Community Connections

San Diego Foster Youth Current Events

April 6, 2023

Fashion Valley Invites Foster Youth to Meet the Easter Bunny

Nearly 40 foster youth and their caregivers had the opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny and enjoy a fun-filled morning at @fashionvalleyca.

They checked in at the Bunny station, and although some of the littlest were star-struck about meeting the bunny, the photos were adorable. @neimanmarcussandiego provided arts and crafts for the youth, along with a coffee bar for the adults, while they patiently waited for their turn.

Afterward, youth visited @buildabear where they created and customized their very own stuffed animal.

The older youth also challenged themselves at the @reddoorescape_sandiego, and by working together, they were out in no time!

The event wrapped up with a delicious meal provided by @blancotacostequila where everyone sat down for a taco lunch, complete with beans, rice, chips and salsa.

A very special thank you to all who made this wonderful day possible – Fashion Valley Mall, Neiman Marcus, Blanco Cocina + Cantina, Build-A-Bear, Red Door Escape Room, and Cherry Hill Programs. We are grateful for all the friendly and welcoming staff and volunteers who made sure the day was perfect!

Guardian Scholars Parenting Group Works on Self Care

How do you practice self-care and encouragement?

Guardian Scholars Parenting Group met recently to investigate that very question in a class focusing on self-esteem and encouragement.

The group discussed the key differences between praise, which is a reward, and encouragement, which builds self-esteem. Critically, they then focused on the importance of recognizing when they have done something right.

Parents put “self-soothing” to work with meditative coloring, which calms the mind and helps the body relax. The children were then invited to join their parents to model this positive hobby.

Childcare was provided this month by, thank you! This makes a huge difference for our Guardian Scholars who can then absorb the lessons presented, free of distractions

Meet a Thriving Promises2Kids Alumnus!

Meet Irene, a Guardian Scholar Alumus! She entered foster care at age 14, after experiencing sexual abuse for 7 years. Removed from her home and separated from her siblings, she arrived at the A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center, where she began journaling to cope with her emotions and stress. Despite hardships, Irene remained motivated and dedicated to creating a future she’d be proud of.

In high school, she excelled in the speech and debate team, winning several competitions and living abroad with a royal family in France. She also studied abroad in Switzerland and Brazil. With Promises2Kids’ support, Irene graduated from UCSD, with a bachelor’s degree in Dance. Thanks to the financial assistance, she was able to focus on her educational pursuits. Irene had a wonderful relationship with her coordinator, Stephanie Ortega, who is now our COO. Irene appreciated Stephanie’s guidance and support, helping her make decisions that impacted her life positively. After graduation, Irene continued to dance professionally, and was part of a Brazilian dance company.

Today, Irene is an amazing wife and mom of four. She owns a thriving business, creating gratitude, wellness, and goal setting journals sold in large retail stores! Irene is also starting her own nonprofit to support foster youth.

Irene’s message to foster youth is to, “If possible, receive therapy, surround yourself around people who are rooting for you, and always set and track your goals.”

If you’re interested in purchasing your own journal or donating one to a foster youth, click the link in @Ireneekdahl’s bio!

Our work is only possible because of our incredible supporters. Thanks to people like you, Guardian Scholars like Irene can make their dreams come true.

Advocates for Change Visited by ABC10 Reporter and Forecaster

The March Advocates for Change class was a hands-on and in-depth media training for our Guardian Scholars who learned first-hand what it is like to be on TV.

The class was joined by @ABC10News reporter & forecaster, @Moses_Small, who shared a wealth of information about his background in broadcasting, how he prepares to be on camera, the process of live vs. recorded interviews, and the power of storytelling and being your authentic self.

Advocates then participated in mock interviews with Moses, who asked common questions while the advocates demonstrated techniques for how to be assertive in an interview while steering the conversation in directions they are comfortable with.