Mission & Vision

Our Story

In the wake of a life-altering epiphany, Vanessa and Joe Castaneda’s commitment to service deepened. Their shared love for Jesus and heart for giving coalesced into a mission when Vanessa, touched by her near-death experience, yearned to spend her life as ‘love in action.’ Volunteering with young women leaving foster care, she witnessed their struggles firsthand—a vision was sparked.

The couple’s home, poised for sale, beckoned with potential. United in prayer and purpose, they chose not to sell, but to sow seeds of grace, family, and love—fundamental tenets of Christ’s teachings. This home would become Grace Family Love (GFL), a sanctuary where young women could find their footing in a world that had displaced them.

GFL grew from the Castanedas’ vision and the community’s compassion, becoming a testament to the transformative power of love and the collective effort to forge paths of hope and dignity. True to their vision, GFL thrives on the community’s involvement—inviting all to extend their gifts and talents, ensuring the table of support is vast and inclusive, embodying the spirit of shared service and collective upliftment.

3 Pillars

Dignity, Identity, and Hope.

At GFL, we offer more than just assistance; we deliver transformation. Our comprehensive solution empowers young women who have experienced displacement to build successful, independent lives. Built on the three fundamental pillars of Dignity, Identity, and Hope, our approach is designed to instill self-worth, establish a solid sense of self, and inspire a vision for a brighter future.


Every young woman we support learns the power of “no” and the truth that love and care are not commodities for trade. We instill the understanding that they are inherently worthy of respect, care, and opportunities without conditions or transactions.


We guide our young women in discovering their unique selves, beyond their past experiences. Through our programs, they learn life's fundamental lessons—how to nurture their individuality and navigate the world with the confidence that comes from self-respect and recognition of their own inherent value.


We turn the page on what has been to script a new chapter of what could be. GFL provides a holistic rehabilitation that encompasses structured living, education, vocational training, and life-enriching experiences. We teach the importance of service, reinforcing the lesson that their contributions are valuable and that their past doesn't dictate their future.

With these pillars, our young women emerge from GFL not just as survivors, but as thriving, self-reliant individuals—confident, healthy, and equipped to be productive, contributing members of society who are empowered to pay it forward.

Get Involved with GFL Today.

Volunteer, donate, or help us spread the word about our organization and its mission.

Team & Board

Our Leadership

Get to know the passionate individuals driving GFL forward.

Vanessa Castaneda

Executive Director

Born and raised in Fresno, CA, Vanessa Castaneda is a Co-Founder of Gracefamilyluv and loves serving others. She was a teen mom who overcame the social pressures to have an abortion and drop out of high school. At seventeen, she chose “life” and not only finished high school but went on to earn her AS degree from San Joaquin Valley College. Later, she spent 8 yrs with Valley PBS and most recently volunteered her time providing workshops/seminars to youth in group homes. Over the past 10 yrs, Vanessa has been mentoring others and now lives out her passion by loving her family, practicing her faith, and committing herself to making sure the GFL girls feel seen and loved.

Joe Castaneda


Joe Castaneda is an Army veteran who co-founded Grace Family Love (GFL) with his wife, Vanessa, and has served in his local church for 17 years. As a father of four, living out his faith is essential wherever he finds himself. He spent 15 years working in healthcare within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and now works as a Fresno educator. His goal is to help bring positive change in his community.

Board of Directors

Aime Hernandez

Founder of Elevated Society

Yasmin Puga

Vice President Beneficial State Bank- Fresno

Joseph Castaneda


Staff & Volunteers

Liliana Mendoza

Program Director

Crystal Lowe-Rivamonte

Estate Development Director

Allison Lazoya

Public Relations

Laura Drake

Fund Raising Coordinator

David Pearce


Thank You To Our


Thank You To Our

Corporate Sponsors