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2020 Women of Dedication Have Walden Ties

Spring Soirée Raises Over $75,000 in Critically-Needed Funds for Walden Family Services

Spring Soiree 2019 Program

Solana Beach, CA—In celebration of National Foster Care Month, Executive Chef Jeffrey Strauss hosted an intimate dinner at Pamplemousse Grille on May 7, 2019 to benefit Walden Family Services. The intimate event raised $75,000 for Walden’s wide-ranging programs on behalf of children and youth in foster care.

“We are so appreciative of Chef Jeffrey’s continued support,” said Walden CEO Teresa Stivers. “His commitment to children’s causes, and to Walden’s work with foster children, really speaks to how strongly he believes in the wellbeing of all young people.”

In keeping with the theme “An Evening with Jeffrey,” the night began with a private reception at Chef Strauss’s home, where guests were treated to an array of delicious bites before traveling the short distance to Pamplemousse Grille. There they enjoyed an exquisite four-course menu with special wine pairings while learning more about Walden’s programs.

After dinner, Walden employee and former foster youth Melissa Villagomez talked about her experience in foster care and the difference nonprofit Foster Family Agency (FFA) care—such as that provided by Walden—made in her life. Now an educated, successful young adult, Melissa credits her childhood FFA and her FFA social worker with making sure she thrived.

“Melissa is now an inspirational advocate for other kids living in the foster care system,” said Stivers. “Listening to her just makes us work that much harder to ensure that other kids get the support and help they deserve, so they can all complete their education, become gainfully employed, and be productive, giving members of their community. We all benefit from their success.”

Spring Soirée guests included Mary Alice and Ron Brady; Melissa and Quentin Blackford; Arlene Lieberman; Lou and Judy Ferrero; Barbie and Dan Spinazzola; Emily and Ted Shults; Lisa and Raul Albanez; Nettie Keck; and Joyce Glazer.

Advocacy in Action

Walden’s Melissa Villagomez speaks to the importance of nonprofit Foster Family Agency (FFA) social workers and urges a raise in the rate paid to FFAs for their salaries at a California State Assembly budget meeting in Sacramento.

Read more about this issue in our article here: Walden Family Services Supports Allocation to Fill Gap.

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Camille Belcher
Director of Communications

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