Olive Crest Receives New $75,000 Grant to Launch “Project Independence” in Inland Community, Providing Support and Training for Teens about to Age out of Foster System

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Grant is in addition to fifth-annual $100,000 grant supporting Olive Crest’s Inland Community Children’s Ranch, which offers a safe home, education, and skills training to teens who have suffered from abuse and neglect.

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We are deeply grateful to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for providing the resources that will allow Olive Crest to expand its services to foster youth in the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley,” said Pam Lee, Executive Director of Olive Crest

For most teenagers, turning 18 is a rite of passage filled with pride and anticipation. But for Tamara, who had been in foster care for 15 of her 18+ years, knowing that she was about to “age out” of the foster care system was cause for anxiety and overwhelming fear. How would she survive on her own? Where would she live? Could she get a job that would pay enough to support herself? These are the questions asked by the 20,000 children around the country who age out of the foster care system each year. And that’s where Olive Crest's Project Independence steps in to help.

Project Independence is a unique and comprehensive program that provides foster youth with the support and training necessary to become independent and successful adults. This program provides valuable support systems through housing, counseling, assistance with higher education and most importantly, mentoring relationships with case managers and our dedicated volunteers.

Now, thanks to a brand-new grant of $75,000 from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Project Independence will be coming to the Coachella Valley, including housing at the Olive Crest’s Coachella Valley Children’s Center. This new grant is in addition to the fifth consecutive annual grant of $100,000 from the Tribe to support Olive Crest’s Inland Ranch, which has served hundreds of at-risk youth, ages 12–18, in Riverside County since the Ranch opened in May 2000.

The funding from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians will help Olive Crest, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children, and preserving the family, provide a critically important continuum of service for at-risk teens and new adults as they navigate the transition from in-home foster care to living on their own.

“San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is dedicated to providing hope and practical options to at-risk youth in this region, particularly as they face the prospect of adulthood and independence, so we feel it is crucial to bring Olive Crest’s successful Project Independence to the Inland Empire,” said Carla Rodriguez, Chairperson of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “We’ve been gratified to support the important work that Olive Crest does at the Ranch, and are pleased to partner with them as Olive Crest now prepares these youth to live successfully on their own.”
Olive Crest’s Project Independence is a transitional living program designed for foster youth 18-21 years of age. Its mission includes:

  •     Providing safe and affordable housing
  •     Helping youth build a support network
  •     Teaching essential life skills to help them become independent and successful adults.
  •     Providing a sense of family through counseling and mentors.

“We are deeply grateful to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for providing the resources that will allow Olive Crest to expand its services to foster youth in the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley,” said Pam Lee, Executive Director of Olive Crest’s Inland Empire Region. “Their partnership means that young people in this community will be able to live successful, independent lives—which in turn lays a secure foundation for generations to come.”

Olive Crest, which commemorated its 40th anniversary last year, began when Dr. Don and Lois Verleur took in four teenage girls and opened their first home for children in Orange County, California. Over four decades, Olive Crest has grown to become a leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, and relies on the generosity and support of contributors like the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to serve nearly 2,000 at-risk children and families each day throughout California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. To learn how you can help, visit http://www.olivecrest.org.

About Olive Crest
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 60,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families. We work tirelessly to meet the individual needs of kids in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling, and education for both youth and parents. Our many innovative programs reflect our conviction that strengthening the family is one of the most powerful ways to help heal children. With unwavering compassion, the Olive Crest family maintains a lifelong commitment to the youth and families we serve even after they have graduated from our programs.

Olive Crest serves nearly 2,000 children and families each day throughout California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. For more information, call 800.550.CHILD (2445) or visit http://www.olivecrest.org.

Media Contacts
Carrie Cornwall
951.686.8500, ext. 1426
carrie-cornwall(at)olivecrest(dot)org

Alison Hill
714.287.2015
alison(at)currentpr(dot)com

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