Community Service; Follow Your Passions

Last of a four-part series

It’s been established that doing community service makes good business sense, but what charitable cause or non-profit organizations should you support?

Andy Krotik, Atwater, CA Councilman 1994-2006
Andy Krotik, Atwater CA Councilman 1994-2006

Andy Krotik, the manager at Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater, said selecting a cause is easy.

“I tell my agents to get involved in a sphere of influence they’re interested in,” said Krotik, an Atwater City Council member from 1994-2006.  “For example, if you have a Corvette, join a Corvette club.”

He also recommends his staff join the local Chamber of Commerce as a sure way to meet the “movers and shakers.”  In fact, many of his staff later became movers and shakers themselves.

“I’ve had three former presidents of the Atwater Chamber and a Planning Commissioner working for me,” said Krotik.

Fernando Paul Lopez, Century 21 M & M Real Estate Tracy
Fernando Paul Lopez, Tracy Office (209)629-5430 email-plopez

Fernando Paul Lopez, a Realtor with Century 21 M&M and Associates in Tracy, contributes his time and energy to the community as a director of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, he is a director of the mental health agency Vinewood Center for Children and Families and is president of the Hispanic Business Group, which sponsors annual Latino Leadership Awards and scholarships.  Why did he choose these nonprofit groups?

“Through these agencies I can help these people,” he said.  “It also helps me build relationships through the city and new people and businesses coming in.”

Juana Dement, Century 21 M&M Tracy
Juana Dement, Tracy Office (209)820-3310 email-jdement

Juana Dement, a Century 21 M&M Realtor and a Tracy activist and City Council candidate, said she naturally became involved in community service when family members were participants.

“When you’re a parent and your kids are on cheer squad and choir and your nephew is on the football team, you get involved,” she said.

Saundra Goncalves, a Realtor at Century 21 M&M in Oakdale, has assisted many community service groups and projects.  She got started when her son, now an eighth grader, was in kindergarten and she helped in the class.

Saundra Goncalves, Century 21 M & M Real Estate Oakdale
Saundra Goncalves, Oakdale Office (209)404-3938 email-sgoncalves

Since then, Goncalves was given her time to a host of groups and projects including the Christmas Can Tree, Relay for Life and as an Oakdale Museum Commissioner.  However, she discovered the Oakdale Museum position was not an ideal fit and has since moved on.

For the Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society, Goncalves’ team operated a “Hip Hop Soda Shop” and sold root beer floats.  The group also held luncheons, raffles and auctions to raise money.  Why did she support Relay for Life?

“I’ve never had anyone have cancer in my family,” said Goncalves.  “I count myself for being so lucky.”

While Andy Krotik is no longer a member of the Atwater City Council, he remains very active in the community.  When a correctional officer at the Federal Penitentiary in Atwater was brutally stabbed to death by two inmates, he helped form an advocacy group called Friends and Family of Correctional Officers.

The group’s efforts resulted in the warden being transferred and The Bureau of Prisons issuing stab-resistant vests.  Krotik continues as the spokesman for 1,000-member organization.

No matter what community service Realtors support, Krotik is confident they will make a very positive contribution.

“Realtors are entrepreneurs and they’re very bright,” he said.  “We don’t get paid unless we succeed, so we know how to be successful.”

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