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Big Rotary Check for Foster Youth Organization

The El Cerrito Rotary Club Thursday presented a large check – about 4 feet long and worth $5,000 – to Foster A Dream, a group that helps foster youth. The donation came from the Rotary's Oct. 21 wine-tasting fundraiser.

The Rotary Club of El Cerrito marked the successful conclusion of its annual wine-tasting fundraiser on Thursday by presenting a $5,000 check to Foster A Dream.

The 10-year-old Bay Area organization focuses on supporting and transforming the lives of foster youth. 

The oversized check – about four feet long – was presented to the organization's executive director, Kim Castaneda, at a Rotary luncheon at the Mira Vista Golf and Country Club.

The money was raised at the Rotary's third annual wine-tasting fundraiser on Oct. 21 at the country club.

Rotary fund-raising director Karen Nierlich asked Castaneda to describe what the group does.

"Foster A Dream provides supportive services to foster youth in Contra Costa County, Alameda County, Solano, Napa, Marin," Castaneda said. "Last year we served about 1500 youth, and we provide services that the system doesn't provide. So our main goal is to inspire and expose foster youth to different experience that will inspire them to believe in and achieve their dreams."

The group's programs include Adopt a Dream (similar to Make a Wish), scholarships, ($19,000 in scholarships last year), one-on-one mentoring, and the annual "Holiday Wonderland" for two weekends, when about a thousand foster youth come to a converted warehouse turned into a holiday extravaganza that includes a giveaway of toys and games, Castaneda said.

"Thank you so much for including us," she said. "El Cerrito Rotary has been so supportive this past year."

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