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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Counseling, Health, Mental Health

Mission: Circulo de Vida's mission is to walk alongside Latinos living with cancer and their families as they find their way through the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. We aim to reduce the devastating effects of a cancer diagnosis by helping Latinos identify coping skills that will support their ability to meet the challenge of a frightening disease.

Results: We've worked very hard over the past four years to keep our doors open. As many non-profits, Circulo has been affected by the poor state of the economy. But we are hanging in and everyone referred to us has received the services they need to make it through a diagnosis of cancer.

Programs: Support Groups for Women, Men & Children Home & Hospital Visits, In-hospital support Individual Counseling Las Angelitas Peer Mentoring In Hospital Support Spanish Lang. Look Good/Feel Better Program Educational classes Resources and Information Program Internships Program Development Facilitator Training Outreach

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is an incredible organization that has helped so many women, men, and families in our community deal with the challenges of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. I have spoken with innumerable women over the years who have recounted how Carmen Ortiz, the Executive Director, and support group members have assisted with information and resources at just the right time. The program is linked with the breast cancer clinic in the public hospital so women learn of Circulo’s services at the point of diagnosis. Carmen and her wonderful staff and volunteers assure that there is a friendly face in clinic to let newly diagnosed Latinas know that they are not alone. Importantly, Circulo offers a range of services for women and their families so that those uncomfortable with support groups can receive one-on-one peer support and in-home visits, while those looking for more social and community support can attend weekly support and educational meetings. The support model developed by Carmen Ortiz at Circulo de Vida has been replicated in other community based organizations across the city, largely because of Carmen’s generosity and commitment to addressing the needs of families dealing with cancer from all communities and backgrounds. Carmen has shared her training materials with other programs, and consulted with those under development. Her work, and that of Circulo, is changing lives and improving our community in essential ways.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida, and especially, Carmen Ortiz, the organization's Executive Director, has her angel wings awaiting her. I was referred to Carmen when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer over 20 years ago. My mom was reluctant to participate in any Spanish-language support groups - she did not want to share her innermost thoughts and fears with a group of strangers. By the time the 3rd session came around, my mom could not wait to attend her group sessions! It was the warm, Latina-oriented sessions in her language of comfort that kept her coming back. Thanks to Carmen, the ladies enjoyed excursions to Reno and Yosemite and other celebrations together. My mom's photo, along with others who have perished from this devastating disease, is on their altar. It is because of these joyous memories of Circulo de Vida and the culturally sensitive and respectful care that they give that compelled me to join their board first as a board member and now as the Board President. We host an annual fundraising walk at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. A day to remember those who have entered into the spirit world and those who continue to battle against it. We are blessed to have such a wonderful organization in our midst to provide the emotional support that is so badly needed in our communidad. Que viva Circulo de Vida!! Gracias, Circulo de Vida!!

Donor

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to Circulo De Vida in 2007 when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer as a source of support and resources. I soon learned that there is a large Latino community that was being served and aided by this small (but growing) center. I never realized so many Spanish speaking individuals and families would not know what services were out there for them if it wasn't for Circulo De Vida. In 2009, my Mother passed away from this heartbreaking illness but I have vowed to help support Circulo De Vida so that they could continue the excellent work they do for victims and families of this illness. They have truely made outstanding contributions for peoples affected by cancer. Keep up the superb work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known Circulo de Vida for almost 10 years. It's an extraordinary organization! They provide emotional support, education on cancer issues, and resources to Latino cancer patients and their families both in English and Spanish. They also provide counseling for children, in-home care, in-hospital care and end-of-life care. Circulo de Vida has created a network with other organizations in order to work together to ease the burden of cancer in the Bay Area Latino population.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A cancer diagnosis is devasting on a family. Imagine receiving that diagnosis and not fully understanding because you do not speak the language and you feel you have no where to turn.
Circulo de Vida gives people a place to turn for real information and support. They are an essential service for the SF community. Thank you to all the volunteers who work to maintain this center!

Anna48

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida has touched the lives of many Latinos experiencing the anguish of cancer. They provide cancer support services to the most needy and at no charge. They rely sole on the generosity of others. Please consider making a donation and encoring your social networks to contribute. They provide counseling for children, men, women, in-home care, in-hospital care and end-of-life care.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida (CDV) is an invaluable asset to Latino families in the San Francisco Bay Area who have been affected by cancer. They are the most comprehensive psychosocial health service provider for Latinos with cancer and their families. They have helped numerous Latinos navigate their way through the diagnostic, treatment and survivorship phases of cancer. They have a wonderful center that is open to all and extremely welcoming. Spanish-speaking Latinos are diagnosed at later stages, with worse cancers and have worse quality-of-life and more distress than Whites and CDV is doing much to address these disparities. They never charge a fee for their services and really need your support in any way or amount that you are able to provide.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known of Circulo de Vida for at least 5 years. It is a great resource to Latina women and men with cancer and their families. They provide emotional support, information, and resources. Carmen and her 'angelitas' (little angels - peer support counselors) are dedicated to helping people affected by cancer. They do not charge for their services - so their doors are open to everyone. It's a great organization!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the years as someone who works in behavioral cancer research I have had the opportunity in the context of patient interviews to hear first hand how Circulo de Vida transforms the lives of cancer patients and their families. By creating a supportive community, accompanying patients from a cancer diagnosis through whatever path the disease takes, patients feel strengthened. Being part of an organization that provides comprehensive social services, they feel seen and heard, they feel their dignity restored and no longer feel defined nor limited by a disease. I’ve seen patients thrive before and after reaching remission under the support of Circulo de Vida and I’ve known people who have departed due to cancer. In all these cases the time patients spent as part of this community brought happiness at a difficult time, peace in the midst of despair, and the certitude that they will not be forgotten.
Claudia Guerra

Frances10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

After having worked with many non-profit organizations in the SF Bay Area who address the issue of cancer for Spanish-speaking women, this one stands out! Circulo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center is located in the heart of the community, has bilingual staff that is culturally competent on the issue of cancer and understands the important role of familia.

They provide clients with accurate, up-to-date and thorough information and support.

Lorretta

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Circulo de Vida is a haven of support and information for Latina women and their families facing cancer. The staff are professional and compassionate, no one is turned away.
Dr. Carmen Ortiz is the unflagging energy who keeps everything moving.

This organization was the first to provide counseling and medical stewardship to the Latino community and is being emulated by local community groups. Dr. Ortiz acts as a consultant to answer questions and provide direction for new and ongoing groups.

Having visited the clinic, I can tell you the sense of warmth, support and professionalism makes you feel relieved, relaxed and welcomed the moment you walk in.

This is a service that truly holds the patient as the most important part of the equation. It deserves monetary support to be able to expand these most needed services.


Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Carmen Ortiz for 30 years and was with her when she went through her battle with breast cancer. She was, as always, brave and focused, finding out all she could about her particular type of cancer. At that time resources were scarce and physicians were not accustomed to having a patient ask questions and demand answers. Carmen did both. When she heard about the limited resources for Spanish speaking Latinas, she went into action. Carmen used her own breast cancer experience to help and guide non-English speaking Latinas find their way through the maze of treatment options and a complex and bewildering medical system. She is truly an amazing person.