VICKI SMOTHERS chose not to do the easy thing and move from “the murder capital of the world”, as East Palo Alto was known in 1992. Instead, she chose to stay and inspire an entire community to create a better future and end the cycle of violence for everyone. Vicki decided to treat the most marginalized, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach substance abusers by co-founding Free at Last Community Recovery and Rehabilitation in 1994. This grassroots, community-based non-profit organization specializes in community recovery and rehabilitation from substance abuse. Free at Last provides holistic and Long-term solution to drug related problems in the East Palo Alto community. Vicki is currently Vice President of Free at Last’s Board of Directors. It has served over 4,200 clients per year since its doors opened growing from a staff of five to over 50 employees. Vicki has been instrumental in the reunification of families torn apart by addiction and is also one of the founders of the East Palo Alto AIDS Task Force. Vicki is also the Community Program Specialist for Prenatal Advantage, coordinating prenatal services and counseling pregnant women from the community. The program supports women up to 24 months following delivery as well as parenting support for young fathers. Vicki inspires her community by treating each person with great compassion and integrity.
*This biography and photo of the honoree was published in 2003.