A Reflection of 2017: Thanking our families and partners

Spreading Gratitude and Thanks to Our Families and Partners for a Successful Year!

As we enter a new year, we are taking some time to reflect on the amazing events that led us into 2018 in such a positive way, and to recognize the partners and volunteers who make every day special for the youth in need.

We work with many talented organizations that donate their efforts and time to helping us achieve our goals. Santa Maria Elks have been so generous throughout the holiday season in making sure the youth are cherished and feel special. In 2017 they donated 50 food baskets, 25 at Thanksgiving and 25 at Christmas, to Families on Voluntary Family Maintenance and Non-minor dependents. The local chapter of the Santa Maria Elks #1538 also partnered with us, Santa Maria Bici Centro and Together We Rise, in building and donating approximately 130 bicycles. For many of the children youth, this was their first new bicycle and one of the only things that they now own for themselves.

The Santa Maria Elks helped to assemble the bicycles, while Tailwinds Bicycle Club of Santa Maria then provided each child with a new helmet, and Bici Centro adjusted bikes can ensured a customized fit for each child, and offered bicycle safety classes for the youth to learn the basics of safe bike riding.

This donation of bicycles was so important for the children; it gives them a sense of normalcy while they are in care, and makes them feel special. We are grateful to our community partners who stepped up to make the holidays special for our local youth in need and it warms our hearts to be able to work with such wonderful, selfless organizations.

Our other noteworthy event that allowed us to end 2017 with smiling faces was that of Adoption Month at Santa Barbara County’s Juvenile Court, where 16 foster children were adopted by 8 loving families. After months of waiting, they are finally welcomed into their forever homes. The families have incredible stories to tell, and are all excited to start this new chapter of their lives as one family unit.

The Rodríguezes, who have already raised two grown children, invited 16 year old Anthony into their home after being introduced to him via their local Church. Anthony was full of excitement for the Rodríguezes to become his official adoptive parents, and on the morning of the official hearing Anthony told adoptive Mom, Elisa “Mom! Happy Adoption Day! It’s been a long time coming.” While the Nolan’s adopted 3 children, Lianna, Alanna and Abel, who were born to the families’ stepsons’ cousin, allowing these children to remain in close contact with their biological family.

All of the families that have opened their hearts and homes, encourage and motivate us to keep working to find loving homes for our youth, creating life long connections for them.