September 15, 2012: Children’s charity to hold fundraiser

The walk in Fairmount Park will benefit young adults who age out of foster care and may need assistance

Officer Byrd will be at a charity walk/family festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at Fairmont Park in Riverside.

A one-mile walk will be held in Fairmount Park in Riverside to raise money for young adults who age out of foster care and raise awareness.

The walk is Saturday, Sept. 15. Opening ceremonies are at 8 a.m.

CHARLEE Family Care Inc. in Beaumont is the driving force behind the walk. This nonprofit organization works with children in Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties that have been abused or neglected. Founded 35 years ago, it operates group homes, places children in foster care and provides therapy, vocational skills and other services for children in need.

Executive director Richard Rios said young people who age out of foster care may need help paying rent, they may lack transportation to get to work or school and they may be in need of more education or vocational training. Proceeds from the walk will go toward helping former foster kids afford such things, without which, they may slip through the cracks.

According to the Child Welfare League of America, 25 percent of teenagers who age out of foster care become homeless, 56 percent are unemployed and 27 percent of the young men are incarcerated.

The registration fee for the walk is $25.

The honorary chairs are retired police Officer Mike Simonsen and his feathered friend, Officer Byrd, and motocross racer Sara Price.

In addition to the walk, CHARLEE is holding a free family festival that will run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park. There will be food trucks, face painting, bounce houses, entertainment, a vendor alley and more.

“It’s just a fun day for everyone,” said event coordinator Shannon Smith.

The vendors will have information on such issues as child abuse prevention. Agencies interested in having a booth in the vendor alley should contact CHARLEE at 951-845-3588.

CHARLEE is also looking for employers to be part of the festival. These would be employers who might have job openings or internships for graduates of foster care.

This is the first time CHARLEE has held this walk, and organizers hope to make it an annual affair.

Follow Erin Waldner on Twitter: @PE_ErinWaldner


When: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. Registration, 7 a.m. Family events, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Fairmount Park, 2601 Fairmount Blvd., Riverside

Registration fee: $25 a walker. Children ages 10 and under walk for free

To register: At the event or online at

Information: 951-845-3588

View Original Article