CFA Honors Volunteers at Virtual “Valenteer” Party
26th of February 2021
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 most. In 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 Schoborg, Jasmine 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 909.825.5588 ext. 236.
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.