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

Jenss
Jenss

Tea with Jenss Mills: ‘Caring For Those in the Margins and the Underserved is a Heart-Growing Experience’

Jenss

Jenss Mills is an associate professor in counseling psychology at a local university and has been a supporter of the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) the past few years.

Aside from her professional work, Jenss is a cat mom and cat advocate volunteering as a foster coordinator at Priceless Pets animal rescue in Claremont, CA. Using social media (@jensserys.4.kittehs), Jenss aims to share about fostering felines, her cat family, with occasional pictures of humans, and her community involvement. “I also advocate for trap-neuter-release programs to help with managing the overpopulation of outdoor community cats and feral cats,” she says.

Her hobbies include teaching classes at local gyms. “I get my endorphins from MMA, kickboxing, core strength, and light weight lifting,” she says. And in her free time, Jenss is a part-time actress appearing on various gameshows, commercials, television shows, and as a stand-in for celebrities on film sets.

She also enjoys supporting various nonprofit organizations in the community. When asked what it means to Be the Difference, Jenss points to Philippians 2:3-4. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Jenss attended our ChariTea Fundraiser in May 2022, having both an affinity for afternoon tea and helping out local nonprofit efforts.

“I loved hearing the stories regarding how people got involved with the Children’s Foundation of America, some families’ successful foster stories, and meeting new friends with similar interests,” she says. “I really enjoyed Victoria Derksen’s scones! They were crumbly, not too sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to tea!”

Jenss Cat Sunglasses

What struck Jenss the most was learning “just the sheer need for foster families and homes in our local area! Fostering can change the life of a child and the lives of the foster family members as well!” Her key takeaway was “community and charity beget more community and generosity.”

Jenss says she would attend the ChariTea again and appreciates that the proceeds go to CFA. “There’s a lot of fun activities during the tea time as well, including speeches and messages from CFA staff, a keynote speaker, a silent auction, and really amazing costumes and hats,” she says.

Jenss first got involved with the Children’s Foundation of America when CFA Action Hero, Jacqueline Legazcue, invited her to virtual workshops she was hosting. These workshops included creating handmade cards of encouragement for foster children’s care packages.

“Jackie made the option of giving back to the community possible by hosting virtual workshops during the pandemic,” Jenss says. “Caring for those in the margins and the underserved is a heart-growing experience.”

Jenss with friends

Jenss noted she appreciates CFA’s goal to “identify and accesses resources to support foster care, adoption, residential treatment, mental health and community-based programs of the highest quality, so that children in need or who have been the victims of trauma, abuse, neglect or abandonment may lead healthy, productive lives.”

As a psychologist, Jenss understands the importance of providing the necessary resources to support youth in need. “Children who have experienced these negative traumas in their early development often have problematic concerns when they enter adulthood,” Jenss says. “Foster families have the power to provide a corrective healing and relational experience to these children whose odds have been stacked against them. Even having one caring adult or mentor can forever change a child’s trajectory for the better and give them the hope for healthy and productive future relationships.”

If you would like to get involved and Be the Difference for children in need, visit our Get Involved page to sign up to volunteer or donate. Keep an eye on our Events page to stay up to date on our upcoming fundraising events. The next ChariTea Fundraiser will be held on May 6, 2023 at the Garner House in Claremont.


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.

 

Photography by Jacqueline Legazcue

itsakatierose

Tea with Katie Rose: ‘It is Important For Everyone, Children Especially, to Have a Support System’

itsakatierose

Known for her signature pink hair, vintage/bohemian/goth style (depending on the day), and her love of Disney and Sailor Moon, Katie Rose is a self-proclaimed “tender soul lost in the expanse of a lonely sea with whimsical romantic vibes.” Katie (@itsakatierose) is a social influencer with nearly 90k Instagram followers and resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, Mark, and their precious pooch, Bogart. A believer in using her platform to raise awareness for marginalized communities, Katie does not hesitate to re-share important information or the personal perspectives of others.

We were so grateful Katie decided to attend the Children’s Foundation of America’s first-annual ChariTea Fundraiser in May 2022 to support children in need during National Foster Care Month. Katie donned a princess-like pink puff sleeve dress by Selkie, pearl accessories, sheer mid-length gloves, and Alice in Wonderland teacup heeled shoes by UK brand, Irregular Choice.

Alice in Wonderland Heels by Irregular ChoiceIt doesn’t take much Instagram sleuthing to see she is a big fan of tea. “I love tea parties because of the socializing,” Katie said. “You get to put down your phone and really interact with others.”

She enjoyed the “jampacked” smoked salmon sandwiches from Cutting Edge Catering along with the blueberry herbal selection provided by Summit Tea. “It was a perfect combo!”

“The ambiance was so welcoming! The venue was beautiful with old trees and so much greenery! The tea set up was so unique with magical looking flower arrangements at every table,” Katie said. “I loved how everyone was dressed to impress! And some were even color-coordinated! So many lovely hats too! I really loved how the tea cups at the tables were all different. It gave an Alice in Wonderland feel.” However, Katie’s favorite part of the event was the people.

“I loved meeting so many amazing women that do so much for our community,” she said. “It was really moving.” She also enjoyed learning about CFA’s programs and the support offered to children affected by abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

Katie Rose in Selkie

“I learned that CFA has many programs to help support children that include mental health programs, which I feel is so important,” Katie said. “What struck me the most was learning that CFA is 100% volunteer run!” Her key takeaway was “how much everyone cares about what they do.” Katie appreciated that everyone seemed passionate about the achievements of others, as the theme of many of the speakers was focused on building each other up.

When asked why supporting children in need is important, Katie stated, “Victims of abuse, neglect, or abandonment often feel alone. It is important for everyone—children especially—to have a support system in place so they know that despite the tragedies, adversities, and injustices they have faced that they are not alone. It is important for these children to understand that whatever has happened to them was not their fault and to know that they are loved and cared for. It is important for these children to know that they are safe and there are people out there who care for them and want to help end their suffering. That’s why the work of the Children’s Foundation of America is so needed.”

Thank you so much to Katie Rose for attending our ChariTea and raising awareness about our important cause.

“I just want to thank Children’s Foundation of America for giving me a glimpse into what you all do,” Katie said. “I find it so important and I really do feel lucky to have attended this beautiful event. I had such an amazing time and met some awesome people.”

The next Children’s Foundation of America ChariTea Fundraiser will be held on May 6, 2023 in Claremont, CA. Our event sold out in 2022, so make sure to get your tickets early! See you there!


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.

 

Photography by Jacqueline Legazcue

Ehmandah Ramsey

Tea with Ehmandah Ramsey: ‘We Need to Do Our Part in Creating Awareness Through Information, Support and Giving’

Ehmandah Ramsey

Ehmandah Ramsey is a professional speaker, entrepreneur, and life coach specializing in soul care. She is a storyteller, mental health advocate and founder of She Stories, a storytelling and wellness community for women.

Ehmandah and Tristin

Ehmandah joined our event committee for the first annual Children’s Foundation of America ChariTea Fundraiser in May 2022 because she has a heart for foster youth and enjoys serving and giving back through events.

“It was a lovely afternoon filled with amazing décor and beautiful people. From the table settings to the attendees’ attire, it was high tea time,” Ehmandah said.

Her favorite parts of the event were the great table presentation, food and conversation. As the owner of her own mobile food business, Ehmandah said, “I love the art of plating.”

One of her main takeaways was amazement at the “powerful women represented and honored.” Children’s Foundation of America CEO, Cher Ofstedahl, was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by Assemblymember Chris Holden. Cher took the opportunity to invite Claremont Lincoln University President Dr. Lynn Priddy to speak and also presented donation checks for local charities while highlighting women in nonprofit leadership, including Tristin Harding at McKinley Children’s Center.

Ehmandah and Cher

When asked why it is important to support children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment, Ehmandah stated, “Children need support. As a community, we need to do our part in creating awareness through information, support and giving.”

Ehmandah wholeheartedly recommends the ChariTea Fundraiser to others, “It was an event for everyone and a marvelous way to gather and give back.”

We are so grateful to have the support of Ehmandah and the entire She Stories network for the past several years. Ehmandah’s parting message is to “own your story, find your path to healing and write your ending.” We love that!

The next Children’s Foundation of America ChariTea Fundraiser will be on May 6, 2023 in Claremont, CA. This event sells out, get your tickets early!


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.

First Annual ChariTea Fundraiser Celebrates Women of Distinction, Honors National Foster Care Month, Raises $10K for Children in Need

The Children’s Foundation of America held its first ever ChariTea Fundraiser on May 21 with 80 guests in attendance. The sold-out tea party and fundraiser welcomed dignitaries from local to state government, corporate executives, leaders in education, and various members of the community to support our cause.

Since our CEO, Cher Ofstedahl, had recently been named a Woman of Distinction by Assemblymember Chris Holden, we took the opportunity to share the spotlight and celebrate female entrepreneurship within our great community. Matthew Lyons presented the honor of Claremont’s 2022 Woman of Distinction to Cher at the event on behalf of Assemblymember Holden.

Matthew Lyons

Cher graciously accepted the award and spoke on the advantage of choosing our own “family” (or circle) as adults. From friends, to mentors and colleagues who encourage and lift us up to our best selves. Cher experienced her own childhood trauma, which gives her a unique insight into helping children and families create a better future through her work in foster care and adoption services. For over two decades, Cher has been making a difference in the lives of children in need.

As our ChariTea Presenting Sponsor and President of Claremont Lincoln University, Dr. Lynn Priddy congratulated Cher on her recognition and for her life’s work for children and families. Dr. Priddy acknowledged all in attendance as leaders by being present for the fundraiser, which ultimately raised nearly $10,500 for displaced children during National Foster Care Month.

Dr Lynn Priddy

In addition, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Los Angeles Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Senator Anthony Portantino, Claremont City Councilwoman Jennifer Stark, and various nonprofit leaders sent along their congratulations with an array of certificates and cards.

The Children’s Foundation of America presented donation checks cumulating in $2,000 for A Greater Hope Foundation, Purposely Chosen Inc., and McKinley Children’s Center. Accepting the checks on behalf of these organizations were women leaders from each organization: Helena Lopez, Dretona Maddox, and Tristin Harding. Our hope is to encourage them in their work and to help further their mission forward in some small way. We are pleased to announce that McKinley Children’s Center will be using the donation to help update their children’s playground.

Katie Ferarra

While ChariTea attendees listened to the various speakers and a live musical performance by Katie Ferrara, guests enjoyed finger sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres from Cutting Edge Catering, whom we are so grateful to. Owners Jeremy and Nicole Michalski have fostered dozens and adopted five children. Because of their generosity, our fundraising dollars went much further than we could have expected.

Baked goods were set on each table by our event committee and included pastries from I Like Pie Bakeshop, Euro Café, Crumbl Cookies, Honeybird, and Victoria Derksen. Tea and coffee was graciously provided by Summit Tea and Pour Vida. Thank you to Nicole Haboud for running the impressive tea and coffee cart. Our thanks also goes to Delia Haro Florals for our beautiful centerpieces.

Women's Club of Claremont

To conclude our event in the Women’s Club of Claremont garden, we held a silent auction featuring artwork, gift baskets, jewelry, vintage items, and more. A wonderful time was had by all and guests even got to have their picture taken by local photographer, Jacqueline Legazcue (see photo gallery below). In gratitude, each guest left with a gift bag filled with beauty products including a box set from Physicians Formula. Thank you to all who participated in our event. We look forward to another fantastic tea party for a great cause next year!


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.


Photography by Jacqueline Legazcue. Click a photo for full screen view.

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