Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Friends of San Pasqual Academy volunteers make the holidays special for foster teens

When we think of holidays, we think of our families and loved ones and that we can spend precious time with them during this important time of year. Holidays are particularly stressful for foster children, who are constantly reminded that they cannot be in a traditional setting with family members. You were taken into protective custody by the court for various reasons. Abuse, neglect, and negative memories are part of their lives.

At the San Pasqual Academy, many of these foster children can overcome this cycle of abuse and become productive adults. A special “San Pasqual Academy Family” is emerging that offers stability, support, love and guidance. The Friends of San Pasqual Academy volunteers are an important part of this support system. For over 20 years, the volunteers have been committed to giving these nursing students positive experiences. Many lives have been changed by these efforts.

Every year Patty and Marc Brutten buy a special gift for all foster children at the San Pasqual Academy. Pictured with Santa Claus is Patty Brutten, who is presenting her special present this year, an iPad for all nursing students.

(Joan Scott)

The foster children of the San Pasqual Academy celebrated the start of the holiday with many exciting activities. A celebratory party for the students was held at the unique school, which is both a home and a school for the San Diego County’s foster children. Many individuals and organizations donated items, and most importantly, their time and resources to make this holiday special.

The party started with each student receiving a special, hand-sewn, personalized Christmas stocking with each student’s name on it. These gorgeous stockings have been filled to the brim with wonderful items collected by Friends of San Pasqual Academy.

Members of the National Charity League, coordinated by Teri Summerhays, collected pajama pants for the teenagers. A school sweatshirt, matching sweatpants and a bag full of toiletries were other surprises that each nursing student received from various organizations and individuals. Each foster child received a present from their “wish list” and an American Express Gift Card. These special items were also purchased by Friends of San Pasqual supporters.

And like every year, Marc and Patty Brutten bought a special gift for all foster children, this year an Ipad intended for every foster child.

The auditorium was transformed with spectacular Christmas decorations, including a beautiful Christmas tree full of ornaments and lights, and unique Christmas table decorations filled the space. Students were served a delicious traditional feast of turkey, stuffing, delicious desserts and more hosted by The French Gourmet.

The Christmas party was planned by Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members, Joan Scott, Teri Summerhays, Lois Jones, Dagmar Helgager, Kathy Lathrum, Karen Ventura, Andrea Reynolds, and Debby Syverson. The Friends Board has been looking after nursing students and graduates of the San Pasqual Academy for over 20 years.

The nursing students thanked everyone who made this festival possible. It will be a festival that you will always remember and cherish. Most importantly, the foster children expressed their gratitude for so many people who cared for them and conveyed to the volunteers that their gift of time and love is the most important gift they receive throughout the year.

For more information about Friends of San Pasqual Academy, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, visit www.friendsofsanpasqualacademy.org or call 858-759-3298. Donations can be made to Friends of San Pasqual Academy, PO Box 8202. Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067.

Friends of San Pasqual Academy provides college scholarships, transitional housing, sports and academic programs, farming, arts, and music programs, and more to the San Pasqual Academy alumni and current nursing students. More than 60 graduates are currently undergoing further training, be it in business schools, adult education centers, four-year universities and graduate schools. UCLA, Cal State San Marcos, UC Davis, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, Humbolt State, Long Beach State, and Sacramento State are just a few of the colleges that nursing graduates attend.

Many thanks to the many supporters who take care of these grateful foster children. Many lives are changed by their commitment and support. On behalf of the San Pasqual Academy’s Foster Children, “Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!”

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