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

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.


NRI Distribution Rallies Team for CFA Cards for Kids Program

Throughout the month of May, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) provided various opportunities to help communities observe National Foster Care Month. As part of our community outreach, we were able to partner with the Fontana, CA branch of NRI Distribution for our “Cards for Kids Program.” This program allows our local partners to create beautiful handmade cards filled with words of encouragement, which are then given to local children in foster care.

From Left to Right: Angelica Lopez, HR Coordinator for NRI Distribution; Becky Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator for Children’s Foundation of America; Luz Garcia-Pennock, HR Manager for NRI Distribution

NRI Distribution specializes in North American based fulfillment of footwear, apparel and accessories. They also provide services including e-commerce fulfillment, single order pick and pack capabilities and even handle returns, warranty and repairs.

HR Coordinator of NRI Distribution, Angelica Lopez, said she discovered the Children’s Foundation of America during her research online. “We were looking to partner with a foundation who truly made a difference in the community. A charity who’s values aligned to ours,” she said. “CFA really caught our attention because of all the great events held that truly make a difference in our community.”

NRI believes in having corporate responsibility and giving back. As a company, they recognize their actions not only have an impact on their employees, customers and community, but also the planet. NRI aims to be ethically, environmentally and socially responsible.

“Helping the community is one of our values. We love to come together and help those who unfortunately go through major hardships in life and no one, especially young children, should go through hardships alone,” Angelica said.

The NRI employees felt a sense of deep satisfaction doing something for children in need. Angelica says her favorite part about partnering with the Children’s Foundation of America was “seeing the creativity come out from our employees and how genuine it all was to see them really want to make these children smile.”

Angelica continued that she and the NRI team are looking forward to “many, many more great events that will bring together our employees while making a difference!”

To become a business partner like NRI Distribution or to send in your own cards for kids, contact 1-800-KIDS-730 or email

Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.

Crafting Care

Blankets for Foster Kids

During Foster Care Awareness Month we made it a priority to do as much as we can to provide extra comfort to youth in foster care. With the help of our intern Sasha Chavez, we were able to gather 11 volunteers to participate in two-day blanket making event! The first day was hosted at Claremont Manor, a retirement community located less than a mile from our office, and the second day was located at CFA headquarters. This event allowed like-minded volunteers to interact with CFA staff and to learn more about the mission of the Foundation, as well as create something unique and comforting for the children in need.

After four hours of hard work, volunteers were able to complete 15 blankets which will be donated to children transitioning into foster care in Los Angeles County. What a great success!

(Pictured above: Elaine Rodriguez, Claremont Manor Resident)

Make Your Own Blanket

Check out our craft blog to learn how to make your own fringe blanket. If you would like to donate blankets to the Children’s Foundation of America, call 800-543-7730 or email

National Foster Care Month

National Foster Care Month is observed in the United States during the month of May every year. It began with President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Over 400,000 children each year in the US are not able to live with their families as the result of the trauma of abuse and neglect. 112,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted into a forever family.

What We Do

The Children’s Foundation of America identifies 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.

Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.

Foster Care Month Blue Ribbon Pledge Board

Happy National Foster Care month! This month is all about raising awareness and supporting foster children and their families. Each year 400,000 children are unable to live with their families as a result of trauma onset by abuse, neglect and abandonment. The Children’s Foundation of America works tirelessly to help support those children and their families in every way we possibly can.

The blue ribbon is a symbol for National Foster Care Month. We decided to make a Blue Ribbon wall to serve as a visual reminder of why we do what we do and what we pledge to do on behalf of these children and families who need it most. Sharing these walls on social media can serve as a huge inspiration to foster families and their children. It is also a great way to engage your group whether it be at the office, at home or school.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 Large Poster Sized Paper
  • Blue Construction Paper
  • Stapler
  • Scotch Tape
  • Assorted Markers

Step 1:

Cut strips of blue construction paper about 8 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Create a ribbon shape and secure the shape with a single staple in the center.

Step 2:

Get a large poster sized paper and write a message at the top for Foster Care Awareness Month. We chose to put the following: ” Foster Care Awareness Month Pledge Board”. Adding a call to action will encourage people to participate. Here’s what our call to action said: “How will you make the world a better place for children in foster care?”

Step 3:

Post your Pledge Board in a shared space. We posted our board on the door of the conference room which is in a common walk-way of the office. Share some facts about Foster Care Month with your group to encourage each person to make a pledge and post a blue ribbon onto the Pledge Board.

Step 4: Spread the Word!

Take photos of the Pledge Board throughout the month and share them on social media. Use hash tags such as #fostercaremonth, #fostercare, and #bethedifferencecfa to reach other individuals participating in Foster Care Month activities.

Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.