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.

garden-el-monte

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 info@trinityys.org.


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: jrensch@trinityys.org


photography by adrian ramirez

photography by adrian ramirez
Photography by Adrian Ramirez

Adrian Ramirez came from deep trauma and a broken family when he was placed into a residential treatment program at Trinity Youth Services. Every day at home was a struggle, drowning in “arguments, threats and everything in between,” Adrian described.

“I spent most of my time keeping busy with school and friends. I only came home to sleep and woke up the next morning to drive myself to school,” he said.

Despite the trauma in his life, Adrian was always a good student and wished more than anything to be able to focus on his schoolwork. In high school, he enjoyed English and has even written novels, which he hopes to one day publish. His favorite activity was getting involved with after school clubs and volunteering.

His single mother struggled to keep the pieces of the family together and tensions continued to build. From the age of 12, Adrian battled with Bipolar Disorder. “My family saw me as unstable and out of control. Truth is, I was. I went from a sweet little kid to a spawn from the ‘underworld’ without notice. My depression was the worst,” he said. During his “low phases,” Adrian experienced a negative interaction with a family member, which would later result in his placement at Trinity Youth Services.

photography by adrian ramirez
Photography by Adrian Ramirez

Right away the staff at Trinity recognized that he was extremely goal oriented, motivated and driven. “He was very helpful in the dorm, doing extra chores, encouraging the other youth to participate in decorating and celebrating holidays,” his supervisor, Janet Sutton, said. “He actually started a tradition in the dorm for Secret Santa. I thought it was an excellent suggestion and is something we plan to keep doing.”

Adrian attributes his success in Trinity’s program to the staff. “They put in a group effort to get me through the program and I would get some great advice from them,” he said. “I always had someone to go to.”

“Completing the program changed my life,” Adrian said. “The main thing I learned from being at Trinity is to first of all, take advantage of the blessings and opportunities given to you and to be incredibly grateful for those opportunities.”

Adrian says he learned accountability and how to self-analyze to correct the behaviors he began in his childhood. “One of the challenges he faced was learning about himself, what he valued and where his morals were,” his supervisor said.

photography by adrian ramirez
Photography by Adrian Ramirez

Four months ago, Adrian graduated from Trinity’s program just after his 19th birthday. He is currently in college studying physiology/biology and business administration. “He has some incredible goals for himself and was always a motivated student, who really paid attention to his academics,” his supervisor said.

Among Adrian’s many skills, he also has a love for photography. He began this interest in high school and is self-taught. “I got a camera one year for my birthday and I took it everywhere. Photography taught me patience, timing and appreciation for the smallest and sometimes the seemingly most insignificant things,” he said. He also taught himself how to use Photoshop and other software. Now a 4.0 GPA college student, he is taking photography courses and business classes to learn how to turn his hobby into an entrepreneurial venture.

However, his main focus of study is medicine. Adrian plans to transfer to a four-year university where he will discover how to develop this passion into a career. Perhaps it is the time he has spent looking after his grandmother, taking her to doctor appointments, which lead him to pursue an interest in the medical field. “I am still undecided in what particular field, but it will be in medical, perhaps become a specialty doctor,” he said.

photography by adrian ramirez
Photography by Adrian Ramirez

Despite the unstable experiences of his past, with the help of Trinity Youth Services, he has learned how to cope and deal with the challenges he is presented and is more likely to take responsibility in a situation. He currently lives with his mom and grandmother and gladly takes the initiative to assist his family with household tasks like cooking and cleaning.

“I now spend my time doing school work, practicing my ukulele, working on my photography business plan, keeping healthy, going to the gym and spending time with friends and family,” he said.

Adrian believes “we are all dealt cards, some worse than others. It’s not about the cards. It’s about how you deal with them. A person’s greatest tool is the ability to learn from their experiences,” he said. “The only person standing between you and success is yourself.”

To learn more about Trinity Youth Services programs, call (800) 964-9811 or email info@trinityys.org.


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: jrensch@trinityys.org


Mexican Immigrant

Mexican Immigrant

At Trinity Youth Services, our mission is to “help children and families create a better future.” This is the story of Albert,* a foster youth who found his “better future” by becoming an American citizen.

After years of being separated from her son, Albert’s mother paid smugglers, known as “coyotes,” to bring him to the United States from El Salvador, where he had been living with his grandmother. Albert was arrested by immigration officers as he crossed the border and was detained for nearly a month before being released to his mother and her American husband in Los Angeles.

Albert had difficulty adjusting to his new life. His mother and stepfather had a new baby and Albert felt like he didn’t belong. Language issues made school challenging, so Albert stopped attending and fell in with a gang. He had only been in the country seven months before he committed a minor crime, which led to his arrest and confinement in juvenile hall. Albert was arraigned and placed into the care of Trinity Youth Services. His mother then refused to be involved in her son’s life, saying he was “ruining” her new family. At 12 years old, Albert felt his life was over.

Because Albert had no other family in the United States, the judge allowed him to stay in Trinity’s care through the Department of Child and Family Services. Albert spent a total of two years in Trinity’s residential treatment program, working with staff to acquire the knowledge, skills and tools that would prepare him to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen. When he was ready, Trinity Team Support Workers, with the volunteer assistance of a paralegal, helped Albert navigate the process, complete the necessary paperwork and even accompanied him to court hearings in an effort to make his dream become a reality.

After becoming a citizen, Albert felt something was still missing from his American dream…

Because approximately 50% of foster children experience some length of homelessness as adults, and knowing that Albert could not return to his family, his Trinity treatment team worked tirelessly to find a resource family to care for him. He met with one potential foster mother, who was retired from the juvenile justice system, and the two immediately connected. Because of her previous occupation, her experience fostering other children and being the child of immigrants herself, she understands the challenges Albert has had to endure. Following their meeting, Albert couldn’t stop talking about her; how nice she was; how much they had in common and how he couldn’t believe she had carpeting all throughout her home! Albert is in the process of being placed with his new resource family.

football

Now 14 years old, Albert is excelling in high school and is making friends. He discovered a love of football, joined the team and won a certificate for “Best Freshmen Defensive Player.” Even though Albert spoke very little English when he came to Trinity, English is now his favorite subject. After high school, he plans to attend college and eventually play pro football.

Only two years after feeling his life was over, Albert is facing a bright future. People around him describe him as a “pleasant” and “focused” young man who always has a smile on his face and loves to make people laugh. Albert is constantly expressing his gratitude for his new “mom,” and for his Trinity “family.” Although his life in the United States is very different than the one he had dreamed of for so long, he still believes dreams do come true – with hard work, opportunity and the support of caring individuals.

At Trinity, we’re here for the good times and bad; to provide focused guidance and therapeutic treatment when needed, and to be a sympathetic listener. We see lives change and dreams come true and we can’t wait to see this young man make a touchdown at his first pro football game!

If you have room in your heart and your home to care for a child like Albert, please submit an inquiry form on our website. For additional information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call (888) 346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org.

*Names and details have been omitted or altered to protect the privacy of the child.


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: jrensch@trinityys.org


new books

new books

Thanks to the team at Children’s Foundation of America, Trinity Youth Services’ residential treatment centers now have an updated stock of brand new books!

From The Grapes of Wrath to Harry Potter, the new library collections offer a variety of titles for all sorts of individually unique personalities and interests. A significant portion of the books are literary masterpieces every young person should have access to, like The Odyssey, Frankenstein, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, 1984, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Some of the more contemporary books include Eragon, Hatchet, The Outsiders and The Hunger Games.

The selection of nearly 200 new books were hand-selected by Foundation staff with the help of knowledgeable Barnes & Noble employees.

Children's Foundation of America Barnes & Noble

“Our goal was to choose a diverse collection of books with varying subject matters to create a classical literary collection for the boys in residential treatments centers to enjoy,” said Foundation Community Outreach Coordinator, Rebecca Ustrell.

The residential treatment program provides therapeutic treatment services to English and Spanish speaking adolescent males, 12 to 18 years of age, who have been placed by county probation departments. Although placed through probation, the behaviors these youth have displayed are typically in response to, and the result of, a history of trauma, abuse, neglect or abandonment. The young men often develop emotional and behavioral challenges. These factors then manifest into behaviors that require intensive, short-term residential treatment in order to mitigate identified mental health issues, change behavioral patterns and reduce recidivism.

The books provided by the Children’s Foundation of America will have a positive impact on the youth in our residential programs. Trinity Youth Services is grateful for partnerships like these, which help us stay up to date with quality resources for the youth in our care.

To help support initiatives like this, please consider donating to the Children’s Foundation of America. For more information, contact the Foundation at 1 (800) 543-7730 or visit their website.


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: jrensch@trinityys.org


London in London

Former foster youth, London Taylor, is setting out to make a difference in the world. At 19 years of age, London has been accepted into Richmond, The American International University in London where he is studying International Relations.

London in London

Changing Perceptions

It was his time in Trinity Youth Services’ residential program that inspired him to pursue a career in social issues.

“My perceptions were changed in Trinity’s environment when I started to discern the unique circumstances of each individual peer that I came into contact with,” he said.

Describing his experience at Trinity, London stated, “fundamental attribution error is the tendency where humans tend to attribute other humans’ shortcomings and hardships to those individuals themselves, failing to account for any other extenuating circumstances. This stigma is a mechanism used too often by the masses to describe disenfranchised groups like foster teens, homeless individuals and lower income individuals. Trinity’s programs are advantageous for such groups in society,” he said.

While at Trinity, London wrote a book titled “Politik” and later independently published it through Squarespace. Because London’s focus is on assisting the disadvantaged, he intends for all proceeds of the book to be donated to UNICEF.

Since being in Trinity’s programs, London has “a high regard for Trinity’s vocational and independent living skills programs, which are dynamic and relevant,” he said.

College Life

After graduating from Trinity’s residential program, London began looking through a list of colleges. The name Richmond, The American International University in London caught his attention. He began to extensively research the university and became increasingly interested in the school. He decided to apply and was accepted. London was even awarded scholarships, including the Michael Alexander Memorial Scholarship, administered by Trinity.

He began his first semester in fall 2016 and will continue there until the completion of his bachelor’s degree. The International Relations degree prepares students for work in international organizations, business, finance, the media and government agencies. The major requires “articulate, clear thinking individuals with a grasp of contemporary political issues, succinct writing styles, and the ability to present complex arguments.”

London in London

Making Connections

London’s favorite part about studying in such an international city has been making connections relevant to his major. He recently had the opportunity to speak with the former head of a nongovernmental organization which lobbies governments worldwide to uphold the religious freedom rights found in Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Through his networking, London hopes to find an internship at one of the many interesting and important organizations making a global difference.

“Here I am in arguably the most global city in the world, studying, working and exploring internship options—it’s a tremendous blessing,” he said.

World View

London is very focused on his studies, but makes sure to set time aside for sightseeing and travel. This is important for developing a world view and gaining international experience. Britain’s close proximity to other nearby European countries makes international travel possible for him. London has already had the opportunity to visit his cousin in Italy, who is studying in Milan.

London in London

Giving Back

Aside from his schoolwork, London is currently volunteering in the administrative offices of a local mental health clinic and hopes to gain more experience with his other passion—Psychology. In addition to majoring in International Relations, London is also minoring in Psychology.

Looking to the future, London aspires to become a diplomat or ambassador for an intergovernmental organization like the United Nations or a nongovernmental organization like CARE International. London also looks forward to authoring more books and wishes to promote peace, human rights and policies to help society worldwide.

For more stories of success, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page. To contact us about Trinity Youth Services programs, call (800) 964-9811 or email info@trinityys.org.


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: jrensch@trinityys.org


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