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

“Warm & Fuzzy February” Brings Coziness to 262 Foster Youth

This year’s “Warm & Fuzzy February” campaign was a major success and supported 262 foster youth! Throughout the past year, dozens of individuals gathered to create hand-made blankets in preparation for our annual distribution of care packages stuffed with goodies to bring a sense of warmth to the children we support. Through the combined efforts of our volunteers and donors, the Foundation was able to provide 168 bags to children in foster care in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties including a new partnership with Duarte Unified School District. For older youth, we sent Regal Movie Theater gift cards to 94 teens currently in a residential therapeutic program.

In preparation for “Warm & Fuzzy February,” we sought the help of our dedicated community partners and put on several volunteering events to ensure we met our goal of supporting over 200 children in foster care. With the assistance of 87 volunteers putting in 250 hours of work, the Foundation was able to create hand-made cards for kids and fringe blankets for children ages 0-18. Aside from the huge effort of our volunteers, the Foundation was also able to get the help of several community partners.

It was a community effort making and collecting the items needed for our “Warm & Fuzzy February” care packages. Several different organizations including Foothill Country Day School, Upland HS Health Corps, students of the Occupational Therapy program at Loma Linda University, Claremont Farmers Insurance, Inland Empire United Way staff and UCR Circle K International participated by creating hand-made cards filled with messages of warmth and hope.

CSUF Alpha Phi Omega and Harvey Mudd’s “Mudders Making a Difference” (MMAD) donated hand-made blankets. And we received a surprise gift of dozens of scarves and beanies from volunteer Kathy Warth, who in her spare time, crochets from left over yarn.

The success of this campaign also involved conducting volunteer events in the community. We partnered with Sunrise Senior Living in Claremont, CA who donated the materials for the seniors to make hand-made fringe blankets during their recreation time and visited a team of 15 staff volunteers at Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

A “Warm & Fuzzy” care package wouldn’t be complete without a good book to curl up with. Supporters participated by contributing books to include in the packages. Brisa Sifuentes of the Claremont Little Free Library and 12-year-old book blogger, Zayda (AKA @babybibilophile), each used their Instagram following to contribute dozens of brand new books to our book drive portion of the campaign.

If you would like to help us continue this important work to help children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment, please donate what you can. Every bit makes a difference!


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

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

Volunteer

Our 2nd Annual “Valenteer” Party!

Volunteer

 

We LOVE Our Volunteers!

You are cordially invited to a Volunteer Appreciation reception at our office so we can get to know each other better! Come meet the entire Foundation staff, members of the board of trustees and other volunteers. We’ll update you on our upcoming events and celebrate the successes of the past year.

Thursday, February 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. Goodie bags! Snacks and beverages! Bring a book for our book drive and get entered into our raffle!

 

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 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

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Quintana

Jessica Quintana has volunteered regularly with The Children’s Foundation of America over the span of a few months. She has helped with several events thus far,  including  blanket making and cards for kids. Jessica says that these types of events hold a special place in her heart because she loves to help foster youth feel loved and special. We interviewed Jessica to talk about her motivations and hobbies, and why she loves volunteering with us.

Tell us a little about yourself

I just finished my master’s program at Azusa Pacific in college counseling and student development. I love community service and volunteering and  thought “ While I have this time off I should volunteer”. So that’s really how I got plugged in with this organization.

What are your hobbies outside of volunteering?

I like crafting a lot. I like reading in my spare time, and I love to dance.

Do you volunteer with any other organizations?

I have in the past. Right now I’m trying to get started with Priceless Pet Rescue, which is another local nonprofit focused on animal rescues.

What inspired you to become involved with the Children’s Foundation of America?

I saw the blanket making event on VolunteerMatch.org and thought “Wow, that is so amazing”. [It’s amazing] for foster kids to have something from this type of organization. And to be able to help them feel special by giving them something personal that someone spent time on (because it does take time)! It was cool to just be a part of that. That’s what really got me interested in continuing to volunteer.

Can you describe your favorite CFA volunteer event.

Like I said, I  love the blanket making event. It gives all the volunteers an opportunity to sit by each other and chat it up while we’re making these blankets. I’d say that’s the most fun and most rewarding, but there a lot of other things. Like the card’s for kids event was really great. Those kind of events just really touch my heart.

Why would you encourage others to volunteer with us?

I personally think that while donating money is really important for organizations to survive, donating your time and experience is something that (for me at least) is way more meaningful. I think the Children’s Foundation of America does a really good job at communicating their values and goals for each volunteer event. That’s why I like to encourage others to volunteer with CFA.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow volunteers?

I like that we have the opportunity to meet often for CFA volunteer events. And it’s been a real pleasure seeing some familiar volunteer faces and my overall experience has just been great. I’m really glad to be part of this group.

Jessica is a volunteer leader for the Children’s Foundation of America. Volunteer leaders assist with at least 2 volunteer events a month, go through our volunteer management training, and work closely with volunteers and staff at the Children’s Foundation of America. For more information on volunteering or becoming a volunteer leader, please visit our website.


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

 

Back-to-School Supply Drive a Major Success


The Hillman Group celebrates the completion of stuffing over 100 back packs with school supplies to be donated to local children in foster care.

Back to school for many children can mean a time of excitement and anticipation. What is often forgotten is that displaced children often feel anxiety and uncertainty when it comes to preparing for this important time. In fact, many children transitioning into foster homes usually need everything from a back packs to basic school supplies as they often have no possessions to call their own. Understanding this need, the team at Children’s Foundation of America launched the annual Back-to-School Supply Drive in June with the goal in mind to supply 150 back packs filled with school supplies to school aged children in need living throughout Southern California.

The Overwhelming Support

What we couldn’t have predicted was the overwhelming amount of support and generosity from our volunteers, business partners, and community members to reach our goal. Over the course of two months, we received over 200 back packs, hundreds of school supplies valued at $1700, and over 10 volunteers from The Hillman Group dedicating a combined 20 hours to assembling back to school care packages!

Children’s Foundation of America partnered with the Claremont Village Marketing Group to provide school supplies for the Shoes That Fit drive.

Enough Supplies to Spread the Love

Receiving a surplus of school supplies allowed us to extend our assistance not only children in foster care supported by Trinity Youth Services, but also a number of displaced or disadvantaged children supported by Foothill Family Shelter, David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, and Shoes That Fit.


Volunteer Coordinator, Sasha Chavez, drops off backpacks for children at Foothill Family Shelter.

We’d like to thank all of our local partners for making the Back-to-School Supply Drive a major success:

The Hillman Group

Advantage Resourcing

Claremont Little Free Library

Tapestry Church

Claremont United Church of Christ

Christina Jackson, Board Member

Laura Chaidez, Board Member

Sasha Chavez, Volunteer Coordinator

Ananda Kohler, Donor

Praveena Jeereddi, Donor

Kathy Warth, Donor


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

Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Guzman

Ashley has volunteered with The Children’s Foundation of America for multiple events including tabling opportunities, blanket making for foster children, and community awareness campaigns. She is currently attending Citrus College majoring in sociology and feels closely aligned with our mission of helping children heal, learn and thrive. She is hoping to continue her volunteer work and one day pursue a career in social work or become a counselor. We sat down with Ashley to hear more about her hobbies and what keeps her inspired to be involved in the community.

What are your hobbies outside of volunteering?

My hobbies consist of playing with my dogs, taking them on walks, hanging out with friends, reading and playing on my ukulele.

Do you volunteer with any other organizations?

Yes, I volunteer with House of Ruth who directly helps men and women who suffer from domestic violence. And Together We Rise, another nonprofit organization that supports foster youth.

What inspired you to become involved with the Children’s Foundation of America?

Since I want to pursue a career in social work, I want to focus my path on helping children in foster care. Volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America is a great way for me to do that and to give back to the community. I also hope to create my own nonprofit organization when I get older.

Can you describe your favorite CFA Volunteer Event?

My favorite event was the 4th of July tabling event. A lot of people were there and they were very interactive and very interested in knowing more about the Children’s Foundation of America.

 Why would you encourage others to volunteer?

Organizations that are focused on foster care youth need our support and love. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. Some of these children suffer from mental health issues so volunteering is a great way to raise awareness about these issues and the needs of these children.

Any advice you’d like to share with your fellow volunteers?

Be confident, be brave and be enthusiastic. When volunteering, be yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to respond to questions.

For more information on volunteering with our organization, please email volunteer@trinityys.org.


Sasha Chavez, AmeriCorps VIP Intern
Sasha is volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America as our AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Program) Intern. This mutually beneficial partnership allows Sasha to work hand-in-hand with the Children’s Foundation of America to develop and expand the quality of the volunteer opportunities to address the unmet needs of our local community. Sasha has been a wonderful asset to our team. She creates content for our social media, assists with our community outreach and has even helped by coordinating fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. She lives locally to our headquarters in Claremont and studies public relations and marketing at the University of La Verne. When she isn’t volunteering with the Foundation, she enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with my friends and family.


 

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.

 


 

Volunteer Spotlight: Sophia Amado

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight focuses on Sophia Amado, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga. She has been involved in several  Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) events such as making blankets for foster youth and helping inventory donations. Sophia recently became a lead volunteer due to her positive attitude and ability to direct other volunteers.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I like to go hiking, I like to go to festivals, concerts, and just hanging out with my friends.

Where did you go to school?

I went to school at Studio 7 in Covina and I majored in fashion merchandising.

What activities do you participate in with CFA?

Blanket making for foster children, passing out fliers during awareness campaigns and helping to organize the warehouse

What inspired you to volunteer?

I really like the organization and the work that they do. I also like the fact that it deals with children, which is our future.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering?

What’s most rewarding is that it’s for a good cause, that it gives me a sense of fulfillment and it just helps our community. It’s good to help your community and to get outside of yourself sometimes. The best way to do that is by doing something that you feel passion for.

Anything else you’d like to share with fellow volunteers?

Keep on volunteering. It’s such great and fulfilling work that we do here and I’m sure they appreciate it.

Be the Difference

If you would like to volunteer at the Children’s Foundation of America like Sophia, call 1-800-KIDS-730 or email volunteer@trinityys.org.


Sasha Chavez, AmeriCorps VIP Intern
Sasha is volunteering with the Children’s Foundation of America as our AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Program) Fellow. This mutually beneficial partnership allows Sasha to work hand-in-hand with the Children’s Foundation of America to develop and expand the quality of the volunteer opportunities to address the unmet needs of our local community. Sasha has been a wonderful asset to our team. She creates content for our social media, assists with our community outreach and has even helped by coordinating fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. She lives locally to our headquarters in Claremont and studies public relations and marketing at the University of La Verne. When she isn’t volunteering with the Foundation, she enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with my friends and family.