Express Yourself: Yolo Children’s fund helps county’s neediest kids

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By Bill Kopper
Special to The Express

Foster children are among the most underprivileged youngsters in Yolo County. On the average, foster children change residences every six months and seldom have an opportunity to experience the benefits of a stable home environment.

Most foster parents cannot afford to pay for swim lessons, soccer fees, gymnastics, art classes, summer camp, and a variety of educational opportunities that are available to most children in Yolo County. Some foster families cannot afford to purchase even the school clothes that their foster children need. Often the Yolo Children’s Fund comes to the rescue.

The mission of the Yolo Children’s Fund is to enhance the quality of life for under-served, abused, or disadvantaged children and teens by providing funding for a need, a special project, or enrichment service that would otherwise be unavailable. The Fund serves Yolo County youth from birth to age 21 who have become involved in the Juvenile Court dependency system because of being orphaned, parental abuse or neglect, violence, or drugs. Youths who have become delinquents are also eligible for Yolo Children’s Fund grants.

The Yolo Children’s Fund has provided grants to Yolo County’s neediest children since the Fund’s founding more than twenty years ago. Requests for grants are submitted by CASA volunteers, social workers, or the children’s attorneys. Children’s Fund grants include money for music lessons and art classes, bicycles, computers, clothes, school supplies, ballet lessons, horseback riding, tutoring, summer camp, and many other needs.

The Children’s Fund has three categories of grants. Educational Fund grants, which provide help with school supplies, school fees, and the expenses of extracurricular activities. Help Fund grants that fund a special project, need, or opportunity that would otherwise be unavailable to the child. Summer Fund grants provide money for summer camps, swim lessons, music lessons, and similar activities.

The Yolo Children’s Fund was originally established in 2001 by Yolo County Judges Donna Petre and Kathleen White and was administered by John Cron. Since its founding, the Children’s Fund has distributed more than $165,000 in grants to needy children. The current Board of Directors includes Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille, Linda Boutin, Mike Pesola, Kristen Shepard, Marty Ewing, Matt Price, Carol MacDonald, Karen Boyd, and Bill Kopper. Marty Ewing serves as the Yolo Children’s Fund administrator. The Children’s Fund has no paid staff and ninety-five percent of contributions go directly to grants for needy children.

The Yolo Children’s Fund welcomes donations from the community. The Yolo Children’s Fund is an IRS 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible. If you would like more information about the Children’s Fund, contact a member of the Board of Directors or visit our website at http://www.yolochildrensfund.org. Our website includes a list of some of our donors. The children we serve very much appreciate your support.

— Bill Kopper, on behalf of the board of directors of the Yolo Children’s Fund.

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