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Annual Event Brings Holiday Joy to Young Adults in Foster Care

December 14, 2022


The Young Adult Holiday Celebration supports those 18-21 in extended foster care

NORCO, Calif.— Surrounded by caregivers, friends, social workers, and community partners, about 200 young adults in foster care, guests and volunteers celebrated the holidays Tuesday night at New Beginnings Church in Norco.

“This is my second year coming to this event and the support really makes a difference,”  said Nikolai Grimm-Yench, 20, who is in Extended Foster Care and attended the 11th Annual Young Adult Holiday Celebration. “Many people put in a lot of work to make this possible.” 

With support from nearly two dozen faith-based and community partners, the Children’s Services Division at the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) hosted the event. Youth adults ages 18-21 transitioning from Extended Foster Care to independent living enjoyed dinner, gifts, free haircuts, photos with Santa and holiday-themed activities, including booths to decorate cookies and ornaments. Approximately 365 young adults in Riverside County are in Extended Foster Care.

Grimm-Yench, who is originally from Ukraine, came into the foster care system when he was 17 and lives with a resource family in Riverside. Benefits through the Extended Foster Care and Guardian Scholar programs are helping him afford to attend Santiago Canyon College, where he’s studying business and plays on the college’s basketball team.

“If it wasn’t for these programs, I wouldn’t be able to go to school and have to work minimum wage jobs,” Grimm-Yench said. Grimm-Yench, like many young adults in foster care, has limited family connections –- making the holidays difficult and Tuesday’s event especially important. “As a foster youth, sometimes it can be hard to feel loved this time of year, but here, we get to meet people our age and feel like family.”

“We love and support our young adults and this event is one way we show it,” said Charity Douglas, assistant director of Children’s Services at DPSS. “We thank our social workers, volunteers and community partners who all come together to make this heartwarming event possible every year.” Community partners provided more than 50 gift cards to young adults at the event. 

Young Adult Holiday Celebration partners included:

La Sierra University SDA Church, Riverside

Principe De Paz De Israel, Riverside

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Riverside

Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside

New Beginnings Church, Norco

Centerpoint Church, Murrieta

Faith in Motion

Oak Grove THRIVE

Riverside County Probation Department

Transitional Housing Program Providers

Chevonna Gaylor (Keynote Speaker)

Dyce Photography

Tone Photography

Bob Oblachinski, Juvenile Defense Panel

CrossWord Christian Church, Moreno Valley

Gateway Nazarene Church, Murrieta

Great Clips

Original Blends

Haircutters Salon & Barbershop

Embrace Support Group

Anonymous citizen from Banning

Left to Right: Social worker Amit Patel visits with Nikolai Grimm-Yench at the 2022 Young Adult Holiday Celebration on December 13 at New Beginnings Church in Norco.        

Young Adult Holiday Celebration