Alumnae Spotlight: Theresa Gartland, Executive Director of Operation Progress

Theresa Gartland '99, Executive Director of Operation Progress, with Senior Maggie Koch

Theresa Gartland (’99) Speaks with Senior Maggie Koch


Theresa Gartland, class of 1999, reflects on our motto Actions, Not Words perfectly. She is the Executive Director at a non-profit called Operation Progress. This organization provides opportunities for kids living in Watts, California. She moved out to Los Angeles after college and joined a group run by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus called Responsibility and she knew she was meant to help these children.


Gartland has been a part of the Holy Child community almost her entire life. Theresa’s first memories of Holy Child are her running the halls at age 3 during her sister’s sporting events.  She even handed out the awards at her sister’s graduation in 1986. She wanted to feel the happiness and excitement that her sisters felt at Holy Child. After finally becoming a student, she discussed how she “felt welcomed every single day.” She felt like she belonged. Like many Holy Child girls, retreats were one of her favorite parts. She loved the sisterhood these special times created among her class. Gartland said her favorite tradition is the ring ceremony because to this day her ring reminds her of why she does what she does. She accredits her love for service to Holy Child. Theresa said that her service opportunities at Holy Child “sparked her passion.”


Believe is a recently new motto to Holy Child, but the notion has always been here. “I found my voice at Holy Child,” said Theresa. She went onto say that, “there is no education out there that empowers young women like Holy Child does.” She knows that she was given the self-confidence and core values at Holy Child to go to Los Angeles alone and create a life of giving to others. Actions, Not Words reigns true in her daily life. She said that “her community embraces her every day because of her actions.” She ensures her actions give each child the best opportunity with the most integrity.


As a graduating senior and after talking with Theresa, I am inspired to pursue a career in service. I am confident that Holy Child has given me the tools I need to succeed on whatever path I choose. I love hearing that Holy Child is still close to Theresa’s heart and mind. I know that this community will always be there to support me. Much like Theresa, I developed a love for serving at Holy Child. I want to take that passion with me as I head to college. Theresa is a terrific example to me on how to continue to believe in myself and continue a life of Actions, Not Words.


Written by: Maggie Koch, Class of 2018