Matt Martin
Family: Married to Arcelia Moreno, a pastry baker at Della Fattoria. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Dolce Vita Martin-Moreno.
Occupation: Martin is a "youth development professional" as director of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Petaluma.
Background: Martin and his family have lived in Petaluma for a year, the same amount of time he has worked for the club. They relocated here from Oakland after a few years in the east bay and life on the east coast before that.
"We began looking around and doing research on communities that really embraced children, from the school system to the community at large, that were really kid-friendly. And Petaluma kept coming up on the map," Martin said. "Petaluma had this really strong youth development agency, Boys & Girls Clubs, and I was able to find a position here. It's been a great fit ever since."
How long have you been working with children? Since age 14, when he was a peer leader for a youth group in his hometown of New Bedford, Mass., Martin has felt at home working with youth.
"I really wanted to be able to offer them guidance and be an ally and be there for those particular kids who didn't have people there for them," he said.
He graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in psychology and a minor in education, then taught school in Rhode Island.
What brought you from the East Coast to the West Coast? Martin met his future wife in Rhode Island when both were volunteering with the Americorps program, helping to build a children's museum.
"It was a total 'Good Will Hunting'-type of story," he said. "I had been entirely homegrown until the age of 23 -- never really left New England, never thought I was going to, and it wasn't an issue that I wasn't going to.
"But I met this beautiful woman, and she moved back to be with her family, who was in Ukiah. I asked if I could follow her, and she said yes."
What do you do for the Boys & Girls Clubs? "I love the position I have," Martin said. "I have the responsibility of overseeing all the critical club operations -- that includes everything from the seven clubhouse programs that exist here in Petaluma to the athletic department."
But he also gets to know many of the individual children served by the club.
"I have had the opportunity to work with the single child who is having behavioral issues in the club -- having some challenges, and coaching them and guiding them, being their ally -- to the larger responsibility of overseeing all the operations," he said. "That includes staffing, training, programs, budget, being community liaison between the club and schools, parks and rec, and club evaluation and assessment."
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