More

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.

On Saturday, January 14, Giving Children Hope partnered with MiNDS Network for the third annual MLK Day volunteer event. “This day brings us together and brings our attention to those in need of service,” said Dr. Faisal Kazi, President/Treasurer of MiNDS Network. MiNDS Network is a nonprofit that provides free healthcare services to the underprivileged and uninsured. At the event Giving Children Hope’s We’ve Got Your Back families received free medical exams, basic needs items, flu shots, clothing, and so much more thanks to the organizations that participated. The families were so grateful for all the services and provisions available to them.

“It’s amazing to see volunteers of all ages come together and give back to the community in remembrance of this special day,” said Buena Park Mayor Beth Swift. Families were greeted by student volunteers as well as many organizations that are dedicated to helping those in need. Comforters, shoes, and household appliances were just a few of the items Giving Children Hope was able to giveaway at this event. Every year Giving Children Hope is motivated to continue to improve the wellbeing of our communities by hosting this event as a way of commemorating the great Martin Luther King Jr.

Special thanks to MiNDS, Shifa Clinic, Uplift Charity, American Muslim Health Professionals, AngelFire, Taller San Jose, Move More Eat Healthy, Fair Housing Foundation, America and Upward Bound, as well as student volunteers from Westminster High School. We are so thankful that you took the time to serve our families! Thank you Buena Park Mayor Beth Swift and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva for your partnership and participation in this event for our community!

IMG_4230

More

James Wilcox first became involved with Giving Children Hope after a trip to Zimbabwe with his wife. He learned about a community in need of a well and roof for a local school. James leapt into action and partnered with Giving Children Hope to provide both of these needs for the people he had grown to love.

James Wilcox has been the President of Raymond Handling Solutions for seven years. He brings valuable warehouse management, marketing, and community relations experience to Giving Children Hope’s Board of Directors. James earned his degree in History and Political Science from Texas State University and is involved with the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Kim, reside in the city of Orange.

James was inspired to get involved with Giving Children Hope because “everyone I have encountered at GCHope is energized and dedicated to the mission without hesitation.” He loves that Giving Children Hope avoids toxic charity syndrome by working with local partners living in each country knowing they can more closely can identify needs.

For many, Christmas is a time of joy and generosity. For the parents in Giving Children Hope’s We’ve Got Your Back program, Christmas can be a sobering reminder of the difficulty to provide for their family. Giving Children Hope’s goal in distributing healthy meals each week is to alleviate pressure and allow parents the opportunity to save. Christmas provides one more opportunity to love these families unconditionally.

It takes a village to pull off Christmas for more than 1,000 families in We’ve Got Your Back and  we couldn’t have done it without you. There were 22 corporations that decided to roll up their sleeves for vulnerable children in this community, nine local schools that rallied with their administration or students to collect toys, and six community organizations that partnered with our mission and gave towards the cause. With the help of these partners in hope and hundreds of individuals, to our astonishment, 1,300 vulnerable children and their siblings were sponsored this Christmas by our own community! At Giving Children Hope, Christmas is a time of miracles.

Our organization was a conduit for the Irvine Company to host toy drives at 16 locations and collect more than 1,000 gifts for children living in their own neighborhoods. Giving Children Hope witnessed the faculty at Gilbert Elementary personally sponsor every single child in Gilbert’s We’ve Got Your Back program, totalling 207 gifts. It is Giving Children Hope’s privilege to provide one extra way for dedicated teachers to purposefully and unconditionally love the students they serve each and every day.
Because of you, children all over Orange and LA counties woke up on Christmas morning with their very own, specially-wrapped gifts that were shopped for with them in mind, donated, wrapped, and delivered with love. Thanks to your help, this Christmas Giving Children Hope distributed 2,525 gifts to all the children in our program and their siblings! Thank you for choosing to love the children in our community with us at Giving Children Hope.

Giving Children Hope wouldn’t be able to serve thousands of children across the street and around the world without the support of deeply committed individuals who sacrifice their time and utilize their networks to bring hope.We are especially grateful for Sarva Mangal Trust and Tender Care Community Outreach Program (TCCOP), a group from the Jain Center of Southern California, located just down the street from Giving Children Hope facility on Commonwealth Avenue. The Jain Center seeks to promote Jainism, a religion based in India whose central tenets include caring for the welfare of others–a perfect match for us at Giving Children Hope.

Our friendship began when Prafulla Shaw, a TCCOP member, set up a meeting with Christine Sanchez, Director of Domestic Programs. During the meeting they were interrupted by a family who came to Giving Children Hope looking for food and a place to stay for the night. Hearing this family’s story, Prafulla went into action, putting them up in a hotel and buying their dinner for the night. Since then, Prafulla has worked alongside Giving Children Hope countless times, always asking for more ways TCCOP can help and going above and beyond to ensure a vulnerable family gets what they need. These are the kinds of people that comprise TCCOP; when they hear a child has a need, you can count on them to go out of their way to fill it.

We are so fortunate to get regular visits from TCCOP asking about other ways they can be of service. In one of those conversations, Prafulla discovered that Giving Children Hope would have to spend $3,500 to purchase backpacks for the We’ve Got Your Back weekly nutrition program. Soon thereafter, a check was delivered specifically to cover those costs and ensure each child in the program would have a reliable new backpack to transport meals for families each week. What a huge blessing!

IMG_3282This past August, when Giving Children Hope learned of the need of Native American students in Riverside (Read story here), TCCOP was there to offer their support. Our TCCOP friends donated fresh produce and volunteered their day to deliver needed supplies to the teenagers at Sherman Indian High School. The students, many of whom had arrived at this boarding school with just the clothes on their back, relished the produce, some even preferring it over other goods like new clothing or makeup. Since then, TCCOP has given monthly donations to guarantee the students at Sherman continue to have food and produce in their dorms to supplement the cafeteria menu. In addition, to help make the holiday season a special one, TCCOP pulled together enough support to sponsor 50 Christmas wish lists for Sherman students, many of whom had only asked for clothing, school supplies, or hygiene items.

It’s abundant contributions like these that show why the partnership with TCCOP has become such a blessing to the work Giving Children Hope is doing. When two groups, each with a desire to provide compassion to the vulnerable, come together, amazing things can happen.

The incredible generosity of TCCOP is truly inspiring to those of us at Giving Children Hope. “I’ve never doubted that if a need came across my desk that Prafulla and TCCOP wouldn’t immediately respond. They are huge advocates for education and health in our community,” Christine Sanchez shared.

We have been blessed to find an amazing group of people willing to collaborate to meet the needs of the community, just down the road. Thank you TCCOP for impacting our community in a big way and for challenging the rest of us to seek every opportunity to serve others.

If you would like to make a difference to the lives of children in our community please contact Giving Children Hope at 714-523-4474.

 

More

Giving Children Hope knows that mothers are the greatest proponents of change. For this reason we’ve invested heavily in local mothers, providing extra assistance and opportunities to increase the ability for women in our programs to support themselves. Part of this programming included a Financial Literacy course in partnership with The Raise Foundation with the hope of instilling participating mothers with financial principles that would aid them in their daily lives towards self sufficiency. The class did all of this and more as we’ve begun to see the growth of four graduates, who have amazed us with their determination and passion to create change.

To continue their development, Giving Children Hope introduced them to My Safe Harbor, a nonprofit organization in Anaheim, which runs a year-long program that incorporates practical programs for personal and family development. The program requires the mothers to choose a nonprofit to volunteer with. We were astonished that each of them chose to volunteer at Giving Children Hope. Every Friday, proudly wearing their Giving Children Hope shirts, these We’ve Got Your Back super moms can now be found helping build furniture for families in need, sorting donations, or handing out food.

Lorena, one of the mothers, shared, “I’m no longer living in fear.” Giving Children Hope has provided a support system and given her confidence to move forward.

As if that weren’t enough, they’ve taken it upon themselves to help babysit the children of the other mothers currently enrolled in Giving Children Hope’s Financial Literacy class. They know that childcare could be a major factor preventing a mom from attending so they wanted to eliminate any excuses not to attend class.

Director of Domestic Programs Christine Sanchez shared, “These moms are making a sacrifice to be here and spend their time volunteering. They really believe in what we do at Giving Children Hope and it shows. We’ve changed their lives.”

By seeking out classes that will improve their lives they’ve proved their dedication, relentlessly refusing to settle until their kids have had every opportunity. Before us, they just didn’t know how. Through their extra volunteer work they are empowering other women, like themselves, to create wellness in the lives of their children, creating a cycle of goodness and self sufficiency. Thank you to our four moms for the ways you’ve blessed your families, your community, and us.

 

More

When sixteen-year-old Leo walks in the door at Giving Children Hope, his warm smile reveals his devotion to serve others. Leo is the Vice President of Southern California High School Alliance (SoCal HS Alliance), a group of students from Troy, Diamond Bar, Arcadia, and Webb High School interested in serving the community. Each high school in the SoCal HS Alliance operates a Giving Children Hope club on campus, coordinating their fundraising and service efforts.

“It’s an honor to give my volunteer hours to a cause that I’m truly passionate about,” Leo shared.

In addition to volunteering once a week, Leo and other SoCal HS Alliance members have passionately sought out donations for the families Giving Children Hope serves. Knowing Giving Children Hope often doesn’t have protein to give to the families in the We’ve Got Your Back program, Leo asked a family friend employed at Farmer John’s to donate sausage. A few weeks later, Leo walked into the warehouse with four boxes of sausage.

Development Associate, SueLynn Yoo shared, “I have never seen a high school student so ecstatic to volunteer here. Leo’s compassion to serve is so visible in his words and actions, and I know that he carries that compassion over to all of his club members.”

When Leo heard about the Syrian refugees Giving Children Hope serves enduring the cold of winter, he found a blanket vendor, Linen Avenue. The owner was willing to sell Leo the blankets at cost and he even donated 16 blankets himself. SoCal HS Alliance fundraised the money to buy 160 blankets. At times when they aren’t able to fundraise enough, Leo’s family will help to cover the rest.

img_7122This Christmas, a group of the SoCal High School Alliance students offered to wrap Christmas gifts at Barnes and Noble as a fundraiser for Giving Children Hope. Leo’s most recent contribution to Giving Children Hope was 65 sinus medications he had received from his doctor.

Obviously, Leo’s age doesn’t stop him from inviting those around him to take part in changing a child’s life. May Leo’s passion and commitment inspire each of us to use the talents we have to contribute to the needs of others.

Click here to see SoCal High School Alliance featured in the LA Times. 

More

Good things come in small packages, and eight-year-old Kaela is certainly a treasure. Kaela heard about Giving Children Hope from her mom, who recently volunteered at Giving Children Hope’s warehouse with her co-workers from Equity Residential.

image1 This Christmas, a family friend was hosting a LulaRoe party, a company that sells leggings, dresses, and more. Kaela had the bright idea to use this as her platform to give back to children in need. For three days Kaela baked up a storm, concocting delicious treats including apple pie cookies, chocolates, and other goodies to sell at the party. She also gave a raffle ticket to each attendee who brought a new toy to donate and ended up collecting 57 presents! Her bake sale was such a success that she collected $275 and chose to donate both the money and all the gifts to the children we serve at Giving Children Hope!

When asked what inspired her to host this bake sale/toy drive extravaganza, Kaela shared, “I feel bad there are kids that don’t have what I have.”

Giving Children Hope is thankful for the reminder that no matter how small a person is, they can make a HUGE impact!

Giving Children Hope staff are on the ground in Haiti delivering supplies to those in need. They will be overseeing the distribution of the cholera pharmecutical package and the forty-foot shipping container of emergency relief.

The hurricane struck October 4 with winds up to 140 mph, devastating all in its path. Reports say it has claimed 1,000 Haitian lives.

In partnership with H3 Missions, a Riverside-based non profit, Adventist Health International, Rotary International, and Food For The Poor, Giving Children Hope has sent one forty-foot shipping container of emergency supplies, with plans of sending another in the coming weeks. Giving Children Hope delivered over 350,000 pounds of medical supplies, medicine, and food after the earthquake in 2010.

“People often watch these events on T.V. and wish they could do something,” says Executive Director, Sean Lawrence. “Well, we can all play a role. We need financial resources urgently so we can get these life-saving supplies to those in need as soon as possible.”

To help cover shipping costs, donate at www.givingchildrenhope.org/hurricanematthewrelief

Giving Children Hope was first introduced to Schneider Electric when one of their employees, Alicia, came to our Ecuador relief volunteer night with her son’s boy scout troop. Alicia was so moved by volunteering that night, she realized that she wanted to help out Giving Children Hope again in a bigger way. She knew that it could be done with the help of her co-workers at Schneider Electric. Schneider Electric is best known as a global specialist in providing sustainable and safe energy for 100 countries all over the world.
Alicia took it upon herself to plan a day for 20 Schneider employees to volunteer at Giving Children Hope. The volunteers helped sort Disney merchandise and fill backpacks for the We’ve Got Your Back program. They were ecstatic to have the opportunity to help out their local community. Along with donating their time, Schneider Electric also donated food and $4,500 to Giving Children Hope!

img_2644

After volunteering in the We’ve Got Your Back program, a Schneider volunteer came back a month later willing to offer more of his time to translate responses from families from Spanish to English. “It’s a meaningful experience to help out in a positive way,” he shared.

Giving Children Hope is grateful for Alicia and all of the employees at Schneider Electric for making it their mission to serve vulnerable children across the street and around the world! Keep up the amazing work!

More

Sherman Indian High School is a boarding school for Native American youth located in Riverside, just 40 minutes away from Giving Children Hope’s office in Buena Park. This school year it houses students from 65 tribes across 23 states, ranging from Arizona to Alaska. The school is similar to any other serving at-risk populations – guiding eager learners through the difficult but potentially equally rewarding high school years.

About a year ago, Giving Children Hope learned that there was a serious food deficiency at Sherman. The Sherman staff reached out to us hoping we could share food donations with their students. When Christine Sanchez, Director of Domestic Programs, first visited the school for a tour and to assess the need, a student walked out of class and straight up to her to ask for food. “When a student politely asks for food, you give it to them. You do whatever you need to do to make sure their basic needs are met,” said Christine.img_2503

About half of the students arrived for school this year with not much more than the clothes on their back.
They are sent to this school for an opportunity at an education that may not be possible on their reservations. Like so many high school student in this country, the effort they put into their education lays the foundation for the rest of their lives. The success of their high school years is proportional to the support system that surrounds them. When Giving Children Hope learned that Sherman needed food to support student learning, we made a commitment to figure out just how we were going to do it.

On August 19th, in collaboration with nonprofit partners, Giving Children Hope planned a Giving Day. We gathered new backpacks, personal hygiene, Ugg shoes, and assorted Disney items. We also made sure each of the 4 dorms had a crock pot, a rice cooker, snack items, and plenty of bulk rice and beans. The staff at Sherman were grateful that the youth would know there was always food available when they were hungry.
img_2466During the giving, we talked to Mark McFal, who has served as a faculty member at Sherman for fifteen years. He shared with us about a student he picked up from the airport. He explained he started his usual spiel with the student, informing her that it might be difficult to be away from her family. But he was interrupted by the young girl saying, “It doesn’t matter what Sherman is like, it’s going to be better than home.” This broke Mark’s heart. He said, “That’s why every staff member here is like an adoptive parent to these kids. We love and take care of them.”
Many of the students we met that day had just made their journeys across the United States. Nana, a 12th grade student, told us, “I like it a lot more at Sherman than at home. I have five brothers and three sisters. I’m forgotten a lot. It’s complicated and stressful.”

In the giving, we saw gratitude – face after beautiful face filled with the surprise that comes from an unexpected and generous gift. We did what we love to do – GIVE. The students left us with handwritten words of thanks:

“Thanks Bed Bath & Beyond for the stuff. It helped out a lot.” – Deion Black Bull
“Thank you to all who provided our products. And especially Disney.” – Kimberly
“Thank you for the stuff that I got. I needed it.” – Nathaniel L.
“To all who has made this a dream come true, thank you!” – Tristen W.
“Ahe hee, it means ‘Thank you’ in Navajo. I really appreciate all of this.” – Leoniah

Since the distribution, Christine has met with Sherman’s principal, Sr. Mary Yarger, to define the needs moving forward. Sr. Mary explained that since the impact of the Giving Day, the students have been giving back to their community. They assist the neighboring St. Thomas Church with preparing 100 homeless lunches on a weekly basis, they have assisted in the renovation of their own dorm rooms, and they’re currently busy evaluating how to help another neighboring church, St. Michael’s, with their needs. “It’s our responsibility as Native people to give to someone else now,” said Sr. Mary. “It’s the right thing to do.”