Maribel Jarchow

maribel jarchow

Board of Directors, 1983-2001
1997 Volunteer of the Year

Maribel Jarchow grew up in Chicago and has an early memory dating to the time when she was just six years old, of accompanying her mother to visit her uncle, who was institutionalized in a state hospital in Illinois. Those experiences are ingrained in her memory and were the catalyst for her interest in mental health. Many years later, when Maribel settled in Santa Barbara, her friend Eleanor Wright suggested that she join an auxiliary that was forming at the Mental Health Association, and Maribel was intrigued.

“As it turned out, the auxiliary never formed, but I did end up joining the board,” recalled Maribel, who served on and off, from 1983 – 2001. She tapped into her skills as former administrative assistant for doctor’s offices in Chicago, and business manager at Mt. Carmel Church in Montecito, when she became secretary of the Mental Health Association board.

In addition to her board service, Maribel was an active community volunteer. Although she was busy raising three children, Maribel could always be counted on to help the Mental Health Association with a variety of needs. She house-sat at the Center’s resident housing complex in Montecito, she drove residents to their appointments, ran errands, and delivered meals. In addition, Maribel worked at the treasure shop.

“I have such fond memories of working in the treasure shop downtown,” recounted Maribel, who would pick up donated items and deliver them to the store to be resold. “All the money we raised went into funding our programs. It was often a challenge ensuring we had the right volunteers and that they were properly trained.”

Maribel earned the volunteer of the year award in 1997 for her ongoing efforts at the Mental Health Association. Her volunteerism didn’t end there; she was also active as president of Phoenix House, board member with the Lobero Theater Associates and committee member of Catholic Charities of Santa Barbara.

“I really enjoyed the work,” she said. “It was my passion and I got a great deal of satisfaction from helping others. I was very devoted to taking care of those people whom I got to know well.”

“I enjoyed the whole affiliation with the Mental Health Association and the people that I was involved with early on, many who are now gone, were quite interesting and taught me a lot,” she said, specifically remembering Eleanor Wright, Leland Crawford, and Ada Wing, who were also recognized as outstanding volunteers by the City of Santa Barbara.