A Letter From an Olive Crest Kid — Diana Alvarez, Former Resident Teen

A Letter From an Olive Crest Kid — Diana Alvarez, Former Resident Teen, Olive Crest, group home, at-risk, kid, teenager

Diana with her boyfriend, Jorge, and Nicko the dog.

It took me 25 years to finally be able to really, really appreciate Olive Crest.

I hated the structure, the well-balanced meals, the grading system that determined our rewards and consequences…most of all, I resented the staff. I blamed them for everything!

I know most of us kids shared more than being “in the system” in common. It was a much deeper connection and bond we had. We were all so broken. Speaking for myself, there was
never known such things as a healthy, balanced diet or dinner time…shoot…some of us were
lucky to even have a warm meal or meal at all.

We didn’t come from a family or support group that motivated us to do better and rewarded us with a weekly allowance, or field trips. Most of us were ignored, rejected, and had to bring money home, rather than to expect our families to actually spend money on us.

Currently, as a more mature, middle-aged mother of two children, people that have gotten to know me constantly ask “how did you turn out so normal?” I chuckle because I don’t think “normal” is the right adjective or question… The right question should be “Where did you learn how to be more ‘normal’?”

The answer is Olive Crest.

Olive Crest instilled in me the things I would’ve never learned from my dysfunctional and broken background. From teaching me the simple things like how to set a dining room table, use a steak knife, have a balanced meal, say please and thank you, do my own laundry and prepare a meal. When we got in trouble or grounded, it was always followed by a reason and explanation of the mistake committed, the consequence and the lesson.

Olive Crest showed me what the tradition of Christmas and gifts were, as I had never celebrated one when I arrived as a teenager. I remember experiencing my first baseball game, hockey game, and movie theater with Olive Crest, due to the donations they would receive. The best was when we were invited to attend Christian camp in Hume Lake, where I first realized believing in God and bonding with others was actually fun!

I can never thank God enough for putting Olive Crest in my life. For creating such a strong, organized, powerful organization that consists of individuals that really do care and taught me so much, that I am able to apply it all to my adult life and successfully raise two children: my son, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, and my daughter, a high school freshman.

Thank you, Olive Crest, for making a difference in my life, making me the woman I am today.

With love and appreciation,
Diana Alvarez

Caring—and Daring—Supporters Rappel Off Caesars Palace for Kids!

Caring—and Daring—Supporters Rappel Off Caesars Palace for Kids!

Myesha Wilson, Executive Director of Olive Crest in Nevada (left), starts her rappel to help raise money to benefit Olive Crest children and families.

A tip of the Olive Crest hat to all those who turned out to make our Second Annual Drop to Stop Child Abuse event a huge success. Daring adventurers rappelled down the side of Caesars Palace on the Strip, all to help children in need. Our goal, of course, is to join hands with caring people like you and end child abuse forever.

A competitive highlight of the evening came when a number of Olive Crest executives raised money by taking part in the “Toss Your Boss” event. And if you don’t know what that means, come to the third annual event next year and find out! Thanks to all who attended and helped raise over $40,000 to benefit at-risk children and families in Nevada.

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!