My Hero Myldred Jones

After an illustrious 17-year Navy career where she was one of the first WAVES, Myldred retired as a Lieutenant Commander. She chose to live in Los Alamitos, California. As a consultant to then California Governor Ronald Reagan, she conducted an 18-month study of youth problems in the state and in 1968 she founded the first adolescent hotline, which has since become a model throughout the U.S. and internationally as well.

It was through this work that she realized the need for a runaway and homeless youth shelter in Orange County. In 1977, she sold her home to purchase two side-by-side lots nearby, where she opened the Casa de Bienvenidos Youth Shelter in 1978. Myldred recalls that the shelter—with a very limited budget and only one paid staff member—managed to survive that first year in part due to her bountiful zucchini garden! Since those first days, over 10,000 youths have spent more than 91,000 nights at Casa with 273,000 meals served and over 43,000 family members have been helped through her love and caring.

Myldred’s commendations, awards, and honors:

  • U.S. Navy Relief Society Meritorious Award, 1960
  • Humanitarian of the Year, American Red Cross, 1968
  • Woman of the Year, Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce, 1974
  • Distinguished Citizen Award, Cypress College, 1983
  • Clara Polz Award for Distinguished Service, California Law Auxiliary D, 1986
  • Alexis de Tocqueville Society of Orange County Award, 1987
  • Woman of the Year Recognition, California State Legislature
  • Presidential Recognition Award for Community Service awarded by President Ronald Reagan, 1988
  • Senior Citizen Award, Long Beach City College, 1992
  • National PTA Honorary Service Award, 1989
  • Diocese of Orange, Catholic Volunteer Women of the Year, 1993
  • SERTOMA Recipient, Orange County Volunteer Recognition and Pacific Southwest Region, 1994
  • Pope John XXIII Award, 1995
  • Americana Woman of the Year, Cypress College Foundation, 1998
  • Honorary Doctorate in Public Service, Santa Clara University, 1998
  • Children’s Friend Award,- Childhelp USA, Orange County Chapter – For Outstanding Humanitarian Contributions over a lifetime. 2001>
  • Community Service Award,  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA. 2001

Commendations, Proclamations, Celebratory Greetings – Occasion of 90th Birthday, Received from:

Sec. Gen. United Nations, President Wm. Clinton, Former Presidents Bush, Carter, Ford and Reagan, Secretaries of Defense, Wm. Cohen and Navy, R. Danzig, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, Representatives Horn, Royce and Sanchez, Gov. G. Davis, Generals Powell and Schwartzkoph, Adm. L. Edney, State Senators Dun and Johnson, Assemblyman S. Baugh, Supervisor J. Silva, President, NAACP, K. Mufume, Wittenberg U. President, Dr. B. Tipson, Mayors of Cypress, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach, CA, Presidents of Orange County American Red Cross and United Way and many other public, private and military individuals. 1999

Myldred’s other nonprofit involvement:

  • Founder, in 1968, of first adolescent hotline, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, California
  • Founder, in 1975, and past director of West Orange County Hotline, which handles over 1,000 calls per month from people in crisis situations
  • Founder and Vice President of Creative Listeners Guild (with Carl Rogers)
  • Founder, in 1978, and Executive Board Member of Casa Youth Shelter
  • Founder and Executive Board Member of WE CARE, a nonprofit corporation for the homeless and near homeless in West Orange County, California
  • Board Member of Precious Life Shelter, a shelter for pregnant women with nowhere else to turn

Other Jobs & Careers that Myldred has held over the years:

  • Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Juvenile Probation Officer
  • Navy Officer
  • United Nations Liaison
  • Civil Rights Activist
  • Social Activist

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
— A Chinese Proverb