Dignity Health Leaderboard 2

Pat Cheadle



PatCheadle
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Pat Cheadle, Director of the Kern County Department of Human Services (DHS), knows that one of the best things you can do for your children is to be a good role model for them. "Children learn by what they see, not by what they are told," she says.

Pat, with her husband of 31 years, DeWayne, have been good examples for their 19-year-old son, Justin, who plays football for University of California, Berkley. During football season, you can find Pat and DeWayne cheering on the Golden Bears and taking an active and supportive role in their son's life.

"Knowing that what we do can make a difference in the life of a child, a difference in the life of family, is truly exciting,"
A business administration major, Justin also shows discipline with his collegiate studies. The Cheadles have made education a priority in their household. "It doesn't matter how good you are at sports, if you don't succeed in the classroom, you have limited options," Pat says.

As part of her job as director, Pat helps implement programs and services designed to give people more options to make their lives better. "Knowing that what we do can make a difference in the life of a child, a difference in the life of family, is truly exciting," she says.

Pat says local poverty is one of the major issues facing Bakersfield, and poverty causes stress that can lead to other problems like child abuse and neglect. "We have too many families living in poverty. Twenty-three-point-nine percent of families raising children, live in poverty, and of those, 21.4% head of households work full-time and year-round," she says. "When you have to worry about where your next meal is going to come from, it adds stress to being a good parent."

A new prevention program, "Differential Response," developed in partnership with DHS, Kern County Network for Children, and Clinica Sierra Vista, helps families in crisis. A case manager in various neighborhood partnership resource centers connects these families with whatever services or resources they need. "We want to remove the barriers before it gets to the point of intervention," she says.

As part of her job as director, Pat helps implement programs and services designed to give people more options
Another DHS prevention plan that sees positive results is the Gang Prevention Program. This program helps keep high-risk kids from joining gangs by using tools from youth mentoring and after-school programs, the arts, and job training.

"When you are able to reach out and start to mentor these children and adolescents, you have the opportunity to truly make a difference. You give them options from the gang activity around them," Pat says.

Born and raised in Kern County, Pat continues to give back to a community she loves. Locally, she sits on four boards: Community Board for Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield, Kern County Network for Children, Consumer Credit Counseling, and the Workforce Investment Board. She also makes her contribution to a few boards on the state level.

Pat worked for DHS nine years before becoming director in July 2007. Before that she spent nineteen years with the Employment Development Department. She has a real passion to help people, and encourages any families in need to find out if they quality for any programs or services offered by DHS. For more information, please call 631-6000 or visit www.co.kern.ca.us.

Quick & Spicy Tacos

4 Boneless pork chops cut into bite-sized pieces
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 pkg McCormick Taco Seasoning
3 chopped Jalapeno peppers
Crushed Red Pepper
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Red Onions
Shredded Lettuce
Grated Jack & Cheddar cheese
Corn Tortillas
Taco sauce

Season Chops with garlic, herbs, seasoning salt and pepper. Cook in large skillet with small amount of cooking oil. Stir in Jalapeno peppers and crushed red pepper. When Pork is almost done, add lean ground beef with additional seasoning and pepper. When done drain oil from the meat. Return to skillet and add taco seasoning and water as instructed on package.  Simmer 10 minutes.
Heat corn tortillas in oil to harden. Place meat, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and cheese into tortilla. Add taco sauce as desired.
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