Friends of San Pasqual Academy volunteers make the holidays special for foster teens

Friends of San Pasqual Academy
Friends of San Pasqual Academy, for over 20 years, has been hosting a holiday party for foster teens, who live and attend school at San Pasqual Academy. Board members pictured are Teri Summerhays, Andrea Reynolds, Dagmar Helgager, Joan Scott, supporter Patty Brutten, Lois Jones, Kathy Lathrum and featured guest, Santa.
(Joan Scott)

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 become productive adults. A special “San Pasqual Academy family” is created: one that provides stability, support, love and guidance. The volunteers of Friends of San Pasqual Academy are a key part of this support system. For over 20 years, the volunteers have been dedicated to providing positive experiences to these foster students. Many lives have been changed as a result of these efforts.

Patty and Marc Brutten
Patty and Marc Brutten, every year, purchase a special gift for all the foster teens of San Pasqual Academy. Pictured with Santa is Patty Brutten, who is displaying their special gift this year, which is an iPad for all the foster students.
(Joan Scott)

The foster teens of San Pasqual Academy celebrated the start of the holidays with many exciting activities. A festive party for the students was held at the 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.

The party began with each student receiving a special, hand-sewn, personalized Christmas stocking that had each student’s name on them. These beautiful stockings were filled to the brim with wonderful items that were collected by Friends of San Pasqual Academy.

National Charity League members, coordinated by Teri Summerhays, collected pajama pants for the teens. A school sweatshirt, matching sweatpant and a bag full of hygiene products were additional surprises that each foster student received from various organizations and individuals. Each foster teen received one gift from their “Wish List” and an American Express Gift card. These special items were also purchased by Friends of San Pasqual supporters.

And as they do every year, Marc and Patty Brutten purchased a special gift for all the foster teens, which this year was an Ipad They personally presented them to each grateful and very happy student and saw first-hand, how much their labor of love meant to each foster teen.

The auditorium was transformed with spectacular holiday decorations, including a beautiful Christmas tree, full of ornaments and lights, and unique holiday table decorations filled the room. The students were served a delicious traditional holiday dinner, that included turkey, stuffing, delicious desserts and more, that was catered by The French Gourmet.

The holiday party was planned by Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members Joan Scott, Teri Summerhays, Lois Jones, Dagmar Helgager, Kathy Lathrum, Karen Ventura, Andrea Reynolds and Debby Syverson. For over 20 years, the Friends board has been caring for the foster students and graduates of San Pasqual Academy.

The foster students expressed their gratitude and appreciation to all who made this holiday party 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 provides college scholarships, transitional housing, athletic and academic programs, agricultural, art and music programs and more to the graduates and current foster students of San Pasqual Academy. Currently, over 60 graduates 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 attend.

Thank you to the many supporters who help care for these grateful foster teens. Many lives are changed due to their dedication and support. On behalf of the foster teens of San Pasqual Academy, “Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to All and a Happy New Year!”