No child deserves to feel unloved or forgotten on Christmas. So from giving a single gift to adopting an entire family, members of the Olive Crest community outdid themselves during the 2018 holiday season! Through our annual Be the Miracle campaign, thousands of toys, gift cards, and Christmas wishes were granted for Olive Crest kids and families. For example:
- In Los Angeles, 47 families in our Adopt-a-Family program received day-to-day necessities as well as gifts they otherwise would not have been able to purchase.
- In the Desert and Inland Communities, generous donors like Agape Salon; Cypress Wealth Services; High Tower Advisors; Holstrom, Block & Parke; the Grove Church; and Monster Energy contributed to Be the Miracle. Plus, Toyota of Riverside, Hub International, and the City of Riverside went even further to bring joy by sponsoring specific families.
- Kids in the Pacific Northwest wore bright smiles when they received hundreds of gifts donated from churches, companies, and individuals in the community. Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped make sure Be the Miracle events ran smoothly, as well as those from New Life Church. One foster mom mentioned, “It was special to celebrate with ‘sister families’….It was wonderful to see so many foster-friends who have given us supplies, prayed for us, or encouraged us along the way. It was a family reunion of sorts!”
Because of your compassion, Christmas was special for thousands of children and teens who need to know that someone cares, that they are important, and that their dreams matter. Thank you!
On Sunday, November 11, approximately 50 Olive Crest employees joined forces to participate in the Mission Inn 5K Run in Riverside. People from all over the Riverside and desert areas run in this annual event. It was great to represent Olive Crest and the children and families in crisis in our community at this event, where the goal was to raise $10,000. Thank you to everyone who took part in this fun and worthwhile event.
Fifty families benefitted from the kindness of Summit Water of Life Church this Thanksgiving. Pictured are three Olive Crest staff members, along with Corinna of Summit Water of Life Church (far right).
Olive Crest is indeed fortunate to have great community partners who are as passionate about our kids and families as we are. One such partner is Summit Water of Life Church, which became involved with Olive Crest in the Inland and Desert Communities through the Safe Families for Children program. Members of this congregation made Thanksgiving very special for 50 Olive Crest families by providing them with beautiful Thanksgiving baskets filled with non-perishable items, such as mashed potatoes, corn, peas, cake mixes, and canned yams – and every basket had a $50 gift card to help provide the families with a fresh turkey.
Fifth-graders at Inland Leaders Charter School provided 22 personal hygiene bags for our kiddos and generously donated several books.
This holiday season, special help from 106 fifth-grade students at Inland Leaders Charter School in Yucaipa gave Olive Crest kids one of the best Christmas seasons ever. It all began when the students reached out to Olive Crest to find out what they could do to help children who have been abandoned and abused. They joined our Be the Miracle drive, creating personal hygiene bags and festive Christmas stockings for other elementary school kids. What a blessing to have young partners like these giving back to kids and families!
Because of your support, children and families in the Inland and Desert Communities were able to attend Olive Crest’s Harvest Festival this past fall held at one of our local group homes. The festival was designed for fun and celebration in a safe and warm environment.
Children and families who have been faced with abuse, neglect, and volatile home environments — not to mention financial and emotional stress — were able to relax and enjoy a variety of carnival games, candy prizes, a climbing wall, and even a bungee jump!
Thank you for your support to strengthen and support kids and families in our community.
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.
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!
Every day, at-risk kids and teens get the support they need through counseling, safety, and more…because of your support. New activities can play a part in healing, as well—and some of our group home teens have been tapping into their creative side by writing and putting together their own newsletter, The Olive Crest Press. The articles share their learning adventures—as well as some insights they have gathered along the way.
One young man wrote about a mountain trip, saying, “The reason I went to this place was not because of how it looked, or if there were girls there…I went up there to meet God, to allow Him to find me. I was lucky to have the opportunity to go up to that mountain….He did find me.”
Another shared an experience on a boat trip: “The journey back is never a disappointment, but rather a lesson in disguise and everybody for one reason or another seems to understand that at the end.…The crazy thing is even though we’re going to do the same thing next month, the experience is gonna be totally different. That’s because sailors adjust their sails.”
These experiences and the opportunities for growth that they offer would not be possible without your support. Thank you!
This month, Olive Crest in the Desert Communities celebrated Kayla, who just turned 21 and has successfully transitioned beyond our program for teenagers and young adults. She entered one of our programs more than two years ago and recently graduated into a completely independent living arrangement. Kayla has now maintained a job for over one year. Through our program, she gained valuable independent living skills, ranging from building credit, managing a savings account, and learning how to earn her driver’s license. Kayla even successfully saved thousands of dollars in Olive Crest’s saving program. The program that helped Kayla is an essential part of Olive Crest’s efforts to provide help for our transitioning young adults, thanks to your support.