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to help children heal, learn and thrive.


Tea with Jenss Mills: ‘Caring For Those in the Margins and the Underserved is a Heart-Growing Experience’


Jenss Mills is an associate professor in counseling psychology at a local university and has been a supporter of the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) the past few years.

Aside from her professional work, Jenss is a cat mom and cat advocate volunteering as a foster coordinator at Priceless Pets animal rescue in Claremont, CA. Using social media (@jensserys.4.kittehs), Jenss aims to share about fostering felines, her cat family, with occasional pictures of humans, and her community involvement. “I also advocate for trap-neuter-release programs to help with managing the overpopulation of outdoor community cats and feral cats,” she says.

Her hobbies include teaching classes at local gyms. “I get my endorphins from MMA, kickboxing, core strength, and light weight lifting,” she says. And in her free time, Jenss is a part-time actress appearing on various gameshows, commercials, television shows, and as a stand-in for celebrities on film sets.

She also enjoys supporting various nonprofit organizations in the community. When asked what it means to Be the Difference, Jenss points to Philippians 2:3-4. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Jenss attended our ChariTea Fundraiser in May 2022, having both an affinity for afternoon tea and helping out local nonprofit efforts.

“I loved hearing the stories regarding how people got involved with the Children’s Foundation of America, some families’ successful foster stories, and meeting new friends with similar interests,” she says. “I really enjoyed Victoria Derksen’s scones! They were crumbly, not too sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to tea!”

Jenss Cat Sunglasses

What struck Jenss the most was learning “just the sheer need for foster families and homes in our local area! Fostering can change the life of a child and the lives of the foster family members as well!” Her key takeaway was “community and charity beget more community and generosity.”

Jenss says she would attend the ChariTea again and appreciates that the proceeds go to CFA. “There’s a lot of fun activities during the tea time as well, including speeches and messages from CFA staff, a keynote speaker, a silent auction, and really amazing costumes and hats,” she says.

Jenss first got involved with the Children’s Foundation of America when CFA Action Hero, Jacqueline Legazcue, invited her to virtual workshops she was hosting. These workshops included creating handmade cards of encouragement for foster children’s care packages.

“Jackie made the option of giving back to the community possible by hosting virtual workshops during the pandemic,” Jenss says. “Caring for those in the margins and the underserved is a heart-growing experience.”

Jenss with friends

Jenss noted she appreciates CFA’s goal to “identify 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.”

As a psychologist, Jenss understands the importance of providing the necessary resources to support youth in need. “Children who have experienced these negative traumas in their early development often have problematic concerns when they enter adulthood,” Jenss says. “Foster families have the power to provide a corrective healing and relational experience to these children whose odds have been stacked against them. Even having one caring adult or mentor can forever change a child’s trajectory for the better and give them the hope for healthy and productive future relationships.”

If you would like to get involved and Be the Difference for children in need, visit our Get Involved page to sign up to volunteer or donate. Keep an eye on our Events page to stay up to date on our upcoming fundraising events. The next ChariTea Fundraiser will be held on May 6, 2023 at the Garner House in Claremont.

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