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    Head of nonprofit has spent her career in service to foster children

Head of nonprofit has spent her career in service to foster children

The San Diego Union Tribune  April 6, 2019

By Lisa Deaderick

Photo by K.C. Alfred

Tonya Torosian began working with children in foster care as a social worker in Chicago, and it was there that her passion for foster children began.

“I had never heard of foster care, and thankfully, I have a loving and supportive family, so seeing children being abused was shocking to me,” she recalled. “Even more disturbing was learning and seeing firsthand that the foster care system was equally abusive for many children. The majority of my caseload had a long history of systemic abuse and felt hopeless and unprotected.”

While that was more than 20 years ago and there have been significant improvements in supporting children who are in foster care, those kids from her first job compelled her to make a career out of supporting and helping children in the system. Over the years, she’s worked as a social worker and in the nonprofit sector to create programs and policies to improve the lives of kids in various states.

Torosian, 48, lives in the Talmadge neighborhood of San Diego with her wife, Karla, and their 2-year-old son, and is the CEO of Promises2Kids, a nonprofit that provides programs, services and funding to support current and former foster youth. She took some time to talk about the organization and her work with them, and her love for a specific decade of music.

Q: Tell us about Promises2Kids.
A: Promises2Kids was originally founded in 1981 as the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation. Our original project was to raise the $12 million to build the A.B. and Jessie Polinksy Children’s Center, San Diego County’s emergency shelter for abused and neglected children. We have since raised $7 million to […]

By |April 10th, 2019|Newsroom|Comments Off on Head of nonprofit has spent her career in service to foster children

Co. Opens Location and Opens Its Heart With Donation

San Diego Business Journal February 12, 2018

By Stephanie R. Glidden

Arhaus LLC, a nationwide home furnishings company,  donated $16,921 to Promises2Kids. Arhaus selected Promises2Kids as its charity of choice to receive 10 percent of sales during its recent grand opening event at Westfield UTC.

Promises2Kids, a San Diego-based nonprofit with a focus on foster care and children's welfare, provides more than 3,000 current and former foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities, and guidance they need to address the circumstances that brought them into foster care, overcome the difficulties of their past, and grow into healthy, happy and successful adults.

Tonya Torosian, CEO of Promises2Kids thanked Arhaus and said: "It is because of companies like Arhaus and charitable members in our community that we can continue offering programs that benefit current and former foster youth in San Diego County." 

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on Co. Opens Location and Opens Its Heart With Donation
  • Carrie and her husband, Scott, with their oldest, Evelyn (right), and Catherine
    Permalink Carrie and her husband, Scott, with their oldest, Evelyn (right), and Catherine 
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    Pacific Beach family dedicates business to helping Promises2Kids

Pacific Beach family dedicates business to helping Promises2Kids

San Diego Community Newspaper Group February 8, 2018

By Victoria Davis

While she identifies first and foremost as a mother, others see Carrie Miller as a one-of-a-kind philanthropist. Seven years ago, in honor of her oldest daughter Evelyn’s first birthday, Miller and her husband Scott made a donation to Promises2Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of abused children in foster care. 

But this wasn’t Miller’s first introduction to the nonprofit. A few months after Evelyn’s birth, Miller was looking for ways to get out of the house. While on the Volunteer San Diego website, she found an opportunity for reading to toddlers. Miller still gets emotional remembering her first time walking into the A. B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center. 


“I remember being in this big room with a bunch of people and the center showed us this introduction video of Norma Hirsh talking about how there used to be a 24-hour hotline for abused animals, but there wasn’t a 24-hour hotline for abused children,” said Miller. 

“As the video went along, I was completely gutted, especially as a new mother racing with hormones. There’s absolutely no words to describe the horrific things these kids go through.”

Norma Hirsh founded The Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in 1981 to raise community awareness of child abuse in San Diego. In 1994, the children from the run-down, and grossly overpopulated, Hillcrest Receiving Home were relocated to the newly established Polinsky Center, which today can house up to 200 foster kids. Fifteen years later, The Child Abuse Prevention Foundation became Promises2Kids.

“We’ve definitely grown and evolved,” […]

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on Pacific Beach family dedicates business to helping Promises2Kids

A Brighter Future

Giving Back Magazine  February 2018 Issue

Jolene and Owen Perry hosted a winemaker dinner in North County to benefit Promises2Kids. Guests enjoyed culinary delights and tasting various wines throughout an elegant evening. For over 35 years, Promises2Kids has responded to the needs of foster children and provided support to children removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. 

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on A Brighter Future
  • Jeannine & Maria
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    San Diego non-profit brings together former foster children and mentors

San Diego non-profit brings together former foster children and mentors

 

Encinitas Advocate February 1, 2018

Rancho Santa Fe Review February 8, 2018

By Brittany Woolsey 

For 24-year-old Maria, pairing up with a mentor through Promises2Kids wasn't just meeting a requirement to receive a college scholarship. It was a chance to meet a woman who she would soon think of as a mother figure.

Maria, who lives in Oceanside and preferred not to disclose her last name, met Jeannine Watkins of Olivenhain three years ago after Maria was accepted for the Guardian Scholars scholarship through Promises2Kids, a San Diego-based nonprofit that offers support for current and former foster youth.

"I had applied for scholarships before and gotten money, but this one had a whole different area to it that I wasn't expecting to be very valuable to me," said Maria, who entered the foster care system when she was about 4 and became independent at the age of 17. "Being a foster kid, I knew how it was to receive a mentor but then I also know, working with foster youth, how they receive mentors as well. For me, it turned out to be the best thing."

Maria and Jeannine said it took them about six months before they really got to know each other and found out they could learn from one another.

While the scholarship only requires the two women to meet about once a month, the pair said they tend to meet weekly for dinners, coffee dates and other events.

"It doesn't even feel like a requirement anymore," Maria said. "It's just this relationship we have."

Watkins, a former stay-at-home mother, said she originally […]

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on San Diego non-profit brings together former foster children and mentors

Promises2Kids Promotes Emily Wilson Hassig

San Diego Metro Magazine January 24, 2018

Promises2Kids announced the promotion of Emily Wilson Hassig to chief development officer.

Hassig comes to the organization with more than eight years of development experience and has been serving as the director of major gifts for Promises. Prior to joining Promises2Kids, Hassig oversaw fundraising initiatives at two Scripps Health hospitals — Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Mercy Hospital.

 

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on Promises2Kids Promotes Emily Wilson Hassig

Promises2Kids party salutes foster youth and mentors

La Jolla Light / Rancho Sante Fe Review January 11, 2018

Annie Navarra hosted the annual Promises2Kids Holiday Soiree on Dec.17 at her La Jolla home. Promises2Kids Guardian Scholars and their mentors were the guests of honor. ID Analytics sponsored the event. The Guardian Scholars program encourages foster youth to pursue highter education through community college, trade school or a university degree by providing them with a partial financial scholarship along with mentoring support to assist them in excelling in a higher education setting. More than 300 former foster youth have received scholarships, and more than 90 percent of them will be first-generation graduates. Learn more at promises2kids.org. 

By |February 22nd, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on Promises2Kids party salutes foster youth and mentors

Promises2Kids Dinner Benefit

Ranch & Coast Magazine January 2018

Owen and Jolene Perry hosted a dinner at their Rancho Santa Fe home to benefit Promises2Kids. Guests were treated to cuisine by Pamplemousse Grille paired with wines by winemakers Morlet and Paul Otto. Promises2Kids provides more than 3,000 foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities, and guidance they need to overcome the difficulties of their past, and grow into healthy and successful adults.

By |February 21st, 2018|Newsroom|Comments Off on Promises2Kids Dinner Benefit

‘Super Tasty’ 5K benefit walk returns to Solana Beach

supertasty_5k_socks2

‘Super Tasty’ 5K walk on Sept. 6 to benefit Promises2Kids

Del Mar Times / Solana Beach Sun   August 18, 2014

At least 20 restaurants are expected to join the third annual Super Tasty 5K, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6 in Solana Beach. Once again, the event is a fundraiser for Promises2Kids, a San Diego nonprofit working for the benefit of children in foster care.

Nichole Peterson, executive Director of the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, helps plan the event with organizers of the Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo, a two-day celebration of cycling, held on Sept. 6 and 7 at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. Participating restaurants include Carruth Cellars, Crush, Juicer’s, The Curious Fork, Wild Note Café, and others.

“We’re always trying to help bring business to Solana Beach,” she explains. “Through the Super Tasty 5K, we get to showcase the unique restaurants here by providing a sampling of what each has to offer.”

Giro organizer Carrie Panek, looking to enhance the fun of the “world’s toughest gourmet walk,” conducts a raffle for all participants and awards prizes to individuals and teams in two categories. “It’s a non-competitive 5K, but we like to keep it interesting,” says Panek. “There are awards for the top fundraising team, best individual costume, and best team theme costume.

“Fundraising is important to us, so we encourage people to register today, form a fundraising team, and start soliciting donations.”

The Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo San Diego is a two-day event celebrating cycling, food and San Diego’s North Coast. It features three mass-start road cycling routes, two mountain bike routes, a two-day Bike & Fitness Expo, and the Solana Beach Super Tasty 5K […]

By |August 19th, 2014|Newsroom|Comments Off on ‘Super Tasty’ 5K benefit walk returns to Solana Beach

Foster kids reunite with siblings at camp

UT_2014CampConnect

About 85 foster kids separated from their siblings had the opportunity to reconnect at a four day camp where they were able to participate in activities together. Sisters Rachel and Rosa scurry through an inflatable obstacle course together enjoying their time together. Christian Rodas

By J. Harry Jones5:56 p.m.Aug. 8, 2014  UT San Diego

JULIAN — Siblings separated by the county’s foster care system are being reunited this weekend at a four-day summer camp in the mountains near Julian.

About 85 kids are participating in Camp Connect, a joint venture between the county’s Child Welfare Services office and the nonprofit Promises2Kids, which raises the funds, organizes the events and provides the volunteers who make it all happen.

Like most summer camps, kids spend the day rock climbing, playing volleyball, horseback riding or goofing around in the swimming pool. But the experiences mean so much more, campers and officials said.

“I’m with somebody that I really love and … with people who love me,” said Stephany, a 14-year-old camper catching up with older sister Ruth on Friday. (Organizers said last names of campers couldn’t be released, by court order.)

County officials say they try hard to keep siblings in the foster system together, but for various reasons it’s sometimes not possible. Of the 3,100 foster children in the system about 500 don’t live together.

“For a lot of our kids they’ve already lost parents, neighbors, their school, and to then be separated from their siblings is devastating to them,” said Margo Fudge, the program director and adoptions manager for Child Welfare Services.

“There is research that shows that […]

By |August 8th, 2014|Newsroom|Comments Off on Foster kids reunite with siblings at camp