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

CFA Volunteers 2022
CFA Volunteers 2022

CFA Volunteer Recognition Event Returns In-Person

CFA Volunteers 2022

On Saturday, April 10, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) celebrated our sixth annual Volunteer Recognition Party. The event was held at the Alexander Hughes Community Center in Claremont with over 20 of our top volunteers from 2021 in attendance. This event was held to recognize the hard work and accomplishments CFA’s volunteers achieved last year.

Our volunteers served 3,384 children, fundraised $50,000 in scholarships, supported 24 organizations, and completed 1,958 hours at 40 volunteer events. Through the continued pandemic, the volunteers of CFA have been committed to Being the Difference in the lives of foster youth and children in need.

Trophies and plaques were awarded to volunteers who served the most hours and went above and beyond. Special certificates from Senator Anthony J. Portantino were also presented to all volunteers in attendance. District Representative, Kristi Lopez, from the office of Sen. Portantino, joined us at our event and discussed initiatives they are currently working on to support children in foster care. Thank you to Sen. Portantino’s team for advocating for foster youth and for your ongoing support of our volunteers.

Karen Valente 2022

The Volunteer Superhero Award went to our longtime volunteer, Karen Valente. Karen volunteered a total of 60 hours in 2021. She has participated in Birthday in a Bag, Holiday Heroes, packing Halloween treat bags, and helped out at the annual golf tournament fundraiser.

CFA’s Action Heroes were Jorge Merlos and Char Costantino. Both individuals have tremendously helped the toy collection drive for our Holiday Heroes campaign and have done incredible work in raising awareness for children in need through social media.

Jorge Merlos 2022

There were also two Dynamic Duo’s this year for contributing several hours as a team. This award went to Vicki and John Rensch, and Lillian and Shelley Sibrian. We also awarded April Tarin, Alayna Trejo, and Chis Garner as our first-ever Triumphant Triad.

Lastly, the Superhero Squad Award went to the volunteer group Lion’s Heart. This group of incredible volunteers single-handedly conducted our gift wrapping fundraiser during the holidays!

Triumphant Triad 2022

The Triniteer of the Year Award is given to the Trinity Youth Services employee with the most hours contributed. This year, the award undoubtedly goes to Fr. John Alexandres, who contributed several hours and support throughout 2021. Fr. John helped transport golf supplies for our annual golf tournament fundraiser and picked up many toy drive donations during the holidays. Our team could not have gotten through either campaign without his kind help.

A big thank you to Paycom for sponsoring our event. “We are so thankful for what Children’s Foundation of America does for the community and we are truly grateful to be able to sponsor the event,” said Paycom Executive Sales Representative, Patrick Myers.

Because of Paycom’s generosity, we were able to provide lunch from Wolfe’s Market as well as purchase decorations and giveaways. Everyone who attended got to participate in a raffle where electronics, gift cards, and goodie baskets were raffled off. We are filled with gratitude for Paycom’s support of our Volunteer Program.

Lions Heart 2022

Each and every one of our volunteers deserve recognition for the work they do. Volunteers are the heart and soul of a nonprofit and we wanted to show our volunteers how much we appreciate them. We are proud of the accomplishments achieved by this group of helping hands in a single year. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon at or 909.825.5588 ext. 236.

Briana Calderon, Volunteer Coordinator
Briana leads our volunteer program through various campaigns and volunteer activities year round. Briana describes her responsibility as helping to create a space for everyone to come volunteer and find community in serving a greater purpose than our own. Briana graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a focus on public relations at California State University San Bernardino. During her time at CSUSB, she was a student recruiter and tour guide. Having enjoyed her experience working with students and public speaking, working with volunteers seemed like a natural step. Briana has helped advance our volunteer systems with technology and provided virtual volunteer opportunities when possible. In addition to her position at CFA, Briana also serves on the Diversity, Inclusion, Value, Equity (DIVE) team.

valenteer party

CFA Honors Volunteers at Virtual “Valenteer” Party 

valenteer party

The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) held its fifth annual “Valenteer” Party virtually to thank our devoted volunteers who joined us, even in a pandemic, to be the difference for children in need. The COVID-19 crisis changed everyday life for people across the globe in 2020 and forced CFA to cancel in-person volunteer events. This especially impacted those who dedicate much of their time to volunteering, but out of an abundance of caution and care for our volunteers, we decided to make the tough decision to suspend in-person volunteer activities while COVID positivity rates remained high. Making sure volunteers and staff remained safe and protected was our priority.  

We canceled our annual mall gift wrapping fundraiser, which usually employs hundreds of volunteer workers. It is the highlight of the year for many in our volunteer program. Community events like the Pie Festival and Fourth of July were canceled, which also meant we could not host our volunteer-ran information and game booths. In an effort to keep our volunteers engaged and active, CFA began to host virtual volunteer opportunities. This allowed our volunteers to continue advocating and supporting children in need. Over the course of the year, our volunteers still managed to serve 565 hours 

At this year’s “Valenteer” Party, trophies and plaques were given to those who deserve special recognition in their service as volunteers in 2020. For the second year in a row, John and Vicki Rensch are our Volunteer Dynamic Duo, accumulating the most volunteer hours as a duo with a combined total of 30 hours! During our Holiday Heroes campaign, they did a fantastic job helping with donation inventory. “They are amazing and always willing to help where it’s needed,” says CFA’s Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon. 

Jacqueline Legazcue and Zayda Love are this year’s Action Heroes for their incredible work in forming their own advocacy projects. Jacqueline conducted virtual fundraising and volunteer events in 2020 and raised nearly $300 through her efforts. She continues to organize events for our cause including our upcoming Jamz and Jammies fundraiser on February 26! Zayda is a social influencer, entrepreneur and rep for Owl Crate Jr. She has used her platform to raise awareness and funds for children in need. She continues to advocate through the Zayda Literacy Fund and Warm and Fuzzy February Book Drive.  

Jessica Messina was awarded Triniteer of the Year for volunteering a total of 94 hours over 13 occasions as a Trinity Youth Services staff member. Jessica began volunteering with us in December 2019 and learned about Trinity through her work with our cause. She applied for a position at Trinity and has been employed in mental health services since early 2020. Jessica continues to volunteer with CFA as often as she can.

Our Volunteer Superheroes contribute the most volunteer hours. In 2020, Karen Valente served 43 hours by helping with inventory and distribution and was a fantastic help during our Holiday Heroes campaign. She has volunteered at CFA for years and loves being able to help others. “Karen is such a joy to be around,” Briana said. “Her help during the Holiday Heroes Toy Drive was tremendous!”

Gloria Guix started as a CFA intern and continued to volunteer through the holidays when we needed help mostIn total, Gloria contributed 100 hours and served the most volunteer hours in 2020! Gloria participated in awareness campaigns, care package assembly, inventory, creating cards for kids and so much more. “Throughout the year, Gloria continuously volunteered in areas of greatest need with the most flexibility, which greatly helped the success of our campaigns,” Briana said. 

During our virtual event, we had a time of discussion in which we asked, “Why do you volunteer?” We got a variety of answers and prompted a most insightful dialog. Volunteer Clare Miranda said she enjoys volunteering for the sense of community it provides and to connect with others. Faye Schoborg stated that it helps her to put others before herself and that it puts things into perspective to help another.

In a special message sent by California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, he stated, “I want to congratulate Children’s Foundation of America for putting on this very important volunteer appreciation. When I think of the all work CFA has done this year, it’s just staggering and it’s the volunteers who made that happen deserve of our appreciation. It’s the volunteers that are the backbone of the success. Thank you for your service, thank you for your heart and  your compassion. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Senator Portantino also recognized CEO Cher Ofstedahl for her leadership of the organization.

Cher followed by giving a speech of her own and thanked our volunteers for the incredible work they do. To additionally show her appreciation, she sponsored our party favors for volunteers which were digital Starbucks gift cards. She also provided the raffle prizes which Faye SchoborgJasmine Lucero and Nicole Emily Woloszyn won!

We admire and appreciate the dedication that our volunteers demonstrate in their willingness to volunteer especially during troubling times, as we have seen in this past year. Thank you to everyone in attendance and to every single one of our volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon, at or 909.825.5588 ext. 236. 

Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

Zayda Literacy Fund

CFA Celebrates 2019 Volunteers at Heartfelt Recognition Party

What has 100 hands, more heart than a room can hold, and the power to help thousands of children in in a single bound? The attendees at this year’s volunteer appreciation party, of course! On February 22, the Children’s Foundation of America held its fourth annual “Valenteer” Party, and quite a success, it was.

The event, sponsored by Paycom, was hosted by the DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont. Guests enjoyed a catered lunch, delectable desserts, prizes and awards. It was the perfect stage for declaring appreciation for the volunteers who served more than 1,700 hours, at 45 events, during 2019.

Volunteers are the keystone of the Foundation, and in 2019 helped to make possible: The distribution of 1,309 care packages, awarding of $56,500 in scholarships and literacy grants, funding of music lessons and school activities, gifting of graduation hats and gowns, gym equipment for a residential campus and much more.

Everyone in attendance had supported the Foundation in 2019 by giving at least ten hours of their time and working 2 or more events. They received certificates from our organization as well as from the office of Senator Anthony Portantino. Special designations were given to volunteers who went above and beyond and were honored with special plaques or trophies.

Volunteer Superheroes

Karen Valente served the most volunteer hours, totaling 77, in all. She is the type of individual anyone would love to have in their corner; her willingness to perform service is genuine and heart-felt. During several service opportunities, she has stayed full days to help get needed items out to our youth.

Jim Athey is next in line with the second highest total of 44 hours. He is one who lets nothing stand in his way of showing up to an event; this was recently demonstrated when he chose to ride his bike in the rain, several miles, rather than to cancel his commitment, due to transportation difficulties.

Action Hero

Zayda Cruz, an advocate for literacy among youth, raises public awareness and funds for children in need. Last year, she established the Zayda Literacy Fund with the Children’s Foundation of America, which awards $500 grants for three foster children per year.

Dynamic Duos

Vicki and John Rensch served the most hours as a team, with 55 hours. This amazing couple has actually been on a walk, ran into our group doing a project, and stopped what they were doing in order to volunteer.

Berkeley and Blake Leal, with 36 hours of support at the foundation. This brother and sister team are proof that the family who serves together, stays together.

Megan Hakopian and Treza Oghoorian, touting a collective 28 hours of service. They are a mother and daughter who tag-team, in order to help us at the most events.

Superhero Squad

Sylvia Tam’s Lion’s Heart group worked a collective 100 hours. This group shows how mighty their hearts are by working overtime at the holiday wrap station; many times, while refusing to stop for a break.

Star Command Award

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont contributed the most hours served as a company. We can always count on these heroes for back-up! The staff volunteered at our holiday gift-wrapping fundraiser, conducted a gift-drive for our youth, and donated a lovely hotel space for our volunteer recognition event.

Wells Fargo, another business who went above and beyond filling days of shifts at our gift-wrapping fundraiser.

Our Hearts Are Filled With Gratitude

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Thank you again to the DoubleTree Hotel, Paycom and to all who participated in this year’s event. Thank you for being so willing to give your time to serve the community. We hope you will be joining us next year. There is still plenty of time to be a hero for a child in need, get involved!

Paula Leal, Volunteer Coordinator
Paula reaches out to the community to provide opportunities for volunteerism within our organization. She majored in human services at Brigham Young University and has experience in marketing, public relations and nonprofit work. She has served on PTA boards and school site councils as well as volunteered in local schools for more than 15 years. She started her own grass-roots charity, which has served people in the US, India, Mexico and Africa through campaigns that provided food, clothes, hygiene products, medical supplies and instruments, and items to help entrepreneurs start home based businesses.

CFA Thanks Volunteers with 3rd Annual “Valenteer” Party

The Children’s Foundation of America would be nothing without the volunteers that support us in our mission to help children heal, learn and thrive. The aid of our amazing volunteers makes the work we do possible. To show our appreciation, the Foundation hosted their third annual “Valenteer” Party on February 23 to highlight the achievements of our volunteers and award those who stood out as invaluable members of the community.

A Year in Review

2018 stands as a year of many accomplishments. 596 individual volunteers supported the Foundation for a total of 1,645 volunteer hours. That’s 196 more volunteers and 245 more hours than the previous year!

The items we’ve collected from donation drives allowed us to support foster youth in a multitude of ways. We were able to grant a total of $55,000 in scholarships and provide basic necessities like contact lenses and blankets. Through funding we were able provide a sense of normalcy for several foster youth. We purchased a prom suit and interview clothes for a young man in a group home, provided the opportunity to take college preparatory classes, supplied a therapist with weighted vests for children dealing with trauma, and much more. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of volunteers donating their valuable time to make a difference.

Activities and Fun

Volunteers were treated to a variety of food, from cookies and cupcakes to chips and sandwiches. All of this thanks to our generous donors Stater Bros., Von’s, Espiau’sI Like Pie Bakeshop, Trader Joe’s and Super King.

Attendees were given raffle tickets to win a variety of prizes, ranging from free tickets to our annual Funny 4 a Reason comedy show to Jamba Juice and 21 Choices gift cards. Additional raffle tickets were given for donating to our Birthday in a Bag campaign, which collected $250 worth of birthday items for foster youth. One of our lead volunteers, Vicki Rensch, donated 6 birthday bags and won a Starbucks gift card and a Palm Desert Jeep Tour voucher!

We also had an activity board where volunteers described their favorite part of volunteering. Volunteer Chrissy Cruz wrote, “My heart is happiest when I’m able to help others in need. I’m so thankful for the Children’s Foundation and the beautiful work they do!”

Recognizing achievement

Communications and Volunteer Relations Specialist, Marie Maghuyop and Community Outreach and Donor Relations Coordinator, Amber Thorneycroft passed out special certificates, plaques and trophies to recognize the time and dedication of our volunteers.

Among the unique awards presented, were “Volunteer Superhero” trophies, awarded to Jim Athey and Vicki Rensch for accumulating the most amount of volunteer hours in 2018. Volunteer Linh Trieu received the “Triniteer of the Year” plaque for serving the most volunteer hours as a Trinity Youth Services employee. Zayda Cruz was presented the “Peer-to-Peer Volunteer” award for her outstanding work in conducting book drives and raising funds for a literacy scholarship. As part of the Zayda Literacy Fund foster children at Trinity Youth Services are eligible for up to three $500 scholarships and book packages. Although unable to attend the event, the Etiwanda High School Key Club received the “Superhero Squad” award for serving the most volunteer hours as a group. Dania Aguilar, a previous intern and long-term volunteer, received the “Most Valuable Volunteer” award for going above and beyond. She continued to volunteer after her internship, helped raise awareness of our organization and brought in more volunteers.

Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers for making 2018 another successful year for CFA! We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2019. If you would like to know more about getting 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.

Our 2nd Annual “Valenteer Party”

On February 8, we hosted our 2nd annual “Valenteer” Party celebrating a year of tremendous growth and success in 2017. To show our volunteers our love and appreciation, we decorated our office with Valentine decorations, provided refreshments, conducted fun activities and handed out certificates to volunteers who went above and beyond in 2017.

The Children’s Foundation of America would be nothing without the support of the community and our wonderful volunteers because they believe in our mission to help children heal, learn and thrive. Thanks to the combined efforts of over 400 individual volunteers (more than double from 2016), the Children’s Foundation of America was able to provide care packages for 3,400 children in foster care and homeless shelters. To celebrate this wonderful achievement, we invited all of our volunteers to join us at the Foundation headquarters in the Claremont Village for a night of celebration, acknowledgement and togetherness.

Community Outreach Coordinator, Rebecca Ustrell and AmeriCorps VIP Fellow, Marie Maghuyop, presented awards to individuals like Faye Schoborg (pictured above), who volunteered multiple times last year. The awardees received special certificates from the Foundation, Senator Anthony J. Portantino and a free ticket to our comedy benefit show, Funny 4 A Reason.

As a fun activity for volunteers, we asked them to bring books to donate as part of our “Warm & Fuzzy February” campaign. Volunteers who participated were entered into our raffle drawing for some great prizes. Delilah DeBellis, one of our consistent volunteers, won a $10 Jamba Juice gift card, Jayme Ramirez from Claremont Smile Design won 2 tickets to Funny 4 A Reason and Jose Briseno won a Horn Blower dinner coupon!

Haley Amidan frequently volunteers with the Foundation and we gave her special recognition for recently getting hired at our partner organization Trinity Youth Services. She will be part of the Trinity El Monte residential therapeutic program support team.

Haley was interested in volunteering and working with youth in foster care as a result of the trauma she experience in her youth. “I don’t know what would have happened to me if I stayed in the situation I was in. Now, I want to help other kids find their way and heal from their pasts,” she said.

At the end of our event, representatives from Claremont Smile Design presented the Foundation with materials to help our volunteers continue to make blankets for our “Warm & Fuzzy February” campaign and dental hygiene kits and books for children in foster care.

It is our devoted volunteers and supporters who truly make the difference for children in need and we are so grateful to everyone who invests in the future of these children. If you would like to volunteer with the Children’s Foundation of America, check out our upcoming volunteer opportunities here.

See a video recap of our “Valenteer” Party here:

Rebecca UstrellCommunity 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 |

Our 1st Annual “Valenteer” Party

The Children’s Foundation of America wouldn’t get far without our devoted volunteers. Our volunteers care about the difference we make in the lives of children in need and are more than willing to lend a hand.

These amazing people show up to gift wrap for donations at mall, register guests at fundraiser events, help sort through our warehouse, setup fundraisers, stay at info booths sharing about children’s causes and much more.

We love our volunteers and to show our appreciation, we hosted a party for our favorite valentines at our first annual “Valenteer” Party held the day after Valentine’s Day.

Our Community Outreach Coordinator, Rebecca Ustrell, put together a very sweet party, complete with Valentine treats and décor. From candy to goodie bags, to good conversation and activities, we hope our volunteers were feeling the love.

District Representative, Kristi G. Lopez, from the office of Senator Anthony J. Portantino, joined us in recognizing our volunteers by presenting certificates of appreciation. Guests participated in a raffle and a team building activity, which involved writing sticky notes on how we would each individually “Be the Difference!” Some of our favorites included: “Make a positive impact on my community” and “I will use my skills, my passion and my time to help others.”

As guests nibbled from the cheese and veggie platters, volunteers got the opportunity to find out about our upcoming volunteer opportunities including an information booth at the Claremont Pie Festival, sorting at the warehouse, cards for kids initiative, golf tournament and other fundraisers.

If you are interested in joining our volunteer community, contact or call (800) KIDS-730.


Jenelle Rensch, Marketing & Promotions Specialist
Jenelle’s role is to maintain a distinctive look and voice through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer and arts and entertainment editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association. Jenelle is also very involved in her community. She owns an art gallery, organizes the local art walk, is on the executive board of the downtown district’s marketing group and is active in her church.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email:


Our 3rd Annual “Valenteer” Party!



We LOVE Our Volunteers!

You are cordially invited to our 3rd annual volunteer appreciation reception on Saturday, February 23 to recognize our amazing volunteers, celebrate our successes and find out what’s in store for 2019! Whether you’re a current volunteer or interested in getting involved, join us at our office to meet the Foundation staff, members of the board of trustees and other volunteers. Enjoy refreshments, goodie bags, raffle prizes and awards!


Enter our raffle!

1 ticket for attending

1 ticket per completed birthday bag donated: Must include gift bag, cake mix, frosting & any 3 of the following: birthday decorations, streamers, candles, plates, cups, napkins, utensils.


Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities:

  • Events: Help us at fundraisers
  • Event Preparation: Help prepare materials for events
  • Awareness Campaigns: Assist with the preparation of materials and outreach
  • Informational tables and booths: Help disseminate information
  • Holiday Heroes Gift Wrapping Booth: Assist with gift wrapping for fundraising purposes
  • Care Package Assembly: Assist with assembling packages of items for children