It’s Easy to Support Kids and Families!

It’s Easy to Support Kids and Families!

Here’s a great way to make your grocery shopping easier and support Olive Crest at the same time: Buy a reusable Olive Crest bag at your favorite store. The bags are now offered at Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Northgate Markets, Gelson’s, and Numero Uno — and 8 cents from each bag purchased is donated directly back to Olive Crest.

It’s a great way to support Olive Crest’s work in your community. Look for the Olive Crest bags in your neighborhood store, and help us move toward our goal of ending the cycle of child abuse and neglect.

Smart & Final Shows Compassion for At-Risk Kids and Families

Olive Crest, kids, at-risk kids, at-risk children, families, Smart & Final, donate

You probably already know that Smart & Final is a great place to shop for quality groceries at great prices. But did you know that the company’s management and employees care very much about the children and families in the communities they serve? Case in point, this summer they presented a $400,000 check to Olive Crest from their most recent in-store mobile campaign! This fantastic donation will greatly impact the children and families of Olive Crest. We can’t thank Smart & Final enough for their passion and contribution to the ongoing fight against child abuse.

 

You Helped Provide 200 New Backpacks to Kids Like Jose and Alonso

Olive Crest Las Vegas Backpack Drive

The generosity of Lennar Las Vegas Homes and all our other backpack donors made 200 kids happy with new backpacks.

 

School supplies, shoes, and brand new backpacks are the stuff of a great new school year. But many Olive Crest kids have never had these basics. That all changed this August when 200 backpacks were given out, putting big smiles on small faces. Jose says, “Thanks for giving me the shoes and backpack. I am happy that I can get these things, so thank you so much.” And Alonso says, “Thank you for everything for school. And thank you for helping my brother!”

These small things make a huge difference in building confidence and self-worth for our kids. Thanks to Lennar Las Vegas Homes, Mountaintop Faith Ministries, Capstone Brokerage, and all of you who donated. Your generosity is such a blessing!

 

Let’s Hear It for the Ambassador for the Children Award Winners!

Let’s Hear It for the Ambassador for the Children Award Winners!

 

Mickie Sharp-Villanueva and Dave Grosse from The Performance Group have been selected as the 2018 Ambassador for the Children award recipients.  These outstanding individuals were honored at our recent An Education for Every Child luncheon, where they were praised for their “strong servant leadership and selfless dedication to Olive Crest and the families that are supported.” Their personal investments and service for over 20 years has greatly impacted the children and families we serve. Thank you, Dave and Mickie! What a blessing you are!

“Laughternoon” Benefits Olive Crest Kids

“Laughternoon” Benefits Olive Crest Kids

On Saturday, April 14, comedian Adam London dedicated the proceeds from his live comedy show, “Laughternoon,” to Olive Crest. Adam joined Myesha Wilson, Executive Director of Olive Crest in Nevada, on the Fox Five morning show here in Las Vegas to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, our Olive Crest Hygiene Drive, and the “Laughternoon” show to benefit Olive Crest. Thank you, Adam, for your generosity and caring.

Be the Change…An Evening of Hope

Be the Change…An Evening of Hope
Every year, compassionate guests at Be the Change…An Evening of Hope make all the difference for our kids.

A big thank you to everyone who took part in Be The Change…an Evening of Hope, our annual cocktail-style fundraiser that took place on April 21 at Crimson inside Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa. A total of 170 guests took part in a silent auction, live auction, and “Bid from the Heart,” with the entire evening raising approximately $100,000 to help make a difference. Kendra Scott was also selling “mystery boxes” donated to raise money for Olive Crest. But the highlight of the event came at the end of the evening, when Olive Crest CEO Donald Verleur and Board President Mark Wiley jumped into the pool because we had exceeded our goal on “Bid from the Heart.” Now that was a sight to see!

Ride ’em, Cowgirls and Cowboys! Bikes, That Is!

Breakaway Cycling helped put on a bike rodeo for foster kids — and everyone even won a brand new bike!

 

On April 14, Olive Crest teamed up with another Las Vegas non-profit, Breakaway Cycling, to put on a “Bike Rodeo” for our foster kids. We invited other local foster care agencies to join in the fun, and more than 30 kids came to participate. What they didn’t know was that Breakaway Cycling had a big surprise in store for them.

First, they were each given a raffle ticket for a drawing for a free bike. Then, fitted with helmets, they participated in a bicycle safety course. Finally, the winning raffle ticket was drawn, and it proclaimed, “Everyone wins a bike!” What an uproar of cheers and applause from the kids and parents — and what a great event for all the kids! And what a great new friend Olive Crest has made in Breakaway Cycling!

 

Las Vegas 51’s Play Ball with Olive Crest

Las Vegas 51s Play Ball with Olive Crest
Well, we’re not literally playing ball with our great Las Vegas baseball team, but we sure have a winning partnership. Back in February, Mark Wiley, Olive Crest Board President, along with staff at our Nevada office — Rebecca Sheldon, Director of Development, and Angela Berdan, Community Involvement Coordinator — were privileged to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the spectacular new 51’s stadium being built in Summerlin.

And on May 11, “Olive Crest Night” was celebrated at the 51s game versus Fresno — one of our young adults even threw out the first pitch. More than 40 Olive Crest family and friends were able to attend the game courtesy of the 51s! We were honored to be able to share our mission with the many fans in attendance, and we were thrilled that so many stopped by our table to learn about the wonderful work you help make possible through your generous support.

Thank you, Las Vegas 51s! We look forward to many more seasons of working together for children and families in crisis. We make a great team!

The Numbers are In: Another Year of Easter Success Blesses Kids and Families!

It’s hard to believe, but some children, teens, and young adults never received an Easter basket before coming to Olive Crest—and now that we have had time to tally the Easter baskets given out at the beginning of the month, we are happy to give an update on our Easter successes! Here’s a rundown of the Easter goodies throughout Olive Crest.

Inland and Desert Communities: Kids in group homes and foster kids were gifted a total of 350 baskets. Group home youth received hygiene products, socks, gift cards, make-up, and nail polish; foster kids received books, candy, summer games, and beach towels. Baskets with board games also were given to families in our Family Preservation program.

Las Vegas: Big-hearted donations provided foster kids under age 13 with more than 60 Easter baskets, and older foster kids and young adults in Olive Crest programs received 40 baskets. Baskets for the older kids included make-up and gift cards for girls, and earbuds, cards, and candy bars for boys.

Los Angeles: Hundreds in community benefitted from generous Easter basket donations from individuals and companies, including Wells Fargo, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Topson Downs, Ralph’s, and United Healthcare. One very compassionate donor, Janet, recently lost her son, and to honor him, she did something special for the foster kids that we serve: She donated 58 baskets filled with tons of toys and candy.

Orange County: A whopping 1,809 Easter baskets came in during Orange County’s Easter basket drive! Every child and teen at Olive Crest—whether they are involved with us through fostering, kinship, group homes, family preservation, independent life skills training, or Olive Crest Academy—had a happy Easter because of your donations. Baskets from the drive also spread joy to foster kids in our San Diego office.

 The Pacific Northwest: Generous individuals and groups donated between 200 and 250 Easter baskets for the first few weeks of March. Olive Crest case managers and other staff delivered the baskets to foster kids and their foster siblings, and there were even enough to share some with a local Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Thank you for all the compassion that helped brighten Easter for Olive Crest children and teens!

 

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Stopping the Cycle of Abuse—Tiffany’s Transformation

Stopping the Cycle of Abuse—Tiffany’s Transformation 1

Tiffany’s younger years were filled with abuse, neglect, and fear. Her parents had a crippling addiction to meth and Tiffany had to be removed from her home, spending most of her childhood in and out of the child welfare system. Tiffany was thrilled when, at 13, she found out she would be reunited with her mom. But her mother hadn’t changed, and soon Tiffany realized she would never get the love she needed. Instead, Tiffany said, “My mother showed me how to smoke meth. She popped it right in my mouth and lit it, and I was hooked.”

Desperate for a Way Out

“By the time I was 14, I was an everyday addict. When my mother didn’t have her drugs, she was angry and abusive. She’d beat me, physically. We were squatting, dirty, and homeless.” Tiffany attempted to end her life with an overdose — but she survived, and her addiction became even worse.

That’s when she met the abusive man who became the father of her two children. They lived in abandoned buildings with no running water or electricity. Tiffany was in and out of jail. In fact, when she gave birth to her daughter, she was handcuffed to a hospital bed with a corrections officer counting between contractions.

She wanted to get her life straightened out. But almost as soon as she was released from jail, she was back to her old habits with her children in tow: Charlie, 2, and her baby girl, Brianna.

She knew she had to change…for the sake of her little ones.

She called her grandmother, who explained there were two places she could get the help she needed. The first was a rescue mission that had a year-long program to help people break free from addictions. The second was Olive Crest.

Tiffany contacted Olive Crest, and staff connected her with a volunteer Safe Family that would take care of her kids while she enrolled in the mission’s program. She says, “It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, strapping my two kids into some strange man’s car and watching them drive away. But looking back, it was all for them.”

“ I started to learn how to be a mother.”

Tiffany’s Olive Crest team developed a plan to reunite her with her children. When she met with the family hosting her kids, she could tell immediately that they were on her side.

“I reached a real turning point when my host dad, Bill, asked me a question no one else had ever asked before: ‘Can I pray for you?’”

Tiffany also watched how Leslie, her host mom, showed love and compassion to her children. “And I started to learn how to be a mother to my own kids. They took me to church with them.

Along the way, Leslie taught me how to budget and save money, and about the importance of being self-sufficient.”

Finding a Family, a New Life, and a Future Free From Abuse

Tiffany says, “In Olive Crest’s Safe Families program, I didn’t just find a safe house for my kids. I found a family. I found the beginning of a new life. I’m thankful every day that my kids are healthy and doing well — that Olive Crest helped break the cycle of abuse. I have sole custody. I live in a three-bedroom apartment. I work a full-time job and am slowly working on a degree in accounting.” She has been clean and sober for five years.

Tiffany hopes to someday use her own experience to help other young women caught up in addiction and abuse. “Without Olive Crest — and the people like you who sacrifice to support their work — my story would have turned out very differently.

Instead, I can say,

“child abuse stopped here.