CFA Celebrates 2019 Volunteers at Heartfelt Recognition Party

28th of February 2020

What has 100 hands, more heart than a room can hold, and the power to help thousands of children in in a single bound? The attendees at this year’s volunteer appreciation party, of course! On February 22, the Children’s Foundation of America held its fourth annual “Valenteer” Party, and quite a success, it was.

The event, sponsored by Paycom, was hosted by the DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont. Guests enjoyed a catered lunch, delectable desserts, prizes and awards. It was the perfect stage for declaring appreciation for the volunteers who served more than 1,700 hours, at 45 events, during 2019.

Volunteers are the keystone of the Foundation, and in 2019 helped to make possible: The distribution of 1,309 care packages, awarding of $56,500 in scholarships and literacy grants, funding of music lessons and school activities, gifting of graduation hats and gowns, gym equipment for a residential campus and much more.

Everyone in attendance had supported the Foundation in 2019 by giving at least ten hours of their time and working 2 or more events. They received certificates from our organization as well as from the office of Senator Anthony Portantino. Special designations were given to volunteers who went above and beyond and were honored with special plaques or trophies.

Volunteer Superheroes

Karen Valente served the most volunteer hours, totaling 77, in all. She is the type of individual anyone would love to have in their corner; her willingness to perform service is genuine and heart-felt. During several service opportunities, she has stayed full days to help get needed items out to our youth.

Jim Athey is next in line with the second highest total of 44 hours. He is one who lets nothing stand in his way of showing up to an event; this was recently demonstrated when he chose to ride his bike in the rain, several miles, rather than to cancel his commitment, due to transportation difficulties.

Action Hero

Zayda Cruz, an advocate for literacy among youth, raises public awareness and funds for children in need. Last year, she established the Zayda Literacy Fund with the Children’s Foundation of America, which awards $500 grants for three foster children per year.

Dynamic Duos

Vicki and John Rensch served the most hours as a team, with 55 hours. This amazing couple has actually been on a walk, ran into our group doing a project, and stopped what they were doing in order to volunteer.

Berkeley and Blake Leal, with 36 hours of support at the foundation. This brother and sister team are proof that the family who serves together, stays together.

Megan Hakopian and Treza Oghoorian, touting a collective 28 hours of service. They are a mother and daughter who tag-team, in order to help us at the most events.

Superhero Squad

Sylvia Tam’s Lion’s Heart group worked a collective 100 hours. This group shows how mighty their hearts are by working overtime at the holiday wrap station; many times, while refusing to stop for a break.

Star Command Award

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont contributed the most hours served as a company. We can always count on these heroes for back-up! The staff volunteered at our holiday gift-wrapping fundraiser, conducted a gift-drive for our youth, and donated a lovely hotel space for our volunteer recognition event.

Wells Fargo, another business who went above and beyond filling days of shifts at our gift-wrapping fundraiser.

Our Hearts Are Filled With Gratitude

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Thank you again to the DoubleTree Hotel, Paycom and to all who participated in this year’s event. Thank you for being so willing to give your time to serve the community. We hope you will be joining us next year. There is still plenty of time to be a hero for a child in need, get involved!


Paula Leal, Volunteer Coordinator
Paula reaches out to the community to provide opportunities for volunteerism within our organization. She majored in human services at Brigham Young University and has experience in marketing, public relations and nonprofit work. She has served on PTA boards and school site councils as well as volunteered in local schools for more than 15 years. She started her own grass-roots charity, which has served people in the US, India, Mexico and Africa through campaigns that provided food, clothes, hygiene products, medical supplies and instruments, and items to help entrepreneurs start home based businesses.

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