Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development is pleased to announce that Mary Massella Hernandez has been selected as Oakland’s 2023 Mother of the Year.
Mary’s story is one of courage and determination. As a child, she left her native Guatemala with her family to escape the poverty and war that had consumed her country. Once in the United States, both her parents worked multiple jobs to provide their three children an opportunity at a better life. Mary excelled at school and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, she was later hired at La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland, caring for some of the most vulnerable communities in the Bay Area, including low-income families, underinsured and uninsured individuals, and immigrant communities.
Inspired by her work colleagues, Mary later pursued a master’s degree in Nursing at UCSF. While at UCSF, she worked closely with the director of the university’s diabetes minor program, the only of its kind in the country, to learn about the nurse practitioner’s role in responding to the diabetes epidemic in her local community and across the United States. She brought this knowledge with her while serving communities in Oakland with high numbers of diabetes, most who face difficulties accessing care or face language and cultural barriers.
“Mary is a remarkable mother in the literal sense to her own daughter and embodies motherhood in the care and protection she brings to those she serves in her work and volunteerism,” said Kaylor Glassman, Founder & CEO at Diabetes Support Partners.
Jane Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of La Clinica de La Raza initiated the nomination and Kaylor Glassman also provided a support letter in honor of Mary Massella Hernandez.
The honoree will be recognized during the Oakland Mother of the Year Award Ceremony held at Morcom Rose Garden 700 Jean Street Oakland, CA, at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
Oakland’s Mother of the Year Award is a project of Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development and was initiated in 1954 to publicly honor an Oakland citizen whose contributions to the community symbolize the finest traditions of motherhood. Past honorees have included hard-working, dedicated community servants whose volunteerism has been exemplary.