November 12, 2013 > The Spirit of Giving Back
The Spirit of Giving Back
By Anika Dokes
ÒSelf-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a childÕs future. A childÕs self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry.Ó
--Stephanie Marston, The Magic of Encouragement.
Many children from throughout the Bay Area come to OneChild every year to receive brand new items of clothing and school supplies. This is their time to feel welcome and an opportunity to reinforce self-worth.
OneChild, a non-profit organization in Fremont, was founded by Bernadine (Bernie) Dutra 12 years ago to help unprivileged children in the community by providing new clothing and school supplies to improve their appearance and self-esteem, leading to success in life. BernieÕs motivation for establishing OneChild stems from her childhood; being poor, wearing dirty clothing and enduring taunts from other kids. Bernie says, ÒI had no self-esteem at all Ð none - until I was age 37.Ó
When her husband, John, decided to open his own real estate office, he needed BernieÕs help. ÒHe would drop me off at work in the morning - about 6 a.m. - and I would pray that nobody would come in until John got there.Ó As John helped her understand real estate, she began to feel confident of her abilities. After she completed her first real estate transaction, BernieÕs self-confidence blossomed. ÒI sold my first place and gained self-confidence. It made a huge difference in my life.Ó As John and BernieÕs real estate business flourished, her confidence grew but she never forgot the painful lessons of her childhood and dreamed of helping children in need. Reflecting on her own life experiences motivates Bernie to help others in the community to develop self-esteem and confidence.
When a child visits the OneChild store, they select clothing, school supplies and books to take home. Shopping for school clothes can be an exciting time for kids; OneChild creates the same feeling for many who are otherwise left outÉ the gift of going to school with a confident smile.
Due to pressing demand for their services, a referral process from non-profit organizations in the Bay Area and the Fremont Resource Center is used to select OneChild customers.
OneChild volunteers dedicate time and effort, rewarded by customer smiles. Bernie notes that volunteer opportunities are always available. For those interested in supporting OneChild through financial gifts and/or volunteer activities, visit: www.onechildca.org or call (510) 713-8643.
OneChild recently moved to a new location at 1900 Mowry Avenue, Suite #103 in Fremont. An Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will take place Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.