San Diego, CA (May 23, 2016) – In celebration of Foster Care Month, Walden Family Services hosted its Spring Soirée May 19 at Pamplemousse Grille. The event raised over $25,000 to fund programs that prevent child neglect and abuse, match kids with loving foster and adoptive families, and prepare young people to become productive members of the community.
Thirty guests attended the intimate dinner, which featured an elegant four-course dinner with wine pairings by award-winning executive chef Jeffrey Strauss. Notable guests included Ron and Mary Alice Brady, Caroline and Nico Nierenberg, and presenting sponsors Karen and Jo Hannah Hoehn of Hoehn Jaguar Land Rover of Carlsbad.
Rajah Gainey, a former foster youth and Walden board member, shared his story about entering foster care at two weeks old, then re-entering foster care at age 7 after his adoptive mother suffered a stroke.
“I came to Walden I was 10 years old, and right away I knew the place was different,” said Gainey. “When you’re in foster care, they document every negative thing you do, and people think they know you based on your file. At Walden, they knew what was in my file but they didn’t lead with that. People were more inviting, social workers visited me, and my foster family was great.” Gainey credits Walden for seeing his potential, helping him recover from the trauma of broken relationships, and connecting him with a mentor who he maintains a relationship with to this day.
“We’re incredibly proud of Rajah, and grateful that he continues to be an advocate for foster youth who need extra support to develop the skills and relationships we all depend on to lead successful, fulfilling lives,” said Teresa Stivers, CEO of Walden Family Services. “We are also grateful to the philanthropists and champions who attended Spring Soirée so that more foster youth have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
About Walden Family Services
Walden Family Services provides prevention, foster care and adoption services for children and families throughout Southern California. Walden connects children—infants, sibling groups and children with special needs—with loving foster and adoptive families. We also provide transitional housing and services for youth who choose to remain in foster care to pursue their education or employment, and provide birth families with training to develop nurturing parent-child relationships and break the cycle of neglect and abuse. Founded in 1976, Walden Family Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in San Diego. For more information, visit www.waldenfamily.org.