Masked LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis Donates Thanksgiving Meals to Trinity Families In Trying Times

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis
LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis

The Office of Hilda Solis generously donates turkey meals to families in need each Thanksgiving as part of “Operation Gobble Gobble,” an outreach initiative providing a hearty feast for those identified by community programs as needing support. This year, many families are struggling and facing the holidays mask-on due to COVID-19.

Fourteen Trinity Youth Services resource families received Thanksgiving meals this year from this initiative. Foster parents, out of the kindness of their hearts, put a lot of their own resources into raising children in need as they would their own. But sometimes, they aren’t able to give the great feast they would hope to give the children in their care. Outreach like Hilda Solis’ “Operation Gobble Gobble” helps resource families provide a memorable meal.

In a statement, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis said, “Operation Gobble Gobble in the East San Gabriel Valley, is a testament to the dedication and collaboration of a true team. Through funding that I provided, and sponsorships from various stakeholders, 1,070 families will have a warm meal to enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday.”

With the help of San Gabriel Valley Water Co., volunteers including the police department and various stakeholders, over a thousand turkeys and food boxes were distributed to families from the San Gabriel Valley.

Eve Powers, Trinity Youth Services representative and former foster youth, accepted the contribution with gratitude on behalf of the agency. She then delivered the meals to our fantastic families who could use the extra help, especially this year. The contributions were in such abundance, Eve could barely fit it all in her car. Luckily the amazing volunteers were able to help pack everything for our families. Trinity Youth Services and our families are so thankful for the Office of Hilda Solis remembering the children in our care.

We’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving filled with love and family, even if that means Zooming in to the family gathering this year. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!


Jenelle PhillipsDirector of Development
Jenelle’s role is to identify and access resources for youth in our care. She is also responsible for maintaining a distinctive look and voice for Trinity 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 an award-winning graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at California State University Fullerton. Jenelle is very involved in the community and is active in her church.

distanced learning

distanced learning

As the school semester approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, families and caregivers are having to look at distanced learning options for their children. To study remotely, computers are essential. Below are some resources for low-income families to receive a free computer:

Computers for Kids
Call: 434-817-1121 or Text: 434-214-0153 — computers4kids.net
C4K offers free computers to K-12 students that receive government assistance.

The On It Foundation
Call: 305-244-6454 — theonitfoundation.org
This organization provides free computers to K-12 students that participate in free or reduced school lunch programs.

Computers with Causes
Call: 888-228-7320 — computerswithcauses.org
An organization that donates computers to K-12 students, foster children, and disabled veterans in need.

Children’s Foundation of America
This organization will be providing school supplies to youth at Trinity Youth Services, as well as scholarships. Information can be obtained through Trinity staff.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle PhillipsDirector of Development
Jenelle’s role is to identify and access resources for youth in our care. She is also responsible for maintaining a distinctive look and voice for Trinity 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 an award-winning graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at California State University Fullerton. Jenelle is very involved in the community and is active in her church.

Waridi's Boys

Waridi's Boys

How did you get into fostering and why was it important to you?
I was introduced to foster care in 1988. My mom was a foster parent who turned her home into a group home. She did that for several years and I was her back-up sitter, basically her right hand. I moved away from fostering to pursue college and my life direction changed when I got married and had my own children; it was conducive at that time. Eventually, I began thinking about going back into foster care as my children became teenagers.

Waridi

Several years later, I made a decision that fostering was something that I truly desired to do. I became a foster parent because there are so many children in the system and there is a viable need for foster parents. I worked in the medical field and we’d hear cases about foster children being removed from home for being abused and neglected. This prompted me to want to go back to being in the fostering system. Knowing there was a need, having the heart to heal and love, and wanting to leave a mark on this earth, all made me want to foster even more.

How long were the children you fostered in your care before you adopted them and what are their names and ages?
The children were in my care for 3 ½ years. Their names are Carl (12) and Donnie (10).

What was the biggest challenge you’ve overcome with your sons?
The biggest challenges we overcame was the boys’ desire to accept love because they didn’t know what love was or what love looked like. The other challenge was teaching them how to appreciate and reciprocate love, as well as manage behaviors due to previous trauma.

How were you able to overcome challenges?
Loving the boys was very easy because love doesn’t stop. Love is patient, love is kind, and love is long-suffering. It’s a continuous action we give to one another, so regardless of what the child says or does, unconditional love is exuberated from me to them, no matter what. My sons had to know that no matter what, I was going to love them, make sure that they were safe and secure and know that I would provide them with stability consistently. Over time, they were able to see that and say, “Oh, she does care about me.” For example, Carl would demonstrate poor choices that would lead into consequences at school which would trigger behaviors. He would say “What I did was really, really bad and you’re not upset with me?” Even though I may have been upset with him on the inside, I didn’t allow my emotions to govern how I responded which could have possibly made him withdraw from me. I still demonstrated love, but I let him know that I was unhappy and disappointed with the choices he made. As far as the behaviors are concerned, having continuous conversations with Carl and Donnie were important; letting them know that they are a reflection of me because they are considered my children, helped them want to do well. I demonstrated love and compassion, and my sons reciprocated it. I’d give them kudos and/or reward them for making positive choices. With love, consistency, and giving a little direction on how things could have been handled differently, my sons did something they’ve never done before and became someone they’ve never been.

Were there any challenges you faced in the adoption process that Trinity helped with?
When paperwork needed to be processed, completed and tuned in, Trinity completed their paperwork and submitted documents to the county without hesitation. They literally walked me through the process and ensured that all processes were efficient and effective. When the County started requesting information from them, they were right on it, so the process went faster than normal. I can say that everything I’ve ever needed, Trinity has always been there. So, walking me through the process, coming out, and giving me reminders were just some of the things Trinity did for me. My social worker, Mrs. Dana has always stood by my side and met my needs when I needed direction, support, or just an ear to listen as well as Mrs. Laura, Mrs. Ashiko, and Mrs. Lupe. In fact, the whole team is always accessible, and that’s the one thing I appreciate. I have not seen anyone on my children’s caseload drop the ball.

What are some of the traits of a good foster parent?
They should possess the trait of being able to see the children as their own children. If they can’t, that will put a barrier between the child and the foster parent because the children will feel it. Be willing to stick it out irregardless of what it looks like in the moment; give the children time because they have been through a lot of trauma and had a lot of things happen to them where they had no choice in the matter. They are not going to recover in one day. Don’t let one incident be the deal breaker for you keeping a child. Continuously pour love into them. Love changes and kills things the babies are inflicted with. Don’t take anything personal. Whatever is said, it is not personal. Children don’t intentionally try to hurt you. Being separated from family, being with someone new that may or may not be family, and enduring challenges they’ve been through, including neglect, can be difficult for them; its a process.

What are some skills good adoptive parents possess?
Take the step to be committed to a child for the rest of their lives, no matter what. Being an adoptive parent is taking on more accountability, but you’ll have the ability to impact lives even more, because you’ve taken the fear of the unknown away from them. To me, adopted kids are your children. The boys and I are closer now. They are proud, happy, and shout from the mountaintops, “This is my mom.” So it’s up to us to show them what family life looks like and break the cycle that is negative. Continue to see them as your children, and everything will work out fine. So, while I have my children, it’s my purpose to help them love themselves, know what love feels like, and know how to have a healthy relationship and demonstrate love to their own family. At some point in time, they’ll want to see their family as the door is open. I’ve left it open for them so they can show their families how to love in a healthy way, build their self-esteem, and break cycles. All these seeds are being planted, and my hope is that once the seed is planted and I’ve watered it, my sons can go back to their families and have a love relationship with them.

How has your life changed since becoming a foster/adoptive parent?
I’ve been obedient to God, and I am employed at the school district, so I have the opportunity to work with the kids at school and be a touchstone in their life. My mission is to love God and love others. I am a Trinity Ambassador, so I get to talk about how awesome Trinity is as an agency. As a foster parent, I attend conferences, mentor kiddos, work with behaviorally challenged children in my home and at work and elevate children to another level. I think I am admired by many because people can see the changes in my children and the impact I have working with children whom may be having or had a difficult childhood. I believe once you have dealt with your own issues thoroughly as an individual, you have a message to give and a story to share with others that can impact the world.

Everyone talks about how the children have changed, and how they’ve grown up. I feel like my purpose is being fulfilled and that’s the greatest gratification. I found a deep-rooted happiness in fostering and nothing can take it away. I’m really appreciative knowing that my purpose is being fulfilled, and I get to watch these babies grow up and become grown men. Even if they don’t stay with me forever, they told me that they’d come back. I had a child who didn’t stay with me, who wrote me all kinds of letters of appreciation, telling me how I touched his life and helped him believe in himself. He walked away believing in himself and knowing he can do anything he puts his mind to do. He was loved and he had a purpose for being in my home as well.

I really believe that it’s up to us to keep kids off the streets, out of jails, and help them stop making poor choices. I believe that God placed it in my heart to save as many of His babies as possible. He challenged me to step out of what was comfortable for me, which was just raising my own kids and my grandchildren. Fostering and adopting is helping me grow, helping the children grow in an effort to live life on life’s terms, and fulfilling my purpose in the world. I want God to be pleased with me as His servant.

To learn more, please call 888-346-9645 and check back for more helpful tips on how you can support your community!


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Crisis Relief Trinity Youth Services

Crisis Relief Trinity Youth Services

 

If we ever needed to come together as a community, now is the time. The Coronavirus crisis has caused widespread disturbances in our everyday lives; and that’s especially true for foster parents. Schools are closed, jobs are at stake or have been eliminated, and life as we once know it, is now very unpredictable.

Now, more than ever, people in our community, especially foster youth, are finding themselves without the necessary items they need. Here are some powerful tips on how you can help foster youth during a crisis.

1. Take Immediate Action: Make an online donation to your local foster care agency. Local youth who are in foster care are struggling right now, due to not having enough essential supplies, such as toilet paper and masks to keep them safe. The Children’s Foundation of America, a partner of Trinity Youth Services, is currently accepting donations to help provide essential resources to local foster youth. Visit www.childrensfoundationofamerica.org/donate to support.

2. Promote Your Local Foster Care Agency on Social Media: While it’s true that the Coronavirus has shut down our communities, some agencies are choosing to host virtual foster parent orientations to provide needed information while keeping everyone safe. Check with your local agency to see how you can help support them. Also consider posting inspiring quotes about helping children, or sharing a video of what you’re doing to make a difference in your community. Doing these things on a regular basis will motivate others to take action.

3. Consider Your Options: If you want to make positive impact in a child’s life, but aren’t necessarily ready to foster/adopt, consider signing up to become a respite parent, which provides certified foster parents time away when needed. You can sign up online to get the process started here.

To learn more, please call 888-346-9645 and check back for more helpful tips on how you can support your community!


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Operation Gobble

Operation Gobble

Building strong, happy and successful communities is what Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis does best. Each year, she takes an active role in supporting her community for the holidays through “Operation Gobble Gobble,” a program that helps families in need throughout Los Angeles County. “Thanksgiving cannot be complete without us giving back to our communities. Whether it is through a basket full of food, a turkey, or a home-cooked meal, everyone should be able to enjoy this holiday season with their friends and loved ones.

Operation Gobble Gobble is a true testament to the collaboration and partnership we have in the County. Thank you to Trinity Youth Services for being a great Operation Gobble Gobble partner, but also for all the work they do to support foster youth throughout the year,” said Supervisor Solis.

In its fifth year, the popular program is providing turkeys, monetary donations and other resources to local community agencies. Trinity Youth Services, a nationally accredited Foster Care and Adoptions Agency in Los Angeles County, was chosen to receive 12 turkeys and accompanying side dishes for their foster families to enjoy this holiday season. Family mealtime is very therapeutic for children, especially for foster youth.

According to a recent study, when children eat meals with a family, it provides them with a sense of security and a feeling of belonging. Trinity Youth Services would like to thank Supervisor Hilda Solis for making the holidays special for our amazing families, and for helping them stay connected to the children who are dear to their hearts.

To find out more about Trinity Youth Services or to begin your journey to becoming a foster or adoptive parent, click here.


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Summer can be an exciting time for kids, but if you’re like most parents, you worry about how you’re going to keep your child active and happy. There are many free or low-cost activities you can do with your kids that are fun and educational. Here are some great activities you can do with your child that will also help you save money.

1. Visit Another Country Without Leaving Home

Use Wikipedia to teach your children about the cultures of other countries and try adopting some of their customs or meals for one day. Here are some additional tips you may find helpful.

2. Visit Your Local Public Library

Libraries in your area may offer summer reading programs for kids. Click this link to learn additional information for San Bernardino County. Click here for LA County, and click here to find out more information for Riverside County.

3. Create a Reading Challenge

Did you know that kids lose approximately two months of reading skills during the summer? To keep your child’s reading skills sharp, encourage your children to read by creating a summer reading list of books of their choice, then create a reward system when they read a certain number of books. You can also check out Scholastic’s website. They have free reading challenges where kids can win virtual prizes. Click this link for further information.

4. Attend Free Workshops

Some stores in your area may offer free classes and workshops for kids. Home Depot may have free workshops for kids. Click this link for more information.

5. Visit a Local Museum

Some museums may offer free tickets for kids. Chino Youth Museum is an interactive, hands-on museum. Admission is free on the first Friday of every month. Click this link for more information.

6. Give Back to Your Community

One way to help increase your child’s confidence, social skills and compassion for others is by showing them the importance of giving back. There are many volunteer opportunities in the Inland Empire where kids and teens can donate their time to help the less fortunate. ieVolunteer is a program of Inland Empire United Way. Click here to discover more information on how your child can be involved.

To find out more exciting summer tips that will create more fun for the entire family, be sure to read next month’s newsletter!


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

foster grandparents

Rosa’s unconditional love for children and passion for helping them succeed, led her to become a foster parent. Fostering since 2004, Rosa’s dream of caring for children in crisis has not always been easy. She has helped raise several children for over a decade, but the rewards have far surpassed the challenges she has faced on her journey.

According to Rosa, “Seeing the change in the kids, teaching them respect, and seeing the difference it makes, makes us feel good. I currently have three girls and one boy, but I’ve had over 180 children. They come from broken homes, but we give them stability. Having a lot of love, understanding and patience is important. The kids change when they see you work with them.”

Raising abused, neglected and abandoned children and teaching them to become empowered, resilient and successful is Rosa’s mission. Juggling a busy schedule, Rosa takes time to not only provide children with love and support, but also helps them thrive scholastically. According to Rosa, “Most of my kids get recognized in school. One child, who we thought had a learning disability, didn’t know how to read. We helped him learn how to read and do math problems, and he received an award. When you want to [help], there is always a way.”

Since his retirement, Rosa’s husband has taken an active role in helping her care for the children. Happy to help make a difference in the lives of children and their families, Rosa plans to continue to open her home to children who need it most. She especially feels a sense of accomplishment when children go back with their families.

“It’s good to see parents do what they need to do so that the child goes back to them. It’s all about reunification. It’s all about loving the kids and wanting to help them,” Rosa says.

For more inspiring stories, stay connected by signing up for our newsletter below.


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: fedwards@trinityys.org | Phone: 888.346-9645

Young hipster father, mother and cute baby boy sitting on rustic wooden floor over white background

To celebrate National Foster Care Month, Trinity Youth Services is shining the spotlight on some of our foster parents who give hope, love and support to children in need. We realize that having a kind, compassionate family is critical for a child in crisis to feel safe in the world. Through our commitment to providing excellent families and homes to children in need, we hope to inspire people with caring hearts to foster this future generation of adults to help them live healthy and successful lives.

For this year’s National Foster Care Month, we proudly honor the efforts of hardworking, passionate people in our nation’s past who dedicated their lives to serving disadvantaged children. Here is a brief history of National Foster Care Month:

1636

Seven-year-old Benjamin Eaton became the first foster child in the U.S.

1853

Minister and director of the New York Children’s Aid Society, Charles Loring Brace started the free foster home movement after witnessing immigrant children in New York sleeping in the streets. He encouraged families to provide free housing to homeless children. His passion for helping homeless children ignited the foster care movement as we know it today.

1972

President Nixon declared National Action for Foster Children Week to shed light on foster children’s needs and to recruit more foster parents.

1988

President Reagan established May as National Foster Care Month.

Since opening our doors in 1966, Trinity Youth Services continues to enhance the lives of children devastated by physical, mental and emotional trauma. Our inspiring foster parents help heal the hearts and souls of children from broken homes and gives them an opportunity to experience parental love.

Coming up next…

Stay tuned to read Waridi Heard’s inspiring message of hope, and how becoming a foster parent transformed her life!

 

 

Child Family Meeting

It takes a village, as the saying goes…or a group of impassioned people, as Trinity Youth Services likes to put it. Child and Family Team Meetings are a part of every foster child’s case and are mandated by the State of California as part of the Core Practice Model.

Child and Family Team Meetings are group meetings in which life-decisions about a foster child are discussed and made. These meetings are attended by the foster child, and typically their resource parent, their Trinity social worker, county social worker, family and community members, and service providers. There, foster children get a voice and a choice in the things that matter to them. These meetings are held with the idea that families and children are experts on themselves and have the ability to address their problems and achieve success in a strengths-based setting.

Trinity Youth Services firmly believes in each child having the ability to safely and genuinely express their needs and we are in full support of Child and Family Team Meetings. We believe it is vital to the health of a foster child and their family that their preferences are heard and are part of the decision-making process.

To learn more about our programs, click here and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog posts.


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: info@trinityys.org

transition-to-adulthood

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: info@trinityys.org


 

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