By Madeline Zuckerman

Child Abuse continues to occur at alarming rates in our community and all across the country.  Every 10 seconds in the U.S., a report of child abuse is made.  And, nearly 5 children die on a daily basis from abuse related causes.

(left to right) Stan Morrison, Olive Crest Riverside Trustee, Darnell Bing, Event Chair, and Terry Jackson.

Olive Crest, known for its dedication to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children and to preserving the family . . .“One Life at a Time®,” recently hosted its Third Annual Golf Invitational at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, California.  This sold out event raised $ 83,000.00 of much-needed funds to benefit local at-risk children and their families in the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.

USC National Football Champion and Olive Crest Trustee, Darnell Bing, once again served as Event Chair.  Bing was joined by other USC Football Legends who lent their support to this very worthwhile cause for a third consecutive year.

(left to right) Judy Sanders, Olive Crest Coachella Valley Trustee, Tracy Fitzsimmons, Executive Director of Olive Crest for Desert Communities & Inland, Verne Hopkins, and Sally Alvino.

“I am so impressed with the positive difference that Olive Crest makes for disadvantaged and at-risk kids,” said Bing. “It was an easy decision to lead the golf tournament and work with my fellow USC teammates to fund critical programs for children in our community.”

Event registration began at 9:00 am for the highly-anticipated golf tournament, which had 132 players participating, and featured a Shotgun Scramble, Awards Reception, and Silent Auction, which showcased exclusive items such as a Maxx Crosby Jersey, Catalina Adventure, L.A. Angels tickets, a JuJu Smith-Schuster Signed Football, Hollywood Bowl tickets, Ice Hockey tickets to the new Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, L.A. Lakers tickets, a VIP Trojan Experience, and an Agua Caliente Getaway.

Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists of Palm Desert, Event Sponsor – (left to right) Mark Miller, Dr. Mike Messina, Luke Messina, and Jon-Marc Blalock.

Event Sponsors included Toyota of Riverside, Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists, Kennedy Wilson, Dutton Cadillac, CISE, Marsh McLennan Agency, Pacific Premier Bank, Rapport International Furniture, Realty Advisory Group, Statewide Services, Inc., Tom Mangione Family, Vendor Direct Solutions, Walter Clark Legal Group, Altura Credit Union, Associa Desert Resort Management, Frazer Construction Company, Health Bridge Insurance Solutions, and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches.

Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists of Palm Desert, Event Sponsor – (left to right) Mark Miller, Dr. Mike Messina, Luke Messina, and Jon Marc Blalock.

Media Sponsors included Presenting Newspaper & Digital Media Sponsor THE DESERT SUN & LOCALiQ, Exclusive TV Media Sponsor KESQ News Channel 3, and Exclusive Radio Media Sponsor Alpha Media-Palm Springs.

“Rather than share one story about Olive Crest’s impact, I want to share more about one of the populations we serve – – aged out foster youth,” said Tracy Fitzsimmons, Executive Director of Olive Crest for Inland & Desert Communities. “Beyond each statistic and every one of the 2,800 children and families each year that Olive Crest serves, there is a story of a young person who is straining to break the cycle of abuse and neglect.  Some of these stories and outcomes may be hard to hear, but we hope that this will help inform you of the tremendous difference you are all making by being here today and supporting Olive Crest.   Some of the sobering statistics that highlight these challenges include:

  • 60% of children that age out of the foster care system are homeless within the first year
  • 60% of children from the foster system will be incarcerated
  • AND 60% of human trafficking victims come from the child welfare system.
USC Football Legends who participated in the event – (left to right) Sunny Byrd, Chauncey Washington, Jim Abbott,
Kris O’Dowd, Event Chair Darnell Bing, Shaun Cody, Brandon Hancock, Su’a Cravens, and Marv Williams.

“The kids in our Olive Crest program leave with the community of care and support that extends past their formal services.  We continue to provide an open door with support long after their treatment plans are completed,” Fitzsimmons continued.

For more information about Olive Crest and ways to get involved in your community, please contact Bill Seals, Associate Development Director at 760-848-4124 or visit www.olivecrest.org

About Olive Crest

For 50 years, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of more than 200,000 children and their families through the power of God, Family, and Community. Olive Crest is dedicated to the belief that “once an Olive Crest family, always an Olive Crest family.”  The organization’s commitment of helping children and families through a caring community goes well beyond the time of initial crisis.

Established, proven, and respected, Olive Crest serves nearly 4,000 children and families each day throughout California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest.