Volunteer Spotlight: Lion’s Heart Service
Lion’s Heart Service is a nonprofit group that curates, creates, and encourages opportunities for teens and children to get involved in their community. Their Upland chapter rigorously donates their time to making a difference, accumulating a total of 77 volunteer hours with the Children’s Foundation of America since their chapter was founded in 2017. They’ve volunteered at rescue centers, senior homes, local food banks, churches and various other organizations.
Chapter Coordinator Sylvia Tam, is dedicated to creating a culture of giving in both her community and family. “I have to have a leadership mind set, so I can create a community of helpers,” she said. Through Lion’s Heart, Sylvia’s children and group “don’t have to think twice about volunteering. Our group goes wherever needed.”
Sylvia’s daughter, Vanessa Wong, founded their chapter to encourage the people around her to get involved. “Friendship is her priority and she wanted to do something as a team. Volunteering is always on her mind,” Sylvia said.
In 2018, the Upland City Council recognized Lion’s Heart members Vanessa Wong, Alyssa Mao and Karis Yoon with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for accumulating 75-100 volunteer hours. Benjamin Wong, Sylvia’s son and frequent Lion’s Heart volunteer, also received an award from the Kiwanis Club.
Creating a culture of giving
Lion’s Heart holds leadership and gratitude as their core values. Teaching youth to volunteer in their free time is invaluable to Lion’s Heart. Sylvia’s hope is to spread awareness about the many volunteer opportunities. “I tell the adults you have to get your kids out there and do this,” she said. “There are so many parents who want to get their families involved in volunteering and don’t know where and how.” Lion’s Heart and the Children’s Foundation of America can help!
Sylvia believes there are some real benefits to volunteering, saying, “It is a form of therapy, to zoom out of the business world and find some happiness in what we’re doing in the moment.” She said working with the Foundation is “is great, because it’s helping kids that are at a turning point in their lives, where they can go forward.” She stressed that volunteering benefits everyone involved, boosting needed skills that transfer to all areas of work and life.
Syvlia’s Lion’s Heart group is passionate about being involved, and the children “choose volunteering as their top priority.” CFA is supported by great volunteers like Sylvia and Lion’s Heart. If you would like to know more about getting your service group involved, click here!
Jose Rojas, CFA Intern
Jose is an English literature major at California State University San Bernardino. As a CFA intern, Jose attends and photographs events and writes for our blog. He has previously volunteered with The Prison Library Project. In his free time, you can catch him playing tennis or cramming for his next exam.
1,800 Children Served Through 2018 CFA Holiday Heroes Campaign
This December, the Children’s Foundation of America provided holiday gifts to 1,800 displaced children. Youth served were in foster care, residential therapeutic programs, shelters, under-served community centers, or were identified by school districts as in need. This year, we partnered with the following 16 organizations to bring joy and hope to trauma-affected children:
Ark Family Homes
Ontario Montclair School District
McKinley Children’s Center
Trinity Youth Services
Oak Grove Center
Inland Empire Residential
Greater Hope Foundation
Inland Temporary Homes
New Dawn Group Home
San Bernardino County Schools
Upland Unified School District
The Veteran’s Center
Pomona Unified School District
In all, 2,365 toys and other items were sorted and distributed by nearly 100 volunteers. Thanks to the community and our business partners, we raised over $19,000 in donations and collected $33,000 worth of toy donations! Thank you to this year’s box sponsors and business partners:
Claremont Village Marketing Group
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Claremont Craft Ales
Vinmar Captial Group
Plume Ridge Bottle Shop
Sweet Obsessions Cheesecakes
White Nelson Diehl Evans
Foundation 4 Life
Additionally, Lykes Creatives partnered with us to raise funds at Claremont’s Holiday Promenade. Donors were happy to contribute a few dollars and in exchange for a holiday themed photo by Lykes Creatives!
Without the support and generosity of our Holiday Hero volunteers and donors, the success of this campaign would not be possible. 191 volunteers contributed hours of their time to raise funds at our gift wrapping station at Montclair Place. We are so grateful to the mall for supplying a full store space for us the past two years! Funds raised provided holiday festivities to foster youth and will continue to be used throughout the upcoming year to support special requests for things like contact lenses, prom and graduation attire, yearbooks, music lessons, scholarships and more.
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.
A Holiday Message From the Executive Director
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.
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
CFA Spreads Holiday Cheer with Gift Wrapping for a Cause
As part of our ongoing “Holiday Heroes” campaign, The Children’s Foundation of America’s gift wrapping station has made several more appearances to spread joy, hope, and the opportunity to be involved in a good cause.
Hauser & Wirth
CFA was invited to participate in Hauser & Wirth’s annual Holiday Market, allowing us to extend our work into the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Among a wide array of hand-crafted goods, artisan products and food, CFA was there to wrap gifts for donations. In addition to wrapping gifts, our volunteers sold holiday cards designed by kids at Trinity Youth Services and raised awareness about foster youth. All wrapping supplies were generously donated by Hauser & Wirth.
At Montclair Place in the Inland Empire, CFA has a storefront dedicated to gift wrapping. Shoppers are encouraged to stop by and have their freshly bought gifts wrapped for donations to support foster youth. The gift wrapping supplies donated by Hauser & Wirth and The Helpful Honda People were instrumental in helping us raise funds! In a time of giving, it is paramount to support those without access to regular commodities to ensure everyone can have a happy holiday season. CFA is there to help bridge that gap and provide an a opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn, and thrive.
Thank you to all our volunteers and fellow organizations that provided donations, assistance and support to benefit children in need. Our Montclair wrapping station will be open December 14-24 during regular mall hours to provide stress-free holiday shopping, last-minute wrapping and the opportunity to volunteer, support and get involved!
Become a Holiday Hero! Contact us at 1-800-KIDS-730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and photos by Jose Rojas
Jose is an English literature major at California State University San Bernardino. As a CFA intern, Jose primarily attends and photographs events, and writes for our blog. He has previously volunteered with The Prison Library Project. In his free time you can catch him playing tennis or cramming for his next exam.
CFA Kicks off Holiday Season
‘Tis the season of giving, and on November 16 at Claremont’s annual Holiday Promenade, the Children’s foundation of America offered an opportunity to give to those in need!
Claremont’s Holiday Promenade kicked off the winter season with a variety of performers. Among them were the Voices of Christmas carolers and the Swing Cats. Booths featuring local businesses and artisan goods filled the Claremont Village. CFA had a gift wrapping booth set up near the main stage at the Claremont Depot. Volunteers wrapped shoppers’ gifts for donations. Wish tags were on display from children in foster care so that guests could fulfill requests as they did their holiday shopping. Read more »
CFA Holiday Heroes Bring Joy and Support to 1,660 Children in Need
This year’s Children’s Foundation of America “Holiday Heroes” campaign brought a message of joy and hope to 1,660 children in need. Several groups and individuals came together to donate gifts and their time wrapping presents for donations at Montclair Place.
With the help of about 100 dedicated volunteers, the Children’s Foundation of America raised over $10,000 in donations to help children in need. Donations helped provide holiday activities for foster families, outings for residential youth to places like Knott’s Berry Farm and provided gifts for displaced children. Funds raised will continue to benefit programs throughout the year that serve youth in need, including college scholarships for foster youth.
Creating a Culture of Giving
The Children’s Foundation of America received a record number of toy donations, with thousands of gifts pouring in. Several businesses set out gift drive boxes to encourage their staff and clients to donate. This year’s “Holiday Heroes” business partners included:
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard
Image Source USA
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
West Coast Dermatology Billers
Scripps College Intercollegiate Feminist Department
Claremont Craft Ales
Center for Spiritual Living
Vinmar Capital Group
Plume Ridge Bottle Shop
Beyond our gift drive box partners, the Foundation received an overwhelming, positive response from members of the community, including the Claremont Chamber of Commerce. Through these various partnerships, the Foundation was able to provide multiple gifts to approximately 1,660 children in need by expanding the number of organizations supported. The Foundation team selected organizations which serve youth in poverty, foster care, residential programs and shelters. The Children’s Foundation of America provided holiday support to each of the following organizations this year:
Trinity Youth Services
Foothill Family Shelter
McKinley Children’s Center
Oak Grove Center
Inland Empire Residential Center
Greater Hope Foundation
Fields Comprehensive Youth Services
David and Margaret Youth & Family Services
ARK Homes Rancho Cucamonga
Ontario-Montclair School District Family & Collaborative Services
What a Gift Means to a Child
According to UNICEF, childhood poverty is defined as lacking certain items essential to healthy and normal development. The opportunity to celebrate special occasions such as Christmas is an important aspect of childhood that every child deserves to enjoy. The goal of the Children’s Foundation of America is to remind displaced children that they are indeed special and valued, as they learn to cope and heal from the trauma they have experienced.
To find out how you can help the Children’s Foundation of America and bring normalcy to a child in need, visit our Get Involved page.
Kelly Baumann, AmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Kelly specializes in creating and optimizing digital content for the Children’s Foundation of America blog. She has ten years of experience as a marketer and has held a variety of positions including content writer, social media coordinator, public relations executive and content strategist. At Children’s Foundation of America, Kelly focuses on sharing stories and information to educate the public about the issues faced by children that Children’s Foundation of America serves.
Tel: (909)426-0773 | Email: email@example.com
Holiday Heroes Gift Drive a Major Success
At the end of each year, the Children’s Foundation of America focuses on making children’s holiday wishes come true through our annual Holiday Heroes campaign. The initiative features a toy drive, gift wrapping fundraiser and the involvement of several volunteers and partners.
Holiday Heroes Fulfill Wishes
The Children’s Foundation of America’s Holiday Heroes gift drive was a resounding success. The Foundation was able to fulfill the wishes of nearly 400 children in Trinity Youth Services foster care and residential treatment programs. Children submitted three wishes and the Foundation was able to grant them all. For younger children, the wishes were mainly toys and games and the older children requested gift cards for retailers, entertainment and restaurants. The Foundation is proud to support the children of Trinity, all of whom have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other traumatic circumstance. The Foundation was also able to provide toys and other items to the Benjamin E. Jones Community Resource Center for their “Sweet Little Angels” gift giveaway program, benefiting children of families living in poverty.
The Gift Wrapping booth at the Plaza West Covina mall, which was staffed by volunteers who contributed 501 hours of time, brought in nearly $9,000. “Giving Tree” wishes, granted by shoppers, brought in gifts for children totaling $1,544. Our sincerest thanks to Laura Gonzales and the management of the Plaza West Covina for their support.
Fenceworks of Riverside contributed an overwhelmingly generous supply of gift cards for teens and toys, bikes, helmets and jackets for children of all ages. Holiday Heroes Toy Box Sponsors included West Coast Dermatology Billers, Toshiba, Advantage Resourcing, Mijac Alarm, JCM Engineering, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Special thanks to Foundation Trustee, Carla Kingsbury, for encouraging Wells Fargo to increase their level of giving every year for the past five years.
Image Source USA raised the bar on both a personal and corporate level. Trustee Judith Jarvis, Vice President of Sales for Image Source, personally made a significant contribution, then challenged Image Source President, Brad Craft, to match her gift. She then gathered an additional donation from her sales team with their Branch Manager, Jordan Craft, leading the way. The total gift from the company totaled more than $7,000 and was used to fulfill individual children’s wishes and larger shared gifts such as sports equipment and new library books for youth living in residential placement settings.
Girl Scout Troop #1455 donated toiletries for teen girls and the Saddleback Kiwanis Club donated Therapy Dolls. The Today Show Charitable Foundation donated stuffed animals. These are just a few of the examples of generosity from some of the Foundation’s treasured partners.
“Giving Trees” were sponsored by the Claremont Chamber of Commerce and Tapestry Church Claremont. Heirloom Claremont hosted a “Make ‘N Take” ornament fundraiser and The Colony at Loft 204 gallery collected donations by selling Christmas cards designed by foster children. Several guests to the Claremont events Giving Tuesday and Holiday Promenade collected wishes from the Foundation’s “Giving Tree” and dropped off toys to the office throughout November and December.
The Board of Trustees and staff of the Children’s Foundation of America want to thank all of the donors and volunteers for making this year such a tremendous success. You have truly put the “Merry” in “Merry Christmas” for children who need it most. You are all truly Holiday Heroes!
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.
800-543-7730 | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Funny 4 A Reason” 2016 Raises Holiday Funds for Children
The Children’s Foundation of America hosted the 11th annual “Funny 4 A Reason” at the Ontario Improv earlier this month with headliner Debi Gutierrez.
On Tuesday, November 1, several comedians donated their time to raise funds to benefit children supported by the Children’s Foundation of America. One hundred percent of the event proceeds directly supported foster children at Trinity Youth Services. Youth have been placed in these programs as a result of trauma in their lives including abuse, neglect or abandonment. Trinity Youth Services offers a chance to create a better future for children and families.
Through fundraising events like “Funny 4 A Reason,” the Children’s Foundation of America provides an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn and thrive. Over 225 guests were in attendance and approximately $4,510 was raised to be used for the Foundation’s holiday efforts for children in out-of-home care.
The Children’s Foundation of America provided 1,200 holiday gifts for children in foster care last year and hopes to at least match that same number again this holiday season. The “Holiday Heroes” campaign continues with gift wrapping at the Plaza West Covina mall, where nearly 160 volunteers wrap shoppers’ holiday gifts for donations to the cause.
To volunteer, contact Aaron at email@example.com or 909.426.0773.
Thanks for attending and making a difference!