Mission Statement

The mission of Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services is to end the cycle of child abuse by providing comprehensive care and compassion for foster children, challenged youth and young adults through life-enriching opportunities and strength-based, solution-focused programs and services.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to nurture, empower and develop self-sufficient, well-educated, healthy young adults who become thriving, contributing members of our community.

Rancho Damacitas Champion’s Lunch 2017 – YouTube Slideshow

October 13, 2017

Click on the image above to view the 2017 Champion’s  Lunch YouTube Slideshow. 

Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit in De Luz raises money for foster youth in transition

by Valley News on October 12, 2017

Rock ‘n’ Roll music rang out through the air Saturday, Oct. 7, as visitors to the CrossCreek Golf Course in De Luz got to peruse a car show, gift baskets and food booths.

The golf course was where the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit, put on by the De Luz Women’s Club, was taking place. The event sought to raise money for Rancho Damacitas, a nonprofit that helps current and former foster youth.

Raising funds for Rancho Damacitas

Kristi Piatkowski, the director of the development for Rancho Damacitas, said Saturday’s event was specifically raising funds for Rancho Damacitas’ Project Independence, which is geared toward helping former foster children who are now adults.

Specifically, that helps with transition,” Piatkowski said. “So, it provides secure housing, coaching, mentoring and financial coaching so they understand how to manage their money.

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Project Independence Home Construction – YouTube Video

October 1, 2017

Click on the image above to view the Project Independence Home Construction YouTube Video. 

Rancho Damacitas Grows Board in Number and Expertise

by The Valley Business Journal on October 1, 2017

Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services, a local nonprofit helping current and former foster youth thrive, recently added four new members to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors includes 15 members total with a great depth of experience and diverse expertise.

Joseph Gray, Board Chair for the past five years, transitioned leadership to Julie Ngo in July. Julie Ngo has served on Rancho Damacitas’ Board since 2012 and is the owner of Julie Ngo’s State Farm Insurance Agency in Temecula. Julie is the first woman Chair of the organization.

New Board Members include Michael Brewer, Christene Close, Jami Fencel and Marty Shea. New members will serve a three year term.

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Project Independence provides a new road home to at-risk youth

by Valley News on September 24, 2017

When people hear the phrase “at-risk youth,” what comes to mind? Do they think of children and teens who are vulnerable to drugs, violence, disciplinary problems and exploitation? What about the successes?

Upending misconceptions about the potential of underserved children and teens is the goal of Project Independence, a Temecula-based transitional housing arm of the nonprofit Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services. Ultimately, it is not just the adults who provide wisdom but the youth telling their stories that allows others to open their hearts and minds.

Take, for example, the pioneering Cara, whose name has been changed by request of the interviewee. She was the first girl to enter the program, becoming an example for her peers.

Growing up, Cara was given every reason not to trust those around her, she said. Her father’s imprisonment and mother’s long-term addiction, while pushing Cara into using and selling drugs as well, came at a time when most children are fighting the nervousness of entering junior high.

Following multiple run-ins with the law, the unstableness of the next few years meant she bounced between life on the streets and homeless shelters to group homes to eventual lockdown in a facility for juvenile offenders where the ultimate expectations were “silence and compliance,” Cara said. There was “no ability to speak up if you felt a punishment was unfair or talk of your future outside the facility,” she said. The strict rules and lack of community weighed on Cara, who in a prior time of overdose had called on God to give her a sign that her hope of a better future was warranted

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Foster Kids Receive Free Athletic Shoes

by Valley News on July 29, 2017

On July 24 at the Pechanga Theater, 54 foster children from Rancho Damacitas and the Koinonia programs in Temecula received free brand-name athletic shoes from the Shoes That Fit organization and Pechanga Casino & Resort. Angels pitcher, aptly-named Matt Shoemaker, distributed the shoes personally to each of the children. Pechanga also treated the foster children and foster families to their all-you-can-eat buffet.

“This is pretty exciting,” said Atheeniss, age 11, “It really helps us who have been through a lot.” She has been in the Rancho Damacitas program for three years, and says, “It’s just like family to me.” She was excited about her new light turquoise running shoes.

“It’s a fresh new start for my feet,” said Tyriel, age 12 as she proudly displayed her new shoes, “It’s pretty cool and makes a lot us happy to know that someone cares enough to do something like this for us.”

Tyriel had been in four group homes before coming to Rancho Damacitas.

“New shoes are a big deal to these foster kids,” said Kristi Piatkowski, Director of Development for Rancho Damacitas. “Many come from a background of years of neglect and abuse; some come to us with just the clothes on their backs and most are wearing hand-me-downs. Many don’t know their sizes.”

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Weingart Foundation donates $150,000 to help local foster youth soar!

Temecula, CA – July 14, 2017 – The Weingart Foundation recently gave $150,000 to a Temecula-based nonprofit serving current and former foster youth. The two-year, unrestricted operating support grant was awarded to Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services as they expand programs and services to address the increasing challenges facing this vulnerable population.

Rancho Damacitas CEO, Cal Winslow, says “We are so grateful to the Weingart Foundation for their investment in our continued work on behalf of Southern California’s foster youth. For nearly 35 years we have provided home, shelter and guidance for 100’s of challenged youth as they struggle to overcome a difficult start in life. Partnerships, such as those with Weingart, are crucial in allowing us to stay committed to meeting our children where they are in their treatment, and encouraging them to be the best that they can be.”

The Weingart Foundation provides grants to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all
Southern Californians, especially those communities hit hardest by persistent poverty. The
Foundation supports nonprofit organizations across six Southern California counties including
Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and Ventura. Over the past
forty years, the Foundation has granted more than $950 million to support a variety of Southern
California social services, educational, and community programs.

Rancho Damacitas consists of a residential campus housing foster youth ages 6-18, therapeutic programs, transitional services for former foster youth over 18, and college scholarships. Over the past three years, Rancho Damacitas has expanded services to include community foster youth and young adults formerly living in foster care, continuing to bridge the gaps of support from dependency to adulthood. Transitional housing, financial management, employment readiness, and enrichment and educational scholarships are all expanded services offered. Rancho Damacitas plans to use the Weingart funds to continue building the infrastructure and organizational capacity necessary to continue serving this vulnerable population.

About the Weingart Foundation:
The mission of the Weingart Foundation is to build a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved. Weingart was founded in 1951. For more information: www.weingartfnd.org.

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