Serving San Diego County Disaster Assistance

Valley Center

Valley Center Disaster Recovery Center



Current phone: 760-877-6979

Fax number:  760-751-2656


Areas we serve: Valley Center, La Jolla Tribal, Palomar Mountain,

Pauma Valley and Escondido.

Mimi Van Koughnett

A community volunteer in Valley Center for the past 15 years, Mimi was drawn into the recovery after the 2003 Paradise Fire by a strong desire to help her neighbors.

Married for 20 years and the mother of four children, her passion is helping others.

In 2003 she began assisting survivors, first with the immediate needs of housing, then with food, clothing, and household items.


Soon she realized that her community needed more help than that so she soon got together with the leaders of the other communities that were also affected by the fires and worked together to form a partnership.


This dedicated group of people who shared the same passion, the same concerns, and the same needs, formed the CRT (Community Recovery Team). Mimi was determined to get help for her community and her involvement grew. She volunteered for two years working with the CRT and the other agencies active in disaster recovery.


When the Hurricane Katrina disaster struck in 2005, she spent the next two years assisting over 100 evacuee families who relocated to San Diego County.


In 2007, when wildfires once again devastated her community, she was called by the San Diego Foundation to assess the disaster areas and to act as an Advisor with the other members of the CRT. Since 2007 she has been working as the Center Director at the Valley Center office, funded by the San Diego Foundation as a Bi-Lingual Advocate for the North County Farmer/Migrant workers.


Mimi is a co-founder of a social services and disaster recovery organization, Paradise Community Services, Vice-Chair of the Palomar Pomerado Health Care Advisory Council, and past President, Vice-President, and current Community Liaison of the Valley Center Teacher Parent Club.


Mimi holds several awards one of the most meaningful to her is the Drucker Foundation Innovation Award presented by the Leader-to-Leader Institute for her program called “MomStart”