Founded in 1895 as an orphanage, we became known as “Sunny Hills” in the 1930s in reference to our idyllic San Anselmo campus (with our street, Sunny Hills Drive, subsequently named for us).
Though we’re still headquartered on that same campus in San Anselmo – and we still serve the most vulnerable youth in our community – our scope of services has expanded well beyond the Sunny Hills location, with a broad spectrum of programs across four counties. The name Sunny Hills no longer captured the depth of our work, nor did it speak to the essence of our relationship with young people.
In our search for a new name, we talked to staff and clients about their work together, and the phrase “side by side” came up again and again. The experience of our direct care staff is of walking with the young person through their journey – not leading or following but meeting them where they are without judgment or hierarchy. The onus is not on the client to do the work alone, nor is it on our staff to rescue. It’s about the process, not the destination. As a name, Side by Side encapsulated this simple, but most essential aspect of our work with young people. And, importantly, Side by Side describes our relationship with the partners and supporters in the community that make our work possible.