The event provided holiday spirit and support for those 18-21 in Extended Foster Care
RIVERSIDE, Ca.— Yvonne Galvan is a longtime foster parent. Her 18-year-old foster child was one of nearly 120 young adults treated to a special holiday celebration at La Sierra University on Tuesday, December 10.
“I just love what Riverside County does for these young adults,” Galvan said.
With the help of generous faith-based organizations and community partners, Children’s Services organized the 8th Annual Young Adult Holiday Celebration. The event is for young adults ages 18-21 who are transitioning from Extended Foster Care to independent living. The celebration provided them with a dinner, dancing, games, a photo booth and holiday-decorating stations. There were 25 small children present in step with their parents. The kids took photos with Santa who came bearing gifts.
“Some of these young adults never had a childhood photo with Santa until now,” said Michele Wohl, Regional Manager with Children’s Services. “We hope this event captures joyous holiday memories that may have been missed during their childhood.”
Galvan has been a foster parent for nearly 30 years and currently fosters three teenagers. She has attended the holiday celebration several times in recent years.
“It’s like a winter wonderland and it’s a happy time,” she said. “These young adults feel like this is about them.”
There are roughly 450 young adults from Riverside County who are in Extended Foster Care. Some live outside of the area, including out of state.
La Sierra University held the Young Adult Holiday Celebration in its gymnasium. The university’s president, Joy Fehr, was the keynote speaker.
“We are a community from all walks of life who share together,” Fehr said. “I’m glad you’re in this place this Christmas.”
More than 30 community partners provided gift cards to young adults and have made the event possible for the last eight years.