Women in Philanthropy Luncheon & Fashion Show

On November 4th, the Women in Philanthropy held their annual luncheon and fashion show at the beautiful Crocker Art Museum and once again blessed the foster youth of Koinonia Homes for Teens. However, the fun began even before the event took place. The week prior, the teens were invited to come to Macy’s and were dressed by a stylist in the latest fashions to model courtesy of Downtown Macy’s.To participate in a gala of such elegance was a big thrill for the seven Koinonia teens selected to attend. With an enormous amount of encouragement from the United Way and Macy’s teams, as well as the positive feedback from the Women in Philanthropy themselves, our teens quelled all their butterflies and put on quite a fashion show. For most, this experience was once in a lifetime! After the runway was walked the foster teens got to keep their fashion show outfits which were sponsored by a number of generous Women in Philanthropy members.The program was emceed by KFBK’s Kitty O’Neal, and two of our young people were interviewed and asked to share their foster care experience and the impact of the United Way & Women in Philanthropy’s IDA (Individual Development Accounts) Program. As difficult as it was for Natalie and Gregory to get up in front of several hundred people and tell a portion of their story in public, they were both ready and willing to do so. And of course they did fantastic! With Kitty O’Neal’s guidance and all of the Women in Philanthropy’s support, it was a wonderful “public speaking experience” to take into their future.Thank you United Way, Women in Philanthropy, Downtown Macy’s and the Crocker Art Museum’s staff for making a positive and edifying experience for the foster youth of Koinonia Homes for Teens. This event and the feelings of confidence gained will continue to shape their lives and make a lasting difference.

Kitty Interviewing Natalie & Gregory
Kitty Interviewing Natalie & Gregory
Arriving at the Crocker
Arriving at the Crocker
Kitty & the Boys
Kitty & the Boys
Justine Walks the Runway
Justine Walks the Runway
Cyndal Put "Active" into Active Wear
Cyndal Put “Active” into Active Wear
Carlos Works the Crowd
Carlos Works the Crowd

 

 

 

 

Mikuni’s Sushi to Go – Thank You Taro

When Sushi is on the menu, who better to come and support than Taro & Machiko Arai, owners of Mikuni Sushi?  As a part of Koinonia’s Culinary Arts Program, sushi was a topic of great interest, even though it is something that few are proficient in and not many have an “old family recipe” for.  But that’s not the case when it comes to the Arai family, they have dozens.

Taro & Machiko were gracious enough to come by the Koinonia Community School with all that it takes to prepare sushi.  While slicing & dicing, wrapping & rolling, Taro shared what it was like growing up in Japan, coming to America as a teen and working in the family restaurant.  The teens were absolutely enthralled with everything Taro, from his energy to his incredible story.  He covered topics from the Japanese language and culture to his personal work ethic.  Taro spoke of his entrepreneurship, opening eight restaurants through Northern California, and the ups and downs of his efforts.  When asked how many years did he had to work hard to earn the success he now enjoys, he told a story.  At the age of 21, he made a personal decision that he would be happy and enjoy everything he did, from his job to his family.  So, in essence, Taro considers that he has been retired since the age of 21.

As he talked he produced a number of different sushi dishes that were quickly consumed by the teens.  Students were then invited up to try their hand at rolling sushi, all achieving tasty results.  As it turned out, sushi was only the vehicle for Taro to encourage, inspire and embolden the teens of Koinonia.  They parted ways with much more than just an understanding of “how to make sushi,” they also learned “how to be successful in life.”

Taro Group
Taro, Machiko & Teens
Taro Teaching

Taro 4

 

Students

 

Koinonia Joins the Raider Nation

Koinonia teens got a big dose of Raiders’ pride as we were the guests of Fred & Angela Biletnikoff at the Oakland Raiders’ facilities in Alameda.  We toured the Silver and Black Production studio and participated in on-camera interviews with on-air personality and head of the Raiderettes, Jeanette Thompson.  Head of production, Vittorio DeBartolo, did a great job of explaining the different aspects of the studio and how the finished video products get aired.  They opened up the whole world of video production to our teens—a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Jeanette and Vittorio did a great job of incorporating their “Commitment to Excellence” into everything they do.

As we were learning about the studio, in walked the Raider legend and NFL Hall of Fame member, Willie Brown.  Why not?  We were in the capitol of the Raider Nation!  Willie gave a great pep talk, inspiring the teens to do their best at everything they do.  He too, defined the organization’s “Commitment to Excellence” at every level, from the management to the grounds keepers, and encouraged our teens to do the same.  Willie was very patient in answering the slew of questions from the kids and staff.  It was an honor that Mr. Brown took the time from his day and made the effort to engage the teens.  What a thrill!

The tour continued on to the Raiders’ cafeteria where Angela Biletnikoff had provided lunch for all.   Building our own submarine sandwiches was right up our kids’ alley.  While eating we were blessed when Fred Biletnikoff walked in to welcome Koinonia.  Not only is Fred a Hall of Famer and a Superbowl MVP, but this year he was also named NFL’s Man of the Year in recognition of the work he has does through the Biletnikoff Foundation working with young people just like ours.  He has worked hard making the teens of Koinonia feel special whenever they are together.

As if we hadn’t had a great day so far, we were then joined by wide receivers Jacoby Ford (#12) and Darrius Heyward-Bay (#85).  Getting to rub elbows with NFL players is tough to beat but having both of them so open about their experiences getting to the NFL and what the opportunity means to them was incredibly powerful.  They are good friends and talked quite a bit about holding each other accountable, much like our teens are asked to do in their lives here at Koinonia.  It was fun to see Jacoby and Darrius as excited to hang out with Fred Biletnikoff as we were to hang out with them.  After a ton of questions, autographs, and photos, we finally allowed Jacoby and Darrius escape.

We finished the day by checking out the practice fields, which are normally off limits to the general public.  It was one more thing that made our kids feel special.  From beginning to end, it was a great day.  Fred and Angela were such gracious hosts, even being a part of our group photos in front of the Raiders’ logo as we were leaving for the day.  Thanks to the Raiders’ organization for supporting the Biletnikoff’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of our young people.

Fred, Darrius & Jacoby with Koinonia Teens
Fred, Darrius & Jacoby with Koinonia Teens
Koinonia Joins the Raider Nation
Koinonia Joins the Raider Nation
Willie Brown Coaches the Teens
Willie Brown Coaches the Koinonia Teens
Jeanette Thompson Interview Natalie W. in the Silver & Black Studios
Jeanette Thompson Interview Natalie W. in the Silver & Black Studios
Jeanette Thompson Interview Ken P. in the Silver & Black Studios
Jeanette Thompson Interview Ken P. in the Silver & Black Studios
Fred Biletnikoff & Camilla Ryland
Fred Biletnikoff & Camilla Ryland
Current & Future Hall of Famers - Fred Biletnikoff, Darrius Heyward-Bay (85) and Jacoby Ford (12)
Current & Future Hall of Famers – Fred Biletnikoff, Darrius Heyward-Bay (85) and Jacoby Ford (12)

 

2012 Angels in the Alley

Happy Elves
It must be Christmas because the Angels were in the Alley . . . with Santa and a whole bunch of elves.  Once again elves Dorian McCoy and Strikes Unlimited owner, Keri Pegram came together to bless the Christmas stockings right off the foster youth at Koinonia Homes for Teens.  On arrival the teens were greeted by the man himself, Santa Claus.  Santa was nice enough (and patient enough) to take a snapshot with each of the kids.  As it has turned out each year, there were a number of foster teens that had never sat on Santa’s lap before and were absolutely thrilled to get the chance.  For these teens the photos held a special place in their hearts.  Also in attendance was Mrs. Claus, she came with a long scroll complete with the names of every child there.  Somehow, as the teens were each looking for their name on the scroll, everyone ended up on the “Nice” side of the list and the “Naughty” side of the scroll remained empty.  It must have been a good year at Koinonia.Strikes Unlimited in Rocklin was a wonderful host, filling the evening with bowling competitions, pizza & soda, and a ton of fun for over 50 foster teens and Koinonia staff.  Earlier in the week each teen had been given a Santa’s cap to decorate and they went all out!  In a “no holds barred” hat competition, awards were given for Best Technique, Most Creative, and The Merriest.  The designs ranged from clever to outrageous.  The bowling awards covered all the bowling basics including the Twinkle Toes award and the ever popular Gutter Ball award.  Of course there was also High Score of the Night prizes, one for the boys and one for the girls.  Adding to the fun, the Angels in the Alley elves arranged for a caricature artist to spend the evening drawing wonderful cartoon caricature of each teen.  The drawings were a great way to create a memory for the teens to take away with them and for many of them the beginnings of new family traditions.  To top it all off, the evening ended not only with the award’s ceremony but homemade treats and gifts for the teens.  Each foster youth was given a large Target Gift Card to spend on Christmas.  The gesture was overwhelming for some; one 17 year old young lady that has an 18 month old son was brought to tears as she realized that she would be able to buy gifts for her son when they get to spend time together this Christmas.

A special thanks to Dorian McCoy and Keri Pegram, and their supporting teams of worker elves.  The generous group of sponsors this year included Taylor Morrison Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Bonuccelli & Associates, Pulte Homes, the TGW Foundation and First American Title.

Koinonia understands that it is events and experiences like this that can totally shift the paradigm of a foster youth, changing their perception of how the world views them and how they view the world.  Thank you Angels in the Alley!

Enjoying the Season
Enjoying the Season
Happy Elves
Some of the Angels in the Alley
Dorian and Elves
Head Elf Dorian McCoy with her helper Elves
Caricature Artist at Work
Caricature Artist at Work
Mrs. Claus
Mrs. Claus and Her Naughty Scroll

Too Much Fun with Hats
Too Much Fun with Hats

2012 Day in the Park

2012 Day in the Park
Koinonia Homes for Teens’ annual Day in the Park was held on a beautiful day in late May at the Loomis Basin Regional Park.  Good food, good friends, and good fellowship were the order of the day.  As a “thank you” for all the incredible support our teens receive throughout the year from the community, Koinonia hosted this lunchtime “meet & greet” for many of those that have blessed our kids.George Almeida and Fuddruckers stepped up to feed the whole crew.  Out of their magical catering trailer came everything from hamburgers, chicken burgers and veggie burgers, to side dishes, drinks and dessert.  George, aided by Koinonia’s Accounting Director Deena Spann, flipped burgers until everybody was absolutely stuffed.  Thank you George, Deena, and Fuddruckers for making this the best Day in the Park ever!Our many guests included supporters from Intel, the Assistance League, Herbalife, Wave Broadband, Care Innovations, Pride Industries, Balloon-O-Sphere, American River College, Youth Connections, the Rock of Roseville and of course Fuddruckers.  Community members from across the Placer and Sacramento counties came to enjoy an afternoon with the teens.Let the games begin!  Following lunch, the different teams squared off with each other in a myriad of challenges from water balloons to watermelons.  Each home designed their own custom team shirt, team color, team cheer and team name with big prizes on the line.All in all, it was a great day and a great event.  Fun was had by one and all!  With all our hearts, we want to express our appreciation to those who share our passion for these teens and their future.
2012 Day in the Park
2012 Day in the Park
The Magical Fuddruckers Trailer
The Magical Fuddruckers Trailer
Team Nerd Squad
Team Nerd Squad

Team Herbalife
Team Herbalife

Distribution of Ammo
Distribution of Ammo

Uli C, Bill Ryland & Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes
Uli C, Bill Ryland & Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes

 

Intel’s She & Me

Koinonia Girls at Intel
Koinonia Girls at Intel
Koinonia Girls at Intel with Mentors

The Intel Corporation – Folsom Campus once again embraces the Teens of Koinonia.  With an invite to Intel’s “International Day of the Woman” event focusing on cultural diversity and inspirational mentoring.  Our 12 female high school students from Koinonia Community School in Loomis participated in the “She & Me” project at the event.  Patti Sarr, Diversity Communications Manager, Intel Global Diversity, Education & External Relations at Intel Folsom arranged for each of our students to receive a letter from fellow Intel co-workers that are employed around the world and at the Folsom Campus.  Each letter shared the personal story of their cultural experience of being teenagers, growing up and pursuing their educational and life-long dreams in their home country and around the USA.  After reading the letters our teens created art collages depicting their pen-pals and themselves.  Showing through their art the similarities they found between the letter writer’s stories and their own life stories, challenges and aspirations.

On the day of the event at Intel, the teens were each paired up at the luncheon with their mentor and were able to discuss the art collage they had created.  The teens fielded questions about themselves and were encouraged to go for their dreams by their mentors.  Inspiration was felt amongst our young ladies as they commented after the event that they would love to work for Intel and that everyone was so warm and welcoming.  Here at Koinonia, we couldn’t ask for more of a positive outcome for our girls.  Our girls come to us with very few if any dreams and with this opportunity they all felt a sense of possibility.

Intel, thank you once again for the incredible support you offer the community as a whole through your enormous employee volunteerism and financial support.

Culinary Arts Program’s Open House

Open House Ribbon Cutting
The Culinary Arts Program’s Open House earlier this month marked the culmination of a year full of dreams, plans and realities.  It all began with a vision for an Instructional Kitchen for the teens at Koinonia.  What followed were months of fundraising, creating the design, selecting the appliances, equipment, decor, contractors, and ultimately the actual reconstruction of the kitchen itself.The Open House was a splendid event held at the kitchen site and hosted by the teens of Koinonia.  Members of the community, financial sponsors, and volunteers all came together to celebrate the grand opening of this new program.  We were honored to have the support ofPlacerCounty’s Board of Supervisors, Jim Holmes, the Director of Children’s System of Care,Richard Knechtand members of the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce who joined in the ribbon cutting ceremony.  It was a privilege to recognize the sponsors of the project, the Herbalife Family Foundation and its many local independent distributors, and Bank of America.  Special mention went out to those who helped the project come together including Allan Tice of AT Construction, West Pacific Cabinets and Kerrock Countertops.

The menu consisted of a number of treats including seven different recipes of the now famous “Muli.”  The “Muli” was created by two of our students, Marina and Ulises, and was named by combining their first names for a segment on the Good Day Sacramento TV show.  Another crowd pleaser was the “cake pop,” a fun creation of bite size cake on a stick.

Once the culinary program is in full-swing, it will feature curriculum created by our volunteer partners at the Intel Corporation in Folsom.  Facilitated by Intel and community volunteers, the teens will be guided through Safety & Sanitation and Cooking Basics to Spices & Seasoning and Favorite Recipes.  Along the way they will be learning menu planning, healthy eating, budgeting and much, much more!

The Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting
Teens & Staff Getting Ready for the Open House
Teens & Staff Getting Ready for the Open House
Muli's on the Ready
Muli's on the Ready
Angela & Joy Enjoying a Cake Pop
Angela & Joy Enjoying a Cake Pop
Appreciation for the Herbalife Team
Appreciation for the Herbalife Team