Providing an opportunity for every person
to help children heal, learn and thrive.

Citrus Elementary School
Citrus Elementary School

CFA Supports 40 Families Displaced by Fire

Citrus Elementary School

A fire suddenly engulfed an Upland, CA apartment building on May 4, 2021 displacing several families whose children attend Citrus Elementary School. Because of their close proximity, the school was evacuated during the fire and the Red Cross set up a temporary evacuation site on the campus. The Red Cross and Citrus Elementary School continue to help families find shelter and resources.

After recently receiving services from the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) during the holidays, Citrus Elementary reached out to CFA for help. Families affected by this tragedy lost nearly everything they owned in a matter of minutes. CFA was able to provide new toys to keep children occupied, shoes for children who evacuated barefoot, clothing including jackets to keep children warm, and toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, and deodorant to help provide necessities while being sheltered.

Anyone needing help (or wanting to help) should contact the Red Cross at 571-595-7771.


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.

foster care month

Why Supporting Children in Foster Care is Important!

foster care month

In 2019, the Children’s Bureau reported 423,997 children in foster care and 672,594 children served by the foster care system. Children who are in foster care are reported to have poorer physical and mental health compared to the general population. The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) was created to provide support for the foster children of Trinity Youth Services (TYS) but has since grown to provide support to so many more organizations. In honor of National Foster Care Month, CFA would like to emphasize why the need to support children in foster care is important.  

In a study done by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children placed in foster care endure a number of disadvantages, both because of the maltreatment they have endured and other risk factors associated with their placement, including poverty, parental drug and alcohol abuse, neighborhood disadvantage, and epigenetics.” Each of these disadvantages contribute to the mental and physical health of children in foster care.  

Children in foster care are far more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression/anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and behavioral/conduct problems. In addition, children in foster care are also more likely to experience physical health issues such as asthma, obesity, speech problems, and vision problems. The combination of mental and physical health issues further places these children in a position of need.  

In addition to possible mental health and physical issues, the disadvantages that children in foster care face also prevent them from experiencing opportunities such as receiving a birthday gifts, holiday gifts, riding a bike, receiving new school supplies, going to college, and many more experiences that children of privilege get to experience. This is also due to government funding only providing payments to foster parents for basic day-to-day necessities. 

CFA understands the gravity of importance that supporting children in foster care holds. We are committed to being the difference in the lives of children in foster care by supporting them through our annual and monthly campaigns. CFA has given bicycles to foster children, backpacks full of school supplies to disadvantaged students, scholarships to college-bound at-risk youth, and provided supplies for foster and adoptive children to create “life books” to document their happiest experiences as they create a better future.  

How to Get Involved

Enter to win a helicopter flight and support children in foster care! Donate $10 to support children in foster care for National Foster Care Month and get entered to a chance to win a helicopter flight! Learn to fly a helicopter with a hands on introductory demo valued at $450. 

Our winner will start off with 30 minutes of ground school with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), then take to the skies for 30 minutes of hands-on flight instruction. You’ll get to manipulate the flight controls in the air and when you arrive back, Amaro Helicopters will take your photo in the cockpit and next to the helicopter. You will also be given a certificate with your logged flight time for you to proudly display. 

Must schedule and redeem flight by July 31, 2021. Must be over 18 years old and be able to travel to flight demo in Southern California. Contact donations@trinityys.org to coordinate within 7 days of winning. 

Enter Now!


Isabel Millward-Pena, Communications Specialist
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

Child Abuse Prevention

Long-Term Effects of Abuse on Children

Child Abuse Prevention

Every ten seconds a report is made on child abuse. To build awareness of this issue, Child Abuse Prevention Month was created in April of 1979 by Child Help founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson and joined by legendary actress Sophia Loren. The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) takes this issue very seriously and in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, CFA would like to call attention to the dreadful long-term effects of abuse on children and bring light to the efforts we make to support these children.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four common types of abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglectWhen a child experiences traumatic events due to any of the four common types of abuse, they are referred to as having adverse childhood experiences (ACE)ACEs have been linked to negative effects in long-term health and wellbeing of a child. For example, ACEs can lead to a Toxic Stress Response which the Center for Youth Wellness reported to “disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years. If left unaddressed, toxic stress can affect growth, learning, behavior, immunity and even the way DNA is read and transcribed. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that if left untreated child abuse, neglect and other ACEs “increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities.” The weight of abuse is carried throughout a child’s life and when left untreated can continue to weigh on them and negatively effect their day to day lives.  

In a study done by Child Welfare, the following are possible signs that may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect: 

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance 
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention 
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes 
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen 
  • Lacks adult supervision 
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn 
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home 

CFA has supported thousands of children who have been victims to abuse and continues to provide support to programs that advocate for children’s issues and community-based organizations that assist trauma-endured children in healing, so they can develop into adults with a bright future. CFA supports these children through our yearly campaigns and monthly through our “Birthday-ina-Bag” campaign. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for every person to join us in helping children heal, learn, and thrive 

How You Can Help

Get Involved by volunteering! Contact bcalderon@trinityys.org or (909) 426-0773 ext. 236. 

Donate to our support children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment here.

Become a Resource Parent by filling out an application with our partners at Trinity Youth Services.

Take the Pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste the following text into your own social media with a photo of yourself raising your hand signaling to “STOP” child abuse.

I pledge to help #StopChildAbuse because every child deserves to be loved, cared for, and kept safe. I will engage in discussions with family and friends on the importance of child abuse prevention. I will support and advocate for policies and programs that promote healthy families. I will learn to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. I will take any child’s claims of maltreatment seriously. I will report all suspected incidents to the appropriate county’s Child Protection Services.

For information on where to call or how to make a report, contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).

Join me and the Children’s Foundation of America in taking the pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste this text to post to your own social media with a photo lifting your hand to STOP child abuse.


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dear Friends,

This time last year, I asked for your help with the many unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main priority was the safe care of the children we serve, and you responded to our call for assistance. Together, we provided foster care facilities with much needed hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfecting wipes, face masks, medical gowns, toilet paper, additional staffing, and meals for children in need. Thanks to your help, the Children’s Foundation of America provided support to over 2,000 children at 23 direct service organizations.

During the pandemic, children across the country have been isolated at home with their abusers, and experts believe there has been an unseen surge in abuse behind closed doors related to unemployment and financial strain. The extent of the abuse inflicted on children during the COVID-19 lockdown is unknown, but many children continue to be removed from their unsafe homes and placed into foster care until a permanent safe place can be provided.

The CDC found that if left untreated, child abuse and neglect increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities. As someone who has faced abuse in my own childhood, I can say that without a doubt, one caring adult changed the trajectory of my life. My fifth-grade teacher noticed I needed help and provided the support I needed. Thanks to her, I am here advocating for children who have experienced the same trauma and hardship that I endured.

For Child Abuse Prevention Month, please consider changing the odds for a child who has experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment by making a donation. Your contribution provides scholarships, art therapy, clothing, bedding, summer camp, contact lenses, birthday and holiday gifts, and so much more. These resources and opportunities are necessary to the development of any child but are especially important to a child who has experienced trauma and the disadvantage of not having family support.

Thank you for helping provide what is essential for children to heal, learn, and thrive.

Cher Ofstedahl
Chief Executive Officer

Donate Now

 

cards for kids

Warm & Fuzzy February Campaign Provides Comforts for Foster Youth 

Children supported by Warm and Fuzzy February 2021

To a child affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment, small comforts mean the world to them. This is why every year the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) holds our annual Warm and Fuzzy February campaign to provide cozy comforts for foster youth. This year, we were able to provide over 1,000 children with care items for winter!

Book Drive

For children who experience trauma, reading becomes an outlet for them. According to Health Line, reading helps reduce stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and strengthens the brain — all of which have positive benefits on a child’s mental health. Thanks to the help of social influencer, literacy and children’s causes advocate, Zayda Love, books were purchased from our Amazon wish list and used to contribute to our care packages.  

cards for kids

Cards for Kids

Volunteer Action Hero, Jacqueline Legazcue, held a “Cards for Kids” volunteer activity over Zoom to create and collect cards to include in our Warm and Fuzzy February care packages. Some participants shared their own experience with foster care and their desire to help children who are currently in the foster care system.

Jamz & Jammies

Jacqueline also hosted a virtual fundraiser called “Jamz & Jammies,” where guests could dress in pajamas and dance to their favorite songs in order to raise funds for the campaign. During the event, she donned headphones and the name DJ PJ, playing danceable tunes for all ages. There was even a text-to-donate option to request songs. Some favorites included “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

dj pj

The event also featured a virtual concert segment with a performance by Katie Ferrara, an award-winning alternative pop singer/songwriter from Los Angeles who writes honest and authentic music. Katie lends her voice to causes like ours to raise awareness for projects she is passionate about. A highlight of her performance was the song “No Bad Days,” which was featured on the Hallmark Channel series The Good Witch. CFA Director of Development, Jenelle Phillips, stated that it is her new favorite song.

“It’s a great reminder for all of us to find the positive in each day and to keep a heart of gratitude,” Jenelle said. “It’s particularly a great message for the children we serve. Though things are not easy for them, there are wonderful opportunities and people in their life lifting them up in support.”

Katie Ferrara

Our Impact

Participants of the campaign donated cards, pajamas, clothing, books, funds, and their time to make the project a success. Through our various fundraisers, we raised a total of $2,123 to contribute to the campaign.

Thanks to our amazing donors, CFA provided care packages filled with books, stuffed animals, cookies and winter wear or pajamas to 226 foster youth at Trinity Youth Services. Foster teens living on residential campuses received much-requested hoodies, which they were very grateful for.

hoodies for foster teens

We were also able to provide 885 children at Citrus Elementary School, Hannah’s Children’s Homes, Children’s Advocacy Center, Foothill Family Shelter, and RARCC with stuffed animals and warm clothing. In total, we supported 1,111 children through the 2021 Warm and Fuzzy February campaign!

This year’s campaign was sponsored by Sharon Nagel and Cindy Rainey with special thanks to Sysco Riverside for providing cookies included in care packages and The City of Claremont Human Services for providing stuffed animals. Thank you to everyone who graciously donated to make sure each child felt the support they need and deserve.

Family Night Pack

Family Night Packs

In addition to our traditional Warm and Fuzzy February care packages, we were also able to purchase items to compile 72 family night care packages for foster families. Each family night pack included popcorn, candy, soda, DVD, and board game or puzzle! Twelve packs were also distributed to residential campuses for the foster youth living there. They received snacks as well as books to replenish their libraries. Thank you to a generous anonymous donor for making this possible.

Be the Difference

We appreciate everyone who joined us for this year’s Warm and Fuzzy campaign and for being the difference in the lives of children in need. If you would like to contribute to promote literacy among foster youthdonate to our Zayda Literacy Fund, where three foster youth who write the most compelling book reports will be granted $500 each for their imaginative ambitions. Every dollar helps to grow this annual initiative.


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

valenteer party

CFA Honors Volunteers at Virtual “Valenteer” Party 

valenteer party

The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) held its fifth annual “Valenteer” Party virtually to thank our devoted volunteers who joined us, even in a pandemic, to be the difference for children in need. The COVID-19 crisis changed everyday life for people across the globe in 2020 and forced CFA to cancel in-person volunteer events. This especially impacted those who dedicate much of their time to volunteering, but out of an abundance of caution and care for our volunteers, we decided to make the tough decision to suspend in-person volunteer activities while COVID positivity rates remained high. Making sure volunteers and staff remained safe and protected was our priority.  

We canceled our annual mall gift wrapping fundraiser, which usually employs hundreds of volunteer workers. It is the highlight of the year for many in our volunteer program. Community events like the Pie Festival and Fourth of July were canceled, which also meant we could not host our volunteer-ran information and game booths. In an effort to keep our volunteers engaged and active, CFA began to host virtual volunteer opportunities. This allowed our volunteers to continue advocating and supporting children in need. Over the course of the year, our volunteers still managed to serve 565 hours 

At this year’s “Valenteer” Party, trophies and plaques were given to those who deserve special recognition in their service as volunteers in 2020. For the second year in a row, John and Vicki Rensch are our Volunteer Dynamic Duo, accumulating the most volunteer hours as a duo with a combined total of 30 hours! During our Holiday Heroes campaign, they did a fantastic job helping with donation inventory. “They are amazing and always willing to help where it’s needed,” says CFA’s Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon. 

Jacqueline Legazcue and Zayda Love are this year’s Action Heroes for their incredible work in forming their own advocacy projects. Jacqueline conducted virtual fundraising and volunteer events in 2020 and raised nearly $300 through her efforts. She continues to organize events for our cause including our upcoming Jamz and Jammies fundraiser on February 26! Zayda is a social influencer, entrepreneur and rep for Owl Crate Jr. She has used her platform to raise awareness and funds for children in need. She continues to advocate through the Zayda Literacy Fund and Warm and Fuzzy February Book Drive.  

Jessica Messina was awarded Triniteer of the Year for volunteering a total of 94 hours over 13 occasions as a Trinity Youth Services staff member. Jessica began volunteering with us in December 2019 and learned about Trinity through her work with our cause. She applied for a position at Trinity and has been employed in mental health services since early 2020. Jessica continues to volunteer with CFA as often as she can.

Our Volunteer Superheroes contribute the most volunteer hours. In 2020, Karen Valente served 43 hours by helping with inventory and distribution and was a fantastic help during our Holiday Heroes campaign. She has volunteered at CFA for years and loves being able to help others. “Karen is such a joy to be around,” Briana said. “Her help during the Holiday Heroes Toy Drive was tremendous!”

Gloria Guix started as a CFA intern and continued to volunteer through the holidays when we needed help mostIn total, Gloria contributed 100 hours and served the most volunteer hours in 2020! Gloria participated in awareness campaigns, care package assembly, inventory, creating cards for kids and so much more. “Throughout the year, Gloria continuously volunteered in areas of greatest need with the most flexibility, which greatly helped the success of our campaigns,” Briana said. 

During our virtual event, we had a time of discussion in which we asked, “Why do you volunteer?” We got a variety of answers and prompted a most insightful dialog. Volunteer Clare Miranda said she enjoys volunteering for the sense of community it provides and to connect with others. Faye Schoborg stated that it helps her to put others before herself and that it puts things into perspective to help another.

In a special message sent by California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, he stated, “I want to congratulate Children’s Foundation of America for putting on this very important volunteer appreciation. When I think of the all work CFA has done this year, it’s just staggering and it’s the volunteers who made that happen deserve of our appreciation. It’s the volunteers that are the backbone of the success. Thank you for your service, thank you for your heart and  your compassion. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Senator Portantino also recognized CEO Cher Ofstedahl for her leadership of the organization.

Cher followed by giving a speech of her own and thanked our volunteers for the incredible work they do. To additionally show her appreciation, she sponsored our party favors for volunteers which were digital Starbucks gift cards. She also provided the raffle prizes which Faye SchoborgJasmine Lucero and Nicole Emily Woloszyn won!

We admire and appreciate the dedication that our volunteers demonstrate in their willingness to volunteer especially during troubling times, as we have seen in this past year. Thank you to everyone in attendance and to every single one of our volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon, at bcalderon@trinityys.org or 909.825.5588 ext. 236. 


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

Hero Highlight: Joseph Patterson and Pokelanthropy Inc.

PokelanthropyJoseph Patterson is a 26-year-old CEO making a difference in the world. His charity organization, Pokelanthropy Inc., works to enrich the lives of children and young adults in need, by introducing the interactive and exciting hobby of Pokémon card trading and collecting of Pokémon cards. He has been a collector of Pokémon cards for as long as he can remember. Thousands of cards get thrown away because collectors discard the ones they don’t want in their pursuit for the cards they are looking for. “I started to think about how much this effected the planet, and I knew I wanted to do something about it,” he said. 

The nonprofit sector is not new to Joseph. In the past, he has worked with the Pacific Marine Mammal Care Center, Heal The Bay, Marine Mammal Care Center, Olive Crest, Wayfinder Family Services, and The Mary Vilencia Project. Helping these organization is what led him to start Pokelanthropy.

As a former foster youth, himself, Joseph has found a passion for the advocacy of foster children, animals, and the environment. Due to family circumstances, Joseph and his little brother found themselves moving from foster home to foster home. He and his brother eventually found the stability they needed in their lives. While it took many interesting pathways, Joseph has found his way by striving in school and volunteering. He is currently enrolled as an upperclassman at California State University, Los Angeles and is finishing up the veterinary prerequisites to apply for Veterinary Graduate School. His current goals are to finish his bachelors’ program then apply to graduate school within D.V.M. licensing. He is also considering obtaining a master’s degree in nonprofit management.  

 

After scouting out potential organizations, Joseph decided to partner with the Children’s Foundation of America. “Coming from a foster care background, I really wanted to work with agencies helping a cause that I feel passionate about.” Pokelanthropy, in collaboration with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and SAE of Cal State LA, donated 200 sets of Pokémon cards which will be used for our monthly Birthday-in-a-Bag Campaign that celebrates the birthdays of children in foster care. The youth we serve do enjoy Pokémon cards and the donation has been welcomed with excitement from both direct care workers and the children they serve.

Our impact is thanks to inspiring individuals, like Joseph, who support our mission. If you’d like to donate to our Birthday-in-a-bag campaign, click here! 


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

CFA’s ‘Holiday Heroes’ Supports 2,000 Children Despite COVID Crisis

For the second year in a row, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) supported over 2,000 children during the 2020 Holiday Heroes campaign. The need was greater this Christmas in the midst of economic hardship, civil unrest and pandemic. Striving to support as many children in need as possible, CFA teamed up with the following 20 agencies to provide the children they serve with gifts for the holidays:

Trinity Youth Services
Ark Family Homes
Building Bridges Foster Family Agency
Fields Comprehensive
Concerned Citizens for the Development of North Fontana
Olive Crest
A Greater Hope Foundation
Goodwill Industries International
Inland Temporary Homes
McKinley Children’s Center
San Bernardino County Schools
Upland Unified School District
Shoes That Fit
Ontario Montclair School District
Crittenton Foster Care
Riverside Unified School District
St Anne’s
Serenity Foster Care & Adoptions
House of Ruth
Citrus Elementary School

Each organization was invited to a special, socially-distanced event to pick up donations from our warehouse. We had a schedule to stagger pick-ups, but made sure to lift holiday spirits for the children-serving staff and volunteers. Something we all had in common was our absolute gratitude in being able to help children who need it most during the most trying of times.

Our Holiday Heroes gift drive did look a little different this year but that did not stop our supporters from spreading the holiday cheer. CFA partnered with 44 organizations and individuals who generously helped us collect toys:

Toshiba
MetLife
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Lewis LLP.
Image Source USA
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Mijac Alarm
JCM Engineering
CG Realtors
Christina Jackson and friends
Scripps College
Plume Ridge Bottle Shop
CLA
Montclair Place
Ahava Chiropractic
Agape Movement Christian Church
Wynder Law Inc.
Jorge Merlos/Integrity Home Finance/MBM Credit Solutions
Be Rosie Salon
Gaf Roofing
Endless Fitness
Inter Valley Health Plan
Enterprise
Cal Rod Car Club
Hilti Stores
FDS Manufacturing
JDM Carboy

With the help of our amazing gift drive locations, we were able to collect nearly $75,000 worth of toys and gifts for displaced youth. Special recognition to CFA board member Christina Jackson and her network of friends, Jorge Merlos of Integrity Home Finance, CFA board member Carla Kingsbury of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and Darlene Berg from Endless Fitness, for their consistent hard work in advocating for our campaign.

Claremont Village Marketing Group (CVMG) organized a car show and toy drive with Cal Rods Car Club, where they collected two trucks worth of toys for our campaign. CVMG also coordinated with the downtown shopping district to hold a toy drive in partnership with the City of Claremont. 18 participants collected over $10,000 worth of toys for children in need:

The Diamond Center
The Village Postmark
Claremont Chef’s Academy
Tina G Cosmetics
Bunny Gunner
I Like Pie
The Grove Vintage
Bert & Rocky’s Ice Cream
Claremont Village Eatery
Aromatique
Hendrick’s Pharmacy
Village Dance Art
Nekter Juice Bar
Lumen Spa
Middle Tree
Ronnie M. Layering Bar
Sonja Stump Photography
Studio C

Montclair Place once again partnered with us for our Holiday Heroes campaign even though we were not able to hold our annual gift wrapping fundraiser this year due to the pandemic. Instead, a Giving Tree filled with tags featuring children’s holiday wishes was arranged at the center of the mall next to Santa, who sat behind plexiglass this year. The Montclair Place toy drive raised over $6,000 worth of holiday gifts for children in need.

Image Source raised $10,000 for our campaign, which was used to purchase noise canceling head phones for foster youth during distanced learning. “Online learning has been a challenge for our youth,” said Dr. Sherman Mitchell, Residential Campus Director at Trinity Youth Services. “Statistics show that for advanced learners, online classes are a terrific option, but academically challenged students need a classroom with a teacher’s support.”

It is times like these were children in the foster care system fall harder than their peers. “Times have changed. To do better in school, you can no longer sit at the front of the classroom to hear and see better. Now, you must have a better monitor, better speakers, and good internet connection,” said Jim Adams, Director of Mental Health Services at Trinity Youth Services. “The new headphones will allow the youths to better hear, and be heard in their classrooms.” Thanks to Image Source, 200 foster youth will be provided headphones to help them with their studies. On top of their generous donation, Image Source also collected toys for our gift drive!

CFA coordinated with an anonymous donor who contributed $20,000 at Christmas time. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to provide residential campuses with video game consoles, controllers and games, speaker with microphones for talent shows, arcade basketball game for a rec room, air hockey tables and a BBQ grill. Foster youth who live on residential campuses have been on lock down since March 2020 and are experiencing boredom like never before. Gifts like these help keep youth occupied, active and engaged. “They couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Recreational Coordinator Cathleen Duran. “The youth were so excited to receive their PlayStations and couldn’t wait to play the NBA 2021 game, since many held Kobe close to their hearts (who passed away in a helicopter crash in early 2020). Times are tough right now and this donation really helped keep our youth happy during the holidays.”

We were also able to purchase Amazon, Footlocker, Game Stop, fast food gift cards and chocolate bars for 100 foster teens isolating in residential care. We purchased new bikes, scooters, and skateboards for an additional 100 children in foster care. The donation from our anonymous donor also allowed us to provide resource families with game night packs to help pass the time isolating at home.

CFA also helped make it possible for foster care offices to to provide drive-thru holiday festivities and gift distribution with Santa Claus for resource families in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Rentals were required for drive-thru coverage and heating because all activities were held safely outside. Children were provided their toys from our gift drive and families received food for their holiday meals. Social workers conducted drive-thru game and photo booths for the children to enjoy through their car window.

Thank you to everyone who made our campaign a success. It is thanks to you that over 2,000 children in need were able to celebrate the holidays despite a terrible pandemic. For questions or to get involved, contact donations@trinityys.org or 800.KIDS.730. Thank you to our sponsors:

Claremont Lincoln University
Valarie Martinez and VMA Communications
Claremont Toyota
Sheri Nagel


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Isabel primarily works as Clerical for Trinity Youth Services. Prior to her work there, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

Communities Combat COVID for Children in Foster Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on children in foster care. They were left with many uncertainties during this time due to mandatory stay-at-home orders, shutdowns, and social distancing requirements. “As we entered the pandemic in March, the Children’s Foundation of America shifted gear from our spring campaign to crisis relief. Instead of our normal outreach for candy and Easter eggs for our Spring Baskets, we were on the hunt for toilet paper and masks for foster care providers,” said CFA Director of Development, Jenelle Phillips. In a time where anxiety and fear are high, donors provided a blanket of support for children in crisis.

An anonymous donor contributed $10,000 to support foster youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and was particularly concerned about the youth on lockdown at Trinity Youth Services’ Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) campuses. They wanted to provide activities to keep youth occupied and understood they would be getting bored going into months of isolation. The population on these campuses are teen boys and they began to get anxious being stuck on campus. The donor made sure to provide a variety of activities including art supplies and outdoor activities. The Foundation worked with campus directors and recreation coordinators to make sure we were providing for their needs and requests.

Over $600 was spent per campus on games and activities purchased on Amazon and shipped directly to care facilities. We provided life size Jenga, Checkers, Chess, Connect4, Laser Tag, Cornhole, Ring Toss Yard Game, Badminton, Uno Attack, Pictionary, and Potato Sock Races, and more which they enjoyed during the stay-at-home-orders. Items such as canvas, sketch books, special sketch pencils, and paint were also purchased for youth to enjoy. Two dorms from the Apple Valley campus specifically requested Karaoke machines and we were able to fulfill that request. “The boys loved it,” said Recreation Coordinator, Luisa Abeyta.

Another $300 was provided to multiple residential campus for take-out parties, with themes such as a Cinco de Mayo, Pizza Party, Movie Nights, Sip and Paint, and Nacho Night. Thanks to the generosity of this donor, foster youth were able to spend their quarantine days with an environment filled with activities and delicious food.

We were also able to purchase headsets for foster care mental health clinical coordinators working remotely. Thanks to the generosity of this donor, up to $1,500 of personal protective equipment for essential workers on residential campuses was covered.

Shortly after the pandemic began, the need for face masks became a necessity. Stitched Together California, is group based in Claremont that brings together people who are willing and able to sew, and match them with front line workers and groups who need face masks sewn, to help protect them and those around them against the COVID-19 virus. They donated approximately 200 reusable masks to help protect foster care staff and youth from the COVID-19 virus. Rob Perhamus from UMakers donated 350 of their “Hero” ear-savers, which are adjustable mask straps to help secure loose-fitting masks.

During a time where supplies were scarce, CFA worked with neighboring businesses to collect toilet paper for foster care facilities. Makala Oas, a 17-year-old entrepreneur, provided seven large bottles of hand sanitizer and 100 masks for foster care workers.

With stay-at-home orders being extended, CFA continued to search for ways to fill the days of the foster youth in quarantine. We connected The Pizza Factory to a local Apple Valley residential campus to enjoy a pizza party. Gail Polk, CFA Community Outreach Coordinator, got in touch with the Society of Mentorship for Minority Women and Girls to raise funds for a “Sip and Paint” party, which included art supplies, some apple cider and chips to snack as they painted. We provided snack packs and worked with other people in the community to provide video games, DVDs and books to enjoy.

Society of Mentorship for Minority Women and Girls

Angelo Colaiacovo, a foster care office director in Monterey Park, donated video games for residential campuses and volunteered to fill in additional hours for any staffing needed during the pandemic. Many foster care workers worked additional hours to meet the challenge of the situation and acts of selflessness were common occurrence.

Thank you to our donors for working hard to Be the Difference for the lives of children in need during a time of uncertainty. If you would like to help the Children’s Foundation of America continue to provide COVID Relief to children in foster care, reach out to us at donations@trinityys.org or call 800.KIDS.730.


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Isabel primarily works as Clerical for Trinity Youth Services. Prior to her work there, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

Zayda Literacy Fund Grants Three More Foster Youth with $500

In its second year, the Zayda Literacy Fund initiative is going strong. The fund, established by social influencer and teen entrepreneur Zayda Love, is awarded to three foster youth who write the most compelling book reports each year. The grant is to support the imaginative dreams of children in foster care.

Books are a great escape from the circumstances foster youth face, but also teaches them how to face challenge that come their way. Books also help children to not feel alone.

The Children’s Foundation of America is pleased to announce that we were able to award three more grants of $500 each in 2020 to children in foster care. In addition to the prize money, winners were also given books or a Kindle.

Our winners included a 12-year old who wrote about “The Island of Dragons” by Geronimo Stilton, a 17-year-old who did their book report on “The Lightning Thief,” and a 16-year-old youth wrote their book report on “The Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer which chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in history. The contest is open to foster agencies in California. This year’s winners came from Trinity Youth Services and McKinley Children’s Center.

We encourage all agencies to participate in this incredible opportunity that encourages literacy and the pursuit of the imagination for children in foster care. The book report is open to agencies in California each year. If you are a resource parent for a foster youth in California, please ask your agency to reach out to the Children’s Foundation of America to enter a book report for a grant.


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.