April 24, 2019
Contact: Gene Kennedy, Senior Public Information Specialist, DPSS
Phone: (951) 203-0343
Volunteers help foster youth create senior portraits
Makeup artists, hair stylists and photographers flocked to Jensen Alvarado Ranch and Museum in Riverside this month. They are among roughly 40 volunteers helping to create senior portraits for foster children preparing to graduate high school in May.
“It’s amazing,” said 18-year-old Melissa Sauceda, a senior at Rancho Verde High School. “All of us don’t have the support and money to do it ourselves. We don’t have our parents so just to have volunteers to do it for free is just a great feeling.”
The event, known as ‘High School Senior Portrait Day,” started five years ago with a dozen students. This year 60 kids signed up. DPSS Children’s Services Regional Manager Michelle Wohl said returning caretakers who bring students from all over Riverside County helped the event grow.
This year DPSS signed a contract with Riverside County Regional Parks. With help from park rangers and Jensen Alvarado Ranch and Museum, foster youth teamed up with volunteers to spend the entire day preparing for senior pictures.
“It really gives us the opportunity to talk with the community about the awesome things that happen in child welfare,” Wohl said.
The foster youth range from age 17 to 20 and come from several school districts and communities across Riverside County, including Moreno Valley, Indio, Perris and Beaumont.
Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the volunteer effort here.