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

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.

Volunteer

Our 3rd Annual “Valenteer” Party!

Volunteer

 

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

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Vicki Rensch

Vicki Rensch is an artist, teacher and longtime volunteer with the Children’s Foundation of America. Vicki got involved with the Foundation when her daughter, CFA Development Specialist Jenelle Phillips, recruited her for her expertise.

Vicki has a long and passionate history with volunteering. Her earliest memory of being active in her community is helping her mom pass out pamphlets and buttons in support of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign.

In the 1990’s, her place of work allowed Vicki to volunteer full-time with United Way, an organization dedicated to fundraising and benefiting in need communities. Vicki chose to support the San Bernardino Child Advocacy Group and organized an ongoing toy drive with a goal of 100% participation from the department she was working on loan from. They met that goal in the two years she was involved in the campaign and the department continued the toy drive in the years after Vicki established it.

“When I was running the campaign, I brought speakers in to talk about volunteering to help employees realize that making the time to volunteer was so important. I made speeches about the services and research United Way benefits. Many of the employees said that their loved ones had benefited from these services and some shared that they were raised in foster care and understood how they have been impacted by many of the things that United Way supported,” she said.

She later volunteered with the Girl Scouts of the USA. Beginning in 1993, she started as a troop leader and had became a council trainer for Daisy troop leaders in the early 2000’s. She helped Senior Girl Scouts become Gold Award recipients, provided support for girls interviewing into the Rose Parade Tournament Troop and organized a trip for girls to travel to Savannah, GA to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouts Founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

At the Foundation, Vicki is a Volunteer Lead for appeal mailing, directing volunteers in mailing our constituents and is a support volunteer at many of our events. Her and her husband can also be seen at our various fundraisers supporting the cause.

A True Holiday Hero

Her favorite event is the Holiday Heroes gift wrapping booth. “Even though I have many favorite events, this one is the most fun to do.” Vicki loves being able to put her love for gift wrapping to work for a good cause. “It always puts me in the Christmas spirit every year,” Vicki said. “I learned it is important to volunteer for that which you already love to do.”

Responsibility to Community

Vicki holds passionate beliefs about having a responsibility to help her community. She makes it a habit to go wherever she is needed. “As a kid, I wasn’t aware of everything that goes into our community opportunities. It’s my turn to give back,” she says. “My parents instilled a belief in me that if there is a need, we have the responsibility to help fill that need whenever possible. So I volunteer.”

Vicki views volunteering as something that allows her to explore what life has to offer. “My favorite thing about being a volunteer is going to places I’ve never been, meeting people I may otherwise never meet and doing things I have never thought about doing”, she said. “Volunteering, for me, is an enriching experience with the very pleasant side effect of helping others.”

Vicki’s hobbies include creating art, photography and visiting historic landmarks. However, her favorite and most fulfilling pastime of all is volunteering. “When my hobbies allow me a chance to also take part in volunteering I am at my most complete.” For example, Vicki volunteered 20 years in a row as a photographer for Grandparent’s Day at a local elementary school. “It brings me great joy to know someone has grown up cherishing that special bond of family though a picture I took,” she said.

Vicki’s Advice for Getting Involved

For those that are considering volunteering, Vicki has a few useful steps to help get yourself started. “First,” she said, “Make the initial contact. Find something you love to do. Volunteer to do that something. Attend the event with a happy heart. Lastly, feel good about yourself and volunteer often.”

Vicki stepped up as a CFA Volunteer Leader because, “I was needed,” she said. “CFA is a quality, well established organization for children and I saw a need that I could fill. They are a well organized group whose mission is to help children by making volunteering fun and easy. The staff is very friendly, gracious and helpful and everybody makes you feel like a valued member of the team,” she said.

The Children’s Foundation of America is supported by great volunteers like Vicki. Click here to learn more about getting involved!


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.

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.

With the Foundation, Lion’s Heart has assisted in our Back-to-School drive and our Holiday Heroes campaign.

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.

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 | rustrell@trinityys.org

Summer Partnership Appreciation

Above: John Neiuber, CEO; Susan Lominska, Claremont United Church of Christ; Paola Ipucha and Rosemary Rodriguez, Advantage Resourcing; Brisa and Mario Sifuentes, Claremont Little Free Library; Jenelle Rensch, Development Specialist; and Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator.

Support System

In order to meet the goals within our mission, we require support in many forms throughout the year. Whether it be a short term volunteer opportunity, or a long term campaign, the team at CFA ensures the success of meeting our goals by reaching out to individuals, companies, and like-minded organizations for this support. Having been met with an overwhelming amount of support for our recent Back-to-School Drive, we decided to show our appreciation by inviting our supporters and volunteers for a coffee meet and greet with our CEO, John Neiuber on September 5 and 8 at Children’s Foundation of America headquarters in the Claremont Village.

Above: Development Specialist, Jenelle Rensch, donated sweets for our guests. Local volunteers and supporters enjoyed donuts and coffee with the team at CFA. 

Supporters and volunteers had an opportunity to discuss upcoming volunteer opportunities and fundraisers, as well have an in depth discussion with our team about how their support has helped children in foster care, residential treatment, and shelters throughout Southern California. Each supporter was then awarded with a certificate of appreciation for their recent efforts.

A Special Thank You

Keeping our goals on track also requires long term dedication from committed volunteer leaders and partnerships. We wanted to give a special thank you to our volunteer leader, Jessica Quintana, before we bid her farewell to her new job in the Bay Area. CEO John Neiuber presented Jessica with a certificate for her dedicated work to children in need.

We also wanted to give a very special thank you to our Americorps VIP Fellow, Sasha Chavez, for ensuring the success of our volunteer program and fundraising efforts throughout the summer. Our staff took Sasha out to lunch and gifted her with a mini pie adorned with a pastry CFA star.

Gratitude

We are so grateful to those who support us in fulfilling our mission to “provide an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn and thrive.” Though we are sad to see some of our volunteers move on, we are so proud of the accomplishments they have achieved and wish them well as they continue to “be the difference” wherever they go!


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 | rustrell@trinityys.org