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

SAVE THE DATE: ChariTea Fundraiser

 

Honor National Foster Care Month by attending our charity tea fundraiser. Proceeds support local children in foster care.

Over 400,000 children are in foster care each year due circumstances beyond their control. These children have faced the trauma of abuse, neglect, or abandonment and continue to endure challenges participating with their peers in everyday activities and accessing educational resources. Make a difference in their lives by supporting the Children’s Foundation of America. Proceeds from the annual ChariTea Fundraiser benefit scholarships, mental health programs, transitional housing, quality foster care services, and grants for children in need.

Join us for a wonderful time socializing on The Garner House patio while supporting a great cause. The event will feature an afternoon tea including a variety of finger sandwiches, an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, pastries, and a selection of teas. Guests will also get to have their photo taken, enjoy a silent auction, live musical performance, and receive a gift bag.

Reserve tickets or a full table here on Eventbrite (processing fees apply), by mail, in-person, or phone. Check, cash, and credit/debit cards are accepted. The Children’s Foundation of America office is located at 201 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Ste. 200, Claremont, CA 91711. Door code: is 1966; entrance on Second Street. Contact our office at 909-426-0773.

Sponsorships are available. Contact Jenelle at 909-426-0773 ext. 244 or email jphillips@trinityys.org to inquire.

Tickets will become available closer to the date. Check back for updates.

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.

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.

 

The Storytellers

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.

 

 

 

The Host

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.

 

The Musician

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.

 

The Sponsor

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 Venue

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.