Clovis resident Wilma Toms Hashimoto, who worked for decades to grow educational opportunities for youngsters, has been named Fresno County’s “Mother of the Year” by the Fresno County Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Hashimoto, now the executive director of CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties, was surprised Wednesday with a crown and bouquet of flowers when her award was announced at her workplace.
The Fresno County Women’s Chamber of Commerce pointed to her work to expand preschool programs in Clovis Unified from 13 to more than 30 and her work with the Packard Foundation and school districts around the state to develop Transitional Kindergarten as among her many accomplishments that have benefited children.
Hashimoto posted a comment on her LinkedIn page: “Incredibly humbled and greatly honored as I share this award with past recipients and was selected knowing that it was through relationships and trusted partnerships we collectively focused on improving the lives of children in our community. As the Executive Director of CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties, the amazing advocates, staff, Board and so many community partners, we will continue to meet the needs of at-risk children/youth especially those in the foster care system.”
In a news release, the chamber said she has often been called “Mama Hashimoto or Wilmama because of her generosity, patience, and constant support as she encourages others to reach their full potential … She is known to help navigate the college application process for high school students, have the guest bedroom available at any hour, a refrigerator full of food to provide for drop-in visitors, and shop for clothes and essentials for her ‘kids.’ ”
She’s a biological mother of one but considered a mother to many, the chamber said in the news release.
Long Career in Education
After working for 25 years as a classroom teacher and administrator for Clovis Unified, director of early care and education for Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, assistant superintendent for Fresno Unified, and research associate for the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education, Hashimoto took the top job at the foster family agency.
Her volunteer work has included serving on the boards of First 5 Fresno County, San Joaquin River Parkway, and Stone Soup Fresno.
Hashimoto and the other nominees, Carrie McDonough, Shirley Zaver, Tasha Gray, and Idell Smith, will be honored at the 78th annual Mother of the Year luncheon at 11:30 a.m. May 6 at Pardini’s Banquets on Shaw Avenue just west of Van Ness Avenue. Click here to make a reservation. The deadline to reserve a spot is April 29.