Students to send encouraging letters to neglected children

California Lutheran University’s Community Service Center is sponsoring a card signing event at the flagpole from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on April 16 for a local children’s center called Casa Pacifica.

Casa Pacifica is a community center located in Camarillo that provides a home for abused and neglected children. They primarily serve as a children’s crisis, care and treatment center that provides shelter and residency for underprivileged foster youth.

The 24-hour campus-based center was a dream for a group of Ventura County citizens who were concerned about the welfare of children removed from their homes by Child Protective Services. In the mid-1980’s, their vision began to become reality when public and private groups around the county raised the $10 million needed to construct the centers. Casa Pacifica officially opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 1994, welcoming emotionally neglected children from around the county.

“Our mission is to help children and families,” said Sarah Hildago, volunteer coordinator for Casa Pacifica. “One of our goals is to maintain a safe and healthy environment for them to return to and we work along side the community in order to attain that.”

Casa Pacifica offers a myriad of programs from mobile crisis response, foster parenting, education services and residential treatment services.

CLU has maintained its close partnership with the Casa Pacifica centers through various events and volunteer programs.

“We’ve partnered with them before when we did the Adopt a Child program during Christmas,” said Christine Trunick, healthcare intern for CSC. “It was really successful and it helps make a difference in these kids lives, something we should all do.”

Programs like Adopt a Family and the upcoming Cards for Casa Pacifica are just a few events the two have collaborated on.

“We’re writing words of encouragement in cards for the kids of Casa Pacifica,” said Karen Schomaker, coordinator for CSC.

CSC will be tabling at the flagpole for student, staff and faculty to write cards for the children.

“It’s a great event because it gives students the opportunity to give back and put smiles on these kids’ faces,” Trunick said.

The cards are sent to over 100 children who live at Casa Pacifica or attend their non-public school.

“By sending cards of encouragement, they’ll feel as if they can overcome anything,” said Katie Hemming, youth and education intern of CSC.

The pre-school and elementary age children will also receive coloring pages and crayons. CSC will also write longer letters to the young adults, from the ages of 18 to 21 years old, whom Casa Pacifica houses have in their new program. From there, they will be sent to the director and will be distributed accordingly.

“More students should get involved with this program because we’re very fortunate to go to a school like Cal Lutheran, so it’s a great way to give back to this community that we’ve become a part of,” Trunick said.

 

Sahal Farah
Staff Writer
Published April 16, 2014