“Building an arts-rich community needs consistent advocacy, financial support, and community leadership. I feel the RCCAAF provides that critical service to our community and I’m delighted and honored to be able to serve that cause,” says Kelly, who has been involved with the Foundation since 2006 when she was the cultural arts manager at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center/Lewis Family Playhouse. To continue its mission during the pandemic, the RCCAAF is offering sponsorship opportunities to local high schools for arts programs and projects, which have been difficult for both teachers and students in a virtual teaching environment. “We hope these funds will help with those challenges,” she says. In addition, Kelly says the RCCAAF hopes to broaden its reach by offering grants to local organizations, schools or artists to create new arts projects, programs, groups, or experiences in Rancho Cucamonga. “We have great plans for our future, and even though the pandemic has set us back a bit, we plan to keep pushing forward to serve our mission to enrich our community by supporting, expanding and advancing arts and cultural opportunities,” she says. To learn more, see www.rccaaf.org.
In the Inland Empire, about 700 foster youth age out of the system each year. About eight percent attempt a college degree and many end up homeless. About 25 percent of the males eventually become incarcerated and 65 percent of the females are more likely than their peers to become pregnant. When Corona’s Kristi Perez heard those statistics in 2003, she wanted to do something to give those young people the chance to succeed. In 2005, she founded Inspire Life Skills, a nonprofit organization which gives foster youth the opportunity to attend college or vocational programs full time while being safely housed and mentored. In October 2005, the first home opened in Riverside housing five 18-year-old girls. Since then, Inspire has opened several other homes and now serves Riverside and San Bernardino counties. “Currently, there is capacity for eight young men and 16 young women in our homes,” Perez says. In addition to financial support, Perez says the organization needs mentors, especially males, and people who can teach life skills classes or those who want to help with service projects and fundraising. To learn more about Inspire Life Skills, see www.inspirelifeskills.org.
“In animal rescue, we see the worst of humanity in how animals are abused and neglected. But we also get to see people with the extreme compassion and love that it takes to rehabilitate and prepare the rescued animal for adoption. Part of what attracted me to this organization was the strong ethics in the treatment of the animals we rescue, as well as the compassion and team work that takes place once an animal is rescued until the day he or she is adopted,” she says. FAAR’s greatest needs go hand-in-hand, Risser says. “FAAR can only rescue an animal if we have an available foster home, so we are always in need of new fosters who can house and help rehabilitate a rescued animal until it is adopted. Further, we can only rescue animals that we have the financial resources to care for. We are always in need of financial resources because the animals we rescue are special needs and often times need expensive treatment and/or surgery,” she says. To learn more about FAAR and the ways to support it, see www.fosterarmy.org.
In 2007, they founded Jacob’s House, a home of refuge where families and loved ones of those in hospitalized traumatic medical need can find hope, comfort, peace and inspiration. Located near Temecula Valley Hospital, Jacob’s House has helped many people through difficult times. “I was unaware of Jacob’s House before I began a search for a college internship,” says Germaine Abad. A psychology major, Abad snapped up the opportunity to intern at Jacob’s House and has stayed on as an outreach volunteer. “I’ve gotten attached to the mission, the cause, and the people who give their time to Jacob’s House. This organization thrives on the help of our community volunteers,” she says, adding that there are many ways for people to get involved. For more information, see www.jacobshousetemecula.org.