For the second year in a row, the J.F. Shea Center hosted the campers on November 24th for a reunion to kick off the Holiday Season. Once again, The Shea Center’s staff and volunteers created a fun event that will provide lasting memories for our foster youth. The siblings were treated to horseback rides, barn tours, and the feeding and grooming of the horses. The Laguna Chapter of National Charity League, Inc., provided volunteers who painted faces, helped with crafts and card making and served lunch to the 150 campers, counselors, and volunteers attending. The Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OCSPCA) came with ten dogs who provided the campers with an outlet for love and support.
Camp Director, Tricia Tiner, and her dedicated team of volunteer counselors led the foster youth through the various activities and ensured an enjoyable time was had by all of the campers. As a final surprise, Santa arrived on horseback with a gift for each of the siblings. Their pictures were taken with Santa and together they opened their gifts. Cindy Roe and Marcia Pontoni generously worked over the past couple of weeks collecting and wrapping the gifts.
Over 100 foster care siblings participated in the fifth annual Camp To Belong Orange County, sponsored by the Eddie Nash Foundation. Camp To Belong Orange County was held July 29th thru August 3rd 2013 at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center. It was a resounding success as the siblings, separated in foster care placement, were reunited for a week of togetherness. The highlight for many was the Birthday Party, when they gave each other presents and decorated a shared cake. The symbolic celebrating of missed birthdays is one of the many activities the Camp does to support the sibling bond and create lifelong memories. In addition, the campers make pillows and quilts for each other and a scrapbook of the week’s adventures together.
This year we welcomed a new Camp Director, Tricia Tiner. Tricia was already an active member of the team prior to taking the lead and had participated in prior camps in Orange County as well as other locations. She and her core team did a wonderful job making the Camp a success and we look forward to her continued involvement in 2014.
The Eddie Nash Foundation was especially grateful for all of the community support this year. Just to name a few: FunServices provided a fantastic carnival for the campers to enjoy. The OCSPCA Canine Literacy Program created a unique experience for the younger campers by having them sit and read with therapy dogs. CSU Fullerton hosted the foster youth (ages 13-18) for a tour and discussion about college.
The Laguna Chapter of National Charity League, a mother/daughter service organization, sponsored Inspiration Night as well as provided the volunteer support for the week. Inspiration Night also included a dynamic and inspiring talk by Sharaud D. Moore of the Freedom Writers Foundation. As the campers were leaving, one young boy summed up the experience by saying that the best thing about Camp is “being with my brother”.
On November 16th 2013, our Passports To Success program on Financial Literacy was held at Santiago Canyon College. Forty-seven foster youth signed up for the program to learn about how money works and doesn’t work in their lives. Trinity Wallace-Ellis, Dr. Greg Manning and Bryan “Eddie” Nash developed the impressive program.
Eric Black, award-winning comedian from Comedy Central, was the Keynote Speaker. He spoke with humor of his life story growing up in poverty and gangs and provided the foster youth with encouragement and inspiration. Will Warren, an Eddie Nash Foundation Board Member and Manager at a Union Bank branch, led them in an exercise in “Needs versus Wants” and they discussed the differences between debit and credit. Our founder, Bryan Nash, shared his story of working hard and achieving financial stability.
Caregivers and mentors also attend the all day event to provide support and learn how to provide consistency to the messages delivered. While Trinity Wallace-Ellis works with the foster youth, Dr. Greg Manning discusses the concepts with the caregivers and mentors. The foster youth were attentive and engaged as they learned another key tool to independence.
SATURDAY, APRIL 13TH 2013
FROM 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
A VERY SPECIAL CAMP TO BELONG EVENT At The Aquarium Of The Pacific
Call & RSVP
Space is LIMITED to the FIRST 50 Camp To Belong Campers!
Transportation to and from the Aquarium Of The Pacific will be provided by the Eddie Nash Foundation located at:
1717 W. Orangewood Avenue, Suite I Orange 92868
Be sure to include camper name(s), caregiver name and phone number.
We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm participation.
Tricia Tiner: (951) 623-7681
These days, Marchelle Roberts is a confident 22-year-old who smiles easily and talks excitedly about her plans for the future.
But the rising senior at Philadelphia’s Temple University had to travel a long and difficult road to get to where she is today.
Roberts was taken away from her parents when she was 7 years old. She still remembers vividly the day that long journey began, when a woman she had never seen before and hasn’t seen since came in a car to get her and her brother Shawn, who was 3 or 4 years old.
“It was pretty scary for me,” Roberts said. “My brother and I were in the back with a bag full of both of our belongings. My biological mother got out of the car and the lady kept driving, and she drove to someone else’s house and she told us we’d be staying there, and she left. And so nobody really explained to me what foster care was, or what being taken away from your parents meant, or how long it would be for or why it happened.”
California is home to more than 55,000 foster kids – the largest population in the country. And, the one place in the state where most of those kids come together is in public school. Jetaine Hart, a former foster youth and current educational mentor in Alameda County, argues that’s where we should be putting resources to help foster kids – kids who often shuffle from school to school and have unstable home lives.
JETAINE HART: When you look at the outcomes for youth in foster care in terms of education, incarceration rates, and mental health issues, and dependency on public assistance all of those things, when it really comes down to it, we’re gonna pay more for that in the long run than if we invest in them now.