A woman named Dr. Harris grew up in Orange County–she became a doctor just over a year ago. She attended UCLA and achieved a BA in Molecular Biology, and went on to medical school in Albany. And, Dr. Harris was born to a drug-using and physically abusive family. She was placed into foster care at the age of six. After being taken in by her grandmother, she began to find stable footing. Determined to become a doctor, she was able to rely on the Orangewood Foundation to provide her the resources and support necessary to get to where she is today. This is just one of the many success stories from The Orangewood Foundation for Foster and Community Youth Services.
The Orangewood Foundation for Foster and Community Youth Services provides collaborative support and assistance for foster youth as they move into independent adult life. Their services center around four areas: health & wellness, housing, life skills & employment, and education. The Orangewood Foundation originally opened in 1981 as a shelter for abused and neglected children in the Orange County area. As they expanded, they began to address other needs, and take an even more proactive step in providing preparative service and skills.
One branch of the Orangewood Foundation is their Samueli Academy Charter School. This unique institution is open to all students, with unique priority to foster students. The school was built on the foundation of years of research into the best high school atmosphere for students, to minimize drop out rates.
Two years after the opening of Samueli Academy, the Foundation opened “The Lighthouse,” in response to heightened rates in sex trafficking and crime—and 50-80% of the survivors come from foster care. The Lighthouse offers sanctuary and the ability to start anew to young survivors of sexual abuse. The residential program is staffed 24/7 by employees trained to handle these cases, and offers individual, specialized support.
After receiving a five-year grant from the California Office of Emergency Services, the Foundation is now working to expand their outreach to aid homeless youth, aged 18-24. This outreach includes the expansion of their current center to include an on-site shower, a clothing closet, and extra class space.
Want to help their incredible mission? Volunteer as an individual or with a group. Or, donate $25 and buy a youth a week’s worth of bus passes, $100 for one student’s high school graduation expenses, or $500 to pay for textbooks for one semester. $0.88 of every dollar you donate will go directly to the Foundation’s programs. No matter how much time or money you can donate, any amount is welcome. Thank you, Orangewood Foundation, for the aid and support you give to OC youth everyday!
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