Walden receives Proclamation from San Diego City Council

Walden Family Services received a proclamation, presented by the City of San Diego Councilmember Lorie Zapf on May 23, 2017,  for Foster Care Awareness month. Foster Care Awareness month aims to increase awareness about foster care and encourages more involvement in the lives of these youth – whether as foster parents, volunteers, mentors or employers. In San Diego County, there are approximately 3,300 children in foster care. Each year, over 300 transition age youth leave the foster system. Over 50 per cent do not have high school diplomas, are unemployed and become homeless. Walden is proud to be recognized by the City Council’s proclamation for providing quality programs to our foster youth and families.

Councilmember Lorie Zapf’s experience as a foster child instilled in her a passion for helping disadvantaged children.  She has been an active volunteer for non-profit organizations that help abused, neglected and foster youth. Councilmember Lorie Zapf invited Walden Family Services, along with other foster youth agencies to a private reception at City Hall with the Executive Producer Greg Gugliotta, and lead actress Sherri Saum, for the hit ABC Family seriesThe Fosters. Representing Walden were Sue Evans, Chief Operating Officer; Kathryn Stephens, Director of Philanthropy; Art Candland, Foundation Board Chair, and his wife Michelle Candland. Following the private reception, The City Council awarded Walden Family Services a proclamation for Foster Care Awareness month.

Now in its 5th season, The Fosters is an American family drama television series which first premiered  June 3, 2013. It follows the lives of the Foster family led by lesbian couple Stef and Lena, a cop and a school vice principal respectively, who raise a multi-ethnic blended family that consists of one biological and four adopted children in San Diego, California.

We thank City Councilmember Lorie Zapf, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and all the Councilmembers for honoring our important work with foster youth. We also wish to thank “The Fosters” Executive Producer, Greg Gugliotta and lead actress Sherri Saum for their realistic portrayal of the challenges of parenting foster youth and the issues they face.

 

 

 

A Walden THP+FC Program Success Story

Congratulations to Haley on her recent graduation from Walden’s THP+FC Program!  Haley was in our THP+FC program for approximately two and a half years and was able to save $5,380 in her graduation savings fund. Haley is a full-time college student who has a bright future ahead of her. She recently obtained an internship through the City of San Diego and is transitioning over to our THP Plus Housing Program this month. Haley will be one of our first THP Plus Program participants and we are very excited to continue to work with her. All of us at Walden are very proud of Haley and all of her achievements!

Walden’s New Logo!

Since 1976, Walden Family Services have been caring for foster youth and families.

We are proud to present our new logo that captures the spirit and uniqueness of Walden’s services and people. Our goal is to show the vibrant connection of Walden Family Services to individuals and our community. Our new logo is bold, heartfelt, and timeless.

The heart at the center of the W for Walden represents the core of what we do.

We are excited to announce our new logo to you and hope you like it too.

Thank you to Judd Brand Media for creating our new brand!

Tender Greens Supports Walden’s Transitional Foster Youth through Sustainable Life Project

We’re excited to announce that Walden Family Services has partnered with Tender Greens through the company’s Sustainable Life Project, a culinary internship program for foster youth. Through the program, Walden’s transitional foster youth in Los Angeles will have the opportunity to gain valuable life skills by participating in a paid six-month internship consisting of work experience at a Tender Greens restaurant, field trips to the company’s farms and markets, cooking and nutrition classes and employment workshops.

We thank Tender Greens for its commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty by nurturing the personal and professional development of transitional foster youth. 

Click here to learn more about Tender Green’s Sustainable Life Project.

Walden Family Services 2016 Impact Report

We’re happy to unveil our 2016 Impact Report. The report includes some touching stories and photos of the incredible people we serve, as well as some of our fantastic staff. Click here to view it! And a special thank you to the donors who make the work we do possible.

Walden THP Youth Featured in Netflix Promo

Cue the waterworks! Here at Walden Family Services we’re so proud and touched to see two of our THP youth, sisters Mary and Silvia, featured in the promo for a new Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why. Click here to view, and have your box of tissues handy!

Meet the Walden team: Cheryl

Did you know March is Professional Social Work Month? In honor of such, we’d like to feature some of the incredible social workers that serve the foster and adoptive children and youth of Walden.

This month, we’ll introduce you to staff from our offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino. You’ll meet social workers who work in each of our main programs; including foster care, adoption, transitional housing plus foster care (THP+FC), and prevention services.

Meet Cheryl:

1.) Why did you choose social work or what path led you to the profession?

Most of all, I really enjoy helping others. In the past I’ve worked with children who have developmental delays and physical disabilities, and as a behavioral interventionist with foster children and biological families to help the child meet his or her developmental milestones. I also spent some time as a foster parent, and am in the process of becoming a foster parent again through the County.

Currently, I am working towards my BCBA certification as my specialization is Applied Behavior Analysis. Having a 6-year-old on the Autism Spectrum has made me very passionate about helping all children and families in need of additional support and resources.

2.) How long have you been at Walden? 

I’ve been at Walden for about 7 months, right after I received my credentials! I came from the California Correctional Center for men, where I was a social worker for men who were mentally and physically disabled.

3.) What’s your favorite part of your job?

The impact I’m able to make on a youth’s life.

5.) Tell us a Walden success story involving a client.

I have one client who just graduated from our THP program, having done remarkably well. She’s just so grateful to Walden and how our program has changed her life and helped her learn life skills.

6.)    How do you like to spend your free time?

In my free time I enjoy family outings, especially special needs movie nights in my community. The theater is placed outside for those with special needs, and in wheelchairs or other mobility devices. It’s a place where they don’t have to worry about being loud or expressing themselves.

Meet the Walden team: Julie

Did you know March is Professional Social Work Month? In honor of such, we’d like to feature some of the incredible social workers that serve the foster and adoptive children and youth of Walden.

This month, we’ll introduce you to staff from our offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino. You’ll meet social workers who work in each of our main programs; including foster care, adoption, transitional housing plus foster care (THP+FC), and prevention services.

First, meet Julie:

1.) Why did you choose social work or what path led you to the profession?

I graduated college with a BA in Communication from Point Loma Nazarene University here in San Diego, and afterwards I moved to Seattle.  The first job I got was in a Residential Care facility and I really enjoyed it.  I then got hired as a Social Worker at Bethany Christian Services, licensing families for foster care and really loved it.  I realized I had a passion for helping people and I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree in Social Work.

2.) How long have you been at Walden? How many years in the industry?

I have been at Walden since April 2016.  I have been in Social Work for over 18 years, but I did take a break for several years to teach English in South Korea and Taiwan, and to travel.  I have worked as a Residential Care Worker.  I was Executive Director of a six-bed residential care facility for boys between the ages of 6 to 12 from the foster care system. I worked as a Social Worker for Pregnant and Parenting Teen mothers. I’ve licensed families for foster care and done home studies.  While in Korea, I was contacted by a Social Work agency and did home studies and supervision part-time for military families that were adopting.

3.) How did you come to Walden?

I had just finished working in Russia and moved back to San Diego.  I knew I wanted to go back into social work and started looking on the websites of foster family agencies to see if they had any employment openings listed, and Walden had one for a Recruiter/Housing Specialist.  I was immediately attracted to the job as I like doing a variety of things in my work, enjoy working with people, and the idea of finding housing for youth who really need it seemed especially appealing.  I interviewed and was hired.  The rest is history…

4.) What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love working with people.  Every day I talk to over probably at least 15 people, from Walden employees, to foster families, to THP+FC youth, to Property Managers.  No day is the same and I never just sit in the office.  I get to travel around San Diego and look at apartments to put youth into housing, I get to license families for foster care.  I love the variety my job provides and that at the end of the day I am always helping people.

5.) Tell us a Walden success story involving a client.

I recently had two clients were who friends, who had applied for the THP+FC program separately, and it worked out that I was able to place them together in a 2-bedroom apartment. These two are doing so, so remarkably well together and it’s wonderful to see them enjoy their lives, go to school and hold down jobs. I look forward to watching them continue to flourish thanks to the program.

6.)    How do you like to spend your free time?

I have the travel bug and am always traveling, either internationally or here in the U.S.  I just came back from Portland and am heading to San Luis Obispo this weekend.  Last year I went to Cuba and Guatemala.  I  am very social and often out with friends at dinner, or an event.

 

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.