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The Three Pillars of Children's Fund

For years, the mission of Children’s Fund has been giving our vulnerable children Support, Opportunity, and Hope by breaking destructive cycles through community partnerships. These three words, Support, Opportunity, and Hope, comprise everything that we do for the children we serve; they are the three pillars of Children’s Fund. Besides conveying the goals that we strive for, each pillar is made up of different programs that we implement in order to deliver our mission.

Children running

Support

Composing the first pillar of Children’s Fund, our Support programs run primarily from April – July. These programs provide the supportive services that our children and youth need to meet their basic needs and create stability. This pillar is comprised of the Emergency Needs Program, the Educational Support Program, and our work with the Children’s Assessment Center.


Emergency Needs Program

The Emergency Needs Program is one of the most directly impactful ways that we assist the children in our community. Through this program, we can provide emergency goods and services to at-risk children and families throughout the county. These services include such necessities as new beds/bedding, clothing, food, hygiene items, rental assistance, utility assistance, medical/dental services, baby care items, and more. We provide aid through emergency needs all year round.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Emergency Needs Program:

· Monetary donations

· Gift cards

· Full-sized hygiene items

· Bedding

· Host a hygiene drive


Educational Support Program

The Educational Support Program is key to helping the children we serve achieve the success that they are capable of. Educational support means providing school and educational supplies that will support learning, improve academic performance, foster life and social skills, and enable achievement in and out of the classroom. Our annual backpack drive has been incredibly successful in equipping children with the proper materials for the classroom. In fact, last year 2,466 children started their school year with new backpacks filled with school supplies thanks to our donors.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Educational Support Program:

· Monetary donations

· Gift cards

· Filled backpacks

· Dorm kits

· Host a backpack drive


Children’s Assessment Center

The Children’s Assessment Center is an invaluable part of our Support pillar and a partner to Children’s Fund. Here child victims of physical and sexual abuse and severe neglect undergo important examinations by trained physicians. Understandably, this experience can be very frightening for a child, especially one who has been a victim of abuse. We seek to alleviate this by providing comfort items that will ensure a warm experience and assure feelings of safety for the patients.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Children’s Assessment Center:

· Monetary donations

· Blankets

· Mack the Dog dolls

Graduates with degree

Opportunity

The second, and most extensive, pillar of Children’s Fund, Opportunity consists of our Scholarships, Computer Camp, Life Enrichment, Sports Faire, and the Speakers Bureau and run from December – March. These programs allow us to create opportunities that our children need in order to meet and exceed their potential.


Scholarships

Through our various scholarships, Children’s Fund has assisted hundreds of students in accessing opportunities that they may not have been able to reach otherwise. Annual scholarships, like our Shine-A-Light Scholarship, alleviate the financial burden that hinders many children from accessing higher education. Last year, 276 foster and other vulnerable youth received scholarships from Children’s Fund.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Scholarships program:

· Monetary donations

· Pledge sponsorship of Ramos luncheon

· Sponsor an academic or recreational scholarship

· Pledge sponsorship of West End Auxiliary event


Computer Camp

If the COVID-19 pandemic was any indication, access to a computer is a critical part of academic success in today’s world. Many underprivileged children do not have the luxury of having their own computer. They find themselves struggling to work on assignments, study for exams, and communicate with their teachers and peers. Our Computer Camp provides students with a personal computer, as well as classes on using it properly to achieve their goals.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Computer Camp program:

· Monetary donations

· Sponsor a computer pack


Life Enrichment

The Life Enrichment piece of the Opportunity pillar supports the Independent Living Program (ILP) and provides support, education, training, mentoring, and positive experiences for youth in foster care and on probation, in order to equip them for self-sufficiency prior to and after exiting care.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Life Enrichment program:

· Monetary donations

· Entertainment gift cards

· Sponsor a college student

· Sponsor an outing


Sports Faire

The Sports Faire is an annual day-long program for youth in care to explore different sports and activities. Not only do the children involved learn the fundamentals of a variety of different sports, but they also walk away with a greater sense of confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Sports Faire:

· Monetary donations

· Sports equipment

· Refreshments

· Sports attire


Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau provides participants with youth leadership training and positive development, as well as skills in public speaking and relationship building. Skills such as these prove themselves to be exceptionally helpful as the participants move further in their education.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Speakers Bureau program:

· Monetary donations

· Snacks

· Be a sponsor or a speaker

Hope

The third and final Children’s Fund pillar is Hope. It is through these programs that we can inspire, challenge, and motivate our children to dream. The Hope pillar is made up of our annual Celebration of Giving, Birthday gifts program, and Celebrating Life’s Milestones and runs from August – November.


Celebration of Giving

The Celebration of Giving is a cornerstone, not only of our Hope pillar but of Children’s Fund as a whole. At the time of writing this, Children’s Fund is currently putting on it’s 34th Annual Celebration of Giving. This toy drive has been going on nearly as long as Children’s Fund has existed. Over the years we have provided hundreds of thousands of gifts to children across San Bernardino County with over 60,000 toys donated in 2021 alone. Thanks to the tireless work of our donors, partner organizations, and volunteers, the holiday spirit has been shared with thousands of foster and other vulnerable children year after year.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Celebration of Giving:

· Monetary donations

· Gift cards valued at $25 or more

· Sponsor a family

· Host a toy drive


Birthday Gifts

Celebrating a birthday is an annual event that many people take for granted, but for children in the system a birthday can go by with little to no acknowledgement. Our Birthday Gifts program looks to fix this and provides gifts to children and youth involved in the foster youth system. It is truly remarkable the effect that one gift can have on a child.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Birthday Gifts program:

· Monetary donations

· Gift cards

· Pledge sponsorship of Bonnes Meres Birthday Luncheon


Celebrating Life’s Milestones

For youth in the foster system, many of life's big moments pass by without celebration. Celebrating Life's Milestones, the final piece of our Hope pillar, helps the children we serve get the recognition they deserve. Milestones like reunification, adoption, graduation, landing a first job, getting a driver's license, or moving into a first apartment all deserve to be applauded.

Here are a few ways that you can help the Celebrating Life’s Milestones program:

· Monetary donations

· Gift cards

· Sponsor a graduate

· Volunteer professional services

· Sponsor an adoption bear


The Importance of the Three Pillars

Each of our three pillars is distinct in what they represent and the role that each one plays in the life and development of a child. Through Support we can ensure a base of stability for children and families. Through Opportunity we give children the chance to realize their potential. And through Hope we encourage children to dream. With all three pillars working in tandem, the children we serve are better equipped for the road ahead of them.


If you would like to help Children’s Fund break the destructive cycles in our community and positively affect the life of a child, visit www.childrensfund.org/donate. To allocate your donation to a specific pillar or program, simply write your choice in the message box provided.

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