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

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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2022 Woman of Distinction: CFA CEO Shares Recognition with Fellow Female Leaders

During Women’s History Month, California Assemblymember Chris Holden recognized Cher Ofstedahl for her incredible work focused on creating a better future for children and families.

“The 2022 Women of Distinction are dedicated leaders who improve the lives for thousands of individuals and families in the 41st Assembly District and beyond,” said Holden. “They demonstrate the power of giving to others and community empowerment, I am honored to be amongst a high caliber of professionals.”

Cher leads Trinity Youth Services, an agency which serves over 200 children and families daily through residential therapeutic services, mental health programs, foster care and adoption services. She also heads the Children’s Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization which serves over 2,000 children annually.

Cher serves on the Human Relations Committee for the City of Claremont to help oversee their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, serves on the Policy and Practice Commission for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), is on the Juvenile Justice Steering Committee for the California Alliance for Children & Families, and serves on the board for the Association of Community Human Service Agencies (ACHSA). In 2018, she was recognized by Senator Anthony Portantino as Outstanding Nonprofit Executive Director and, in 2020, became the first female CEO of Trinity Youth Services since its inception in 1966.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Holden,” Cher said. “Being awarded this honor is a big deal. I know the number of lives I impact through my efforts is small compared to that of so many women who go unrecognized. I know my contributions to society will never be documented in history books or even make the six o’clock news. However, being named Claremont’s Woman of Distinction means the world to me because who I am today is the direct result of the many women of true distinction who made a significant, lasting difference in my life.”

After experiencing her own childhood trauma, Cher made it her life’s work to advocate for children in need. Her firsthand experience gives her unique insight into a mission to help children and families create a better future. She has now been making a difference in the lives of many for more than two decades.

“My second grade teacher, Mrs. Barlow, made sure my face was washed, my hair was combed and I had shoes on my feet every morning at school when my own mother wasn’t capable due to her struggles with alcohol and drugs. There were many mothers of my school friends who ‘adopted’ me into their families and cared for me as if I was their own. There are brilliant, capable, women I am privileged to work with on a daily basis who lift me up and urge me onward when the burdens seem to outweigh the benefits. These women will probably never receive the recognition they deserve but they are the reason I get out of bed with the intention of giving back in some way each day,” Cher said.

“For the record, there are a great many good men who deserve recognition as well and I am blessed to have the support of some truly exceptional ones, but this award puts me in the fortunate position of being able to shine the light back on every woman who helps support and lift up,” she added.

John Neiuber, President of the CFA Board stated, “Cher is the personification of the word integrity. I always say she is the smartest person I know. She is creative, solution oriented, dedicated and selfless. She is a natural leader who cares deeply for the children we serve.”

The community is invited to the presentation of this honor by the office of Assemblymember Chis Holden at the Children’s Foundation of America’s Chari-Tea Fundraiser on May 21, 2022 at the Women’s Club of Claremont. Tickets can be purchased here. Proceeds support children in need during National Foster Care Month.


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.

Children’s Foundation of America CEO, Cher Ofstedahl, Recognized as a 2022 Woman of Distinction by California Assembly

As part of an annual recognition of Women’s History Month in the State Capitol, Assemblymember Chris Holden announces Cher Ofstedahl as Claremont’s 2022 Woman of Distinction.

The 41st Assembly District’s Women of Distinction from throughout the district include Juanita West-Tillman (Altadena), Cher Ofstedahl (Claremont), Chief Colleen Flores (La Verne), Maritza Flores-Travanti (Monrovia), Elizabeth McSwain, (Rancho Cucamonga), Marilyn Sparks (San Dimas), Bertha Aguirre (Sierra Madre), Cathy Billings (South Pasadena) and Kim Anthony (Upland). Over 150 nominations were sent to Assemblymember Holden for the honor.

“The 2022 Women of Distinction are dedicated leaders who improve the lives for thousands of individuals and families in the 41st Assembly District and beyond,” said Holden. “They demonstrate the power of giving to others and community empowerment, I am honored to be amongst a high caliber of professionals.”

Cher Ofstedahl leads as CEO of Trinity Youth Services, an agency which serves over 200 children and families daily through residential therapeutic services, mental health programs, foster care and adoption services. She is also CEO of the Children’s Foundation of America, a Claremont-based charity, which provides thousands of children in foster care, shelters, crisis centers, underserved school districts and more with care packages, scholarships, and grants.

Cher advocates for children in need after experiencing her own childhood trauma. Her firsthand experience gives her unique insight into a mission to help children and families create a better future. Cher has worked in foster care for over 20 years and prior to that, she worked in the music industry and as a professional actress. In her spare time, Cher performs stand-up comedy professionally.

Among her many academic degrees and certificates, Cher holds a BA in organizational management from Arizona State University and post-graduate certifications from Cornell University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2019, Cher completed her master’s degree in ethical leadership from Claremont Lincoln University. She 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 Human Relations Committee for the City of Claremont to help oversee their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, serves on the Policy and Practice Commission for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), is on the Juvenile Justice Steering Committee for the California Alliance for Children & Families, and is a Design Thinking Department Advisor at University of California, Riverside.

The office of California Assemblymember, Chris Holden, will present the honor of Woman of Distinction during the Children’s Foundation of America’s first annual Chari-Tea fundraiser held on Saturday, May 21. The event will raise funds and awareness for youth in foster care during National Foster Care Month. The community, women business leaders, and change makers are invited to this special event sponsored by Claremont Lincoln University.

At the event, singer/songwriter Katie Ferrara will perform a set, floral arrangements will be provided by Delia Haro Floral, a tea and coffee cart sponsored by Summit Tea and Pour Vida, as well as finger sandwiches and baked goods from many favorite local bakeries. Click here for more information on the Chari-Tea event.

And We Have a Winner! Event Raises Money for Children in Foster Care and More

Kevin Mink

Children’s Foundation of America CEO Cher Ofstedahl embraced Kevin Mink of Image Source in a celebratory hug after he was announced as one of two winners of the $10,000 prize at the annual Trinity Classic Golf at Red Hill Country Club on Monday. The annual golf tournament benefits children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment, particularly those in foster care. The event is named after the Claremont-based foster and adoptions agency, Trinity Youth Services, which has been helping to create a better future for children and families since 1966.

A helicopter golf ball drop hosted by AMC Modern IT offered participants a chance to win $10,000 by making donations in exchange for golf ball entries. The numbered balls were placed into a basket then dropped from a helicopter over one of the holes. This year, two golf balls landed in the hole, numbers 71 and 115, belonging to Kevin Mink and Claremont resident Sharon Nagel. The cash prize was split between the two, who both committed to donating half of their winnings back to the charity. The tradition of donating contest winnings back to the charity began with Mr. Mink when he won in 2016. Ever since, each winner has donated a portion back to the cause.

The Children’s Foundation of America is a Claremont nonprofit organization, which identifies and accesses resources for children in need and “provides an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn and thrive.” Each year, the foundation bestows over $50,000 in scholarships, and serves more than 2,000 children in Southern California with care packages and conducts volunteer opportunities for hundreds of local volunteers. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.childrensfoundationofamerica.org.


Photography by Peter Weinberger, Claremont Courier.

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A Holiday Message From the Executive Director

 

Dear Friends,

Join the Children’s Foundation of America in helping more than 1,500 children this holiday season. These children are living in foster care, residential treatment, mental health placement or shelter care. The holidays should be a time of tremendous joy for children and their families, but many of these children who have suffered abuse, neglect and other severe trauma, will rely on the compassion and care of people just like you and I to bring light and love to the holidays.

Just a small gift will make an enormous difference to a child. I am asking you to consider a donation of $10, $20, $100, or whatever you can spare to provide gifts and holiday meals to the children. 100% of all contributions to our Holiday Heroes campaign will be used by the Children’s Foundation of America to directly benefit children in need.

Together, we can positively impact the lives of so many children. Together, we can show them they are loved and cherished and remembered during this holiday season and throughout the year.

May you and your loved ones share a warm, wonderful holiday season.

With gratitude,

Cher Ofstedahl, Executive Director

 

Children’s Foundation of America
PO Box 1210, Claremont, CA 91711
800.KIDS.7730 | childrensfoundationofamerica.org/donate
501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

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 PhillipsDevelopment 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.