Student Thanks God for the Instrumental Work of Orangewood Children’s Foundation in Her Life

osiris_avalosFeatured in an article in the OC Register, Vanguard University sophomore Osiris Avalos shares a part of her story and thanks Orangewood Children’s Foundation for the role they’ve had in it.

A liberal studies major at Vanguard University, 20-year-old Avalos is grateful for the support and continued aid that the Orangewood Children’s Foundation provides to former and current foster children. After her mother and stepfather were arrested, Avalos spent close to two weeks at the Orangewood Children’s Home before going home with Joy Greenwood, her third-grade teacher and newly acquired foster mom. The foundation built the home in 1985 as a “temporary refuge for children who had suffered neglect or abuse,” the article said.

In addition to short-term housing, the foundation runs multiple programs and provides various services to assist former and current foster children. Programs include the Peer Mentor Program, the Guardian Scholars Program, the Orangewood Resource Center and the Children’s Trust Fund. With the intention of actively participating in this charitable work, Avalos submitted an application to become a peer mentor a few weeks ago.

Nearly every week, Avalos takes advantage of the services provided by the Orangewood Resource Center, whether it’s a hot meal or just a place to study. Grateful for the foundation and the individuals who make it possible, Avalos is quoted in the article saying: “The people there just show so much care and love… they love it and love helping strangers.” Many of the foundation’s workers come from foster homes, so they are able to relate with the children and give them advice from a place of understanding.

Now one of Vanguard’s many commuters, Avalos says Vanguard has helped her in many ways and she knows her life has really changed. She said: “Going to this school is a great opportunity because it allows me to keep the two most important things in my life together: my relationship with Jesus Christ and my education.”

To read the full story, subscribe to OC Register by clicking here.

Pancakes, Succulents and Students Made for the Perfect Faculty and Staff Appreciation Breakfast on April 22

PancakeBreakfast2photoPancakes were flipping on Monday, April 22, as Vanguard University’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a faculty and staff appreciation breakfast.

On Monday morning, Vanguard’s Needham Courtyard filled with faculty, staff and students for a time to celebrate and thank faculty and staff for the investments they’ve made and continue to make in the lives of students and Vanguard University.

In the past, the appreciation breakfast has been a more formal event. This year, SGA, with the leadership of Senior Class Activities Director Anjolie Phillips, decided to take a more informal route in hopes of creating a very comfortable atmosphere, Senior Class President Jori Smith said. “We wanted to do something memorable and personal,” she added.

Making the pancakes was “something that we could do, not just what we could buy,” Smith said. Student senior volunteers came early, cooked the pancakes and then sat down at tables with faculty and staff to enjoy the time of fellowship.

After student’s served their “homemade” pancakes, Smith opened the breakfast with a word of thanks to the faculty and staff. They have “radically impacted my experience,” Smith said. After some opening words, student speaker Jonathon Murillo shared a message of gratitude and personal experience with the faculty and staff. The event continued with time to simply eat and enjoy each other’s company.

In addition to homemade pancakes, faculty and staff were given succulent plants as gifts. SGA chose to give succulents because they “symbolized the nurturing relationship between faculty and students,” Smith said. The faculty and staff provide the love and care for students like a gardener loves and cares for his garden, she added. “There’s a special bond between a gardener and their garden.”

Along with these gifts, students went the extra mile to show their appreciation by creating personalized video invitations that featured students expressing their gratitude. To view the faculty invitation, click here. For the staff invitation, click here.


Gallery Reception to Display Photography Student Projects Highlighting Stories of Community Members

Vanguard_Photo_Library_004Don’t just read the story, see the story! Vanguard University’s photojournalism students have captured the heart of the message “your story matters” by using photography.

Join Vanguard University’s photojournalism class for a gallery reception on Wednesday, April 24 that will feature student photography in their “Your Story Matters: A Photography Student’s Perspective” projects.

The reception will be held in the Great Commission Hall at Vanguard University starting at 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity to view student photography and see community member’s stories while enjoying refreshments.

Photojournalism Professor Chauncey Bayes challenged his photojournalism students to grab their cameras and find the untold stories of individuals in the Vanguard community. After weeks of photographing their chosen individual, each student developed picture stories describing the life of the person they chose.

One photojournalism student, junior communications major Kristen Achziger, captured the story of a Vanguard student who started a motel ministry to reach homeless residents in one of Costa Mesa’s smallest motels. The student, junior sociology major Jenna Marek, founded the ministry to focus on building relationships with these residents and inviting them to church. When describing how she found and chose Marek, Achziger said: “It was completely by accident, but it was a great accident.”

This project was a great opportunity to create artwork for a “higher purpose… To use our art for something greater,” Achziger said. She described the project as an opportunity to document the stories of many unique individuals of the Vanguard University community. Excited for attendees to experience the impact of these snapshots, Achziger said: “Photography is an especially powerful tool in sharing peoples’ stories.”

To learn more about the Department of Communication at Vanguard University, including courses like photojournalism, visit

The 2013 Spring Classical Concert Provided an Afternoon of Rich Classical Music for the Community

SpringConcert_MG_2980The hand-and-hand work of Vanguard University and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church created a masterpiece on Sunday, April 21 at the 2013 Spring Classical Concert.

The 2013 Spring Classical Concert was the final event in Vanguard University’s weeklong Celebration of the Arts (COTA). A continued favorite among the community, the concert intertwines the musical talents of the Vanguard Concert Choir and Concert Orchestra with the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir. This year’s concert had a great turnout with close to 500 people in attendance.

From the partnering in volunteer work to the combined choirs and orchestra on stage, the Spring Classical Concert was a shared success.  Chelsea Belardo ’04, the Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator, said the concert is a “long standing tradition” that she remembers from when she was a student in Vanguard’s Music Department.

Featuring classical music and classy attire, this year’s concert provided the community with the look, feel, and sound of a professional concert. “It was nice to see a daytime concert treated so well,” Belardo said. Seeing the choirs and orchestra in their black-and-white attire was one of many highlights for Belardo.

Listing some other favorite features, Belardo said she “liked the partnership between the church and Vanguard” and felt that on the stage, throughout the setup and during the show, every aspect of the event “melded so well together.” Belardo also enjoyed seeing so many faculty, staff, students and parents attending the event and showing their support.

For more information about the concert, visit the event page by clicking here.


Witness the Color Barrier Destroyed in Baseball through a Vanguard University Professor’s Biographical Work and the New Movie “42”

According to Vanguard University’s Professor of History, John R. M. Wilson, Ph.D., the new movie “42” accurately reflects the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson.

As the author of a new biography about Robinson, which is found in the Library of American Biography series, Dr. Wilson can attest to the historical accuracy of the new movie “42”. His book, Jackie Robinson and the American Dilemma, is a fairly brief biography on Robinson’s life that was designed for collateral reading in college history classes. Recently released, “42” focuses on 18 months of Robinson’s life and captures the historic breakthrough in the world of baseball during his 1947 season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Dr. Wilson emphatically praised the movie’s accuracy saying, “it’s great educationally, emotionally and historically.” Similar to someone who has read a popular book before seeing its movie version, Dr. Wilson said he could see a lot of things coming, which he was thrilled about because it meant the movie was keeping pretty close to historical fact.

In describing numerous specific details from the movie, Dr. Wilson believes it captured Robinson “quite well.” Being an avid baseball fan since the age of about seven, Dr. Wilson knows a thing or two about players and the game. He has written close to 55 articles for the American National Biography, most of which are about baseball players.

The invitation to write one of the biographies that would print in the Library of American Biography was a great honor to Dr. Wilson. The book was an opportunity to intertwine his love for baseball, his passion for history and his Christian faith, while writing about an amazing historical figure.

In the book, Dr. Wilson provides a survey of Robinson’s life with an emphasis on how important Robinson’s Christian faith was to him. Dr. Wilson said the movie incorporated moments reflecting Robinson’s commitment to his beliefs and he hopes that more than just Christian audience members will pick up on those moments.

Read the Department of History and Political Science’s news post to learn more about Dr. Wilson and the book by clicking here.