Lennar shares the holiday spirit with Rancho Damacitas foster youth

Mark Torres, division president for Lennar Inland Empire, presents check to Cal Winslow, CEO of Rancho Damacitas. Courtesy photo
Mark Torres, division president for Lennar Inland Empire, presents check to Cal Winslow, CEO of Rancho Damacitas. Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – For over a decade, Lennar has played Santa Claus for the foster youth at Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services. Lennar treated Rancho Damacitas foster youth to a night of food, games, presents, and good cheer Dec. 15.

Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation rented out Mulligan Family Fun Center for the night so the youth had the place to themselves. Whether it was playing air hockey, racing cars or laser tag, smiles were seen throughout Mulligan’s that night. The foster youth and staff were also treated to a wonderful meal, a huge table of yummy desserts and a visit from Santa Claus with gifts. To top off the magical evening, Mark Torres, president for Lennar Inland Empire, presented a $10,000 check for Rancho Damacitas to Cal Winslow, CEO of Rancho Damacitas.

“We are incredibly thankful to Lennar for their continued financial support and all they do for our foster youth,” Winslow said. “This party has become an annual tradition that Lennar has given us. It is a particularly special event for us and we look forward to it every year.”

Teens from Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services play air hockey at Mulligan Family Fun Center during a night of fun and holiday spirit Dec. 15, provided by Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation. Courtesy photo
Teens from Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services play air hockey at Mulligan Family Fun Center during a night of fun and holiday spirit Dec. 15, provided by Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation. Courtesy photo

As of June 2015, Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation has donated more than $8.6 million to more than 90 charities throughout California and Nevada. Since the company’s inception in 1954, the Lennar Family of Homebuilders has played a major role in bettering the community through charitable contributions and in-kind donations for many important challenges facing communities in which they build new homes.

One very important issue that has touched their hearts has been the overwhelming need for housing for transitional homeless – hundreds and thousands of men, women and children driven into the streets due to domestic violence, unemployment, crisis pregnancies and catastrophic illness. Through the support of their homeowners, their trade partners, countless community leaders and organizations like Rancho Damacitas, they can combine their talents and have meaningful impacts to those less fortunate.

Riverside County is home to over 4,500 foster children. Of those, 600 teens will “age-out” of foster care at age 18 each year. The outcomes for these youth are grim with 65 percent of emancipated youth transitioning out of care without a plan. Less than half of all foster youth complete their high school education, compared to only 16 percent of the general population, leading to high rates of unemployment and homelessness. Two years following emancipation, 50 percent of all former foster youth remain homeless and unemployed.

Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services works with current and former foster youth to defy the odds against them. Their mission is to end the cycle of child abuse by providing comprehensive care and compassion for abused and neglected children and young adults through life-enriching opportunities and strength-based, solution-focused programs and services. Founded in 1983, Rancho Damacitas consists of a residential campus housing 36 foster children within six family-style homes combined with enrichment, educational, and therapeutic programs to help foster youth move beyond their painful pasts and thrive.

After 30 years of serving pre-emancipated youth, Rancho Damacitas recognized the need to provide extended programs to young adults struggling to get on their feet following foster care. Transitional housing, employment readiness, scholarships and mentorships are provided to help young adults with a history of child abuse move from the dependency system into independent adulthood. Their umbrella of services provide disadvantaged youth with concrete, comprehensive support during critical times of need to nurture and empower them as they become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community.

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