Friends of Foster Children Support Trinity El Monte Enrichment Activities

Trinity El Monte
Trinity El Monte

Trinity El Monte

Author, marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson wrote that “Play, incorporating animistic and magical thinking is important because it: Fosters the healthy, creative and emotional growth of a child; Forms the best foundation for later intellectual growth; Provides a way in which children get to know the world and creates possibilities for different ways of responding to it; and Fosters empathy and wonder.”

For youth in foster care, such fundamental development opportunities are difficult to make reality. Furthermore, obtaining a sense of normalcy for a child living on a residential campus certainly has its challenges. Thanks to the support of community partners, children at Trinity Youth Services get a chance to learn basic social skills by going out to eat at a restaurant, team building skills though participation in sports, and opportunities to interact in nature to engage and inspire.

Nonprofit organization, Friends of Foster Children San Gabriel Valley (FOFC), recently donated to Trinity’s El Monte residential campus. The organization was established in 1976 to enhance the quality of life for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the San Gabriel Valley. The organization’s Foster Caring Committee approved a budget to provide 6 residential campuses in the area with spring and summer opportunities and experiences.

“The purpose of the Foster Caring Committee is to provide a resource to these facilities for immediate needs and for us to respond quickly. The facilities present their requests to their appointed liaison prior to each Committee meeting.  The Committee may award funds for cottage enhancements, recreational equipment, holiday parties, graduation expenses, craft supplies, and many more. Foster Caring has a limited budget and we stretch it as far and as fairly as possible at each meeting. We base our decisions on the type of request, the dollar amount and the urgency,” said Carole Kolla of the FOFC Foster Caring Committee.

The Foster Caring Committee chose to fulfill many of the boy’s requests at the Trinity El Monte residential campus including 6 skateboards and pads, 5 video games, 11 DVDs, 5 volleyballs, 4 basketballs and 1 hacky sack. The committee also provided new basketball shorts and swim trunks for their outdoor activities.

The donation also included some off campus activities. Youth in foster care face many challenges as they strive to just feel like a “normal” kid. Clearances and supervision must be in place and youth living on a residential campus can feel cooped up. This is why it is so important for them to have real life experiences off campus and to learn to develop in the area of social interactions. Thanks to FOFC, the youth were able to experience either a Dodger game, a Shakey’s buffet, or a day at Speed Zone this summer.

One group of boys went on “a trip to a favorite restaurant for dinner and an etiquette class, [which is] exciting for the boys who have earned a special off-campus outing,” the FOFC newsletter said. “The youth were given guidance on dressing nicely, how to order, table manners, party smarts, and showing kindness,” said Trinity El Monte Recreation Supervisor, Cathleen Duran.

“I admire Cathleen’s great love and support for the boys on campus and her dedication to Trinity El Monte. She is a pleasure to work with,” Carole said.


A surprising item on the boy’s wish list was gardening supplies. They chose a variety of plants and flowers to grow and have been diligent to keep the small garden prospering. “The good news is that the plants are still alive and flowering. Good job boys!” read the FOFC newsletter.

A big thank you to Friends of Foster Children San Gabriel Valley for their generosity in helping provide group enrichment activities, skill building opportunities and social outings during the spring and summer. These experiences are cherished by Trinity youth and staff as we work together with our community partners to bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of youth in foster care. These essential development opportunities truly make a difference as the youth learn to cope with and heal from the trauma in their lives. Trinity strives to be the #1 choice in providing quality care for children and their families, with one goal in mind: permanency for children and families so they can create a better future.

For more information regarding Trinity Youth Services programs, call 800-964-9811 or email

Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing & Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email:



The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) was designed so that children living out of their home would be provided the most appropriate placement in committed nurturing resource (foster) homes. Services and supports will be tailored based on each child’s needs. All of these services and supports fall into 6 Core Services: mental health, transition support upon entry, educational/physical/behavioral/extracurricular support, transition to adulthood support, permanency support, and Native American child services.

The Trinity Youth Services (TYS) team, along with our resource (foster) families, will directly provide the core services and support to children, Non-Minor Dependents (NMD) and their families, fulfilling the requirements of the CCR.

Last month we outlined the third core services, educational/physical/behavioral/extracurricular supports. This month we will look at transition to adulthood support.

This core service is critical to our older youth in care. Think back to when you were 18.  Were you ready to live on your own with no support whatsoever?  Extended foster care changed policies so that youth could stay in foster care through the age of 21 years old, allowing four more years of preparation time for the youth to be successful as adults. During this extended time in foster care, the NMDs must meet certain criteria to remain eligible for services. For example, they must be in school or working.

TYS is committed to supporting children and Non-Minor Dependents in achieving a successful adulthood. A huge part of this support comes from resource families opening their homes to teens and making them part of the family. Treatment Foster Care Social Workers (TFCSWs) along with the resource parents work closely together to provide educational and employment support to the youth by assisting in job search, support in completing job applications and providing the youth the opportunity to visit local colleges.

TFCSW will assist in the implementation of the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) by working directly with the youth on achieving goals set within the plan. Youth will participate in independent living skills groups. Additionally, TYS will assist youth in establishing lifelong connections by assisting the youth find and connect with family and/or nonrelated family members.

In my next blog, I will discuss permanency support. This topic dives into the important support offered to TYS youth as the agency and families strive to achieve a permanent environment for children in foster care, either through reunification or adoption.

Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’ operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email:



Brenes Adoption

Brother and sister, Cesar (13) and Betzaida (12), were placed into foster care eight years ago. They were detained from their birth mother, placed into the care of their older sister, then were also removed from her care. With their father deceased and no other family to provide them the care they needed, Trinity Youth Services began a search for a loving forever family. Three years ago, they were placed with resource parents, Maria De La Torre and Francisco Brenes.

“Ever since the children were placed in our home, they asked to be adopted,” Maria said. Francisco and Maria didn’t need much convincing. They were happy to grant the children their wish of becoming a family.

“They didn’t have anyone to care for them. They didn’t have a stable home,” Maria said, and on May 4, 2017 the children legally became the children of Maria and Francisco. “Today, I feel hope that everything is going to be ok and happy.”

As they waited in the lobby for their adoption court hearing, Cesar said he was, “feeling good about today,” to which his sister nodded in agreement.


Francisco, Maria and the children had been waiting with anticipation for their adoption. “There was a lot leading up to this day and now everything is coming into place,” Maria said, explaining that it was well worth it.

In the hearing, the family signed paperwork, were explained their rights as a family, and were proclaimed a legally recognized family with all cherished responsibilities and benefits. Maria and Francisco hopped up to give their new family members great-big bear hugs. The children understood the seriousness of the day and once the judge made it official, they began to smile from ear to ear. A sense of relief washed over their faces knowing they now officially belong to a family.


Francisco and Maria look forward to encouraging their children in their interests and schoolwork, Cesar with his soccer and “Betzy” with her love for art and animals. “They love outdoor activities,” Maria said.

The Brenes family also foster a 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, they are parents to children in their 30s and are grandparents to a 4-year-old little girl. Maria encourages others to foster and adopt. She is currently convincing her daughter of how rewarding it can be to care for a child whose greatest wish is to belong to a loving family.


If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Trinity Youth Services to make a child’s wish for a family come true: 888.346.9645 or

Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email:

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