Hundreds Inspired at
By Paul Bandong at the Valley News
Published: September 24, 2015
This year’s recipient of the Jim Fullmer Visionary Award is TVUSD elementary school teacher Trish Shea. Courtesy photo
Hundreds of business and community leaders as well as caring residents filled the banquet hall at Temeku Hills on Friday, Sept. 18, in support of Rancho Damacitas, a non-profit providing children & family services during the second annual fundraising event.
The Jim Fullner Visionary Award, named for the man who founded the program thirty years ago to help a few troubled girls, was awarded this year to Trish Shea, an elementary school teacher in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. Shea grew up with girls in the foster care system and her experiences – good and bad – inspired her to be an advocate for foster youth throughout Southern California. Her story brought the audience to their feet.
Youth speaker Alex Kehrli also moved the crowd to its feet as he told his story of being born into a family that abused drugs and alcohol, of caring for his siblings – two with special needs and learning challenges – and of being separated and placed in the foster care system. Alex is now a college student studying computer science, partially supported by Rancho Damacitas scholarships, and looking forward to a life filled with hope and the dream of giving back. He credits the Rancho Damacitas program and his foster mom for his life and opportunity today … [Link to the complete story @ Valley News].
Angels pitcher Garrett Richards
sparks dreams for foster kids
by John M. Blodgett / Contributing Writer
at the The Press Enterprise
Published: August 11, 2015
John M. Blodgett, Contributing Photographer
The scene was reminiscent of countless American childhoods. Eight children wore fresh baseball caps with hanging price tags and the John Hancock of a famous player – in this case, Angels pitcher Garrett Richards – scrawled atop the brims. The kids bobbled along like the dolls Richards had signed and now were carried in boxes tucked securely under their arms.
As they walked out of Pechanga Resort & Casino with five adults on Thursday and headed for the parking lot, still chattering and jostling, the children belied what was deeply special about this warm summer night. They were of one family, but six of them, all boys, were foster children who had known abusive homes and were reclaiming their childhood, one memory-in-progress at a time.
This family lives in one of six ranch-style houses run by Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services of Temecula. It’s not your typical foster home, and not just because of its wine-country location … [Link to the complete story @ The Press Enterprise ].