Community Impact Spotlight
Honoring. Celebrating. Impacting.
That’s a lot of impact. Of the three California Strawberry Festival legacies, it is the impact on our communities that we are most proud of. And we couldn’t have done it without you.
Did you know that every one of our nonprofit organizations’ food booths reap 100 percent of sales to benefit their causes? Yes, they do.
So, with every delicious strawberry bite, you’re helping them raise much-needed funds that turn into services, programs, and goods to those in need in their communities.
Additional nonprofit organizations help us to bring the best experience possible during the two days by staffing our beverage booths and our strawberry shortcake tent. Our parking lot attendants, our police reserves who walk the festival, our cleanup crew, our sign placement, and even the high school band you hear throughout the festival, are all volunteers from the nonprofit organization they represent.
Each nonprofit organization receives a stipend or grant. It adds up to over $127,000 given out by the Festival each year.
From upgraded computers to new sports uniforms, buses for field trip outings, repairs, new construction, research, after school music programs, and more, revenues from two days of celebrating impact the lives of others beyond measure.
These are just a few of our nonprofit partners
Inlakech Cultural Arts Center/Lucha Inc.
For 45 years Inlakech Arts Center/Lucha Inc.has worked to empower at-risk youth through the cultural arts. From ages 2 to 18, and child regardless of race, religion, gender or disability is offered a free and safe space to learn and grow away from the streets. During their three years with the Strawberry Festival; the group has raised over $57,000 net by selling Chicago dogs, nachos, pina loca fruit cups and pina colada drinks.
Why do they look to the Festival to help raise funds? “The Strawberry Festival has been a crucial fundraising event in allowing the Inlakech Cultural Arts Center/Lucha Inc to continue providing a FREE life-changing experience for youth in our community.”
Pacific Camp Family Resources, Inc., Camarillo, has been one of the Festival’s nonprofit food vendors since 2011. The $70,000 net they’ve raised in the past seven years serving up chili dogs, strawberry pizza, fried dough, corn dogs, and strawberry lemonade has helped their efforts to provide child care scholarships to qualifying families attending their programs at significantly reduced rates.
Why do they look to the Festival to help raise funds? “The Festival represents the community at large in its values and sense of community celebration. Plus, it’s enormously fun!”
Tri-County GLAD (Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness), services the communities of deaf, hard of hearing, and people with hearing degrees in the tri-counties. Their services are essential to empowering these communities through communication services, advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills, information and referral, job development, and community education.
Their fundraising efforts through the nine years they have been with the CSF has yielded $12,000.
“The Festival is an excellent opportunity to earn funds while developing leadership and high self-esteem within our communities and exposing our language and culture to the public.”
SSAFE: Students Securing & Achieving their Future through Education
In partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and with the help of the California Strawberry Festival, XI Kappa Omega Chapter has been able to provide scholarship support to graduating African American high school students in Ventura County for their higher education over the past six years. The $12,000 proceeds to date earned by the SSAFE/XKO booth enables the organization to provide a minimum of two scholarships each year. The students chosen have high scholastic abilities and show financial need.
“These SSAFE students are our future. This is why SSAFE/XKO Sorority works so hard at the Festival to give them an opportunity for higher education.”
Oxnard Police Department Explorers
The Oxnard Police Department Explorer Post #9286 provides an opportunity youths ages 14-21 to experience firsthand what it takes to get started in a challenging law enforcement career. The Oxnard Police Explorer Program is affiliated with the Boys Scouts of America. Exploring provides the law enforcement profession an opportunity to further an investment in its own future through constructive relationships with young adults contemplating a career in the field of criminal justice. The Oxnard Police Explorers have raised approximately $300,000 over its 15 years of fund raising at the California Strawberry Festival.
“The Oxnard Police Explorers depend on the California Strawberry Festival as the primary source of our fundraising efforts. The Festival provides us the opportunity to raise funds for our program while serving the Oxnard Community.”
Soroptimist International Oxnard
Soroptimist International of Oxnard is a nonprofit service organization whose mission is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Their programs provide access to education through their “Live Your Dream Education and Training Awards” to women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families and their “Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls,” which focuses on girls in high school who face obstacles to their future success. They have volunteered with the Festival from its inception raising about $40,000.
“We enjoy volunteering whenever possible at the California Strawberry Festival because it’s a great way to give back to the community, support the festival, and have fun doing it.”
More Profiles Coming Soon
Established to honor the memory of Dr. Kato and his contribution as founder and chairman of the original Festival, the Festival funds the Dr. Tsujio Kato Memorial Scholarship. To date, the Festival has awarded approximately $74,000 in scholarship funds to Oxnard Unified School District students transitioning from high school to college. Submission deadline for 2018 has passed. Please check back in January 2019, for updated information.
Please meet four exceptional students who are this year’s recipients of the Dr. Kato Memorial Scholarship: Alyssa Cazares, Destiny Hernandez, and Naomi Summers of Oxnard, and Rachael Ryan of Camarillo. Each has received a Dr. Kato Memorial Scholarship of $1,000.00 towards their college fund.
Alyssa Cazares attended Hueneme High School. Her school of choice is the University of California Berkeley with a major in psychology or pre-law. Alyssa’s long-term goal is to receive a bachelor’s degree, then transfer to law school to pursue her dream of becoming a trial lawyer. Asked what Alyssa has been doing to improve or promote her community, she responded, “I’ve been involved in many clubs and programs that aspire to make changes in various issues that occur within my community. For example, the nonprofit organization that I am currently president of, Future Leaders of America, has been working to align the A-G with the graduation requirements to create a college-going culture among Latino/a youth. In addition, I have had the privilege of working with other youth groups to emphasize the importance of advocating for social justice.”
Destiny Hernandez attended Rio Mesa High School. She will attend the University of California San Diego majoring in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. Her short-term goal is to receive her bachelor’s degree and her long-term goal is to receive her masters or doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles, which will further her goal of becoming a psychiatrist. Destiny’s answer to what she’s done to improve or promote her community: “I have worked to improve my community by volunteering for various organizations such as the YDC group through Oxnard PAL. Through them, I work with my peers and help to guide younger generations to beautify parks in our community at an event called Meet Up Clean Up.”
Rachael Ryan attended Adolfo Camarillo High School. She’s looking forward to attending either the University of California Santa Barbara or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo majoring in mathematics. She’s seeking a bachelor’s degree in science and a secondary teaching credential to become a high school mathematics teacher. When asked what she’s done to improve or promote her community, Rachael responded, “Of all of my volunteering experiences, I find tutoring the most enjoyable. I have had many different experiences tutoring. During my sophomore year, I tutored a student in math every Monday during lunch. At the end of my sophomore year, my AP European History teacher asked if I would help prepare her future students for the AP exam. This is how the Scholastic Success Society Club was formed. Through this club, I conduct study sessions for AP European History students during lunch, after school, and on weekends. I organize, plan, and grade all of the curriculum for these sessions including essays and short answer questions. I help prepare these students for their AP exam and class final exam. It is very rewarding to watch the students improve under my tutelage and I enjoy making a positive impact on their education so much that I want to be a high school math teacher.”
Naomi Summers attended Oxnard High School. She plans to attend University of California Santa Barbara majoring in economics. Her goal is to receive her doctorate degree. Naomi’s Career Goal is to help companies evaluate their economic situations. Naomi’s response to the question what she’s done to improve or promote her community: “This year, I was re-elected president of the California Scholar Federation. Under my leadership, over two-hundred people joined, and I work hard to create pathways that will shape their futures. I’ve mentored my peers and connected them with the resources they need, whether it be tutoring, academic advising, or volunteer opportunities. My leadership position has taught me how to mentor and develop members’ strengths and to unite smaller goals to the bigger picture. Setting my peers up with these resources has a positive impact in my community, and I’m proud to see positive results.”
We congratulate them all and wish them every success as they move towards their very bright futures.
The Festival is proud to continue its yearly contribution to the California Strawberry Growers’ Scholarship Fund, administered by the California Strawberry Commission, created just for the children of California’s strawberry fieldworkers. The fund has awarded more than $2 million dollars towards hundreds of hard-working students’ higher education since its inception. To date, the Festival has contributed approximately $85,000 to their fund.
The Festival has also funded a $25,000 endowment to support students at California State University Channel Islands via scholarships in perpetuity. Interest from the endowment has allowed CSUCI to award approximately $9,000 in scholarships since 2003.
Nonprofit Partners Through the Years:
20th Century Onyx Club
Black American Political Association of California, Inc. (BAPAC)
Boy Scouts of America Ventura County Council
Buena High School Music Association
Calvary Nexus Church
Camarillo Roadrunner Youth Football Inc.
Citizens Advisory Committee, Community Bible Mission
Messiah Fellowship Center
National Latinos Peace Officers Association
Of Life Sports Ministries International
Our Lady of Guadalupe School
Oxnard Buddhist Temple
Oxnard Calvary Chapel
Oxnard High School Band Boosters
Oxnard Kiwanis Club
Oxnard Panthers Youth Football & Cheer League
Oxnard Police Activities League
Oxnard Police Explorers Post 9286
Oxnard Police Reserves
Oxnard United Soccer Club
Oxnard Waves Youth Soccer U16
Pacific Camp Family Resource, Inc.
Pacifica Triton Athletic Booster Club
Rotary Club of Oxnard
Rotary Club of Oxnard Sunrise
Santa Clara High School Athletics
Santa Clara High School Girls Basketball Team
SEIU Local 721 City of Oxnard Chapter
Soroptimist International of Oxnard
Students Securing and Achieving their Future Through Education (SSAFE)
The Salvation Army
Trinity Community Baptist Church
United Way of Ventura County
Ventura County Alumnae Chapter of DST, Inc.
Ventura County Chapter Blacks in Government (BIG)
Ventura County Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.
Ventura High School Wrestling Booster Club
Ventura Teen Challenge
The Berry Best Community Connections Exhibit
Presented by KTLA
Come see how impacting community builds community and allow us the opportunity to thank you personally for helping us – just by enjoying all things strawberry.
It all happens at our Community Connections Exhibit centrally located within the Festival grounds. Displays, special appearances, and chances to “spin to win” for prizes await you in the exhibit that showcases the multitude of ways the proceeds of the Festival benefit so many lives in our communities.