Lauren Pickard, the RSVP/SVA Volunteer of the month for February, 2018 was nominated by Michelle North, Program Manager, at San Pasqual Academy Neighbors. San Pasqual is a dynamic living facility for foster youth that provides much more than just a place for the students to eat and sleep. At San Pasqual, the students get a beautiful environment to live in, as well as a school to attend. They also receive help with their career planning and job placement. Perhaps most importantly, the foster youth are able to experience and enjoy a family atmosphere that they might otherwise miss out on. This is achieved with the help of the “grandparents” who reside on the campus to mentor the students. The “grandparents” are part of the team that also includes “house parents” (who live with the students) as well as County staff and other community partners.
Mr. Pickard has lived at San Pasqual Academy, as a foster grandparent, for the past 10 years. “He regularly volunteers way more than his required hours and often has to be asked to slow down, he defines what an active senior is”. Much of Lauren’s volunteer time revolves around athletics and group activities with the students. He also plays cards with the youths and he assists the recreation staff on outings, which range from kayaking to mountain biking to deep sea fishing, etc.
Recently, after reading up on robotics and virtual reality, Lauren took some of the youth to a museum in Balboa Park to learn more about these subjects. As a result, everyone’s interest was sparked and Lauren is now trying to set up a “virtual reality room” at San Pasqual which would offer the kids a chance to be more active and engaged with gaming. “Lauren is such a progressive grandparent, he is so forward thinking, so energetic and so positive”. Most of all, “Lauren is so well liked”.
Congratulations, Lauren and thank you for all that you do and for setting such a great example for our foster youth!