Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Profile” November 2009.
by Marsha Dorgan
If you are crusading for a cause or fighting for a goal, Sheila Daugherty is someone you definitely want in your corner.
Daugherty, 68, a long-time Napa resident and an advocate for the Napa County Justice System, mainly for juvenile offenders, doesn’t accept “no” for an answer. But she does it with a twinkle in her eyes.
She is determined, outspoken, and a bulldog when it comes to making inroads to help children charged with criminal behavior patterns to get them into productive lives.
Daugherty has taken over the reigns as the director of Wolfe Center, started in 2004, at the corner of First and Monroe streets (former site of the Boys and Girls Clubs). The 10,000 square-foot facility is a community-based, non-profit treatment center that offers outpatient alcohol and drug abuse treatment for teens 13 -18 years of age in Napa County.
Daugherty, working with the Napa County Alcohol and Drug Program, the Napa County Council on Economic Opportunity of Income and the Napa County Foster Kids fund has also devoted her energies helping youth and Napa County jail inmates.
“The planning of the Wolfe Center began in 1997,” says Daugherty. “We started raising money in 2001. When 9/11 hit it really put a huge dent in our fundraising. But, the situation brightened when money was donated from the Napa Valley Wine Auction the next year.
“We also have received help from Clinic Ole and the Hospice Center.”
Daugherty says Napa County has accomplished something very few counties have ever done. “Before we got the Wolfe Center started and, after (treatment facility) Our Family closed, we had to send teen drug and alcohol abusers out- of-county for treatment. Now, they can be treated here at the Wolfe Center and remain with families. For these kids to get off the addiction, they need family support. It’s not just treating the kids, it’s getting the whole family involved.”
Randy Snowden, the former Wolfe Center Director until 2005, is now director of Napa County Department of Health and Human Resources.
“Our goal with the Wolfe Center was to get to troubled teens before they entered the justice system,” says Snowden. “We had a panel that started working on this in 1997. In 1998, the panel decided we needed to bring back the detox center, out-patient drug and alcohol treatment program, and a teen program dealing with the same programs.”
“It was Sheila who stepped up to the plate,” says Snowden. “ I remember the Wolfe Center was last on our list. But, Sheila said, “I am going to take it on. Anything is possible.” And, sure enough, she made it happen before any of the other two goals were in place. Sheila is a doer. If sees a need, she goes after it. They don’t come more determined and dedicated than Sheila.”
Daugherty was born in Brooklyn. She admits they didn’t have a lot growing up. Most importantly, “We had each other.”
“My mother was 14 and my father was 16 when they came from Ireland to the United States.”
Daugherty graduated from nursing school and moved to the Bay Area to work as nurse at the Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto. She joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Nepal. From there she had to the determination to help during the Vietnam war.
“I joined the Army, which was a strange decision for me. I am anti-guns, violence and couldn’t stomach the controlling ways of the military,” she said. “But, to me it was the best way to do something for my country.”
Daugherty and her husband, Louis, a retired Napa County forensic medicine specialist, spend their days at their home in Napa with their two loveable and adorable Pugs Murphy and Mia.
Just don’t get between her and a worthy cause.