Walden Awarded $50,000 Annenberg Foundation Grant

We are pleased to announce that the Annenberg Foundation has awarded Walden Family Services a $50,000 grant.

“We are so grateful to the Annenberg Foundation for this important award that will allow us to fill critical funding gaps in our mission of supporting the lives of Walden’s children, youth, and young people in foster care,” said Teresa Stivers, CEO of Walden Family Services.

The Annenberg Foundation funding will support high-need programs at Walden’s sites in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties including move-in costs and educational/employment counseling for young people ages 18-21 in our Transitional Housing Plus Foster Care program; baby items for pregnant and parenting teens, a nurse consultant for our foster children with special health care needs, and foster family recruitment.

“The Annenberg Foundation is pleased to support the work of Walden Family Services and the programs it conducts, which make lives better for the community and individuals it serves.”

The Annenberg Foundation awards grants on a rolling basis through a competitive application and review process. To learn more about the organization, visit their website.

Walden CEO Teresa Stivers Named Influential Woman of the Year

We are pleased to announce that our very own Teresa Stivers, CEO of Walden Family Services, was named a 2017 Influential Woman of the Year by The Daily Transcript. Click here to read the article.

For Hunter Industries, Donating Holiday Gifts Celebrates Family, Citizenship

Hunter Industries believes strongly in supporting the local community. In fact, they have a charitable giving charter centered on core values like family and citizenship. And last week, employees celebrated these values by donating holiday gifts for 93 Walden children and youth.

Gifts for children in Walden’s foster care and adoption program ranged from toys and dolls to bikes and scooters. For older youth in the transitional housing program, Hunter Industries’ employees purchased household items, gas cards and other necessary items. Employees also donated gifts for pregnant and parenting teens enrolled in Walden’s Nurturing Parenting and Cal-Learn programs.

Walden is grateful for Hunter Industries and the dozens of corporate partners committed to brightening the holidays for children and youth involved in Walden’s foster care, adoption and parenting programs.

You can still bring joy to a child in foster care this holiday season. Just make a donation online by December 31 for tax-deductible credit in 2016.

Intuit, Jack in the Box Fulfill Holiday Wishes

Holiday gifts donated to kids in foster care by Intuit

Holiday gifts donated to kids in foster care by Intuit

Employees from Intuit and Jack in the Box stopped by the San Diego office Friday with cars fulls of gifts to fulfill the holiday wishes of children and youth in foster care.

A Razor scooter and helmet for Leo. A Princess Fantasy Dress Up Chest for Bethany. And pots and pans, blankets and other household necessities for youth in Walden’s transitional housing program.

Intuit, a leading provider of business and financial management solutions, has a long history of employee giving to benefit children in foster care. This year, San Diego-based Jack in the Box joined in granting holiday wishes with presents for older youth who are moving into their own apartments.

Holiday gifts from Jack in the Box to furnish apartments for foster youth

Holiday gifts from Jack in the Box to furnish apartments for foster youth

Walden is grateful for all of our corporate partners for their generous in-kind and financial gifts throughout the year.  If you would like to join our corporate partners in brightening the holidays for a child in foster care, you can make a donation online. Make your gift by December 31 for tax-deductible credit in 2016.

Business Community Hosts Backpack Drives

Mary from Global Algae showing the school supplies and gifts in each backpackEach year, the business community hosts backpack drives to provide school-age foster children and youth with necessary school supplies.

“Starting the school year with a new backpack is a rite of passage for many kids,” said Walden CEO Teresa Stivers. “For kids in foster care, new backpacks represent a way to fit in with classmates.”

This summer, Walden received backpacks from San Diego-based Global Algae Innovations, Inc., which uses algae to produce food, energy, and economic security.

In Los Angeles County, Chin Chin West Hollywood organized a bus trip, lunch at the restaurant and a visit from Los Angeles County Fire Station #7 as part of their annual backpack drive benefiting children and youth in Walden’s Encino foster care and transitional housing programs.

Little girl wearing her new backpack while talking with a firefighter about his firetruck“We are grateful to our business and community partners who provide foster children and youth the tools they need to succeed at school,” said Stivers. “Both the in-kind donations and financial contributions we receive throughout the school year provide essential developmental and bonding experiences for the children and youth in our care.”

Discover how your business can support foster youth through corporate sponsorships or online giving.

Flutie Foundation Opens Doors for Foster Children with Disabilities

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism LogoFew agencies specialize in matching foster children with disabilities and special health care needs with loving families. This year, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism recognized Walden for ensuring that all foster youth grow up in families when they awarded the agency a $10,000 grant.

SDGE - A Sempra Energy Utility LogoWalden foster and adoptive families have been specially trained to parent children with autism, cerebral palsy, and other challenges. With the constant love of a nurturing family, children in Walden’s program often defy expectations. One little girl who came to Walden unable to walk on her own or speak has since learned how to ride a bike and communicate using assistive technology.

St. Germaine Children's Charity LogoIn June, St.  Germaine Children’s Charity awarded Walden a $15,000 grant to match children with foster families and provide young adults with transitional housing. Walden also received a $5,000 Inspiring Future Leaders grant from SDGE to hire an employment specialist who will assist foster youth in Walden’s transitional housing program in building their workforce skills and finding jobs.


College-Bound Youth Sets Sights on Stars

Young people often come to Los Angeles seeking stardom. David*, a foster youth in Walden’s transitional housing program, prefers stars of a different kind. He’s headed to college this fall with the dream of studying aeronautical engineering.

David dreamed of becoming an astronaut even before coming to the United States from El Salvador at age 13. Since then, he has remained focused on his education.

“David thrives on knowing he is on the correct path to obtain his college degree,” said his social worker, April Chavez. “Nothing ever seems to deter him from achieving his goals, and he always finds productive ways to use the resources offered to him.”

For example, Walden’s program provides youth with stable housing and laptops, and helps them develop budgeting skills and open a savings account. David used the laptop to complete high school, submit college applications and register for college classes online. Since entering the program in August 2014, he has accrued over $5,000 through saving and investing in stock.

While Chavez admires David’s independence, she has also seen David open up socially and begin to build lifelong connections with his peers.

“So many things in my life have changed since entering foster care,” said David. “One of the biggest is having a lot of people who support me.”

David recognizes that college will give him a chance to make new friends and join student organizations, but he remains focused on earning A’s and getting along with his professors.

“You’ve got to have perseverance,” said David, when asked what advice he would give to other foster youth. “Sometimes when you try, you may not get to where you want to be right away. But you’ll get better at what you are trying to do, and you will get to where you are meant to be—so long as you never give up trying.”

* Client names and images changed to protect their privacy.

Weingart Foundation Awards $200,000 to Walden Family Services

Grant Will Expand Services to Foster Youth in Los Angeles and Inland Empire

Walden Family Services (Walden) announced today that the Weingart Foundation has awarded the agency a $200,000 unrestricted grant. Walden intends to use the grant funds to build its capacity to serve foster children and youth in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The grant will allow Walden the flexibility to respond to changes in the foster care system, which is focused on keeping families together whenever possible and placing children who cannot return home with families rather than in group homes or institutions.

“Research routinely shows that the lasting relationships children develop with family and community are the foundation for learning, social-emotional well-being, and successful, fulfilling lives,” said Walden CEO Teresa Stivers. “Thanks to the Weingart Foundation grant, we can expand our outreach to foster and adoptive families and community partners so that more children grow up prepared to realize their full potential.”

Walden strives to give foster youth the same opportunities as their peers, but government funding cuts make it extremely challenging. “Weingart has generously approved Walden using $50,000 of the grant for a dollar-for-dollar matching campaign so that we can build the reserve funds necessary to cover upfront program costs,” added Arlene Lieberman, chair of Walden’s Governance Board of Directors.

Walden will also leverage the Weingart Foundation grant to attract individual donors and private funders and decrease the agency’s reliance on government funding.