On May 23, 2017, an irreplaceable member of the GLIDE family and essential figure in our organization’s history passed away. Joyce Hayes first came to GLIDE in 1971 as a church member, and quickly became instrumental in developing our early children’s programs, which later became the Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth, and Childcare Center in 1991. While at GLIDE, Joyce served in many roles from resident writer, to Youth Program Director, to foster mother for more than 87 children from the community.
“We started with 15 latchkey kids running the streets of the Tenderloin, giving them tutoring, books and shoes and school supplies,” said GLIDE Co-founder Janice Mirikitani. “The program grew through the months until we had to take down walls to make a bigger space for all the kids, volunteers and parents in the program, but Joyce was the heartbeat of it all. She worked two other jobs, and volunteered here every day, including every Sunday with mostly homeless kids or small children whose parents were on drugs and left them to her.”
In the early 1980s, GLIDE was able to hire Joyce as the Director of the Children and Families Program around the same time that the building which is now the Janice Mirkitani Family, Youth, and Child Care Center was offered to GLIDE at a favorable price. Janice and Joyce had to raise money to remodel the building into the safe and welcoming space it is today.
“And I always said to Joyce, we bought this building for you,” Janice recalled.
In 2001, Joyce received the prestigious Congressional Angels in Adoption Award from Nancy Pelosi for her commitment to making a difference in the lives of children and families through her work at GLIDE as well as by being a foster parent for so many years.
“I do it because the need is there,” Joyce used to say. “I love the spirituality at GLIDE. Here, spirituality means action, seven days a week. When I first came to GLIDE it changed the concept of what I wanted to do with my life… people who work here, a bit of everybody is longing to be a change maker.”
GLIDE was blessed and privileged to have the support, talent and love of Joyce Hayes through the decades. She was truly the model of how each of us can save one life at a time through our own commitment, passion and perseverance.
“Joyce pointed a new way for saving children, and that was through her love,” GLIDE Co-founder Reverend Cecil Williams said.
“Joyce, who we called ‘Joy’ back in the day, was the most loving, kind and compassionate woman I have known,” Janice wrote. “She loved to laugh and make others laugh. Her unconditional love for all people, but especially children and teenagers, is the model of how holisitic healing can save the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Her beautiful smile and laughter is contained in GLIDE’S walls, and I can still hear the echos of her laughter in our rooms. And I am reminded each time I look into the faces of young people of the power of love, the comfort of kisses, and the warm embrace of a mother…Mother Joyce Hayes, who took every child in need into her arms.”
There will be a Celebration of Life on June 4th at 1:00 PM in the Sanctuary. A reception will follow the services in Freedom Hall.