What does SB 63 mean to you? - Danny's Story
Danny is a drug and alcohol counselor for Santa Cruz county.
I work for the county of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency as a drug and alcohol counselor. I’ve had 3 jobs where I’ve had paid family leave, at Homeless Services Center, Sobriety Works, and The County of Santa Cruz. At the homeless shelter when I worked there, my wife had our first son and I took full parent leave. It was helpful for me to be there with my wife, my newborn, and my stepson. My wife was going through emergency c section so this was beneficial to our whole family. It wasn’t the full amount of what I was making, but it allowed us to survive. We barely made it to the end but it helped out a lot for us as a whole family unit. Plus my wife had to go back and forth to the doctors and we were checking in on our baby, a premie in the NICU. I got to be there to support my wife and my son. It was priceless.
That time was so crucial to be there for my family. To have those moments. Your family is priceless. They come first besides paying your bills and working. At that time my stepson had a lot of trauma at the time. It was crucial to be with my newborn son but to also be there for my stepson because of domestic violence that he witnessed in a bathroom. That made him not able to use the restroom because of what he saw. He was like 6 or maybe 7 before he was able to start going normally. I was able to be there every day to help him use the restroom. That time was great because it helped him a lot as well.
You got your family. You could see your kids and spend those priceless and precious moments with your kids.
What would you say to our governor about parental leave?
I would say we need it. I think they need to educate about it and increase pay so people can survive off of it till they go back to work. Protected no matter what job you’re at. For me, I had an opportunity for another job which was a career and I didn’t want to chance taking that time off and not have my job security.
A big piece is education. People don’t know that they have that. They don’t understand that their job could be protected and still get some kind of pay that could help them out. They don't understand that they are not getting a hand out from the government it is their own actual money that is being taken out of all their paychecks, might as well use it when you can. Most people don’t know that. They don’t take time off and they keep working. My brother’s taken his time off and he did it when he had his kids, I showed him the benefits of that. One of my brothers in law didn't take the time off because he didn't know he could and went right back to work.
We want to build strong families, because our families are the fabric of our society.
They grow so fast. My sons are 10, going to be 4, and 18 months. Wow, how fast is [sic] they growing. For me, I want to be there for everything I can for my kids. I want to be the best DAD and parent I can be. I want to be there for every little thing, whether it’s school or when my kids are getting their first shot, you feel their pain when their going through it. All of that is priceless.
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Thank you Ree Ree Li and YWCA - San Francisco & Marin for recording this story!