Donations and Volunteers Give Teens a Remodeled Group Home!

A while back we shared with you that the teens in one of our Orange County group homes would be getting a home makeover, thanks to Michael Sullivan and Associates Law Firm and Impressions Contracting. The renovation has been completed, and it looks fantastic! The updated home now provides a fresh, productive, home-like environment for our kids to live in.

It’s quite encouraging to have a clean, refreshed space to live in. Thank you to our very generous donors for making impactful differences in our kids’ lives!

Thank You to Our New Mentors in Los Angeles!

Thank You to Our New Mentors in Los Angeles!

Young adults at Olive Crest now have five new mentors to teach them independent living skills and help coach them. Right before summer, we had our first mentoring orientation for anyone interested in helping our young adults – and afterward, all five people signed up! What a great way to help end the cycle of abuse, homelessness, and re-entry into the child welfare system. Our kids and teens learn so much from our mentors!

If you’d like to be a mentor for young adults at Olive Crest, you can attend an orientation meeting to learn more. Moving forward, each potential mentor is required to complete a two-hour training session. Our staff will provide training and guidance to help you support the vulnerable children and families we serve. For more information, please contact Nick King at nicholas-king@olivecrest.org or 562.866.8956, x1632.

Kids and Teens in Orange County Enjoy a Day Out

Kids and Teens in Orange County Enjoy a Day Out

On Saturday, June 23, more than 1,000 kids and teens from Olive Crest had the chance to enjoy a summer outing during the Summer of Hope event. Over 20 churches throughout Orange County partnered together to put on this exciting event at The Source Mall in Buena Park. A concert featured a finalist from “The Voice” and a few R&B artists, and kids even heard a talk from Super Bowl champion Anthony Madison.

What a fun day for our youth! Thank you to the churches that generously put on this event.

Olive Crest Kids Set Sail to Learn New Skills

Olive Crest Kids Set Sail to Learn New Skills

Fifteen Olive Crest young adults enjoyed a day on the water around Redondo Beach, California, in early June. The young sailors had a chance to learn to kayak, and use sailboats and power boats, while also learning about the ocean and sea lions. Each Olive Crest program chose three members to participate in these fun outdoor activities.

It makes a difference in young lives to take a break and learn some fun, new skills! Thank you to our many generous donors who make it possible to provide our kids with a day full of joy.

To At-Risk Kids, Camp May Seem Too Good to be True

To At-Risk Kids, Camp May Seem Too Good to be True

A story that our Chaplain, Frank Fried, shared demonstrates how life-changing summer camp really is. Camp is fun…really fun! But what if fun is something that you’re not familiar or really comfortable with? Camp can be a challenge; it can even be traumatic.

As a camp counselor, when Frank returned to the cabin one day, he found a 14-year-old Olive Crest camper sitting on the stairs to their cabin…crying. Frank sat down, comforting him, and asked what was wrong. The teen wasn’t really sure why he was crying, but as they talked for a little bit, they figured out that he was feeling very un-nerved by how wonderful camp was.

As they talked, Frank learned that the vast majority of the teen’s upbringing had been very traumatic. He was comfortable with conflict and expecting the worst. However, camp was amazingly safe and delightfully fun…and had to be too good to be true from his perspective. It was a Christian camp, and he couldn’t believe that there could be so many happy, nice, and friendly people there.

Many of the kids that come to Olive Crest experience a way of life that they had never let themselves dream of. They experience real family, real love, real patience, and real forgiveness. For those who’ve grown up in a safe and loving family, it’s hard to appreciate how foreign that can be to a child, teen, or an adult.

Your support is helping make a drastic change in the lives of so many children and youth. Thank you!

Read more about Chaplain Frank’s thoughts on at-risk youth and camp.

Nine Grads—Formerly At-Risk Kids—Celebrate Their Accomplishment

Nine Grads—Formerly At-Risk Kids—Celebrate Their Accomplishment

Many abused and neglected teens never make it through school – so when they do, it’s a special accomplishment. Thank you to TRAFFIK, an Orange County advertising and marketing agency, for taking some of our 2018 high school graduates out to dinner! Staff from TRAFFIK treated nine graduates from our Orange County location out to Agorra Churascarria, a Brazilian Steakhouse in Irvine, California. Each graduate even received a gift to celebrate the accomplishment.

Thank you, TRAFFIK, for making their graduation special and memorable!

Your Donations Help Kids and Families with So Much…Even Health Awareness!

Your Donations Help Kids and Families with So Much…Even Health Awareness!

Knowledge about mental and physical health is essential! On Saturday, June 9, community members, along with Olive Crest youth and families, learned how to improve their health at the first ever Health Fair from Olive Crest in Los Angeles. Participants got free food, took part in fun activities, and won raffle prizes. Families also gained resources that they may have not been aware of – such as mental health, fitness, preventing domestic violence, and family services and finances. More than 13 vendors (Crunch Fitness, Fame Tobacco, Su Casa, UHB Media Spa, Bellflower Volunteer Center, Heartland Financial, Kingdom Causes, Wells Fargo, Fair Housing Authority, Dreamland Dental and Orthodontics) provided these tips on managing a healthier lifestyle.

Thank you to these wonderful vendors and our donors making a difference in our families’ lives. These events would not be possible without your support!

Volunteer Tutors Helping At-Risk Kids and Teens Succeed

Volunteer Tutors Helping At-Risk Kids and Teens Succeed

Brandon, a volunteer tutor, front and center with his award, next to staff from Olive Crest in Los Angeles (Jessica Leon, Family Resource Center Coordinator, and Nick King, Community Involvement Coordinator)

At-risk kids and teens may not always get the help in school that they need – volunteer tutors can make a huge difference in a student’s education. It’s so important to acknowledge tutors like Brandon, who volunteered over 80 hours as a tutor for Olive Crest.

Brandon volunteered from summer 2017 until the end of the year. He tutored in a variety of subjects, helping students from ages five to 10 years old. Hundreds of other students who volunteer were nominated by The Bellflower Volunteer Center, but it was Brandon who was recognized as Student Volunteer of the Year during the volunteer center’s ceremony. His total hours stood out amongst the other candidates. The Mayor of Bellflower, Ray Dunton, recognized Brandon for his awesome volunteering. He will be attending UC Berkeley in the Fall.

Thanks to our volunteers and donors, Olive Crest kids are receiving the tutoring they need to succeed!

Olive Crest Kids Ride Away with Brand New Bikes

Olive Crest kids in the Pacific Northwest recently received new bikes, thanks to the staffing agency People Connect and the organization Together We Rise. People Connect worked with Together We Rise to order the bikes, and Together We Rise made sure our kids benefitted. These bikes had a wonderful impact on the kids, shown through a couple stories below.

Excitement rang through one foster family and their grade-school-aged boy when his bike showed up at their home. When the mom answered the door, she was ecstatic that the bike was exactly the same as the boy’s recently broken bike – she knew how much her boy would love it. The boy was so excited when she told him that there was a new bike waiting for him in the garage. Because it was just like his old favorite bike, he was especially thankful and joyful! In addition, People Connect made him a personal card that he loved – he even pointed out all his favorite parts of it.

Two other boys just entering foster care had birthdays approaching quickly. While the boys, their biological mom, and their foster mom were at court, the two moms met each other for the first time. The boys’ biological mom was heartbroken that she was going to miss their birthdays and worried that they would not receive any gifts. The foster mom reassured her that Olive Crest provided the boys with brand new bikes – and the biological mother burst into tears. She seemed to believe that she and her boys were truly valued and cared for, as she hugged the foster mom and thanked her and Olive Crest repeatedly.

Thank you again to People Connect and Together We Rise for making these beautiful moments possible!

Young Adults Start on a Path Toward Financial Independence

At-risk teen, at-risk youth, life skills, finances, Inland Empire, Olive Crest

Young adults who are at-risk often do not have families to teach them about handling their finances. Fortunately, many young adults at Olive Crest actually saved several thousands of dollars for their accounts through lessons made available by the United Way and the Assistance League of Temecula. Annually, our young adults getting life skills training take a six-week course on financial literacy, budgeting, and savings. The classes were offered by the United Way, and additional support was provided by Assistance League. Olive Crest had the joy of hosting the graduation this spring at our Inland Empire office.

Thank you, United Way and Assistance League, for the generosity and participation to provide Olive Crest children with valuable lessons!