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Blog2019-03-27T22:00:16+00:00

From homeless and hopeless, to thriving college graduate and UC San Diego student

Angelina CamposHomeless from the ages of 14-23. In and out of group foster homes. Domestic abuse survivor. 

Considering the circumstances, Angelina Campos would probably not have been voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Then again, many of the best success stories started at the bottom.

Campos was raised by a schizophrenic mother and an undocumented father, until she was put under the care of her grandparents at age 10.

For four years, Campos was forbidden any contact with her father.

At age 14, Campos wanted to visit her father in Mexico, who was in a coma and did not have long to live. Still, her grandparents would not let her visit him.

“Frankly, that just wasn’t something that I was willing to accept,” says Campos.

So with the knowledge that she was forfeiting her home and would not be welcomed back, Campos set off on her own and was able to say a final farewell to her father before he passed away.

That decision set Campos up for what would be nearly a decade of living life primarily on the streets and an on-and-off-again relationship with alcohol and drugs.

Campos became pregnant with her first son at 19 years old. 

Pregnancy is already one of the toughest things the female body can go through – being pregnant and homeless at the same time requires an entirely different level of determination, especially considering the homeless aren’t typically welcomed into business establishments with open arms. Some city areas have laws about sitting on the sidewalk.

“The more pregnant you get, you have to go to the bathroom frequently,” says Campos, “and nobody even lets you use the bathroom. So what do you do?”

After giving birth to her first son, Campos, who was struggling with depression and a bipolar disorder at the time, was faced with one of the most difficult decisions she would ever have to make.

“Given my background and being homeless for so long, I really didn’t feel confident in my abilities to raise a child,” says Campos.

Her son was put up for open adoption. Today, she gets to enjoy a relationship with her son, although he is not aware that Campos is his biological mother.

“Looking back now, I feel like if I’d felt like I had more support back then, I probably could have done [raised her son], but at that point I probably did what I thought would be easier or best for the baby.”

Soon after putting her son up for adoption, Campos entered into about a two-year long relationship that would make her a domestic abuse survivor.

“I was basically getting assaulted at least every month.”

During this relationship, Campos gave birth to her second son, but this time she lost the baby at 6 months old to sudden infant death syndrome.

Although Campos struggled with alcohol and drug abuse during her time on the streets, she says she never partook in substance abuse while she was pregnant or during her time raising her children.

After the loss of her baby, Campos’ life was a downward spiral.

“After that, I just lost the motivation or the will to keep going forward and doing anything positive in my life.”

It wasn’t until 2011 when she reconnected with the former high school sweetheart, who would become her husband, that her outlook began to brighten. Together, the couple began reconstructing their lives. They married in 2016 and have two children.

“He was willing to take that step with me towards putting in work… toward achieving a goal,” says Campos about her husband, Jordon Thaw, “which is something that not a lot of people have that willingness to do.”

Today, Campos is thriving in the new life she’s created for herself. 

She is working with the nonprofit organization Promises2Kids, which responds to the needs of current and former foster children, such as herself.

“What I really like about our Guardian Scholars program is that it gives foster youth the tools they need to change their life,” says Tonya Torosian, CEO of Promises2Kids. “The program offers financial scholarships, along with mentor support to assist youth in adapting and excelling in a higher education setting.”

This past June, Campos graduated from Mesa College where she obtained her associate’s degree in English, psychology, sociology and social behavioral sciences. She is currently attending UC San Diego, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in literature and writing.

Her goal is to become a university professor.

“Angelina is a phenomenal student, mother, and advocate for youth that have chosen to thrive in dire circumstances,” says Torosian. “Her commitment to her education has earned her the respect of the Guardian Scholars program as we will continue to support her as she builds a legacy for herself and her children."

San Diego Community News Group 

January 4th, 2019|

Kadiedra — amazing role-model, student and inspiration

Kadiedra

Kadiedra’s journey through foster care was a challenging one. From being separated from her siblings, to enduring additional abuse at the hands of those set to protect her, Kadiedra has fought hard for her education and hopes her story will encourage others to move forward and find their voice.

Kadiedra, or Dee-Dee as she likes to be called, came into foster care when she was just five years old.  One of her earliest memories was taking a long car ride on a rainy dark night to an unfamiliar building – the Polinsky Children’s Center, providing the safety and security she needed. Though she had escaped neglect at the hands of her mother and abuse at the hands of her grandmother, foster care came with a different kind of fear and sadness. After four placement changes and separation from her brothers and sister, a friend of the family stepped up to foster her and her three siblings.

Throughout her struggles, Dee-Dee held fast to her goal of pursuing higher education. She has had to deal with the death of a special person, the one who she referred to as her mom, and has narrowly avoided homelessness, but Dee-Dee has always found a way to continue in school and balance it all.

Currently, Dee-Dee is caring for her younger brother who, because of her support, is successfully graduating from high school and enrolling in college, all while continuing on her own educational journey in hopes of combining her love of animals with her interest in business.

Kadiedra is an amazing role-model, student, and an inspiration to so many.  Promises2Kids is thrilled to share her story of resilience, bravery, and persistence.

June 19th, 2018|

SDSU Student’s Abusive Past Fuels Her Passion for Education

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and through Promises2Kids programs, those who have experienced abuse are given a chance to break the cycle.

Claudia, a San Diego State University Sophomore, grew up in a home of physical abuse and neglect. Claudia has used the difficulties of her past as motivation for her school work. Promises2Kids has been encouraging and supporting Claudia through high school and into college with the financial and emotional assistance she needs for success.

Claudia grew up with an alcoholic, abusive mother and an absent father with an addiction to drugs. As circumstances worsened at home, Claudia and her sister stopped going to school to take care of their youngest sister and the cooking and cleaning that was being left undone by their parents. Claudia and her sister would only go to school if they were hungry, and to take as much food as they could back to their youngest sister. This would lead to years of struggling to catch up with peers, later in Claudia’s life. At the time, Claudia and her sister’s thought this life of neglect and abuse was normal. Claudia’s mother moved their family around a lot, to avoid anyone noticing that her children were not in school. By 6th grade, Claudia had lived in 14 different hotel rooms across three different states, and had attended 7 different schools.

In the summer’s Claudia and her sister’s would visit their grandmother in San Diego. In their grandma’s neighborhood, there lived a couple with children of their own. The couple, Raul and Eileen Arzola, provided toys for their children to play with, which they shared with Claudia and her sisters. When Claudia was in 6th grade, she grew very close with this couple, telling them what it was like to live with her mother. From the way that Claudia spoke and read, Eileen and Raul could recognize that Claudia was being denied her education, and from the stories Claudia told, they knew it was her mother keeping her from school. Claudia told the couple that she did not want to live with her mother any more, and eventually called Child Protective Services on her mom. Raul and Eileen, who Claudia calls her “Nino and Nina”, went on to be Claudia’s first and final foster family. They helped her with extra tutoring, to catch her academic level from a 1st grade level to reading and writing along with her peers. Raul and Eileen taught Claudia basic hygiene skills that she never learned from her own parents.

Despite her slow start, Claudia graduated high school with honors and went on to attend San Diego State University where she is now studying Public Health. Claudia plans to go on to earn her Master’s Degree, then after work as a social worker in the Naval Hospital. Claudia has been a part of Promises2Kids since 2014, and appreciates the support she has received through our various programs.

April 11th, 2017|

Giving Thanks This Holiday

Be thankful for the traditions you share with your family, and give to foster youth who are not so fortunate.

Each year at Thanksgiving I am filled with warm memories of my family and our Thanksgiving Traditions.  For me, I remember big family gatherings with the children playing while my mom and Aunts were busy cooking and sharing all the joys of the past year.  The day always ended with a fabulous meal and sharing how thankful we were to be together as family.  For Andrea, a member of our team, as a child, her family would visit her grandparents every year, and she would spend hours in the kitchen helping her great-grandmother make the pies for dessert.

Maybe you remember helping your mom make cornbread, sneaking a bite of stuffing before dinner, sitting on the couch and watching football with your dad, or going around the table and saying what you are most thankful for.

Today I am writing to you because foster youth don’t have those happy memories, and I need your help to change that.

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Natalie spent most of her childhood living with neglectful, abusive parents. Once she was in foster care, she was bounced around between foster homes, and ended up in a group home where it felt that the staff never really cared about her personally.  In all of her 17 years, Natalie never once experienced a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with people who truly cared about her.

But because of our community supporters, last year Natalie sat down for a family Thanksgiving for the very first time.

Hosted by the Promises team, volunteers and many community supporters, Natalie and her fellow Junior Guardian Scholars students were treated to a Thanksgiving meal complete with all the fixings.

 

The students feasted on turkey, stuffing, and every side dish imaginable.  But more importantly, they were surrounded by people who genuinely care about them and want them to succeed – friends who have been there every step of the way. Thanks to you, Natalie got the happy family memories she always dreamed of.

You can replace the negative memories of the past with feelings of love and the warmth of family for the of foster youth like Natalie can feel this Thanksgiving.

When you stand up and take action, you show Natalie and thousands of kids just like her that in spite of everything, there really are people who care about them, and want to make sure they have the happy memories every child deserves.

Thank you so much for your continued dedication to foster kids during this special time, and throughout the year.

For the children,
Tonya Torosian

PS:  During your Thanksgiving celebrations, share with your loved ones why you support San Diego’s foster youth, and ask them to do the same.

 

November 24th, 2016|

Foster Youth Holiday Shopping Days

DECEMBER 5, 9, 11 & 12, 2015

2015 Holiday Shopping Days for Foster Youth 10 Years & Older

Once again this holiday season Promises2Kids will be hosting Our Annual Holiday Shopping Event! We are pleased to announce our holiday shopping partners:  Walmart and Costco

Shopping will take place on 4 separate days:

Saturday, December 5th — 8am-11am 
Costco – Mission Valley
2345 Fenton Pkwy. San Diego, CA 92108
Light breakfast and refreshments will be served

Wednesday, December 9th —  4pm- 7pm 
Costco – San Marcos
725 Center Dr.  San Marcos, CA 92069
Hotdog dinner and refreshments will be served

Friday, December 11th 4pm-7pm
Walmart
4840 Shawline St, San Diego, CA 92111
Dinner and refreshments will be served

Saturday, December 12th 8am-11am
Walmart
4840 Shawline St, San Diego, CA 92111
Light breakfast and refreshments will be served

  • Promises2Kids will have a check in table at the store entrance. Youth will check in by providing their last name and date of birth.
  • No pre-registration is required. Please do not RSVP.
  • Youth not on the list must provide recent placement documentation or a letter from their social worker or they will NOT be permitted to shop.
  • Youth MUST be present in order to participate.
  • This opportunity is for youth to purchase items/ something special this holiday season. Therefore, youth WILL NOT be permitted to purchase the following items – gift cards, toiletries, basic need items or groceries/laundry/cleaning items, alcohol or tobacco.
  • No returns will be possible.

Please contact your County Social Worker/Regional Manager with questions on youth eligibility or to see if your youth is on the list. Registration list is provided to Promises2Kids by County data and due to confidentiality Promises2Kids cannot release that information.

For questions please contact us at 858-633-1309

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 23rd, 2015|

Imagine!

mentor

You enter foster care after playing the parent to your mother for years – only to be placed in foster homes that lock up food, call you names, and threaten to separate you from your brother. How would you cope? This is the true story of Timothy* – and you won’t believe how he persevered.

[separator top=”40″]Growing up, life for Timothy was not easy.  He spent years taking care of his mother – years playing her role.  When he entered foster care, the support he thought he would receive from foster families did not materialize.

What outcomes would you expect from Timothy?

Timothy persevered.  Despite it all, he continued caring for his brother and excelled academically.  Defying all odds, he graduated from the University of California, San Diego and is pursuing law school.

Guardian Scholars enables current and former foster youth like Timothy to pursue a higher education with the support of caring staff, mentors, and a financial scholarship. In moments when foster youth feel alone, Guardian Scholars reminds them that they have a support system – that they have a family.

85% of Guardian Scholars participants complete higher education compared to 3% of foster youth nationally. Your support could mean the difference between homelessness and college graduation for a foster youth like Timothy.

All foster youth deserve access to education – will you help us fulfill those dreams?

IMAGINE! You can make a difference by doing any of the following:

  • Share Timothy’s amazing story on social media.
  • Follow us to hear more amazing stories like Timothy’s. Choose one of the platforms below.
  • Give of your time or talent to support Guardian Scholars.
    Click here to VOLUNTEER TODAY!
  • Give of your treasure to support Guardian Scholars.
    Click here to DONATE NOW!

 

*Timothy’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

July 3rd, 2014|

Imagine!

A beautiful young girl who has suffered years of abuse from her parents, the very people who should be protecting her. This is Carmynn’s Guardian Scholars story.

LEAD LAT Young Girl

Carmynn’s own mother blamed her for the abuse she endured from her stepfather. She was removed from her home and put in foster care from her last black eye.

When people find out she is a foster kid, she says they assume she is on a path to failure. Carmynn knows her circumstances growing up do not dictate her future.

With the support of Guardian Scholars, Carmynn is on track to graduate from UCSD and hopes to teach so that she can impact student’s lives.

Guardian Scholars provided her support when she needed it most. The program has helped her to understand that her abusive background is NOT who she is, and has helped her realize that there is a bright future on the horizon.

85% of Guardian Scholars participants complete higher education compared to 3% of foster youth nationally. Your support could mean the difference between homelessness and college graduation for a foster youth like Carmynn.

Do you think there should be more Guardian Scholars like Carmynn?

IMAGINE! You can make a difference by doing any of the following:

-Share Carmynn’s amazing story on social media.

-Follow us to hear more amazing stories like Carmynn’s. Choose one of the platforms below.

-Give of your time or talent to support Guardian Scholars. [button color=”green” size=”large or small” link=”http://promises2kids.org/1-column/volunteer/” target=””]Volunteer Today![/button]

-Give of your treasure to support Guardian Scholars. [button color=”blue” size=”large” link=”https://donate.promises2kids.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=298″ target=””]DONATE NOW[/button]

May 14th, 2014|

Imagine!

You are 5 years old, living in fear, having been severely neglected by the people who you should trust to protect you…. your parents. How would you cope?. This is the true story of Jennica and you won’t believe how she responded.

LEAD LAT Young Woman Brown Hair

Jennica’s parents were in and out of jail and were constantly using and selling drugs. One of Jennica’s earliest memories involves being pulled from her bedroom in her apartment as she held on to the bedpost. She was only five years old.

Doesn’t sound like a child who would ever become a college graduate?

Thankfully, Jennica knows that her past doesn’t determine her future. With the support of Guardian Scholars, Jennica was able to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Jennica has continued her studies and has one year left for her doctorate degree in Educational Psychology. She envisions working with other foster youth who struggle like she did in her formative years.

Guardian Scholars enables Jennica to continue her education without worrying about homelessness. Guardian Scholars has helped her find an internship, provided support and guidance when she struggled with health issues and stresses of watching younger siblings take different paths. It provided her with someone to turn to when no one else was there.

85% of Guardian Scholars participants complete higher education compared to 3% of foster youth nationally. Your support could mean the difference between homelessness and college graduation for a foster youth like Jennica.

 Do you think there should be more Guardian Scholars like Jennica?

IMAGINE! You can make a difference by doing any of the following:

-Share Jennica’s amazing story on social media.

-Follow us to hear more amazing stories like Jennica’s. Choose one of the platforms below.

-Give of your time or talent to support Guardian Scholars. [button color=”green” size=”large or small” link=”http://promises2kids.org/1-column/volunteer/” target=””]Volunteer Today![/button]

-Give of your treasure to support Guardian Scholars. [button color=”blue” size=”large” link=”https://donate.promises2kids.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=298″ target=””]DONATE NOW[/button]

April 23rd, 2014|

Thursday Club Juniors Gala 2014

Friday April 25th

Check out the amazing on-line auction items available for the upcoming Thursday Club Gala benefiting Promises2Kids’ Camp Connect.

[link=”https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/AuctionHome.action?vhost=camptcj”]

The Thursday Club was founded in 1921 to promote social, educational, cultural and civic activities throughout San Diego County. Each year, the Thursday Club Juniors proudly support their heritage of philanthropy by planning a gala event. By supporting the Thursday Club Juniors Gala, you will support Camp Connect and ensure that brothers and sisters living apart in foster care have the opportunity to reunite with their sibling(s) in a fun and safe environment that facilitates familial bonding. Since their founding, the Thursday Club has raised nearly 2 million dollars to support local charities. Funds raised by the Thursday Club Juniors have helped to transform local charities, enabling them to better serve our community and help where it is needed most.

April 16th, 2014|

Thursday Club Juniors Gala 2014

Promises2Kids is happy to announce our Camp Connect program has been selected as the beneficiary of the Thursday Club Juniors Annual Gala. Slated for Friday, April 25th, 2014 from 5:00-10:00pm, this fun event will take place at the Thursday Club club house in Point Loma and will feature dinner, music and live and silent auctions.

The Thursday Club was founded in 1921 to promote social, educational, cultural and civic activities throughout San Diego County. Each year, the Thursday Club Juniors proudly support their heritage of philanthropy by planning a gala event. Since their founding, the Thursday Club has raised nearly 2 million dollars to support local charities. Funds raised by the Thursday Club Juniors have helped to transform local charities, enabling them to better serve our community and help where it is needed most. By supporting the Thursday Club Juniors Gala, you will support Camp Connect and ensure that brothers and sisters living apart in foster care have the opportunity to reunite with their sibling(s) in a fun and safe environment that facilitates familial bonding.

Click here to learn more!

January 16th, 2014|

BOMA Hosts 20th Annual “Give From Your Heart” Gift Drive

The San Diego Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) is hosting its 20th annual “Give From Your Heart” gift drive. The drive will benefit Promises2Kids, a nonprofit organization that has worked to create a brighter future for foster children for more than 32 years in San Diego County.

BOMA delivered more than 300 wrapped collection bins to more than 150 major business and office buildings throughout San Diego County. San Diego residents are encouraged to drop off new and unwrapped gifts to the bins through Dec. 12, when the bins will be collected and delivered to the sorting facility where Promises2Kids will allocate the gifts to foster children within San Diego County. A list of participating building drop off locations throughout San Diego county is available at www.bomasd.org. The Promises2Kids gift wish list and Amazon wish list are available at www.promises2kids.org.

“This is an incredible way for our organization to give back to the community and bring joy into the lives of hundreds of children during the tough holiday season,” said BOMA President Mike Hansen. “Over the years we’ve brought together dozens of volunteers eager to brighten the lives of children by decorating and distributing hundreds of collection bins and encouraging tenants in office buildings to donate toys. It’s truly amazing.”

BOMA’s goal this year is to collect 20,000 gift items and gift cards. This is a community-wide effort with corporate leaders volunteering hundreds of hours to brighten the holidays for under served children of San Diego. For more information, visit www.bomasd.org or contact the BOMA Office.

CLICK HERE to learn about the many ways you can help brighten the lives of foster children this holiday season and beyond.

November 30th, 2013|

Promises2Kids’ Back To School Shopping Days

Foster Youth Prepare To Go Back To School

It’s that time of year again!  Summer is coming to a close and children are preparing themselves to go back to school. This typically involves new clothes and school supplies to start the year off right. Thanks to the generosity of a donor in our community, Promises2Kids is pleased to help San Diego’s foster youth return to school prepared and in style.

Promises2Kids will be hosting Back-To-School Shopping Days for all San Diego foster youth ages 10 years and older this August.

No reservations are required to participate, if you meet the eligibility criteria below, please arrive at any of the following shopping days and locations: 

Thursday August 8th 3:00-7pm – Target Escondido (new location: Auto Parkway)

Saturday August 10th 8:00-11am – Target Chula Vista (Plaza Bonita)

Tuesday August 13th 3:00-7pm – Target La Mesa (Grossmont Center)

Saturday August 24th 8:00-10am – Target Sports Arena Blvd

  • Youth will check in by providing their last name and date of birth.
  • No pre-registration is required.
  • Youth not on the list must provide placement documentation or they will not be permitted to participate (sorry no exceptions will be made).
  • Youth MUST be present in order to participate.
  • Volunteers will assist youth with shopping; Caregivers, CASA’s, mentors and social workers are welcome to accompany the volunteers and youth.
  • This opportunity is for youth to purchase an outfit and items for back to school. Therefore, youth WILL NOT be permitted to purchase the following items: food, gift cards, phones, phone cards, gaming cards, bath items, basic need items or groceries/laundry/cleaning items.

Promises2Kids will have volunteers on site to assist as personal shoppers, helping the teens as they shop and to collect their receipts at the end of their shopping spree.

Eligibility:  All foster youth who are dependents with an open case, and not reunified – ages 10 and older, are eligible to participate (including Extended Foster Care).

All questions can be directed to the child’s County Social Worker.

August 1st, 2013|

Promises2Kids Chosen As Charity On All-Star Celebrity Apprentice

This season on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, Brande Roderick played for our charity, Promises2Kids. We would like to give a HUGE thank you to Brande Roderick for selecting Promises2Kids as her charity of choice in this season’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. We’re grateful for her support of our mission in creating a brighter future for foster children and as she worked to raise money and gained national awareness in support of San Diego County’s local foster youth! Thank you also to Donald Trump for his generous $20,000 contribution to Promises2Kids.

View the video from the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice season premiere

 

March 3rd, 2013|