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.

You Make the World a Better Place

Your support of Olive Crest helps children and families in so many ways. A woman named Grace came to us to find out more about our free tutoring program. She had just learned that her daughter, Nathalie, was going to be placed in a special education class on the other side of town. Grace fought hard to have Nathalie placed in a school closer to home — and Nathalie is now doing better than ever in a nearby school. She comes to Olive Crest every day for tutoring, gets along well with the other students, and helps them when she can.

On her birthday, an organization called Goodness Cakes provided her with a beautiful and delicious cake. She was so excited. Later that evening, we received an email from Grace thanking us for everything we have done for Nathalie and letting us know that she had just won an award for “Most Improved in Math.”

She said, “I just wanted to share Nathalie’s success with all of you…The care and kindness you give to each family makes the world a better place for each and every one of us.”

These words belong to caring friends like you. Thank you for helping kids like Nathalie. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

The Old West was Never This Much Fun!

What do you get when you mix a western theme with 700 men, women, and children filling the Gold Rush Camp at Knott’s Berry Farm? You get a high-energy, rootin’-tootin’ celebration for Olive Crest’s foster and adoptive families!

On Saturday, May 5, nearly 200 families came together from our Inland Communities, as well as Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange Counties, as Olive Crest expressed appreciation to them for their compassionate hearts and dedication to the children in our communities.

Following a famous Knott’s breakfast, the families enjoyed face painting and tattoo stations, line dancing, and a friendly competition. Even Snoopy got in on the fun!

Four families from across our So Cal regions spoke to the crowd, sharing the reasons they foster and/or adopt with Olive Crest – about both the challenges and tremendous rewards. Following the morning program, families spent the day enjoying the rides and attractions at the amusement park.

“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.

Robots Invade Olive Crest!

In mid May, Olive Crest in Orange County was invaded by robots! The awe-inspiring metallic creatures, designed by university students working with the Child Creativity Lab, were built from repurposed materials and donated to Olive Crest. Each robot came with a special written message about hope and possibility to help motivate our kids and teens. The Child Creativity Lab encourages hands-on creativity, and we are grateful to them and to the USC students who partnered to delight us with their special creations.

Thank You, Campbell Auto Group!

Thank You, Campbell Auto Group!

A big shout out to Campbell Auto Group for their Kids to Camp campaign that ran from April through June. This was their fourth year of sponsoring this marvelous campaign to provide a unique adventure for foster kids. For many of them, this was their very first camping trip – and they loved it! Hopefully, these kinds of experiences will ignite a sense of discovery and wonder in them, and lead them to a greater appreciation of nature and a desire to learn even more.

To learn more about this generous company and all the ways they support our community, please visit www.campbellautogroup.com.

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!

Having a Blast with Taylor Swift

Sometimes, thanks to generous donors like you, Olive Crest kids get to have a blast. We witnessed this on May 18th, when a generous donor made it possible for 75 kids and teens to attend Taylor Swift’s concert at the Rose Bowl. The tickets were provided by a private donor in connection with Tickets for Kids, an organization that connects low-income and at-risk boys and girls to concerts, ballgames, zoos, and more.

Many of the kids, who were shuttled to the concert by Olive Crest, were seeing Swift perform for the first time, and some wore custom-made Taylor Swift shirts they had designed themselves. They had a ball from the moment that opening act Camila Cabello came on stage, and later, singer Shawn Mendez joined Taylor Swift as a special guest.

Swift had the audience up and dancing to songs like “Ready for It,” “Bad Blood,” “Look What You Made Me Do,” and “Shake it Off,” which was accompanied by spectacular fireworks.

A Computer…and a Future of Hope

A Computer…and a Future of Hope

Going above and beyond…that’s the spirit of this donor story. One of our kids recently needed a laptop for school, so we reached out to our Facebook community with this opportunity to give and received an immediate reply. We connected the foster family and teen with the donor, so they could get a better idea of what was needed. The request was for $500 toward a new computer, as the family realized the expense when it comes to electronics. But the donor wanted to bless this creative girl with the desire of her heart…and new Mac. They responded with a $1,500 gift card, which was able to provide a new MacBook Pro. The best part of the story is this new computer sparked a conversation about college, and as a result, this bright teen toured Seattle University the following week!  The blessing of this gift inspired a dream and planted a seed of hope for this young girl’s future.

13 High School Students Get Free Senior Portraits, Thanks to Danie Henry Photography!

Thirteen Olive Crest teens in Los Angeles recently grasped the opportunity to receive free graduation portraits. Danie Henry Photography provided photographers and refreshments for the families. The students had their portraits taken in April. Danie Henry learned about the Safe Families for Children program from a prior service project in Kansas City. Once she decided to give back to graduating seniors, she knew Safe Families was the perfect place to turn. Her desire to give made her decision to work with Olive Crest so simple. We had a great time working with Danie Henry and her team!

Learn more about the Safe Families for Children program here.