|When Santa’s special elf Dorian McCoy teams up with Stikes Unlimited’s Kari Pegram, all sorts of things can happen for the foster youth in our area. In a mad dash to raise enough money to bless Koinonia Homes for Teens, elf Dorian rallied a number of local businesses and individuals with the target of $5,000 in mind. Of course, in grand Santa’s elf fashion, she and her Santa’s helpers raised $6,000. Enough to throw a wonderful Christmas bowling party complete with pizzas and surprise gifts for all 36 teens at Koinonia’s Homes for Teens and the Crisis Resolution Center.The teens started off the afternoon with unlimited bowling at the beautiful Strikes Unlimited in Rocklin. With 10 lanes and over 50 bowlers, the competition began to heat up quickly. When the pizza and sodas arrived, it was amazing to see that our teenagers could eat pizza, drink soda and bowl all at the same time. What multi-taskers! Santa’s elves and helpers kept a never ending flow of food and drink to fuel the enthusiastic young bowlers. For a number of the foster youth, this was their first time bowling, but that neither slowed anyone down nor hindered the fun. As they bowled on into the evening, everyone was perfecting their specialty shots, which for some it involve the gutter. But not to be discouraged, there turned out to be a trophy for that . . . The Gutter Ball Champ Trophy!
Just about the time when the teens didn’t think they could have anymore fun, the man himself showed up . . . Santa. Although she wondered if the teenagers would even be interested in getting their picture taken with Santa, the chief elf Dorian suggested it anyways. Much to her surprise, she learned that several of the young ladies had never had a photo with Santa. A line of excited teenagers quickly formed and the photo op was a hit.
To finish the evening off, Santa’s helpers had several more tricks in their bag. Elf Dorian had trophies and gifts to hand out. The Goddess of Gutter Ball Haley G. was awarded her beaten-up bowling pin trophy complete with scuff marks and bandages to honor her as the Gutter Ball Champ. Top form honors went to Virgil W. with none other than the Twinkle Toes Award Trophy, outfitted with a pink tutu and bow. Both honorees received a resounding and most deserving applause for their hard earned accomplishments.
The grand finale for the teens were these cute little packets passed out to each one that didn’t seem to hold much. But when opened, each contained a $155 gift card to Target! Absolutely blown away, the young people couldn’t believe their eyes. $155 right before Christmas to spend as they may . . . and at the top of the list of things to do by general consensus, was to buy Christmas gifts for their brothers and sisters.
All the young men and women agreed that this was an incredible Christmas party! Over and over again they verbalized that they couldn’t believe the size of the gift cards along with the other gifts they received. It’s still unclear who had the better time, as the chief elf Dorian was overheard saying, “The Angels on the Alleys day was one of the best days of my life!” She also said she had never received so many HUGE hugs and thank yous!
Also recognized at the end of the evening were the incredible people who made it all possible, according to the greatest elf in the whole wide world, Dorian McCoy:
. . . and our hosts Strikes Unlimited!
From all of us at Koinonia, we would like to offer a heartfelt thanks for making so many Christmas wishes come true!
Since the opening of the Freestyle Clothing Exchange, owner Elizabeth Kelley has had a huge heart for the teens of Koinonia. This year was no different. Working with her team of managers – Irene Delhorno, Karina Douglas and Vanessa Kelley, they decided to set up an in-store promotion (pictured on the right). By informing their customers of the needs at Koinonia they encouraged support for “Generation Today.”
Through the holiday season they raised $500 in donations to help meet the needs of the teens at Christmas time. So a big “Thank You” to the Freestyle team and their very generous clientele, from Koinonia for blessing our teens in so many ways.The folks at Freestyle also offer our young people encouragement throughout the year, especially the girl’s home located in Antelope who frequent their Citrus Heights store.To learn more about the Freestyle Clothing Exchange, visit them at www.freestyleclothing.com
On December 7th Lew Gale, the Chief Financial Officer of the Quality Housing Development Corporation of Auburn, visited Koinonia Homes for Teens to support the Financial Literacy program. Mr. Gale is retired from the banking industry and has served on QDHC’s voluntary board since 2002. QDHC is dedicated to developing and strengthening quality affordable housing to enhance the lives of individuals while contributing to communities and neighborhoods. With this mission in mind, QHDC recognizes the extraordinary efforts that Koinonia’s Group Home Program makes in their dedication to educate and enrich the lives of foster youth. Together community based organizations can do great work that will benefit the future of each community.
With QDHC’s generous donation of $3,000, Koinonia Homes for Teens will continue to offer ongoing fiscal education with hands-on savings and money management training. Utilizing the FDIC’s MoneySmart curriculum, all Koinonia teens develop a base knowledge of banking, savings, credit, and living fiscally responsible. Each teen opens a savings account and establishes a working relationship with a banking institution.
Koinonia Homes for Teens has benefited from the generosity of the QDHC for a number years, who not only serves the community through its affordable housing programs but also through its generosity and its ongoing community support.
It’s Christmas time at Koinonia!
Koinonia Homes for Teens invites you to celebrate and share the holidays with our young people. This is a time of great joy but also a time of great need. It is difficult enough to be a teen in foster care placement but it is especially difficult during the holidays. Every commercial, every magazine ad reminds them of the one thing that they want the most, a family. That’s why each year Koinonia Homes for Teens tries to provide the best Christmas our teens have ever had. Our goal is to bless their socks off!
Please join us by donating to our Christmas cause, because every child deserves at least one great Christmas! Help us have a Christmas morning that blesses our young people and forms the basis of lifelong family traditions.
Care Innovations, specializing in health care technology from their facilities in Roseville, came along side Koinonia on their “volunteer day” in late November. Several Care Innovations groups took time from their busy schedules to visit two of Koinonia’s Homes for Teens and helped the young people prepare for Christmas. Pictured along with some of the girls of Koinonia, helping with the making of Christmas ordainments and cookies are Care innovations’ Maureen Glynn and Bill Bollengier and Koinonia’s Camilla Ryland. As you can see, a great time was had by all.
Thank you to Care Innovations for also adopting every Koinonia teen by providing one Christmas gift item from their Christmas Wish Lists. Koinonia appreciates and needs the generosity of community focused organizations like Care Innovations to help us make all the dreams of our teens come true.
Every year the Placer Elementary School encourages its 8th graders to make a difference in their community and world around them, and this year’s class did just that! Students from the Placer Elementary School’s 8th grade class in Loomis came to the support of local foster youth through the “Project Community.” By collecting food, clothing, blankets, and a check for $682, the 8th graders displayed their community spirit by presenting their efforts to Koinonia Foster Homes. One of the students said that they personally had a heart for foster youth because they used to be a foster child and now have an adopted family. They hope that all foster children have the opportunity they have had. The students delivering the donations were Amelia Kemmerle, Ben Patmon, Tim Bartolomei and Kyle Hamasaki, pictured along with Bill Ryland and Lacey Neuman of Koinonia.
This last month, United Way arranged for AT&T’s “Live United” team to enjoy a tour of the facilities at Koinonia Family Services in Loomis. Starting at the corporate offices they then toured the Crisis Resolution Center. The CRC is Placer County’s early intervention program for teens and their parents with the sole goal of offering free of charge support to Placer County families in crisis. From there the “Live United” team toured Koinonia’s Homes for Teens offices and got to see the Koinonia Community School in full action. Along the way they met the Administrative and Treatment Clinic staff.
We then loaded everyone up into our agency vans and were off to visit our teens’ residential facilities. Koinonia has six beautiful homes located in Placer and Sacramento Counties. First visiting one of our boys’ homes, the team got an up close view of a day in the life at Koinonia as told by the Facility Supervisor. We gathered for a quick bite to eat while discussing program and our exciting plans of renovation. The team was interested to hear about our upcoming teaching kitchen where we will be featuring hands-on training along with advanced nutritional education. Our tour then moved on to visit a girls’ house. We were complemented by several of our guests on the quality and warmth of our homes. Koinonia greatly appreciated the time that AT&T committed to the tour and the encouragement they offered. The day ended in a true “Live United” atmosphere of partnership.