CFA Volunteer Recognition Event Returns In-Person
On Saturday, April 10, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) celebrated our sixth annual Volunteer Recognition Party. The event was held at the Alexander Hughes Community Center in Claremont with over 20 of our top volunteers from 2021 in attendance. This event was held to recognize the hard work and accomplishments CFA’s volunteers achieved last year.
Our volunteers served 3,384 children, fundraised $50,000 in scholarships, supported 24 organizations, and completed 1,958 hours at 40 volunteer events. Through the continued pandemic, the volunteers of CFA have been committed to Being the Difference in the lives of foster youth and children in need.
Trophies and plaques were awarded to volunteers who served the most hours and went above and beyond. Special certificates from Senator Anthony J. Portantino were also presented to all volunteers in attendance. District Representative, Kristi Lopez, from the office of Sen. Portantino, joined us at our event and discussed initiatives they are currently working on to support children in foster care. Thank you to Sen. Portantino’s team for advocating for foster youth and for your ongoing support of our volunteers.
The Volunteer Superhero Award went to our longtime volunteer, Karen Valente. Karen volunteered a total of 60 hours in 2021. She has participated in Birthday in a Bag, Holiday Heroes, packing Halloween treat bags, and helped out at the annual golf tournament fundraiser.
CFA’s Action Heroes were Jorge Merlos and Char Costantino. Both individuals have tremendously helped the toy collection drive for our Holiday Heroes campaign and have done incredible work in raising awareness for children in need through social media.
There were also two Dynamic Duo’s this year for contributing several hours as a team. This award went to Vicki and John Rensch, and Lillian and Shelley Sibrian. We also awarded April Tarin, Alayna Trejo, and Chis Garner as our first-ever Triumphant Triad.
Lastly, the Superhero Squad Award went to the volunteer group Lion’s Heart. This group of incredible volunteers single-handedly conducted our gift wrapping fundraiser during the holidays!
The Triniteer of the Year Award is given to the Trinity Youth Services employee with the most hours contributed. This year, the award undoubtedly goes to Fr. John Alexandres, who contributed several hours and support throughout 2021. Fr. John helped transport golf supplies for our annual golf tournament fundraiser and picked up many toy drive donations during the holidays. Our team could not have gotten through either campaign without his kind help.
A big thank you to Paycom for sponsoring our event. “We are so thankful for what Children’s Foundation of America does for the community and we are truly grateful to be able to sponsor the event,” said Paycom Executive Sales Representative, Patrick Myers.
Because of Paycom’s generosity, we were able to provide lunch from Wolfe’s Market as well as purchase decorations and giveaways. Everyone who attended got to participate in a raffle where electronics, gift cards, and goodie baskets were raffled off. We are filled with gratitude for Paycom’s support of our Volunteer Program.
Each and every one of our volunteers deserve recognition for the work they do. Volunteers are the heart and soul of a nonprofit and we wanted to show our volunteers how much we appreciate them. We are proud of the accomplishments achieved by this group of helping hands in a single year. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon at email@example.com or 909.825.5588 ext. 236.
Briana Calderon, Volunteer Coordinator
Briana leads our volunteer program through various campaigns and volunteer activities year round. Briana describes her responsibility as helping to create a space for everyone to come volunteer and find community in serving a greater purpose than our own. Briana graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a focus on public relations at California State University San Bernardino. During her time at CSUSB, she was a student recruiter and tour guide. Having enjoyed her experience working with students and public speaking, working with volunteers seemed like a natural step. Briana has helped advance our volunteer systems with technology and provided virtual volunteer opportunities when possible. In addition to her position at CFA, Briana also serves on the Diversity, Inclusion, Value, Equity (DIVE) team.
CFA Honors Volunteers at Virtual “Valenteer” Party
The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) held its fifth annual “Valenteer” Party virtually to thank our devoted volunteers who joined us, even in a pandemic, to be the difference for children in need. The COVID-19 crisis changed everyday life for people across the globe in 2020 and forced CFA to cancel in-person volunteer events. This especially impacted those who dedicate much of their time to volunteering, but out of an abundance of caution and care for our volunteers, we decided to make the tough decision to suspend in-person volunteer activities while COVID positivity rates remained high. Making sure volunteers and staff remained safe and protected was our priority.
We canceled our annual mall gift wrapping fundraiser, which usually employs hundreds of volunteer workers. It is the highlight of the year for many in our volunteer program. Community events like the Pie Festival and Fourth of July were canceled, which also meant we could not host our volunteer-ran information and game booths. In an effort to keep our volunteers engaged and active, CFA began to host virtual volunteer opportunities. This allowed our volunteers to continue advocating and supporting children in need. Over the course of the year, our volunteers still managed to serve 565 hours!
At this year’s “Valenteer” Party, trophies and plaques were given to those who deserve special recognition in their service as volunteers in 2020. For the second year in a row, John and Vicki Rensch are our Volunteer Dynamic Duo, accumulating the most volunteer hours as a duo with a combined total of 30 hours! During our Holiday Heroes campaign, they did a fantastic job helping with donation inventory. “They are amazing and always willing to help where it’s needed,” says CFA’s Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon.
Jacqueline Legazcue and Zayda Love are this year’s Action Heroes for their incredible work in forming their own advocacy projects. Jacqueline conducted virtual fundraising and volunteer events in 2020 and raised nearly $300 through her efforts. She continues to organize events for our cause including our upcoming Jamz and Jammies fundraiser on February 26! Zayda is a social influencer, entrepreneur and rep for Owl Crate Jr. She has used her platform to raise awareness and funds for children in need. She continues to advocate through the Zayda Literacy Fund and Warm and Fuzzy February Book Drive.
Jessica Messina was awarded Triniteer of the Year for volunteering a total of 94 hours over 13 occasions as a Trinity Youth Services staff member. Jessica began volunteering with us in December 2019 and learned about Trinity through her work with our cause. She applied for a position at Trinity and has been employed in mental health services since early 2020. Jessica continues to volunteer with CFA as often as she can.
Our Volunteer Superheroes contribute the most volunteer hours. In 2020, Karen Valente served 43 hours by helping with inventory and distribution and was a fantastic help during our Holiday Heroes campaign. She has volunteered at CFA for years and loves being able to help others. “Karen is such a joy to be around,” Briana said. “Her help during the Holiday Heroes Toy Drive was tremendous!”
Gloria Guix started as a CFA intern and continued to volunteer through the holidays when we needed help most. In total, Gloria contributed 100 hours and served the most volunteer hours in 2020! Gloria participated in awareness campaigns, care package assembly, inventory, creating cards for kids and so much more. “Throughout the year, Gloria continuously volunteered in areas of greatest need with the most flexibility, which greatly helped the success of our campaigns,” Briana said.
During our virtual event, we had a time of discussion in which we asked, “Why do you volunteer?” We got a variety of answers and prompted a most insightful dialog. Volunteer Clare Miranda said she enjoys volunteering for the sense of community it provides and to connect with others. Faye Schoborg stated that it helps her to put others before herself and that it puts things into perspective to help another.
In a special message sent by California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, he stated, “I want to congratulate Children’s Foundation of America for putting on this very important volunteer appreciation. When I think of the all work CFA has done this year, it’s just staggering and it’s the volunteers who made that happen deserve of our appreciation. It’s the volunteers that are the backbone of the success. Thank you for your service, thank you for your heart and your compassion. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Senator Portantino also recognized CEO Cher Ofstedahl for her leadership of the organization.
Cher followed by giving a speech of her own and thanked our volunteers for the incredible work they do. To additionally show her appreciation, she sponsored our party favors for volunteers which were digital Starbucks gift cards. She also provided the raffle prizes which Faye Schoborg, Jasmine Lucero and Nicole Emily Woloszyn won!
We admire and appreciate the dedication that our volunteers demonstrate in their willingness to volunteer especially during troubling times, as we have seen in this past year. Thank you to everyone in attendance and to every single one of our volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Briana Calderon, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909.825.5588 ext. 236.
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.
CFA Celebrates 2019 Volunteers at Heartfelt Recognition Party
What has 100 hands, more heart than a room can hold, and the power to help thousands of children in in a single bound? The attendees at this year’s volunteer appreciation party, of course! On February 22, the Children’s Foundation of America held its fourth annual “Valenteer” Party, and quite a success, it was.
The event, sponsored by Paycom, was hosted by the DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont. Guests enjoyed a catered lunch, delectable desserts, prizes and awards. It was the perfect stage for declaring appreciation for the volunteers who served more than 1,700 hours, at 45 events, during 2019.
Volunteers are the keystone of the Foundation, and in 2019 helped to make possible: The distribution of 1,309 care packages, awarding of $56,500 in scholarships and literacy grants, funding of music lessons and school activities, gifting of graduation hats and gowns, gym equipment for a residential campus and much more.
Everyone in attendance had supported the Foundation in 2019 by giving at least ten hours of their time and working 2 or more events. They received certificates from our organization as well as from the office of Senator Anthony Portantino. Special designations were given to volunteers who went above and beyond and were honored with special plaques or trophies.
Karen Valente served the most volunteer hours, totaling 77, in all. She is the type of individual anyone would love to have in their corner; her willingness to perform service is genuine and heart-felt. During several service opportunities, she has stayed full days to help get needed items out to our youth.
Jim Athey is next in line with the second highest total of 44 hours. He is one who lets nothing stand in his way of showing up to an event; this was recently demonstrated when he chose to ride his bike in the rain, several miles, rather than to cancel his commitment, due to transportation difficulties.
Zayda Cruz, an advocate for literacy among youth, raises public awareness and funds for children in need. Last year, she established the Zayda Literacy Fund with the Children’s Foundation of America, which awards $500 grants for three foster children per year.
Vicki and John Rensch served the most hours as a team, with 55 hours. This amazing couple has actually been on a walk, ran into our group doing a project, and stopped what they were doing in order to volunteer.
Berkeley and Blake Leal, with 36 hours of support at the foundation. This brother and sister team are proof that the family who serves together, stays together.
Megan Hakopian and Treza Oghoorian, touting a collective 28 hours of service. They are a mother and daughter who tag-team, in order to help us at the most events.
Sylvia Tam’s Lion’s Heart group worked a collective 100 hours. This group shows how mighty their hearts are by working overtime at the holiday wrap station; many times, while refusing to stop for a break.
Star Command Award
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont contributed the most hours served as a company. We can always count on these heroes for back-up! The staff volunteered at our holiday gift-wrapping fundraiser, conducted a gift-drive for our youth, and donated a lovely hotel space for our volunteer recognition event.
Wells Fargo, another business who went above and beyond filling days of shifts at our gift-wrapping fundraiser.
Our Hearts Are Filled With Gratitude
Thank you again to the DoubleTree Hotel, Paycom and to all who participated in this year’s event. Thank you for being so willing to give your time to serve the community. We hope you will be joining us next year. There is still plenty of time to be a hero for a child in need, get involved!
Paula Leal, Volunteer Coordinator
Paula reaches out to the community to provide opportunities for volunteerism within our organization. She majored in human services at Brigham Young University and has experience in marketing, public relations and nonprofit work. She has served on PTA boards and school site councils as well as volunteered in local schools for more than 15 years. She started her own grass-roots charity, which has served people in the US, India, Mexico and Africa through campaigns that provided food, clothes, hygiene products, medical supplies and instruments, and items to help entrepreneurs start home based businesses.
Trinity Classic 2016 Golf Tournament Raises Over $100,000 for Children in Need
Trinity Classic 2016 golf tournament was a huge success netting over $100,000 in funds raised for children in need. Through tournament ticket sales, raffle ticket sales, golf ball drop contest and general donations, the Children’s Foundation of America raised funds to aid Trinity Youth Services’ programs and to further advance transitional programs for youth after foster care and residential treatment.
Our partners at Trinity Youth Services help trauma-affected youth through foster care, adoption, residential treatment and mental health services in Southern California and Houston, Texas. The Children’s Foundation of America is honored to help their mission by hosting fundraising events like Trinity Classic to benefit the children in their care.
This year, the annual event took place on September 12, 2016 at South Hills Country Club in West Covina. Nearly 150 attendees checked in to the registration table, where Trinity Youth Services employees volunteered in greeting guests. Children’s Foundation of America Executive Director and Trinity Youth Services Chief Administrative Officer, Cher Ofstedahl, handed out champagne to toast to Trinity Youth Services’ 50th anniversary as guests posed for a red carpet-style photo.
Golfers checked their bags, enjoyed continental breakfast on the patio overlooking the golf course then gathered for an impressive contest: the helicopter ball drop. Guests who entered the contest got a golf ball in their name placed into a large bucket. The golf balls were dropped over a golf hole from the helicopter and the ball closest to the hole won $10,000. Kevin Mink of Image Source was announced the lucky winner and, in support of the cause, declared he would donate half his prize back to the Children’s Foundation of America.
As the helicopter circled overhead and exited the course, golfers hopped into their golf carts and began the tournament. Throughout the course were tastings including Buca di Beppo and Iconic Protein. Additionally, a drink cart traveled the course ensuring no one was thirsty and, midday, guests were treated to a boxed lunch.
After a full day of golfing, guests gathered at the club house for cocktail hour followed by a buffet dinner of roasted vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes, lemon herb chicken in cream sauce and charbroiled Black Angus steak with forest mushroom demi-glace. Dessert included an array of cakes to choose from including tiramisu and chocolate cake.
As guests took their seats in the banquet hall, Trinity Youth Services CEO, John Neiuber, shared about the important youth programs conducted over the last 50 years and the impact Trinity has made in the lives of over 60,000 children.
Children’s Foundation of America Executive Director, Cher Ofstedahl, then took the podium to announce the “Shopping by Chance” winners. Guests took out their raffle tickets and waited in anticipation for their number to be called. With prizes like trips to New York, New Orleans, Catalina, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego and Palm Springs and packages like “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Drone,” “Music Lovers,” “Braces” and “Smart TV,” guests had the opportunity to win big. All prizes were provided by generous businesses to help the Foundation raise funds for children.
The winners from the tournament also were announced at the banquet. Tournament first place went to Martin Cichocki, Hiram Rivera-Toro and Jeff Madden. Second place was awarded to Kevin Mink, Jordan Craft, Judith Jarvis and Matt Daniels. Third place was awarded to Mike Ofstedahl, Steve Ofstedahl, Shawn Fitz and Andre Chartrand. The Putting Champion and Closest to the Pin was Martin Cichocki.
Special recognition was given to Hub International for presenting the event. Their support in hosting the golf tournament ensures that all funds raised directly benefit children who have been victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect.
Everyone is a winner at the Trinity Classic golf tournament by being the difference to a child in need. Join us at next year’s Trinity Classic golf tournament as we raise awareness and funds for this important cause.