Tommy Bahama event raises $190,000 to help provide families for kids

Tommy Bahama event raises $190,000 to help provide families for kids
Soleil, who is a part of Olive Crest’s programs, next to her original artwork, which went up for auction.

For the 20th consecutive year, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Store put on its annual Pacific Coast Classic Dinner and Golf Tournament to benefit Olive Crest.

The dinner, hosted at Tommy Bahama’s fabulously remodeled coastal location in Newport Beach, featured a live auction and an immersive experience giving guests an opportunity to walk in the shoes of a teen aging out of the system.

The golf tournament, held at Monarch Beach Golf Links, welcomed 148 golfers. The two events raised over $190,000 for Olive Crest.

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Hundreds “Pick a Purse” and Help Stop Child Abuse

Hundreds “Pick a Purse” and Help Stop Child Abuse

Last month, more than 450 women and men from the grocery industry came together to support Olive Crest children and families. They enjoyed an afternoon filled with hundreds of purses, raffle prizes, and accessories up for grabs for a great cause: Olive Crest Food Industry’s 2nd Annual Pick-a-Purse event!

Beyond the fun and excitement of picking out a purse to take home, there was a strong reminder of the why behind this event. The testimonial from a young woman named Evi brought people to tears as she shared how Olive Crest stepped in and helped her find a forever family amongst her challenging upbringing with an abusive father and (often) absentee mother.

Dina Serrano (Ralphs), Rita Cabot (Norco Ranch), and Mickie Sharp-Villanueva (The Performance Group) made this incredible event come to life for all who attended. Thank you to all of the sponsors, vendors, and supporters who attended as we continue toward the goal of a strong family for every child. Child Abuse Stops Here®.

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A Night of Bowling and a Priceless Time for Foster Families to Connect

A Night of Bowling and a Priceless Time for Foster Families to Connect 9

Developing meaningful relationships can be one of the most challenging aspects of being in the child welfare system. It’s a whole new world for parents and kids alike, a time when both need a lot of family and community support. Thanks to Ingram Micro, Olive Crest in Orange County was able to do just that on Tuesday, August 6. Ingram Micro graciously hosted a bowling night for 20 Olive Crest foster families and a host of Olive Crest staff at Irvine Lanes.

A wonderful evening for all, Olive Crest and 20 Ingram Micro volunteers took over nine lanes that evening. Each family was welcomed by an Ingram Micro volunteer who gave them a customized water bottle, pencils, pencil sharpeners, and candy. They also provided bowling shoes, two hours of bowling, and volunteers to help little ones bowl, along with a splendid dinner of pizza, salad, fruit and drinks. It was an awesome way for Olive Crest families to connect with each other and develop critical relationships within the foster community.  Olive Crest Adoptions Supervisor, Jennifer Oei, said, “We truly felt spoiled and we are incredibly grateful for Ingram Micro’s generosity.”

Earlier this year, Ingram Micro donated proceeds from their annual golf tournament toward Olive Crest children and families, as well. As a way to say thank you, kids at Olive Crest created a “fingerprint tree” during a support group to give to Ingram Micro.

Thank you to Ingram Micro and all who support children and families at Olive Crest.

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Students at Olive Crest Academy Enjoy a Newer Spruced-Up Learning Environment

Students at Olive Crest Academy Enjoy a Newer Spruced-Up Learning Environment

Transform a school and you are likely to transform the lives of many students! Through the hard work of 130 wonderful Orange County RSM volunteers, Olive Crest Academy now has a fresh start for the 2019-2020 school year!

On August 2, 2019, RSM LLP commemorated their second year volunteering with Olive Crest (and their 10th year volunteering as organization, “A Decade of Doing”). Last year, more than 70 RSM staff worked to refurbish one of Olive Crest’s group homes. This year, they repainted, cleaned, and spruced-up classrooms, purchased and installed new furniture and desks, disposed of old furniture, beautified landscaping, and so much more! Additionally, RSM will make a financial donation to Olive Crest for every hour volunteered (608 total hours this year).

For students who may have difficulty focusing, learning, and believing they can, an uplifting atmosphere makes a world of difference. Thanks so much for all of your support over the years, RSM! Your hard work won’t go unnoticed by the students and staff at Olive Crest Academy.

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Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care Gifted a Safe Space

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care Gifted a Safe Space

Navigating life after foster care isn’t easy. When teens age out of the child welfare system, they often need more support than ever as they navigate learning how to live on their own, the stress of everyday adult life, and finding a safe place to call home.

Thanks to your generosity, many Olive Crest teens (as well as any former foster youth) have the opportunity to apply for transitional housing. Through this program, they have a small apartment and receive weekly training in basic life skills (cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, and even conflict resolution). They also receive assistance in using local transportation, education and employment coaching, college prep (financial aid application) assistance, and an opportunity to create savings that Olive Crest matches up to $250 a month.

And with the help and community support from Optum Healthcare, a few Orange County young adults received an extra special treat this summer: beautiful, landscaped backyards. On August 8, 30 Optum healthcare staff members volunteered for hours with gardening tools to make over four different spaces for THP residents. Now, not only do they have a place to call home, but a safe place to stop and smell the roses, too…something many of them have never had before.

Thanks to all who continue to support children and families through Olive Crest. Thanks for being a part of the solution!

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Gimbel Foundation Helped Brianna Go to College!

Gimbel Foundation Helped Brianna Go to College! 1

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.

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Grocery Shoppers Donate More Than $200,000 to Stop Child Abuse

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!

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Social Media Influencer Laura Izumikawa Helps Gain More Support for Olive Crest

Social Media Influencer Laura Izumikawa Helps Gain More Support for Olive Crest 3

Laura, shown here with her little ones, uses her creativity to make a difference in her community.

On Saturday, June 1, Laura Izumikawa, social media phenom, author, and mother of two, hosted her 2nd annual Playdate Project event benefitting Olive Crest at the Southern California Children’s Museum. Reaching out to her 660,000 followers on Instagram, Laura invited folks to sign up for this year’s event. Dozens of families and their guests, as well as over 40 stylish vendors of child and family-related products and services, gathered for a day of crafts, activities, and just plain silliness, all while learning more about the realities of child abuse in our country…and how to stop it.

Laura first heard about Olive Crest through some friends who were in the process of adopting a child. And after learning more about the enormous need to provide abused and neglected children with safe, loving homes, she decided to get involved.

Social Media Influencer Laura Izumikawa Helps Gain More Support for Olive Crest 2

Laura partners with a company called Apolis to create eco-friendly bags — and over Easter weekend, she donated $5.00 from each bag sale to benefit Olive Crest kids and families.

Using her platform on social media, Laura has helped spread awareness about child abuse prevention and what Olive Crest is doing to put an end to it for good, helping Olive Crest gain more supporters and expand services to even more vulnerable children and families in crisis.

All we have to say to Laura is…

Social Media Influencer Laura Izumikawa Helps Gain More Support for Olive Crest 4

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Wine Women & Shoes Event Raises Over $170,000 for Abused and Neglected Children and Families in Crisis

Wine Women & Shoes Event Raises Over $170,000 for Abused and Neglected Children and Families in Crisis

Among the guests and staff were (left to right) Carrie Brock, Trustee; Kyle Houlton, Associate Director of Development; Tim Bauer, Executive Director of Development; and Kristina Morales, Trustee (all with Olive Crest in Orange County).

On the evening of Friday, April 12, more than 400 guests packed the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort for an evening of fashion and philanthropy. The occasion was Olive Crest in Orange County’s first ever Wine Women & Shoes fundraising event. The ladies enjoyed shopping, wine-tasting, socializing, and a fabulous fashion show — all for the benefit of Olive Crest’s children and families. More than $170,000 was raised to support our mission to stop the cycle of child abuse, keep vulnerable children safe, and restore at-risk families!

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A Strong Family Transforms Six Precious Lives

A Strong Family Transforms Six Precious Lives

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.