2022 Woman of Distinction: CFA CEO Shares Recognition with Fellow Female Leaders

18th of May 2022

During Women’s History Month, California Assemblymember Chris Holden recognized Cher Ofstedahl for her incredible work focused on creating a better future for children and families.

“The 2022 Women of Distinction are dedicated leaders who improve the lives for thousands of individuals and families in the 41st Assembly District and beyond,” said Holden. “They demonstrate the power of giving to others and community empowerment, I am honored to be amongst a high caliber of professionals.”

Cher leads Trinity Youth Services, an agency which serves over 200 children and families daily through residential therapeutic services, mental health programs, foster care and adoption services. She also heads the Children’s Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization which serves over 2,000 children annually.

Cher serves on the Human Relations Committee for the City of Claremont to help oversee their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, serves on the Policy and Practice Commission for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), is on the Juvenile Justice Steering Committee for the California Alliance for Children & Families, and serves on the board for the Association of Community Human Service Agencies (ACHSA). In 2018, she was recognized by Senator Anthony Portantino as Outstanding Nonprofit Executive Director and, in 2020, became the first female CEO of Trinity Youth Services since its inception in 1966.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Holden,” Cher said. “Being awarded this honor is a big deal. I know the number of lives I impact through my efforts is small compared to that of so many women who go unrecognized. I know my contributions to society will never be documented in history books or even make the six o’clock news. However, being named Claremont’s Woman of Distinction means the world to me because who I am today is the direct result of the many women of true distinction who made a significant, lasting difference in my life.”

After experiencing her own childhood trauma, Cher made it her life’s work to advocate for children in need. Her firsthand experience gives her unique insight into a mission to help children and families create a better future. She has now been making a difference in the lives of many for more than two decades.

“My second grade teacher, Mrs. Barlow, made sure my face was washed, my hair was combed and I had shoes on my feet every morning at school when my own mother wasn’t capable due to her struggles with alcohol and drugs. There were many mothers of my school friends who ‘adopted’ me into their families and cared for me as if I was their own. There are brilliant, capable, women I am privileged to work with on a daily basis who lift me up and urge me onward when the burdens seem to outweigh the benefits. These women will probably never receive the recognition they deserve but they are the reason I get out of bed with the intention of giving back in some way each day,” Cher said.

“For the record, there are a great many good men who deserve recognition as well and I am blessed to have the support of some truly exceptional ones, but this award puts me in the fortunate position of being able to shine the light back on every woman who helps support and lift up,” she added.

John Neiuber, President of the CFA Board stated, “Cher is the personification of the word integrity. I always say she is the smartest person I know. She is creative, solution oriented, dedicated and selfless. She is a natural leader who cares deeply for the children we serve.”

The community is invited to the presentation of this honor by the office of Assemblymember Chis Holden at the Children’s Foundation of America’s Chari-Tea Fundraiser on May 21, 2022 at the Women’s Club of Claremont. Tickets can be purchased here. Proceeds support children in need during National Foster Care Month.

Jenelle Phillips, Director of Development
Jenelle oversees the day-to-day operations and staffing of the Foundation, which includes event planning, volunteer coordination, community outreach, marketing and donor relations. Above all, Jenelle’s focus is to identify and access resources in order to help children heal, learn and thrive. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University Fullerton and is very involved in the community. She is active in her church and owns an art gallery. Her volunteer contributions to the community have been recognized by Senator Portantino, Assemblymember Holden and the Claremont Village Marketing Group.