13-year-old Jenny (second from left) and her Olive Crest housemates
One of Jenny’s earliest memories was going into her parents’ room and discovering her dad beating her mother. “He had her down on the floor and was pounding her with his fists,” Jenny recalls. “Her face was all bloody.”
When Jenny’s parents divorced, things didn’t get much better. Jenny and her sister stayed with their mother. “She was a mean drunk,” Jenny remembers.
Desperately seeking safety
Home was not a safe place for Jenny. “I ran away from home for the first time when I was nine,” she said. Over the next few years, she ran away several more times.
Eventually, by God’s grace, Jenny wound up at Olive Crest. She experienced love and kindness for the first time. She even had her first birthday party there.
Just before she turned 13, Jenny went to summer camp. It was here that Jenny heard about the love of Jesus and was baptized in the lake. She was thrilled with her new life.
Jenny (now) with her husband and children
A new family for Jenny
Jenny’s experience in an Olive Crest home had a dramatic impact on her. This time helped shape the rest of her life, ins
tilling in her a sense of community and values. She learned that God loved her, and she began to trust people again.
Today, Jenny is married to a loving man named Tony. She gives Olive Crest much of the credit. “Olive Crest gave me so many tools for living a healthy life, and I will be forever grateful.”
Classical Pianist, music education advocate, and inspirational speaker Alpin Hong serenades Night in Tuscany guests
There are approximately 4,000 children in the Riverside county child welfare system: children removed from their families because of abuse, neglect or abandonment…who need love, consistency, commitment, and loving forever homes. At a recent event for Olive Crest in the Inland and Desert Communities, called A Night in Tuscany, this was the imperative keynote: Children and families in crisis need community resources, child abuse prevention, adoption placement, and continuous support. They are our children, and they are yours, too.
And thanks to 166 attendees, approximately $93,000 was raised to make an impact in the lives of at-risk children and families. This Tuscan-themed event aspired to transport guests to central Italy (by way of the California desert) and the sounds of classical pianist Alpin Hong. This night to remember was also life-changing support for many children in need.
We are grateful for each and every individual and organization that helped to make this event possible. Child abuse stops here®!
When young adults age out of the foster care system without support, they often face bleak futures, vulnerable to homelessness, unemployment, sex trafficking or drug abuse. Olive Crest’s Operation Independence Transitional Housing Program provides these young adults with a safe place to call home while also providing training and resources to help these young adults develop the skills, connections, and direction they need to function as fully successful, independent adults.
One of our young adults recently graduated and continues to maintain her employment and her own housing! We’re proud of her for rising above her circumstances and learning new skills to help her succeed. With the help of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ generous support, more stories like this will be possible! With the help of a grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Olive Crest has placed an onsite clinical team in The Ranch residential program for teenagers.
Here clinicians are involved in the day-to-day life of teenagers, building rapport and offering support in addition to providing therapeutic services. This model of care provides clinicians the opportunity to powerfully and consistently impact in the lives of Olive Crest teens. Child Abuse Stops Here®
For Ruby, memories of a childhood home were a vacant house her parents broke into. “It was not the kind of place where anyone should live,” said Ruby.
A heartbreaking childhood
Ruby survived on things like sour milk. She slept on a mattress on the floor, without sheets or anything to cover her when nights were cold. Her parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol, so she was often fending for herself.
By the time Ruby was 6 years old, she was caring for two baby sisters: Stephanie, who was 1, and Jessica, who was an infant. She remembers being so hungry she sometimes ate the powder that was supposed to go into their formula.
Then one day, a neighbor saw that the girls were outside, poorly dressed and barefoot, and called for help. That very day, the girls were removed from their home.
Ruby spent the next few years in and out of seven homes. “I was always angry,” she says, “and I took it out on the parents and the other kids.”
But finally, she was connected to Olive Crest.
Ruby’s forever family
One day, Ruby heard her Olive Crest parents talking about adopting her. “That’s when I knew they weren’t going to love me less because I was acting up.”
To Ruby’s delight, her family later adopted Jessica. Stephanie was also adopted by an Olive Crest family, and the sisters all see each other at least once a month.
Ruby is so thankful for her wonderful new family—and friends of Olive Crest, like you.
A wonderful volunteer from The Grove Church designed and painted this mural.
This summer during Serve Week, a team of more than 30 from The Grove Church helped create two spaces for kids at Olive Crest in the Inland Communities. Now we have a welcoming space for children and families, as well as a space for teens to come and work on homework or job applications. Thank you to The Grove Church!
Staff from Olive Crest in the Inland and Desert Communities gather together to help support the teens they work with.
Isolation, past abuse, and poor coping skills can be stressors that leave teens hanging in the balance and vulnerable to abuse during the summer months. And sometimes just a day away from the stress of everyday life to connect with other teens and mentors can make a world of difference.
Thanks to caring community partners like The Grove Community Church, this past August, 100 Inland and Desert community teens from Olive Crest were able to do just that! The church provided a wonderful event filled with water games, flag football, arts and crafts, and some delicious food.
But it wasn’t all fun and games! We are grateful for the opportunity to expose teens (who may have difficult family backgrounds and who need to heal) to ways to build positive relationships, learn more about themselves, and learn how to “self-regulate” their emotions during these times.
Thanks to supporters like you, we are able to continue to wrap these teens in encouragement and support this summer and all year long.
Brianna, one of our Olive Crest teens, is now stretching her wings all the way to San Francisco State University! Having graduated from her local community college, where she received scholarship support through the Gimbel Foundation, Brianna is a shining example of what can be accomplished through Olive Crest’s program for transitional-aged youth.
Rose Welch, Lead Independent Living Skills Coach, says, “Brianna has a wonderful spirit and has taken the tools learned, and sowed these in herself and other clients. I am excited for her.” After her first-ever plane flight to attend the new student orientation and a whirlwind tour of San Francisco, Brianna is more than ready to continue to stretch her wings and see what the future holds.
We are so proud of you, Brianna! And we are so grateful for generous friends like you who make all the difference for youngsters like Brianna through your faithful, generous support of Olive Crest.
From the Olive Crest team at Wait No More: Thank you to everyone who came to the event to support children and families!
So many children still need forever homes—and this past May, at a very special event, 110 families took the first steps toward fostering or adopting a child, or to support families getting involved.
Focus on the Family hosts the Wait No More event, which was held on May 18 this year at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Focus on the Family partners with organizations and churches to put together one-day events to make it easier for foster and adoptive children to find permanent homes. Families at this year’s event could choose from 19 foster care services to work with—and we are so grateful for 43 families that registered with Olive Crest to make a difference for children and families.
Thank you to these families and all supporters helping transform the lives of kids and teens every day.
From April 1–12, our partners at Food4Less and Foods Co. raised awareness and funds to support Olive Crest through our Child Abuse Stops Here® campaign. Customers were given the opportunity to donate at checkout to help abused children find safe, loving homes. Nearly $202,000 was raised through the generosity and compassion of our local community members.
This will mean hundreds of children’s lives will be transformed, and the cycle of abuse will be broken. Thank you to our partners and donors for seeing the need and being a part of the solution!
Summer has always been a special season for Scott and Aubrey, who met at a Christian summer camp when they were teenagers. Fast forward a few years — they still make the most of the summer months now with their six adopted children.
None of these kids got off to a good start in life, but you wouldn’t know it when you see how happy they are now. Siblings Angelina and Jameson (ages 13 and 12) were abandoned at a public beach by their mother, who had serious mental health issues. And Jackson was horribly abused. Before Aubrey and Scott took him into their home, he had been in the hospital for two weeks with nine broken ribs and two brain bleeds. Aubrey’s voice drops to a whisper as she thinks about what he endured. She can’t stand thinking about what her little boy went through. The youngest three were left at the hospital after they were born to mothers with substance abuse issues.
With Olive Crest’s help — and yours — the Ashfords have loved these children back from the brink.
Surrounded by Prayer
There are also two foster children, Jason and Hudson. Hudson, who is 6 months old, was welcomed into the family several months ago and has been hospitalized several times since then. He has a number of health issues related to his birth mother’s addictions and his premature birth. Doctors are currently running tests to determine the best course of treatment to keep him healthy and strong. Meanwhile, the family is active in their church, and Hudson is surrounded by prayer.
Aubrey says she has known from the time she was a little girl that she wanted to adopt children someday, but she also wanted kids of her own. That wasn’t to be. After nine years of marriage and a number of fertility treatments, she discovered she could not conceive. Of course, this was deeply painful, especially for a woman who loved and wanted children. “But God had already planted the idea of adoption in my mind, so I felt He was preparing for me to adopt.”
The Ashfords first heard about Olive Crest through a promotion at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Then when they called a friend in the Los Angeles area to ask for a recommendation, she also mentioned Olive Crest. Aubrey says, “It was faith-based, which meant a lot to us.”
She adds, “Olive Crest is so great! From the very start, they have been so supporting and comforting. If there’s anything we need, I can call them, and they are totally ready to help.” She starts naming all the people at Olive Crest who have been such a help to her. “There’s Christy…and Jessica…and Patty….”
She recalls one time when she was in the hospital with Hudson, who was in isolation. “Patty showed up with a Starbucks for me…put her mask and her gown on and sat and visited with me for a long time. We talked and prayed and laughed together. It was just phenomenal!”
When asked if she has one favorite memory of her experiences as an adoptive mother, Aubrey says, “There are so many.” After thinking about it for a moment, she says, “A few months after we adopted Angelina, she and I were alone one day, and I asked her how she was doing. She was only a little girl, but she said, ‘I’m good. You know, I really like having you as my mom. You make me feel safe and loved, and I’m getting all my needs met.’ How could I ever forget something like that?”
How indeed? Thank you for making such moments possible for children like Angelina, and moms like Aubrey. Every day, you are ensuring kids are getting the love and safety they so desperately need.