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

Volunteer Spotlight: Lillian Sibrian

Lillian Sibrian is an undergraduate student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her first volunteer experience was cleaning a community park with her school’s National Society of Leadership and Success.

With the Children’s Foundation of America, she has participated in events like our Back-to-School drive, Halloween Outreach Prep, Village Venture tabling and the Holiday Promenade photo booth. Although Lillian is kept busy because of her studies, she’s decided that volunteering is a necessary and important way to spend what little free time she has.

“I came to the decision that a portion of the free time I do have should be spent not only helping others, but helping myself become a better person,” she said.

Lillian first learned of the Foundation through a friend and former CFA intern. She first volunteered in August 2018 and continued volunteering on a regular basis. Her favorite CFA event has been the Claremont Holiday Promenade, where she and a friend helped run the photo booth sponsored by Lyks! Creatives.

Lillian greatly values her time spent with CFA. “I have learned the value of being true to one’s word and following through on promises,” she said. “Volunteering with CFA could be one of the most gratifying experiences of your life if you are willing to put in the time and work.”

When she is not volunteering, Lillian can be found visiting Disneyland, reading, baking, or watching criminal documentaries on Netflix.

CFA is supported by great volunteers like Lillian. 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 Spotlight: Etiwanda High School Key Club

The Key Clubbers from Etiwanda High School have volunteered many times with the Children’s Foundation of America, from fundraising events in the community to card making for our Back-to-School drive for foster youth.

About Key Club

Key Club is an international organization where high schoolers around the world build character and leadership through volunteer service. EHS Key Club is one of thousands of Key Clubs in 38 countries. It is part of Division 15 North, Region 13 in the California-Nevada-Hawai’i District and has about 80 members from Etiwanda High School.

“I joined because I wanted to make new friends, since it was my freshman year and I didn’t know anyone,” said Key Club Vice President Lance Anthony Aquino. “Because of Key Club, I was able to make many friends and at the same time serve my community with them.”

 

Key Club Meets CFA

The core values of Key Club International are leadership, character building, caring and inclusiveness, which the members from Etiwanda High School have demonstrated by volunteering with Children’s Foundation of America. EHS Key Clubbers have helped make motivational cards for foster youth, helped us raised awareness at community festivals and participated in our fundraisers. Lance said his favorite CFA event was the Fourth of July Celebration, where they helped raised $221 in donations through our bean bag toss game. “It was fulfilling to know that we were helping raise funds for foster children so that they may enjoy their lives like the children playing the bean bag game,” he said.

Commitment to Service

The Etiwanda Key Club has been a wonderful partner to CFA because they understand the importance of volunteering to help those in need. “Service is important because it allows us to give back what our home, school and community have done for us, while making differences that we will forever be proud of,” said Key Club President Xiaoqing Zhong. “I am sure that we can’t help everyone but we can help someone.”

Xiaoqing also explains that their mascot is a giraffe because they wish for their Key Club members to have arms as long as the necks of giraffes so they can reach as far as possible to help people.

Whether you’re part of a Key Club or just want to volunteer, click here to learn more about how you can get involved and Be the Difference in the lives of children in need.


Marie MaghuyopCommunications & Volunteer Relations Specialist
Marie creates content for social media, writes blogs and coordinates volunteer opportunities and events. She enjoys connecting with volunteers of diverse backgrounds and getting to know their unique stories. She has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. In her free time, Marie loves going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Athey

Jim Athey loves to volunteer in the community. He has volunteered at events like the Disneyland Half Marathon, Multiple Sclerosis Walk, LifeStream Blood Drive and more! He learned about the Children’s Foundation of America when he met our Executive Director, Cher, at her antique store in Upland, CA. During the holidays, he also saw CFA’s gift wrapping booth at Montclair Place Mall and went in to learn more about becoming a “Holiday Hero.”

Volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America

Since last year, Jim has volunteered with CFA 11 times and was recognized at our annual “Valenteer” Party. He has helped make cards and no-sew scarves for foster youth, fundraised at our Claremont Earth Day booth and assembled art supply and spring care packages in our warehouse.

“My favorite CFA volunteer memory was the gift wrapping booth,” he said. “I think it improved my gift wrapping skills.”

Jim recommends everyone to donate or get involved with CFA and hopes to continue volunteering his time. “It’s great if you want to help children,” he said. “And there are a lot of fun, crafty activities. It’s very relaxed.”

When Jim isn’t volunteering or studying hotel management at Chaffey College, he enjoys going to Disneyland, camping, hiking and playing bocce ball and soccer with the city of Rancho Cucamonga.

 

Be The Difference

CFA relies on the dedication of volunteers like Jim to continue its mission to help children heal, learn and thrive. If you’re interested in getting involved, click here to learn more.


Marie MaghuyopCommunications & Volunteer Relations Specialist
Marie creates content for social media, writes blogs and coordinates volunteer opportunities and events. She enjoys connecting with volunteers of diverse backgrounds and getting to know their unique stories. She has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. In her free time, Marie loves going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sophia Nyborg-Andersen

Sophia Nyborg-Andersen is a student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, studying Business Management and Human Resources. On weekdays, she works as a student assistant in the biology department on campus and on weekends as a hairstylist in Pasadena. She has volunteered her hair styling talents in the community giving free haircuts to children before going back to school.

Volunteering with CFA

Sophia is a regular volunteer of the Children’s Foundation of America, having volunteered almost 10 times, making cards for kids, tabling at the Claremont 4th of July Celebration and assembling art and school supply care packages. She found CFA through VolunteerMatch.org and liked the flexibility of events and closeness to home.

She recalls that her first time volunteering was a rainy day and she almost went home. “I’m glad I went though because there were only a few of us there,” she said. “It was nice to focus, listen and work together to organize toys for Christmas and Warm & Fuzzy February.”

One of Sophia’s favorite CFA events has been blanket making because she’s met many different people. “It’s important to contribute your time to help and serve others,” she said. “It feels good to give back.”

Be the Difference

To learn more about how you can give back and get involved like Sophia, click here.


Marie MaghuyopAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Marie is serving with the Children’s Foundation of America as an AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Project) Fellow. Her main goal as a VIP Fellow is to expand the volunteer programs at the Foundation and develop an effective, sustainable volunteer infrastructure. She creates content for social media, engages with volunteers and supports the Foundation team with coordinating events and volunteer opportunities. Marie has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She has always been driven to do meaningful work by helping others and is excited to inspire volunteerism in the community. In her free time, she enjoys going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

Volunteer Spotlight: Christine Pinedo

Christine Pinedo is a graduate student at Loma Linda University, pursuing her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first volunteer memory was in high school when she volunteered at Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.

“I visited and spent time with the children,” she said. “It was an experience I will never forget.”

Working as an Occupational Therapist with Children

As a pediatric occupational therapist, Christine helps children with various impairments, including physical, social and cognitive disabilities.

“The main focus is helping them develop appropriate skills to be as functional and independent as possible,” she said. “Children are our future and if I could be of aide to the caregivers and parents who are struggling with their child, I will be fulfilled as an occupational therapist.”

Volunteering with CFA

Christine had been searching for an organization that serves children in the community when she was introduced to the Foundation by her classmate and CFA volunteer, Delilah Debellis.

“I have enjoyed meeting new people [through CFA],” Christine said. “And the welcoming and peaceful atmosphere CFA has to offer.”

In the past few months, Christine has helped make blankets for Warm & Fuzzy February, prepare flyers and blue-ribbon pins to distribute in the community for Child Abuse Prevention Month and help set up for She Stories, a special Foster Care Month event.

“I feel it is important to advocate for children especially those in special situations because most of the time they do not have a voice for themselves,” she said.

Be The Difference

CFA relies on the dedication of volunteers like Christine to continue its mission to help children heal, learn and thrive. If you’re interested in getting involved, click here to learn more.


Marie MaghuyopAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Marie is serving with the Children’s Foundation of America as an AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Project) Fellow. Her main goal as a VIP Fellow is to expand the volunteer programs at the Foundation and develop an effective, sustainable volunteer infrastructure. She creates content for social media, engages with volunteers and supports the Foundation team with coordinating events and volunteer opportunities. Marie has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She has always been driven to do meaningful work by helping others and is excited to inspire volunteerism in the community. In her free time, she enjoys going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

Volunteer Spotlight: Katherine Carrasco

Katherine Carrasco learned about volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America through a newsletter email to Trinity Youth Services staff. She is a first-year graduate student in the school of social work at California State University, San Bernardino and her interest in working with children led her to Trinitys’ Rancho Cucamonga foster care office for an internship. Her responsibilities include auditing the files of foster children and resource parents, working with Treatment Foster Care Social Workers on their cases and monitoring visits with foster children and their natural families.

“I have learned so much at Trinity in my time here. Before my internship, I did not have the slightest idea how the foster care system worked,” Katherine said. Through her experience with Trinity, she now has an understanding of the standards to become a resource parent, the importance of collaboration between the foster agency and the county and how to work with trauma-affected youth.

Donating Time

In the past few months, she has volunteered with the Children’s Foundation of America to help with Child Abuse Prevention Month outreach, mailing spring appeals, assembling spring goodie baskets and making scarves for foster children. She hopes to continue volunteering with the Foundation and encourages others to volunteer as well.

“Working alongside others with the same interests is motivating and heart-felt,” she said. “I don’t have a large amount of money to donate, but I have the time to help and volunteer for the cause.”

Hobbies

Outside of volunteering, Katherine enjoys hiking and reading and owns about 450 books in her home library. Her favorite young adult novels are the Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Divergent series. She even named her first motorcycle Beatrice after the main character in Divergent.

“I can keep going and going about my books,” she said. “My favorite book? That’s a hard question when I have read so many!”

Be the Difference

“Helping children and foster youth in the community is a feeling that cannot be found elsewhere,” Katherine said. Click here to find out more about volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America.


Marie Maghuyop, AmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Marie is serving with the Children’s Foundation of America as an AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Project) Fellow. Her main goal as a VIP Fellow is to expand the volunteer programs at the Foundation and develop an effective, sustainable volunteer infrastructure. She creates content for social media, engages with volunteers and supports the Foundation team with coordinating events and volunteer opportunities. Marie has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She has always been driven to do meaningful work by helping others and is excited to inspire volunteerism in the community. In her free time, she enjoys going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brisa Sifuentes

Brisa Sifuentes is a stay-at-home-mom of a 3-year-old son, León Hernandez and newborn daughter, “Baby Brisa” Hernandez. She and her husband, Mario Hernandez, were drawn to the city of Claremont by the “sense of community.” Now, a year after moving to Claremont, she is the steward of Claremont Little Free Library and runs the Instagram and Facebook account “ClaremontMom.” Her active involvement in the community led her to become a frequent volunteer at Children’s Foundation of America (CFA), from wrapping gifts at the holiday gift wrapping booth to making fringe blankets and positive cards for children in foster care.

Volunteering with CFA

Brisa said she continues to volunteer with CFA because the events are rewarding and fun. “I love that CFA events are simple yet impacting,” she said. “These kids are going to grow up and remember the time they got cool art supplies or a special handmade card.”

She has also enjoyed getting to know the CFA staff and other volunteers. “What stands out to me the most about volunteering with CFA are the employees. You know an organization is great when its employees love being there,” she said. “I’ve also enjoyed meeting the people who love to help whenever they can. You can’t help but want to keep going back to an organization that has such positive energy.”

Little Free Library

She and her family love to be surrounded by books and thought that Claremont would be the perfect setting for a Little Free Library, which is a neighborhood book exchange where people can take a book or leave a book. According to the official Little Free Library website, as of 2016, there are over 50,000 little libraries registered in the United States and over 70 countries around the world.

“After installing our library, we had a great response and there have been so many frequent visitors,” Brisa said. “We love sharing the joy of reading and seeing the influence it can have on our local children.” She has even hosted book drives through her Little Free Library, where she collected new books to donate to CFA.

Claremont Mom

Brisa is a very active mom in her local community. She participates in and plans activities with her local “babywearing” group, Kaiser mom groups and with friends and other moms. Around the time she opened the Claremont Little Free Library, she created the Instagram and Facebook account “ClaremontMom.”

“It’s essentially Claremont through the eyes of a local mom,” she said. “Being new to Claremont and hearing about all the great local events and groups, I felt like there needed to be a “one-stop-shop” for moms like me to hear about everything going on.” Her posts are gathered from other local Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as her groups and talking with people in the community.

Hobbies

Outside of volunteering, Brisa enjoys camping and hiking, taking her kids to the LA zoo and botanical gardens or watching the latest movie with her husband when they get a chance. She also enjoys gift wrapping and decorative crafts like flower-arranging and wreath-making.

“My motto is “create value,” she said. “I truly love creating something of value where it didn’t previously exist.”

Be the Difference

If you’re inspired by Brisa’s “Claremont Mom” story, join her in getting involved in the community and being the difference. Call 909.426.0773 or email volunteer@trinityys.org to begin volunteering.


Marie MaghuyopAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Marie is serving with the Children’s Foundation of America as an AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Project) Fellow. Her main goal as a VIP Fellow is to expand the volunteer programs at the Foundation and develop an effective, sustainable volunteer infrastructure. She creates content for social media, engages with volunteers and supports the Foundation team with coordinating events and volunteer opportunities. Marie has earned two associate’s degrees from San Bernardino Valley College and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She has always been driven to do meaningful work by helping others and is excited to inspire volunteerism in the community. In her free time, she enjoys going to Disneyland, writing, playing ukulele and board games, and dancing.

Volunteer Spotlight: Bhairavi Asher

Bhairavi Asher, enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and family, visiting and living in different counties, learning about other cultures and advocating for those living in poverty. After hearing about the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) and its mission to support children in need, Bhairavi volunteered at CFA’s recent “Holiday Heroes” gift wrapping fundraiser. She also organized friends and family to donate essential items such as backpacks to support children who have been displaced from their homes.

Commitment to Local and Global Social Justice

Bhairavi has spent her professional life as a public interest lawyer, working with vulnerable populations throughout the world. Before relocating to LA County, she worked as an advocate for refugees in Tanzania and sought a deeper understanding of the problems encountered by this community.

In Southern California, Bhairavi was compelled to tackle the issue of homelessness and child poverty. “I’m always searching for opportunities to assist vulnerable populations, both on a personal and professional level,” Bhairavi said. Her volunteer work with Children’s Foundation of America is an extension of a life committed to raising awareness about social issues both local and global.

A Personal Mission to Alleviate Poverty

Ten years ago, Bhairavi decided to assemble care packages for homeless individuals living on LA’s infamous Skid Row. After several years of distributing items, she noticed that something was different about the population she served. “Several children were living on the streets with the adults. When we saw that, we decided to take action,” Bhairavi said.

With the help of friends and family, Bhairavi expanded her initiative, collecting essential items of care and comfort for homeless children as well as adults. Today, Bhairavi continues the annual tradition of collecting necessary items for men, women and children living on the streets of LA.

Be the Difference

CFA relies on the dedication of compassionate volunteers like Bhairavi to continue its mission to help children heal, learn and thrive. Click here to find out how to get involved.


Children's Foundation Kelly BaumannKelly BaumannAmeriCorps 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: kbaumann@trinityys.org

volunteer haley amidan

Volunteer Spotlight: Haley Amidan

volunteer haley amidanSurviving a difficult childhood can develop the strength and resilience needed to help others. This month’s volunteer spotlight features Haley Amidan because of her ability to heal from those traumas and assist others in the same position. The challenges that she faced as a child and adolescent compelled her to join the Children’s Foundation and become one of our lead volunteers during the Holiday Heroes campaign.

Haley’s Story: Volunteering as Healing

“When I was 8, my mom began accusing me of things I didn’t do, like stealing. This period of my life was very difficult and I was in and out of juvenile hall until 18. If it weren’t for that structure and the care of social workers, I wouldn’t have been accountable to anyone,” Haley shared. Her story mirrors that of many children removed from their homes due to abuse, negligence and parents with deep mental or emotional problems.

Over five years later, Haley is on track to complete her Associate’s degree with a double major in Corrections and Administration of Justice. She is focused on the future and prepared to take on the difficult work of helping children in need.

“I want to start a career in the juvenile justice system,” she says brightly, “because I know what it feels like to be in it. The system is broken and I want to help correct the injustices that exist.”

What Volunteering Means to Haley

Many children are forced onto negative paths because of an unstable home-life. Intervention and intensive care guide them to a life that is meaningful. For Haley, that meant finding the footing she needed to move forward.

“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,” Haley explains. Haley’s plans include continuing to volunteer with the Children’s Foundation as a way to give back and pursuing her passion for helping children receive the support they need to move on with their lives after traumatic experiences.

The Children’s Foundation relies on volunteers like Haley to take the lead at events and fundraisers. To find out more about volunteering with the Children’s Foundation click here.


Children's Foundation Kelly BaumannKelly BaumannAmeriCorps 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: kbaumann@trinityys.org

Board Member Spotlight: Christina Jackson

My name is Christina Jackson and I live in Long Beach, CA with my husband, 4-year-old son and two dogs. My professional background is in graphic design, but I have developed a passion for interior design and I hope to work in that field once my son goes to school full time. I love books (I’m an avid reader, book hoarder and book club attender), fine art and dance parties in the kitchen with my son. I’m also a cancer survivor! The fact that I got a second chance at life heightened my commitment to helping others, especially kids.

I first discovered the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) by accident! For years, my mom and I had been making Christmas stockings and Easter baskets for kids at various local shelters and similar organizations. It was a great experience, but also very anonymous. I wanted to channel my efforts toward a more specific demographic, specifically foster kids, and I wanted to work with an organization that I could become personally involved with. I Googled local foster care organizations and Trinity Youth Services popped up on my screen, so I contacted them to offer my services. That year, my mom and I created 32 Christmas gift bags for the kids at Trinity’s Long Beach office. My involvement quickly grew into Easter baskets, back to school items and birthday gifts. Pretty soon after that, Becky and the fabulous people at CFA (which supports Trinity Youth Services) asked me to become a member of the board of trustees.

The thing I love most about CFA is their long-term commitment to help kids heal from the traumatic effects of abuse, neglect or abandonment. They are in it with these kids for the long haul, whether it be residential programs, foster care support or community-based programs. I specifically love the fact that we offer scholarships to teens aging out of foster care in order to support their studies and growth into healthy, productive adults.

My personal aspiration is to help increase funding for the arts-based therapies and outings that the kids experience. Art and creativity in all its forms is healing, cathartic and joyful. It has the power to liberate the spirit. And oftentimes, great art finds its inspiration in great pain. If anyone deserves exposure to the arts, it’s these kids. Who knows what seeds of inspiration might take root in their hearts? It’s my hope that the children supported by CFA will be able to experience hands-on art based therapy, plus outings to theater and dance productions, live music, museums, culinary classes, etc!

So far, my favorite experience happened while I was attending last year’s Christmas party for Trinity’s Long Beach foster kids. I made friends with two little boys who were in the process of being adopted by a lovely couple sitting at my table. The boys were brothers and they were adorable. The two of them ran off to the cookie decorating table and returned with some cookies especially for me. They were piled so high with heaps of gooey frosting and candy, you could barely tell there was a cookie underneath! Needless to say I ate every last bite of those cookies as my new friends proudly watched!


Christina Jackson, Board Member
In 2016, Christina became a board member of the Children’s Foundation of America as a result of her involvement with partner organization, Trinity Youth Services. Christina is an adoptive mom and a cancer survivor. Getting a second chance at life only encouraged her more to help others. Christina helps the Foundation with organizing toy donations, doing graphic design, finding deserving scholarship applicants, assisting with events and much more.