Living Here Guide

Small-town ties stay true in ever-growing Nipomo

Becky and Mark Valadez are longtime community volunteers in Nipomo. Mark Valadez is pastor of New Beginnings Community Church.
Becky and Mark Valadez are longtime community volunteers in Nipomo. Mark Valadez is pastor of New Beginnings Community Church. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Becky and Mark Valadez can’t go to a high school basketball game without stopping to talk to everyone in the gym.

“We walked in and there were only like two people in the crowd we didn’t hug,” Becky Valadez said with a laugh after a game at Nipomo High School. “This is very much a family town. And if I don’t know you, I know somebody related to you.”

The Valadezes’ son plays on the Valley Christian Academy basketball team, and Mark Valadez is an announcer at games. If you’ve attended a South County basketball game or football game in the past decade, you’ve probably heard Valadez’s voice.

The Valadezes know most of the crowd at the games through Mark Valadez’s involvement with almost every community project in the small town of Nipomo. He’s active in the Nipomo Chamber of Commerce, and he routinely offers his and his church congregation’s help for other small volunteer projects throughout the region.

The Valadezes are founders of New Beginnings Community Church in Nipomo, where Mark is senior pastor and Becky is “ladies coordinator.” The church meets at Dana Elementary School.

They organize weddings, marriage counseling, summer camps and youth groups through New Beginnings, as well as participate in a variety of other community endeavors such as the annual Nipomo Community Thanksgiving Dinner. They also purchased a brick for the construction of the Paul Teixeira Memorial Bandstand.

“Nipomo, I think, is a great example of what the church community should be,” Becky Valadez said, noting that they work closely with other churches in the area on many of the community projects. “We all help each other. It’s very much a joint job.”

Mark and Becky Valadez were both raised in the area but moved away for several years before returning to Nipomo right before it experienced a major boom in population and growth in the early 2000s. Since then, they have witnessed firsthand how Nipomo has held on to its small-town roots, even as it continues to expand.

“It’s been a dream come true, to see the town grow,” Mark Valadez said. “And, of course, the main thing that makes Nipomo, Nipomo, is the people.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misrepresented the nature of the Valadezes’ involvement in the Paul Teixeria Memorial Bandstand and the Nipomo Rotary Club. The couple purchased a brick for the construction of the bandstand. The article also incorrectly listed which school their son attends. He attends Valley Christian Academy.

NIPOMO

Population: 17,115

Key employers:

• Lucia Mar Unified School District

• ConocoPhillips

• Agriculture industry

• Golf courses

• Fast-food restaurants and grocery stores

Community events:

• Rainbow of Gems Show, Aug. 5-7, 2016

• OctoberFest, Oct. 15-16, 2016

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