In The News

In the News

12/31/2020 - Youth Connected Program on Spectrum News 1

Orangewood Foundation’s Youth Connected Program was featured on Spectrum News 1. (Watch the segment below)

12/25/2020 - Youth Connected Program on Fox 11 News GDLA

Orangewood Foundation’s Youth Connected Program was featured on Fox 11 News Good Day LA. (Watch the segment below)

12/25/2020 - Fox 11 News Good Day LA

Aired on December 25, 2020, Good Day LA shared a three-minute story on the Youth Connected Program.

11/13/2020 - 44 Women Paint Night

Friday, December 4, 2020

Join the 44 Women for Orangewood to take a break during the holidays and unwind with a live paint workshop. You can discover your inner Van Gogh and de-stress.

Registration of $44 includes a paint kit (a canvas, 4 mini bottles of paint, brushes, and a paint palette) for you and an Orangewood youth.

Click here to register.

11/13/2020 - 44 Women Stocking Event

Thursday, December 10, 2020
2:00 – 3:30 PM

If you have any questions or want more information, please contact Tyler Choi at tchoi@orangewoodfoundation.org.

10/30/2020 - Meet Onikah

06/01/2020 - Lyon’s Roar

The Achievement-Filled Life of an Orange County Icon (Orange County Business Journal)

Click here to read the article.

05/27/2020 - Op-Ed on General Lyon

Orangewood CEO Chris Simonsen reflects on the legacy of founding board chairman, General William Lyon (OC Register)

Click here to read the article.

05/22/2020 - William Lyon, Orange County homebuilder and civic leader, dies at 97

OC homebuilder, philanthropist or Orangewood founding board chairman passes at age 97 (OC Register)

Click here to read the article.

05/07/2020 - Meet Jacquelyn

During this time of the coronavirus, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Your adult child is studying abroad and on a daily basis the U.S. and other countries are restricting travel and movement. Your child contacts you. She thought she could ride out the coronavirus in place but now she’s scared. The country has announced that it will be instituting a state of emergency and potential martial law soon. Food is getting scarce. Her university isn’t providing much guidance.

That was the situation with Jacquelyn Leyva, an Orangewood Foundation scholarship recipient in our Advanced Studies Program.

Jacquelyn first began receiving support from Orangewood Foundation when she was a senior in high school and wanted to enroll at Orange Coast College (OCC). She received an Orangewood scholarship and, to make ends meet, would occasionally visit the Orangewood Resource Center for the free toiletries. “Coming out of foster care or a tough situation, everything seems more difficult,” she says. “Applying to college and financial aid, it’s so overwhelming. Orangewood Foundation helped me every step of the way.”

With the help of Orangewood scholarships, Jacquelyn graduated from OCC and then from UC Berkeley. She received an Advanced Studies scholarship and was in Thailand as part of her first year of a Master in Global Studies program at Humboldt University of Berlin. She had started the academic year at the university’s campus in Berlin, Germany, April of 2019. With her focus is on fair trade fashion, she spent the second semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then Bangkok, Thailand.

Jacquelyn secured a small one-room apartment and, in early January, began her classes in Bangkok. With only a mini-refrigerator and electric tea kettle, she relied on nearby inexpensive restaurants for her meals. In February, while the country had the second highest number of COVID-19 cases (behind China), the actual number was still small and classes and field trips continued as usual. Carla Etzold, Orangewood’s Scholarships & Grants Coordinator, reached out to Jacquelyn via email and Jacquelyn replied that she was fine. Things in Thailand weren’t that bad and she would just wait it out.

However, in early March the local restaurants switched to take-out only, then closed altogether a few days later. Jacquelyn began to wonder if they knew something she didn’t. “It was very tumultuous and I was getting nervous,” she says. The political climate in the country was intensifying and the government was putting limits on free speech, especially about COVID-19.

Jacquelyn reached out to Carla for reassurance. “Carla was the first person I contacted, thinking she might give me reassurance. I was really scared but thought maybe I was thinking irrationally. But I really want to leave immediately.” When Carla saw Jacquelyn’s email, she researched the situation in the country and learned that Jacquelyn’s fears were well-founded.

Carla asked and received approval to use Advanced Studies scholarship funds to get Jacquelyn home to the U.S. “It was the best feeling to know that I could ask and I knew the answer would be ‘yes,’” Carla says. “I could make it happen for Jacquelyn.” Carla searched flights which took a while since they were being cancelled or the prices were increasing as she looked. “I was trying to figure everything out,” Carla says. “I just wanted her to get home safely. It was stressful.” For her part, Jacquelyn says, “I was too anxious to even sleep.”

Finally, within 24 hours of Jacquelyn first reaching out to her, Carla was able to secure a 10:00 P.M. flight, just in the nick of time. The following day the Bangkok airport was going to close. Over the course of 24 long hours, Jacquelyn flew from Bangkok to Japan to San Francisco. Carla kept her cell phone on 24/7 and was checking the airline website to track the progress of Jacquelyn’s flights. In the crowded airports and on the planes, Jacquelyn saw many passengers in face masks and some even wearing head-to-toe hazmat suits.

Every time her flight landed, Jacquelyn called Carla to let her know. During her 14 hour layover in Japan, Carla encouraged Jacquelyn to call her grandma with whom Jacquelyn had been placed while in foster care. “My grandma was in tears and so worried about me,” Jacquelyn says.

On March 26th, Jacquelyn’s plane landed in San Francisco. Since then, she’s been staying with her boyfriend and his parents in Northern California. “I wasn’t able to really sleep until I got to my boyfriend’s house and laid down,” she says. “I was so happy. It was such a relief. All that stress lifted from my body.” Jacquelyn is healthy and continuing with school, submitting her final exams and papers. The summer internship she secured at the World Fair Trade Organization Asia is uncertain. She hopes to stay on track and graduate in April of 2021.

After receiving her master’s degree, Jacquelyn’s goal is to secure a position with the World Fair Trade Organization, auditing and providing guidance to the fair trade industry. Her ultimate dream job is Director of Social & Environmental Responsibility for a fashion brand. Despite her ordeal getting home during a global pandemic, Jacquelyn’s spirit of adventure and her desire to travel haven’t diminished.  “Every experience makes me stronger,” she says.

“Orangewood really does support its scholarship students,” Jacquelyn says. “Carla has always gone above and beyond. If I needed anything, she was there to help…which is why I turned to her in this situation.” She continues, “Had Carla not been able to help, I probably would have stayed in Thailand. I had no other alternatives. She was a lifesaver, literally. I’m really grateful to Orangewood Foundation.”