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

Volunteer Spotlight: Linh Trieu

Linh Trieu is an invaluable and frequent volunteer with the Children’s Foundation of America. She is also an employee of our partner organization, Trinity Youth Services. She has worked there for 15 years as the Controller in the finance department.

At the Foundation, Linh has volunteered doing gift wrapping for our Holiday Heroes campaign, is a volunteer captain at our annual golf tournament, and has passed out Halloween candy at Claremont’s Spooktacular annual event. At our “Valenteer” Party she received the 2018 “Triniteer of the Year” award for accumulating the most volunteer hours among the many Trinity staff volunteers.

Because her position at Trinity does not always allow for direct involvement with the various Foundation campaigns, Linh makes it a point to volunteer outside of work whenever she can.

“What I do here at the office is support the Foundation to do their job,” she explained. “They help more directly with the kids than I can, so whenever I can help and volunteer, I do it because I’m putting a little bit of myself towards making their future brighter or making a new reality for them. It’s making a difference.”

Outside of her job and work with CFA she and her family frequently volunteer at the Santa Ana Armory to feed the homeless. She is also involved with the volunteer groups her church organizes, where they often make hot meals for the needy. Cooking meals was Linh’s first volunteer experience.

“It was eye opening. We didn’t realize how many people were out there that needed help. There are so many people in need,” she said.

Empathy and Volunteering

Upon arriving in the United States, Linh says her early experiences in the county motivate her to make a difference. “I came here from Vietnam,” she said, “And went through hard times when we first got here so I understand the hardship. I feel like I’m able to connect with others.”

Linh views volunteering as a way to get her kids involved and increase the awareness of issues in the community. “When we brought the kids to volunteer, they heard about it, but had never seen a place with hundreds of people in need. When we go to the shelter you can see kids – little ones – that need help. It’s a big problem. You don’t realize it until you’re out there volunteering.”

Linh uses volunteering as a way to instill empathy and instruct important values within her family. “My kids volunteer at Trinity. They’ve come with me to work and helped out since they were little. They’ve learned to give back and share. You have to give back, be open, and love others,” Linh said.

For those who are considering volunteering, Linh says, “Definitely get involved. It helps you not just feel good, but your body, mind, and spirit benefit too.” In all things, Linh takes a holistic approach. She loves to spend time with her family and exercise. To stay active, she visits the gym, goes on hikes with her family or volunteers!

The Children’s Foundation of America is supported by great volunteers like Linh. 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.

CFA Raises Funds at Pie Festival

On March 23 local pie lovers united for Claremont’s annual Pie Festival – a gathering dedicated to great food, supporting local businesses, and good causes. Among the many festivities were celebrity bakers, pie-making demonstrations, live music, vendors, food trucks, a pie eating contest and a classic car show. Residents filled the streets to partake  in the festivities. The festival ended with a large pie tasting buffet for everyone to join.

Nestled between rows of food and local artwork, The Children’s Foundation of America had their own booth dedicated to raising funds to support foster youth. For just a $1 donation we invited attendees to test their skills with a bean-bag toss to win stickers and prizes! We also sold tickets to our upcoming comedy show, Funny 4 a Reason, and supplied information on how to become a volunteer.

With the help of our volunteers, the Foundation was able to raise over $200 to aid us in our mission to help children heal, learn and thrive! Our Lion’s Heart Service volunteers helped to pass out flyers, raise money and spread awareness. On volunteering with the Foundation, group chaperone Sylvia Tam says, “CFA is great because it’s helping kids that are at a turning point in their lives, where they can go forward or not. Anyone can donate, whether that be with money or time.”

The Children’s Foundation of America is supported by great volunteers and donors who aid us in our mission. Get involved today! For more information on upcoming events and opportunities to donate, 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.

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.

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.

Montclair Place

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 volunteer@trinityys.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.

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.

Fall Into Volunteering

As the weather cools down and summer transitions into fall, the Children’s Foundation of America wraps up another successful Back-to-School Drive. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with warehouse inventory and backpack stuffing in the summer, CFA was able to provide over 200 backpacks with school supplies for youth to kick off a great school year. Way to Be The Difference!

Recently, CFA has been preparing for the holidays, beginning with a Halloween Prep & Party on October 12. About 24 volunteers, including a few Trinity Youth Services staff and their families, gathered at our Claremont office to prepare candies for Halloween. Volunteers enjoyed spooky snacks and a Halloween movie while they attached Trinity Youth Services sticker labels to Skittles and M&Ms. The awesome volunteers prepared over 2000 candies to spread the message of our partner agency and how people can learn more about becoming foster/adoptive families.

On October 27, CFA hosted a fun game booth at the 37th Annual Village Venture Arts & Crafts Faire in Claremont. For a dollar donation, guests were invited to play a pumpkin bean bag toss game to win a prize of candy, stickers or toys. Volunteers hosted the booth and raised funds to benefit youth supported by Children’s Foundation of America.

Keep an eye out for more exciting opportunities to donate or get involved this holiday season! Starting in November, we will be preparing for our annual Holiday Heroes Campaign including a gift drive for foster youth and gift wrapping fundraiser at Montclair Place Mall, where volunteers will wrap shoppers’ gifts for donations to support youth in need. If you want to learn more about how you can become a CFA Holiday Hero, click here to be added to our mailing list to get updates!


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.

CFA Provides 261 Backpacks and School Supplies to Youth in Need

Every year when students kick off their summer vacation, the Children’s Foundation of America invites the community to join together for our annual Back-to-School Drive for children in foster care. CFA supports over 100 youth at Trinity Youth Services in foster care, adoption and residential therapeutic programs, as well as disadvantaged children at various other organizations.

Our goal is to provide these children with backpacks full of school supplies to help them learn and thrive in the upcoming school year. Having a brand new backpack and adequate supplies not only helps them succeed in school, but helps give confidence to do well in their studies and build relationships at school.

In June, volunteers start working away creating Cards for Kids. This year, the Lion’s Heart Service group, Diamond Bar High School National Honor Society and other volunteers made almost 200 encouraging cards for the back-to-school kits.

One volunteer noted that she most enjoyed the freedom for her and her daughters to be creative and write beautiful notes in the cards for youth.

With the support of individuals in the community and our partners including Wells Fargo and Purpose Church Claremont, we received about $4,025 worth of new backpacks and school supplies! Purpose Church Claremont alone donated 108 backpacks filled with school supplies!

“I am blown away by the support,” said Sarah Crandall of Purpose Church Claremont. Sarah is currently working with her church to arrange more opportunities to support foster youth. “We are blessed to be apart of what you guys are doing! It was so fun to watch my church get excited about this opportunity.”

Throughout July, 22 volunteers assisted with taking inventory of donations and stuffing 261 backpacks with supplies. Volunteers said they enjoyed being involved in the process and seeing what is done “behind the scenes” to help the kids. In all, volunteers contributed over 113 hours to make sure disadvantaged youth received what they needed to be successful in the school year.

Not only were we able to provide 196 children at Trinity Youth Services with backpacks filled with supplies, but we were also able to extend our reach to youth at New Dawn Group Home in Walnut and Chino, McKinley Children’s Center and Ontario-Montclair School District. The total of youth supplied with filled backpacks came out to 261 and dozens more with miscellaneous school supplies!

Thank you to everyone who chose to Be the Difference to children in need this summer. If you would like to help us in our next campaign to support displaced youth, get involved! We would love to have you work alongside us as we fulfill our mission.


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.