She Stories Empower Community to Support Foster Females
For National Foster Care Month, She Stories and the Children’s Foundation of America invited women in the community to a very purposeful event at the dA Center for the Arts.
She Stories is a series of storytelling nights for women to share their experiences with other women, to voice their challenges and share their victories. In celebration of National Foster Care Month in May, She Stories teamed up with the Children’s Foundation of America to raise awareness and collect personal care items for teen girls in foster care.
Instead of admission, guests were asked to bring care packages for teen girls in foster care. Items donated included brand new shampoo, conditioner, body wash, feminine sanitary products, undergarments, deodorant, soap, lotion, hair brush, tooth brush, toothpaste, facial cleanser, makeup, jewelry, and so much more. In all, we collected over $500-worth of care items for young ladies in foster care. We distributed to the teen girls of Trinity Youth Services and continue to distribute to local organizations in need of these kind of items.
After guests contributed their donations, five storytellers shared their personal foster care stories, their challenges and their victories. Plus, vocalist Kesha Shantrell performed a couple of inspiring songs and guests enjoyed refreshments provided by Cheese Cave.
Children’s Foundation of America Executive Director, Cher Ofstedahl, shared her own personal story of trauma and abuse. Her parting message being that one caring person can change someone’s life. Cher has made it her life’s work to help trauma-affected children heal and break the cycle of generational abuse.
The Children’s Foundation of America, together with the dA Center and She Stories, were able to stir hope and inspire dialog about childhood trauma during National Foster Care Month and raise awareness for the need of action within our own community. Since this first event, plans have been made to continue this partnership. My Story is a storytelling opportunity where men and women are able to express their story through speaking, poetry, song and any other artistic avenue. Stay tuned for updates for September’s event benefiting the Children’s Foundation of America.
Jenelle Phillips, Development Specialist
Jenelle oversees the day-to-day operations and staffing of the Foundation, which includes fundraising events, volunteer coordination, community outreach and donations. 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 has become very involved in the community. She is active in her church, owns an art gallery, organizes the local art walk and is on the executive board of the downtown district’s marketing group.
She Stories: National Foster Care Month Special Event and Care Package Drive
For National Foster Care Month, She Stories and the Children’s Foundation of America invite women in the community to a very purposeful and impactful event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 at the dA Center for the Arts, located at 252 S. Main St. #D, Pomona.
She Stories is a series of storytelling nights for women to share their experiences with other women, to voice their challenges and share their victories.
Ehmandah Ramsey coordinates She Stories in local communities across Los Angeles County. As a pastor’s daughter, Ehmandah grew up listening to testimonies by the congregation every first Sunday in church. She was inspired by the hope and encouragement these storytelling opportunities provided and decided to carry on this tradition in a sacred space for women to empower and create a circle of support.
In celebration of National Foster Care Month, She Stories is teaming up with the Children’s Foundation of America to raise awareness and collect personal care items for teen girls in foster care.
The Children’s Foundation of America exists to Be the Difference between what public funding provides and what it actually costs to help children heal, learn and thrive from trauma. The Foundation accesses resources to help foster youth achieve normalcy, build confidence and succeed.
Instead of admission, guests are asked to bring care packages for teen girls in foster care. Items needed include new and unused shampoo, conditioner, body wash, feminine sanitary products, undergarments, deodorant, soap, lotion, hair brush, tooth brush, toothpaste, facial cleanser, makeup, jewelry, etc.
For this very special and purposeful She Stories event, Ehmandah has invited 5 storytellers to share their personal foster care stories, their challenges and their victories. Plus, enjoy a musical performance by Kesha Shantrell and refreshments provided by Cheese Cave.
The purpose of this event is to stir hope and inspire dialog about childhood trauma during National Foster Care Month and to raise awareness for the need of action within our own community.
Cher Ofstedahl is a child abuse and rape survivor who has made it her life’s work to help trauma affected children heal and break the cycle of generational abuse. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Trinity Youth Services, which provides programs including foster care, adoptions, mental health services and short-term residential therapeutic programs. Cher also is the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Children’s Foundation of America, which identifies and seeks support for displaced youth affected by trauma including abuse, neglect and abandonment. Prior to her work at Trinity and the Foundation, she worked in the music industry and as a professional actress. Among her many academic degrees and certificates, Cher holds a BA in organizational management from Ashford University and post-graduate certifications from Cornell University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently completing her master’s degree in ethical leadership from Claremont Lincoln University. Cher is also a member of the first graduating cohort in a National Human Services Assembly (NHSA) nonprofit executive leadership program; a collaboration with Arizona State University, Indiana University and the Lilly School of Philanthropy. Cher has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and currently serves on the board of directors at the dA Center for the Arts, is on the membership committee for the California Alliance for Children and Families and is chair of the Inland Empire Alliance for Children and Families. In her spare time, Cher performs stand-up comedy professionally.
Shannon Banks has a unique passion for mentoring youth strongly fueled from her own success story and victories in her life. Shannon became a ward of the state after she was abandoned at the age of two. She’s lived with relatives, in group homes and orphanages. She’s even been homeless and hustled on the street to survive. Those unfortunate events of her past help shape her into a motivational and mentoring outlet for so many youths today. Shannon is currently working in a group home where she has held different positions including Child Care Counselor, Child Advocate, and Education and Health Liaison. With the help of nonprofits, Shannon has also been able to hold enrichment classes for a wide array of youth from toddlers and mothers/teen mothers with mommy and me classes, to facilitating self-esteem workshops for young women. Each obstacle of her past became life lessons and learning tools that she has been able to use to effectively motivate change in today’s youth. Shannon Banks is living proof that hope, sincere caring, perseverance, discipline, motivation and mentoring changes lives.
Karisma Gideon is from San Bernardino and currently lives in Los Angeles training to work in performance art. She is an alumnus of California State University, Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies with a concentration in Communications and Media. Karisma hopes to continue to serve as an inspiration for girls and former foster youth alike to follow their dreams and achieve whatever they set their minds to.
Tabatha Ann Montoya, born in East Los Angeles, is a former foster youth. After being passed around from family member to family member and facing abuse, Tabatha was then placed into group homes and foster programs. By the time she graduated from high school Tabatha learned the tools she needed to take charge of her life and live her dreams. She now wishes to encourage others who have been through trauma or are currently facing similar situations.
Syreeta Young is a wife, mother of 7 kids and a novice crocheter. Syreeta grew up in various cities in Los Angeles County, in three foster homes and one group home. She loves to tell her story of overcoming the struggles of “the system” so that she may help even one young person successfully navigate the hard paths and turns of life.
Ehmandah Ramsey is the founder of She Stories and 210E Coworking Space in Claremont, CA. She had the most unique opportunity to be the spiritual care provider for a residential treatment facility serving foster care youth. She’s provided spiritual care for countless youth, direct care staff and executive teams. Her passion to help youth has transformed into a journey of helping people ignite their spark and seize their full potential. In 2017, Ehmandah launched She Stories, a community of women who support and empower each other. She Stories provides a sacred space for real women to share real stories. She Stories gives back to the community through collecting and distributing care items and partnering with businesses to support women in need. Ehmandah believes spiritual healing and transformation comes from owning your story and sharing it with others. Her mission is to help people begin their journey of healing and be who they were designed to be.
Kesha Shantrell is an LA singer/songwriter. Her R&B, Jazz and folk style are attributed to her love of the classic icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Eva Cassidy. Kesha started her musical journey as a child growing up in the church in Seaside, CA. From that upbringing, she has also acquired strong gospel music roots which all contribute to the music she makes today. Kesha has also had the opportunity to work in the background singing/session singing world for artists such as Kanye West and Leona Lewis. She recently got the opportunity to sing back up for Keala Settle of the movie The Greatest Showman on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She is currently involved in many different bands that play all over the greater LA area. One of her greatest and most cherished loves is the opportunity to serve the local church as a music worship leader.
Marnie and Lydia Clarke have curated a wonderful selection of the most treasured cheeses from around the world at Cheese Cave in Claremont. Since the shop opened in 2010, the sisters have been feverishly seeking out the most amazing flavors to share. When the generational stock of your family spends its life, sweat and blood providing southern California with the highest quality milk and dairy products that have ever been offered, your own heart is pounding to share the same love with everyone around you. That’s exactly what these two sisters have done at the Cheese Cave. See their website here for more details.
The dA Center for the Arts, a diverse, multi-discipline, non-profit organization, enhances the quality of life for the greater community by educating and providing opportunities to experience, appreciate and support the arts. The dA believes that providing an avenue for self-expression for all ages and all populations is essential in bridging the distance from alienation to community. Art does not discriminate and more importantly it offers a universal language for shared dialogue which increases understanding which is vital to empowering, transforming, healing and building communities. Since its inception, the dA has never wavered from providing a place where people can take a stake in culture as a hobby, a profession, or an interested observer. Art enhances the quality of life and the dA is accessible to everyone in an inviting atmosphere. The dA educates, evolves individual’s artistic spirit and in turn enhances the quality of life for the person as well as the community at large.
See You There!
Please join us for this wonderful evening of sharing and supporting a good cause. Don’t forget to bring care package items for teen girls in foster care as your admission! Monetary donations will also be accepted as an alternate entry option.