On November 9, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. We will highlight the nine honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.


ConnieClendenan_smName: Connie Clendenan

Occupation: CEO Emeritus, Valley Teen Ranch

Nominated by: Department of Social Work Education and Dean’s Council of Ambassadors

In her over 30 years as Chief Executive Officer of Valley Teen Ranch, Connie Clendenan has been an advocate, mother figure and champion to over 2,500 children and youth from all over the state of California. She recently retired from the organization, but each youth she’s encountered has remained in her heart.

The mission of Valley Teen Ranch is to provide hope to vulnerable children, those who’ve experienced abuse and neglect, and provide opportunities to grow in mind, body and soul. The 80-acre ranch is home to three residential group homes. In addition, Valley Teen Ranch also provides a foster family and adoption agency, as well as a transitional living home. Clendenan cites the incredible, positive changes in the youth as the reason why she’s stayed with Valley Teen Ranch into retirement.

The act of hope is a recurring theme in her life. In fact, Clendenan calls herself a “Hope Dealer”.

When I invest my time, energy and giftedness into lives of others, they find HOPE, make changes and the direction of their lives makes a 180-degree change. Results is what inspires and motivates me.”

After receiving her Master of Social Work degree from Fresno State in 1984, Clendenan would go on to dedicate her professional and personal career to the area of child welfare and education. Fostering the next generation of human service professionals remains her passion. To date, she has supervised over 200 social work, criminology and psychology students from Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University.

Clendenan is also actively involved with the College of Health and Human Services’ Dean’s Council of Ambassadors. She says staying connected to the University and its students is truly the best way she can pay it forward.


The 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 9, 2018 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.