Our Story


Community United San José was created in 2008 by Executive Director, Donna Stewart and Associate Director, Jan Nikitin.  It is the first official chapter of its parent organization, Happy House, a California non-profit benefit corporation that was founded in 2005 by renowned voice-over actress and philanthropist Nancy Cartwright.  Its mission is "to help bring about a safer community by building better families".


To visit the website of Happy House, go to: www.happyhouse.org


21 Tools for Making Good Choices

Happy House and Community United San José have been delivering "The Good Choices Program" to youth in local community centers, PALs, Boys and Girls Clubs and charter schools.  


The program is based on the book "The Way to Happiness" (a non-religious, common sense moral guide) by L. Ron Hubbard that covers 21 principles for one to live by that foster personal integrity, responsibility, respect, caring and productivity—putting a person on the road to success.

Our target audience is low income and under-served youth who are vulnerable to gang or crime involvement, ages 8-18 years.


To visit the website of The Good Choices Program, go to: www.goodchoicesprogram.org


Becoming a Lead Service Provider for At-Risk Youth

In July 2011, due to the success of the "Good Choices Program", Community United San José entered into contract with the City of San José to take over management of the Starbird Youth Center which was scheduled to be shut down due to city budget cuts.


Community United San José was the lead service provider for Starbird youth center from July 2011 through December 2019, providing daily after-school services to kids who would otherwise have no safe place to go.  


In addition to the "Good Choices Program" other programs were delivered such as:

     •  Homework Club 
    •  Computer Labs
    •  Sports Events
    •  Recreational activities


Due to COVID-19 we are currently serving the community in a limited capacity, we hope to expand services in the near future.


San José Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force

Since 2008, Community United San José has been a member of the San José Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force and performs a vital role by delivering the Good Choices Program to youth at both the Starbird Youth Center and the Alma Youth Center. Both locations are deemed "hot spots" of crime, gang activity and at-risk youth.

Community United has been awarded the "Safe Summer Initiative" Grant for the past eight years from the City of San José to help keep their programs going during the summer months, and to continue creating a positive influence in these neighborhoods. 


Community United San José:
Donna Stewart, Executive Director
Jan Nikitin, Associate Director
Stephanie Black, Program Director
Erin Vokey, Volunteer Coordinator, Site Manager

Magdalena Lazaro, Youth Activities Supervisor
Karen Dippel, Marketing Director
Sandra Figueroa, SEO Manager
Linda Rost, Bookkeeper
Stuart Rosenbaum, Golf Tournament Director
Marie Guénat Rosenbaum, Golf Tournament Coordinator
Rusty Fenn, Campaigner

Board of Directors, Happy House:

Carol Loweree, President
Nancy Cartwright, Director
Marty Kassowitz, Director
Bobbi Kassowitz, Director
Monica Gil, Board Chairman