Foster teens are remembered by many during the holidays

Friends of San Pasqual Academy
Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members display some of the wonderful items that were purchased or donated by many caring individuals and organizations to the foster students of San Pasqual Academy. The holiday event was hosted by Friends of San Pasqual Academy. Pictured left to right is Kathy Lathrum, volunteer Nina Conforti, Joan Scott, Director of San Pasqual Academy Tia Moore, Dagmar Helgager and Andrea Reynolds. Not pictured are Teri Summerhays, Lois Jones, Karen Ventura, Debby Syverson and Bob Syverson.

When we think of holidays, we think of our families and loved ones and being able to spend precious time with them during this meaningful season. Holidays are particularly stressful for foster kids, who are constantly reminded of not being able to be in a traditional setting with family members. They have been placed under protective custody by the court for various reasons. Abuse, neglect and negative memories have been part of their lives. At San Pasqual Academy, many of these foster teens are able to overcome this cycle of abuse and trauma and become productive adults. A special “San Pasqual Academy family” is created: one that provides stability, support, love and guidance. The volunteers and donors of Friends of San Pasqual Academy are a key part of this support system. For over 20 years, the volunteers and supporters have been dedicated to providing positive experiences to these foster students. Many lives have been changed as a result of these efforts.

The foster teens of San Pasqual Academy celebrated the holidays with a special “party” hosted by Friends of San Pasqual Academy. It was held outside, on the football field at this unique school, which is both home and school for the foster teens of San Diego County. Many individuals and organizations donated items and, most importantly, their time and resources to make this holiday special for them.

Following the CDC guidelines, the foster teens entered the football field masked and in small groups to receive their special holiday gifts. Each student received a personalized Christmas stocking that had each student’s name on them. These beautiful stockings were filled to the brim with wonderful items that were purchased by Friends of San Pasqual Academy. The Del Mar Ward, Young Women’s Group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filled these stockings outside, at the beautiful home of Elizabeth Ingersoll and the foster students were very appreciative of all their efforts.

The Encinitas Walking Group, through Lorna Lewis, the Cardiff Ward Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, and Operation Underground Railroad, coordinated by Jennifer Fellows and Amy and Kylie Jones, collected and purchased pajama pants for the teens. Basketball shorts for each foster teen were purchased by Ocean Hills Sewing Club. Ocean Hills Country Club Paper Crafting Club, coordinated by Karin Barnes, created unique hand-made Christmas cards for all the foster teens. Hand-made birthday cards, school supplies and socks were donated by the National Charity League, Del Sol Chapter, through Robin Small and Teri Summerhays.

Beautiful blankets in all colors, were purchased by Zerorez. A school sweatshirt and sweat pants were purchased by Friends of San Pasqual Academy supporters. Hygiene products, placed in beautiful bags, were collected and donated by The Rotary Club of Rancho Santa Fe, coordinated by Sophia Alsadek. Lovely hats were donated by Sharon Seidenberg, Kathie Wolen and Ruth Bailey. Alpaca Company also donated mittens and scarfs to all the foster teens. Kathy Moskovitz donated 150 bottles of fingernail polish and emery boards, that were placed in all the girls’ stockings. Deanna Fox donated cozy throws and full sets of pajama pants. Each foster teen received one gift from their “Wish List” and an American Express Gift card. These special items were purchased by Friends of San Pasqual supporters.

And as they do every year, Marc and Patty Brutten purchased a wonderful gift for all the foster teens, which this year was an Ipod. Their gift was wrapped and presented to each grateful and very happy foster student. Also adding to the Holiday Party, Michelle Mathis and the Ortiz family donated eight beautiful, live Christmas trees. Nordstrom’s Men’s Department, through Ferdi, donated festive decorative holiday bags so that each student can place all their gifts into these large bags.

Volunteers that helped with the Holiday Party included Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members Teri Summerhays, Lois Jones, Dagmar Helgager, Kathy Lathrum, Karen Ventura, Andrea Reynolds, Debby Syverson, Bob Syverson and Joan Scott. Also assisting were Nina Conforti and Tia Moore. For over 20 years, the Friends board has been caring for the foster students and graduates of San Pasqual Academy. Again, many thanks to these dedicated volunteers and donors for making this event so wonderful for the foster teens of San Pasqual Academy.

The foster students expressed their gratefulness and appreciation to all who made this possible. It will be a holiday celebration they will always remember and treasure. Most importantly, the foster teens expressed their gratitude for so many people caring about them and conveyed to the volunteers that their gift of time and love was the most important gift they receive throughout the year.

For more information on Friends of San Pasqual Academy, which is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization, visit or call 858-759- 3298. Donations can be sent to Friends of San Pasqual Academy, PO Box 8202, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067.

Friends of San Pasqual Academy also provides college scholarships, transitional housing, athletic and academic programs, agricultural, art and music programs, birthday recognition, clothing and more to the foster students of San Pasqual Academy. Currently, over 70 graduates are being supported by Friends of San Pasqual Academy, who are furthering their education, whether it be in trade schools, community colleges, four-year universities and graduate school. UCLA, Cal State San Marcos, UC Davis, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, Humbolt State, Long Beach State and Sacramento State are just some of the colleges that the foster graduates have attended. — Friends of San Pasqual Academy news release