Archive for July 2010 | Monthly archive page
Innovation Center, a part of Julian Charter School in Encinitas, hosted a unique fundraiser that allowed children to create a variety of items for sale. All proceeds from the craft sales were designated for Haiti relief and recovery efforts of Giving Children Hope.
Ileana Mangoutas of Innovation Center told GCHope that each grade level was responsible for making a different product to sell. Kindergarteners made oil canvases, First and Second graders created tile coasters and the upper-level classes made specialty stationery.
This creative fundraiser was able to raise more than $340 for Haiti relief!
Ileana Mangoutas found Giving Children Hope through Cottonwood Church, who have been partners in the Haiti relief efforts since the quake struck in January.
A big thank you to Innovation Center, its unique idea, talented children and creativity that makes Haiti relief and recovery efforts possible!
Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi has created her sixth documentary for HBO, ‘Homeless: The Motel Kids Of Orange County’. While we run “We’ve Got Your Back”:[~420~] to address the nutrition needs of homeless children in the county, Pelosi has brought this growing issue in one of the most wealthiest counties in the United States to the forefront.
In the “Orange County Register article”:http://www.ocregister.com/entertainment/says-258964-pelosi-homeless.html, Pelosi says, “I really believe this movie could have been made in any zip code in America, and the people in Orange County are probably not happy that we landed there,” Pelosi says. “But Orange County had it coming to it – with ‘The OC,’ ‘The Real Housewives,’ it’s portrayed as the place you go to live the American dream.” The article reports that she looked at other locations but kept coming back to Orange County because the reality of the county was far different from the perceptions people had of it. “The contrasts are stark,” Pelosi says. “We have tons of homeless people everywhere, but the first thing – when I told I people I was making about homeless kids in Orange County – people would say was, ‘There are homeless people in Orange County?’”
In “her interview on CNN.com”:http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/24/pelosi.homeless/ she talks about The Project Hope School in Orange County, one of only four schools that only teaches homeless children in the nation. Giving Children Hope serves this school’s students with food through the We’ve Got Your Back program.
Giving Children Hope is located in Orange County and people in our immediate area are constantly surprised when we let them know that there are more than 22,000 homeless children in this county. Our goal is to not only be on the front lines to address this issue, but to also bring awareness and education.
I hope you all get the chance to watch this documentary and become educated about the community around you. I also hope it dispels some of the misconceptions that have been created about this county. We can all do something to help these children in our backyard.
The documentary premiered yesterday, but will be repeated by HBO servers times in July and August. Please share your thoughts with us and see how you can help.
* Photo is from a scene in Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary ‘Homeless: The Motel Kids Of Orange County’, HBO
Our faithful and amazing partners right down the street at Nutrilite sent us two groups to help the We’ve Got Your Back program grow. We are so grateful for their perpetual support in the program, whether it’s through food, time or funds! Since they began their volunteer work with us in February, they have contributed over 130 hours of work. They have graciously pledged their continued time and support throughout this next school year as well. Thank you Nutrilite for your dedication to the children of Orange County!
Savannah High Key Club, a group of dedicated high school students, came to volunteer their time to the We’ve Got Your Back program by packing bags for our summer distribution. In three hours they packed about 200 bags for our summer distribution. This new distribution program addresses the need to feed the children in our program over the summer, when most schools are not in session.
Thank you so much for your time and effort!
On Saturday, April 3, Caitlyn Duffy of Whittier Christian High School held a benefit concert to raise funds and awareness for the continuous needs in Haiti.
As many as six student and Alumni-lead bands took the stage at WCHS’ Herald Hall for a night of music, student speakers, fundraising and fun. Burning Bush Clothing Company and Carousel Clothing were also present to sell products and clothing during the event.
This special event raised $719.05 for Giving Children Hope’s Haiti Relief and Recovery efforts. Burning Bush Clothing Company also donated its proceeds direct to Haiti relief while Carousel Clothing donated a t-shirt to a homeless individual for each t-shirt purchased.
In February, students from WCHS raised more than $6600 in their “$2000 in 10 minutes” fundraiser and a number of students volunteered one afternoon to sort medical supplies for Haiti victims.
Giving Children Hope is continually grateful for Whittier Christian’s partnership and contributions toward Haiti relief and recovery!
Team members from Northern Trust, a financial firm out of Newport Beach, came to donate time to We’ve Got Your Back. During our summer months, as we reset for the upcoming school year, there are a large number of tasks that need to be done with our “We’ve Got Your Back” program. They helped to sort through our backpacks to see which ones are still usable for next year, they cleaned and restocked our toy room so that we know which donations are available for our kids to receive and they stocked shelves in our food room so that more bags could get packed for our summer distribution to homeless children in Orange County. Thank you Northern Trust for helping us prepare for the coming year!
The Buena Park Women’s Club came to volunteer their time to the We’ve Got Your Back program. They sorted food and packed bags for our summer distribution program. We have not been able to give out much cereal, pasta or rice this summer, but thankfully these women came through for us and did some much needed packing so that the children in our program can get the nutrition they need.
Two different teams from Bank of America came to help out in our warehouse and sort medical supplies. The first group, led by Manager Sonny Nguyen, very generously furnished us with a financial contribution collected from their team members! We could not fulfill our mission without the sacrifice of time from our volunteers or without gifts from our donors. Bank of America acted as both this month and we are extremely grateful!
Giving Children Hope provided Transitions, a nonprofit that provides free services to adults with disabilities in Blanding, Utah, with a truckload of medical supplies last week. The founder of the agency, Sandy Asbury called to share that the supplies that were donated to their local clinics was enough to cover them for two years and helped save several small clinics in the area from shutting their doors.
“On of the directors of one of the programs was reduced to tears. He is so grateful,” Sandy said. “He said there is enough product to last [the clinics] for two years. It’s stuff we don’t have and can’t afford to buy… I wanted you to know that it was so greatly appreciated.”
The nonprofit serves clients in a Navajo reservation in San Juan County, one of the poorest in the nation, where the median income is $13,000 a year. They have 30 years experience working with agencies in that area such as the Navajo and Ute Tribes, Vocational Rehab, the San Juan School District.
Giving Children Hope works to bring other nonprofits the supplies they need to reduce their costs and funnel monies into other program areas so that they may better serve their clients.
Sandy said that the supplies were enough to triple their funds and spend money in areas they need to the most.
As she wrapped her thoughts she wanted to send GCHope’s donors a message: “We do want you to know that it does make a difference.”
I’m not the type that usually blogs…so the fact that I am taking the time to write this blog means there’s something I really want to share. And if you’re usually not someone who follows a blog, then maybe you should take the time to finish reading this, since we’re both doing something we don’t usually do anyway.
First off, for those who don’t know, I coordinate the “We’ve Got Your Back”:[~420~] program where we distribute backpacks full of nutritious food every weekend throughout the school year for over 800 elementary-school children who are identified as homeless (unstable housing, living in motels) by the criteria of the “McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act”:http://www.seirtec.org/nche/downloads/mv_full_text.pdf. Because we still want to provide for the families during the break from school, we are starting our “Summer Distribution Program”:[~2020~] this year where we will be at various locations throughout Orange County on certain days to give food to the families. All they have to do is show up!
At last Thursday’s distribution, we were able to meet and talk to the people who benefit from all our efforts here at Giving Children Hope. I met a pregnant mom who walked with her five young daughters and a baby boy to come pick up the bags of food from us. It must not be easy walking a few miles with five kids under the hot sun- And can I mention again that she was pregnant? They would also have to walk back carrying the bags of food. All the effort they made to show up at our distribution site showed me that they really needed the food. I was talking to her 4th grade daughter who told me it was her birthday next week, but her family doesn’t celebrate birthdays. But she had no complaints. She simply shared that fact with me like it was no big deal…she was simply excited she was getting a year older.
I also met a 5th grade boy with tattered shoes who was telling me about how he loved math and was excited about entering the GATE program. His eyes lit up when he was talking to me about school…SCHOOL! How often does that happen? It was such a sweet moment to me, because I could tell that he and his younger sister and brother didn’t have much, but they were so excited about the simple things: about getting good grades, about their favorite subjects in school, and getting the chance to watch Toy Story 3 in the theaters that weekend.
Another cool thing was I got to meet a lively woman in her sixties who had adopted a 7-year-old boy and wanted to enroll him in our program. She was speaking a mix of Spanish and Portuguese, and since I speak Portuguese (I grew up in Brazil), I was wondering why I could understand some of what she was saying. I thought at first that I was just going crazy, but then I decided to ask her if she was actually speaking Portuguese. I soon found out that she was born in Brazil and traveled around many places (which I can relate to), and before I knew it, we were chatting like good friends. __She even offered to cook Brazilian meals for me and my friends! I thought it was such a kind and generous offer, considering she barely had enough for her and her child.__
We stayed at that distribution site for only two hours, but **I was able to see that all the hard work the volunteers and staff put into keeping this program running every week help families make it through another week. It’s not extra food to them… it’s their meals.** I’ve learned that there are over 22,000 homeless children and youth (pre-K to 12th grade) living in Orange County, according to the 2009 Orange County Board of Education Homeless Liaisons Report. But that’s no longer just a stat to me; I’ve actually met the kids. The families I met on Thursday encourages me to keep on working even on days when I feel completely exhausted, because I am reminded that none of this is really for me. It’s for the kids…like the smart boy with the hole in his shoe, so he won’t have to worry about where his next meal will come from…but be able to continue focusing on things that a young boy should care about…like excelling in school. – Ruth
We’ve Got Your Back