Anaheim’s Orange County Family Justice Center showers 74 families with Christmas gifts, good cheer at 10th-annual Adopt a Family event


The grateful mother’s eyes widened as she took in the bounty of Christmas gifts. 

“It’s too much,” Lidiaalondra Orosco said of being a recipient of the 10th annual Adopt a Family, a Christmas program run by the Orange County Family Justice Center (OCFJC) and the Orange County Family Justice Center Foundation in Anaheim.

Orosco and her family – daughter Yerandi, 11, and sons Arthur, 8, and Yeicob, 7 – were among 74 families that were treated to Christmas gifts and treats, free books, arts and crafts, and time with Santa at the OCFJC event, held this year on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Three-year-old Rodrigo Cosio of Anaheim plays with some wooden cars at the Adopt a Family event.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Every Christmas for the last 10 years, members of the community – many from Anaheim –adopt families who receive services or attend programs at the OCFJC, a multi-agency non-profit run by the Anaheim PD that serves survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, elder/dependent adult abuse, and sexual assault.

Most of the families don’t have the resources to buy each other gifts, and many children come from households that have experienced trauma.

Anaheim PD Explorer Nadia Chavelas delivers Christmas presents to a family’s car.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“I love it,” Orosco said of the event. “I’m really excited and happy, and I love all of the activities here for the kids.”

Orosco’s husband, Luis, who works at a family billiards center, was unable to attend. She said the family plans to open the gifts Christmas morning.

Yeicob Orosco participated in the OCFJC’s 10-week program Kids Creating Change at the Boys and Girls Club at Manzanita Park.

Anaheim PD Inv. Doug Elms and Office Specialist Maggie Villegas, of APD Traffic, fit and distributed bicycle helmets from Anaheim PD and Anaheim Fire & Rescue during OCFJC’s holiday Adopt A Family event.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“We collaborate with resources centers, churches, apartment complexes, schools, and Boys and Girls Club Center to host these (and other) programs,” said Stephanie Bruschini, program director at the OCFJC.

The Kids Creating Change program tries to help empower youth with the necessary knowledge and skills to break the destructive cycle of abuse. The program covers defining physical and emotional violence, coping with stress, conflict resolution, playground bullying, being a good friend, physical fitness, and effective parenting skills.

“It’s really important for these kids to be able to be in such a positive environment and for them to see that their community and police and fire departments care for them,” said Victoria Johnson, Miss California, who was crowned in January 2019 and serves until Feb. 29, 2020.

Brisa Minea, 8, watches her brother, 5-year-old Brandon, read a book about police officers at the OCFJC’s Adopt a Family event.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Johnson assisted Santa as he posed for pictures with the children.

The 74 families that were adopted this year totaled 319 people. In its first year, Adopt a Family provided Christmas gifts to 30 families. To be considered for adoption, families fill out an application and provide gift wish lists.

Then, generous community members take it from there.

Mia Paez, 4, of Brea creates a Christmas ornament.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“It’s really a great way to give back to the community, and the police department is fully involved,” said Tracy Theodore, executive director of the OCFJC. “All of the people who adopt families get a chance to meet the families and deliver the gifts to them personally.”

Scott Frisbie, a board member of the OCFJC Foundation, has adopted a family every Christmas for eight years.

“I had a chance to meet the family I adopted, three children and two adults,” said Frisbee, whose family business owns 15 McDonald’s stores, eight in Anaheim and the rest in surrounding cities. Frisbee donated McDonald’s cookies and coffee for the four-hour event.

The OCFJC (Orange County Family Justice Center) and OCFJC Foundation hosted the annual Adopt a Family gathering at OCFJC headquarters in Anaheim.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“There was so much appreciation,” Frisbee said, adding: “I’m a fortunate person. I have two young children (as well as adult children), and they’ve got a wonderful life. Everybody deserves some glimmer of hope or opportunity to have some sense of normalcy in their lives.

“So many of these children are born in situations from which they may never see or experience that, and this event gives a chance for these kids to look up and see what is not always in front of them: sensitivity and caring.”

Anaheim PD Cadet Abraham Carrillo has his hands full as he helps a family carry Christmas presents to their car.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Rosa Silva, 8, shows her mom, Giselle Raso, a teddy bear she picked out to take home.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Anaheim PD Explorer Nadia Chazelas helps a family carry out a wagon full of toys during the Adopt a Family event.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Alejandra Serna, 11, of Brea, looks over a large variety of plush bears.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Robert Miner, 11, caries out a box full of plush toys and books during the holiday Adopt a Family event.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

The Orosco children — Arthur, left, Yeicob, and Yerandi — with their new bicycle helmets they received from the Anaheim Police Department. With them is their mother, Lidiaalondra.
Steven Georges/Behind the Badge