Rancho Damacitas Celebrates 30 Years of Saving Children

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Temecula Valley nonprofit organization reflects on 30 year milestone and announces changes for the future.

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Former foster youth historically have had a difficult time transitioning into adulthood. This is where we really want to make a difference; parenting doesn’t end at age eighteen.

Surviving in business is a high achievement for any organization, especially one that partially depends on grant and private funding to operate. Thessalonika Family Services (TFS) is marking the milestone with a look back, a major change in services and several upcoming celebrations.

TFS was formed in 1983 with the mission to provide shelter to children who have been removed from their own homes because of extreme abuse and neglect. When kids arrive at TFS, they are in great need of two things: a safe place to live and intense emotional support. For thirty years, TFS has provided this support through three unique programs:

1. Rancho Damacitas – A community group home, providing residential and therapeutic services to children ages six to eighteen.
2. Rancho Jireh – A program coordinating foster opportunities for families interested in fostering a child that has been removed from his/her own home.
3. Project Independence – A program providing financial and emotional support to children when they age out of the system and government assistance programs are no longer available.

Unlike years past, the majority of children placed at Rancho Damacitas are older, reducing the need for foster placement and increasing the need to focus on transitioning successfully into adulthood. Because of this, TFS revised their programs and as of March 1, 2013, Rancho Jireh will no longer be in service. TFS will focus all efforts and resources previously slated for Rancho Jireh to Project Independence. TFS Director of Development Clifford Nunn explains, “The children we’ve accepted at Rancho Damacitas over the last few years have been middle- and high school-aged youth. Many of these youth will transition from Rancho Damacitas and will need the support Project Independence can provide. Former foster youth historically have had a difficult time transitioning into adulthood. This is where we really want to make a difference; parenting doesn’t end at age eighteen.”

Since opening in 1983, over 1,500 children have thrived because of the support provided by TFS. TFS receives funding from the county from which a child arrives to the program. Children are accepted to TFS from Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. Additionally, funds are raised through grant submissions, private donations and fundraising events.

There is no doubt that the need for the next thirty years will remain the same. In order to continue fulfilling their mission, TFS is planning several fundraisers to mark their 30th Anniversary. Event details will be announced soon. To learn more about Thessalonika Family Services, click here to view the organization's video overview or visit http://www.4KidsFirst.org.

About Thessolanika Family Services (TFS)
Thessolanika Family Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing long-term care and treatment for children, most of whom have experienced abuse and neglect. Children accepted to TFS live at Rancho Damacitas, a community group home located in Temecula Valley Southern California wine country. If children cannot be reunited with their family or are adopted, Project Independence is a program designed by TFS to help children successfully transition to adulthood through counseling and emotional support services. TFS accepts children from Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. In 2013, the organization will celebrate its 30th Anniversary. More information about the organization and its programs can be found at http://www.4kidsfirst.org or by calling (951) 302-2317.

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Kristi Reedy
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