In The News
In the News
09/27/2016 - Meet Jennifer, Jazmin and Jesus
As the summer has been winding down and the school year has started back up, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect on some additional staff we had for a few months. Eight of our Samueli Academy rising seniors completed their summer internships at Orangewood. Jennifer, Jazmin, and Jesus were three of the stellar students who spent their summer helping Orangewood. Read what they had to say about their experience below:
Jennifer (IT): “This summer I was privileged to intern for Orangewood Foundation, specifically for the IT department. Throughout my time there, I learned so much about Orangewood Foundation, and what they do to impact the community in a positive way. My internship with the IT department exposed me to the workforce that I could possibly join one day and to another branch of technological studies I could pursue. I never imagined that I could learn so much by interning somewhere. My supervisors, Mr. Thai and Mr. Fish, stood not only as my employers, but also as my mentors. I’m more confident going into my last year of high school because of them, and I feel so much more prepared. There are no words to describe just how lucky and thankful I am for this opportunity.”
Jazmin (Marketing): “Orangewood Foundation is known for helping the youth and community grow. This summer they helped their marketing intern grow not only as an employee but as a person. Being a 17 year old girl entering the workplace can be very intimidating, especially if you aren’t too confident in yourself. Walking into Orangewood Foundation you are greeted by smiling, encouraging faces, and people who are always ready to give you a hand if you need it. Everyone at Orangewood Foundation really makes you feel welcome. During my internship I found myself becoming more confident in my work and growing as a person. Working in a place where everything I did benefitted someone really made me feel accomplished. I am truly grateful to have been able to work in such a healthy and positive environment. After this internship I would be very interested in working in marketing for a non-profit organization. I am very grateful that Orangewood Foundation allowed me to experience this opportunity.”
Jesus (Finance): “This summer, I interned at Orangewood Foundation in the finance department. Finance has always been something I have been interested in, and I have an interest in majoring in business in college. Therefore, I thought interning in finance would be a good thing for me to get me started. My experience at Orangewood Foundation as an intern in the finance department was a great one. I felt like I fit right in with the team, and the work I did was very eye opening to me. I learned a lot about how the business is run behind the scenes, and a lot of things the finance department does to make sure the foundation doesn’t fail. I want to thank the Orangewood Foundation for allowing me to be a part of such a great team and letting me learn so much while working there.”
08/25/2016 - Volunteer Information Session
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
When: May 6, 2020
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Orangewood Foundation, 1575 E. 17th St. Santa Ana
If you are interested in volunteering with Orangewood, please join us for a volunteer information session to learn more. RSVP to Humberto Rojas, Manager, Volunteer and In-Kind Program, at email@example.com or (714) 619-0220.
08/23/2016 - Share Our Wine – Wine Reception
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Shady Canyon Golf Club
08/18/2016 - Cinthia’s Story
Cinthia is a former foster youth who had a traumatic childhood. Now a mother herself, she embodies a fierce desire to give her children a better life.
Cinthia’s mother died when she was a baby, and her father left Cinthia and her siblings with their great aunt. The children suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of their care-takers and other adults in the family for years. Finally, when Cinthia was 13, a teacher noticed the signs of abuse in her older sister and the children were removed from their great aunt’s care and placed into foster care. Cinthia bounced around group homes and shelters from age 13 to 18. When she was released from the foster care system at 18, she was a young mother with no idea how she was going to provide for her children. “I felt like I was just thrown into the world with no preparation,” Cinthia explains.
It was around this time that Cinthia discovered Orangewood. The skills she learned in these workshops, together with support from Orangewood staff and services from our on-site resource center, helped Cinthia to get on her feet and chart a direction for her life. Today, Cinthia and her children live in a three bedroom townhome. Cinthia works full-time as a team-lead at Goodwill, and she is up for a promotion to a manager position. Her next goals are to finish her bachelor’s degree and get her license and a car.
Though she is mostly independent now, we still see Cinthia often – for two great reasons! First, she takes a day off of work every month so she can buy groceries and come in and cook a giant lunch for our resource center youth. “If someone gives to you, when you are able, you try to give back a little bit,” Cinthia explains.
The other reason we see Cinthia now? Her oldest daughter, Jessica, started her freshman year this week at our Samueli Academy charter high school! When Cinthia talks about Samueli Academy, she has a huge smile on her face and tears in her eyes. “I just feel so relieved that my daughter is going to get a good education,” she tells us. “For generations, my family has seen drug abuse, sexual abuse, high school drop-outs and teen pregnancy. My kids and I are breaking that cycle. I’m so happy that Jessica is not going to be just another statistic.”
Jessica is pretty excited, too. “When she found out she was accepted to Samueli Academy, she called me and she was just crying,” Cinthia says. “She was so excited I could barely understand her. She has a Samueli Academy t-shirt, and I swear she wears it once a week.” We caught up with Cinthia and Jessica at the school last week, and sure enough, she was wearing her t-shirt with pride. Jessica, who was bubbling with excitement about her first day, is especially looking forward to the engineering program, and the hands-on learning style of the Academy. “I can’t wait to start building things,” she says, giggling.
We are so proud of the amazing future Cinthia is building for herself and her family!
07/27/2016 - College Rally Week Registration
06/21/2016 - Erica’s Story
Erica is the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college. Soon, she will be the first person in her extended family to work towards an advanced degree. But before she was introduced to Orangewood Foundation, she never even considered attending college.
As a child, Erica experienced frequent instability and neglect. “Ever since I was born,” Erica explains, “and even before then, my mom has been addicted to something.” When Erica was six, she and her siblings were taken from her mother’s care, only to be returned two years later when her mother got sober. Though her sobriety lasted for a few years, her mother would often disappear for long periods of time. Because Erica was the oldest girl, she took on a mother role with her younger siblings.
Finally, when Erica was 15, she and her siblings were taken from their mother’s care for good. Erica and her younger siblings were placed in the care of their aunt and uncle. As the stability in her life increased, Erica was able to focus on school for the first time in her life. As she saw her grades improving in high school, she began to consider going to college but says, “I didn’t think I could go to college because of my life circumstances.” It was around this time that she was first introduced to Orangewood Foundation. Looking for a stable adult who could help her navigate life changes and think about college, Erica asked for help from Orangewood’s Mentor Program and was matched with Tami. “Tami is like a mother figure to me – hard-working, family oriented and very supportive.” Almost six years later, Erica and Tami continue to talk, text or meet once or twice a month.
With the support of Tami, Orangewood staff, and her aunt and uncle, Erica applied to and was accepted to Cal State Fullerton. She says, “The Orangewood scholarship provided financial security, so I didn’t have to worry about how to pay for school or my next meal or rent.” Today she is a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in human services. When asked how it felt to graduate from college, she described it as “surreal.” One of her favorite parts of her graduation day was when her younger brother (who attends our Samueli Academy charter high school) told her he was inspired by Erica and now wants to go to college too.
The good news didn’t stop at Erica’s college graduation. She’s off to graduate school! After applying to several graduate schools, she was accepted by her first choice, UCLA, and will be pursuing her Master of Social Welfare this fall. Orangewood will continue to help her reach her educational goals through a scholarship from our Advanced Studies Program. For her career, Erica plans to do policy work in the area of child welfare or juvenile justice. When asked what Orangewood’s support has meant to her over the years, Erica’s voice falters and her eyes tear up. “I’ve never felt so taken care of,” she says. “I feel so supported and like I have so many advocates. You guys don’t just care about the success of former foster youth, you really care about each one of us as people.”
03/15/2016 - 44 Women for Orangewood 2016 Scholarship Luncheon
03/14/2016 - Nathalie’s Story
Nathalie is one of Orangewood’s great success stories.
A 2011 graduate of Cal State Fullerton, Nathalie worked as a preschool and kindergarten teacher before joining her husband Sean in their own business. Happily married for more than four years, the couple also owns a condo (Nathalie credits her money management skills to the budgeting classes she took through Orangewood) and looks forward to starting a family some day.
Yet 20 years ago, a seven-year-old Nathalie was taken from her mother and stepfather after enduring years of physical and sexual abuse – abuse that she thought was “normal.”
During her time in foster care, Nathalie was introduced to Orangewood Foundation, whose mission is to help foster and community youth reach their greatest potential. She participated in a number of programs through Orangewood, including Independent Living Program workshops, which cover topics such as budgeting, relationships, education, careers and more.
Orangewood also helped Nathalie afford college by providing her with scholarships and connecting her with grants that covered 100% of her expenses. “These scholarships were crucial and allowed me to focus on school and graduate in just four years,” notes Nathalie. Orangewood staff member Khani also helped Nathalie navigate the college process. “If It weren’t for these scholarships and Khani’s help, I would probably have given up on college.”
“I know there are many reasons my life is going so well,” says Nathalie. “But I firmly believe that Orangewood Foundation is one of the key factors in my stability and success, along with the love and support of my husband and former foster family.”