Are you in the market for a new car in Washington State? Then check out Campbell Nelson Auto Group. Through the end of June, Campbell Nelson will donate $50 from every car sold – at all three of their dealerships – to Olive Crest’s Kids to Camp Campaign.
The campaign is designed to help abused and neglected kids make lasting summer memories at camp this year. The goal is to donate $50,000 for 1,000 nights of camp! So if you’re in the area, buy your new car at Campbell Nelson and make a difference in the lives of children in need at the same time! You may also donate to Olive Crest directly here.
Thanks to some giving volunteers at Century 21 Experience, some of our group home boys with broken bikes now have perfectly running bicycles!
Watch out Tour-racers: Some boys at our group homes can really give you a run for the money! Thanks to Century 21 Experience, these kids learned how to repair bikes that hadn’t been ridden for far too long. Flat tires…fixed! Broken chains…we got that! And after the boys learned how to tune up the bikes, they received the biggest surprise of all: Century 21 Experience gave each of them a brand new bike of their own and a celebratory BBQ meal. With their new skills, they will be able to keep their bikes in tip-top shape and hone their cycling abilities. The sky’s the limit with their potential….With your help, these kids can do anything! Could the Tour de France be next? Thanks, Century 21!
Several times over the past year, Olive Crest’s Chaplaincy program* has worked to hold periodic “Food for Thought” meetings with young adults ages 18 to 22 preparing for life as self-sufficient adults. They are invited to dinner and discussion about a topic related to successful independent living (e.g., anger management, dating, honesty/integrity, school shooting, finances).
It is amazing to see young adults open up about their dreams, values, fears and plans for the future. Without fail, the group offers great insight beyond the discussion points prepared by the staff leading the discussion.
These young adults are survivors and are intelligent! When given a little nudge in a positive direction, we learn that they are very thoughtful and aware that their decisions greatly influence their success in life.
This is one of countless efforts taking place with children, youth, adults and families at Olive Crest. And we are grateful that through your support we can continue to truly “Make a Difference, One Life at a Time!” ®
See Chaplain Frank Fried’s full article about “Food for Thought.”
*Our Chaplaincy program at Olive Crest serves addresses and encourages the religious/spiritual needs of Olive Crest staff, as well as the children and families we serve. All Chaplaincy-related efforts are completely voluntary and receive no government funding.
Children and families not only need tools and resources to survive…but to thrive! So on March 30, Olive Crest in the Inland and Desert Communities had the pleasure of hosting their first ever Health and Safety Day at Perris High School. This event was open to all Olive Crest families, and each age group went through a series of three health and safety classes.
Families learned about anything ranging from Internet safety (with a district attorney) to meal prepping. Instructors included the Riverside Chief of Police and their therapy dog, the Riverside Fire Chief, and wonderful staff from Kaiser Permanente. And more than 130 children and families left with a bag of groceries and smiles on their faces.
This day proved to be very valuable for all of our families and kiddos. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible!
It is through the continued support of ministries, organizations, and kind businesses that Olive Crest can bring hope, love, and safety to so many children in need. We’d like to send a very big thank you to Crossroads Bible Church in the Pacific Northwest for putting together more than 100 Easter baskets for Olive Crest foster children. They have so kindly supported Olive Crest children and families for five years now through numerous holiday and backpack drives. And we are certain that the baskets, filled with all kinds of goodies for all ages, helped spread some extra joy this past Easter!
As we enter into National Foster Care Month for May, we are driven by the great need for support for foster children and youth in our communities. And more than ever, we are so thankful for caring community partners and volunteers like you and Crossroads Bible Church.
Thanks to volunteers at Eastside Church, our group homes and Olive Crest Academy now feel even more welcoming to kids and teens.
On March 9, more than 75 volunteers from Eastside Church spent an entire day sprucing up Olive Crest Academy and our teen group homes. They painted, replaced artwork and banners, and repaired rain damage at the Academy. The team also installed new closets at one of our other properties. These improvements and repairs will help our teens and students stay organized and focused on the road ahead, feeling confident that the community is supporting them. When the community surrounds children in crisis with practical support, they know they are valued and can achieve a rich and productive future. Thank you to all of you who bless our kids!
Orange Theory Fitness has donated weightlifting benches, balance trainers, medicine balls, and much more to the weight room for high school students at Olive Crest Academy in Orange County. The students are “pumped” to have up-to-date equipment, so they can train for upcoming sporting events.
Empowering abused and neglected kids to become emotionally and physically whole is priceless. Thanks, Orange Theory Fitness, for seeing the potential in our kids!
At 24 years of age, Helen is one of those amazing people who seems to have it all. She is bright, happily married, and is starting her own business. And she’s a gifted artist — a talent that seems to come naturally to her.
Spend a little time with her, and you’re bound to come away asking yourself, “Is there anything this young woman can’t do?”
And yet, there was a time when she felt like she couldn’t do anything.
In the Shadow of Addiction
Sadly, when Helen was a child, her parents battled drug addiction. She and her younger brother were denied the loving attention that every child craves. Living in the shadow of her parents’ substance abuse, her early childhood was full of uncertainty and fear — she was shifted in and out of state foster care, separated from her baby brother, and struggling to understand what was going on.
Helen was full of potential…but as is often true of children growing up in unstable, abusive, or neglectful homes, her potential was stifled by fear and a lack of encouragement.
By Helen’s freshman year of high school, her family lost their home and her mom went to jail. When she was finally released, sadly, she relapsed. The family ended up living in a motel, struggling to make ends meet.
Undone by the Trauma
For Helen, this seemed like the final blow. She says that she and her little brother were “undone by the trauma of it all.” She says, “I was so exhausted from being in this constant state of survival and uncertainty.” She was deeply depressed and had lost her will to live. “My childhood best friend had just ended his life less than a year before this time, and the hopelessness I was experiencing led me to want to end my life, as well.”
On the night Helen was planning to end her life, a woman living in the motel reached out to her, feeling compelled to encourage her. The woman shared her own story with Helen and shared about God’s love, which was something Helen desperately needed to hear.
It was just the nudge Helen needed to find the courage to keep going. Filled with hope, she chose to live her life to share God’s love, as well. She prayed that God would provide a safe place for her and her brother to live, and soon, Olive Crest learned about Helen’s situation. She and her brother were placed together with a loving family, giving her mother an opportunity to get support, as well.
She had never experienced anything like the love and stability her Olive Crest family gave her. They were firm, but kind. They kept her to a schedule, helped her with her homework, and made sure she had food, clothing, and all the basic necessities to succeed in school and heal from her past. Helen says, “Our lives were being completely transformed. I remember hiding away in the bathroom, weeping with gratitude and relief. We had three meals a day, a safe, loving home, rides to school, new clothes, and a second chance at a childhood.”
Helen had a lot to work through, but leaning on God, her Olive Crest family, and her new community, she graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA — after starting with a 0.5 GPA. Her artistic talent blossomed, bringing her acclaim within her school and community.
She earned an associate’s degree in child development from Saddleback College, and a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership for Christian ministry from Simpson University. Today, Helen is married, and is launching a business selling products she designs and that benefit foster children. She is also a frequent speaker at schools, churches, and other community groups.
Stories like this are only possible because of generous friends like you.
A Heart Full of Gratitude
Helen’s heart is beyond grateful for caring supporters who have reached out through Olive Crest to help impact and change the course of her life forever. She says that when she was married in July of 2018, she “was surrounded by all the Safe Families that my brother and I lived with in high school and even in college.” This is her “forever family” that she will always treasure.