It all began with the Sugar Plum Tree program, Friends of Foster Children's (FOFC) annual holiday "wish granting" program. Altadena resident Cathy Cota, R.N., first became involved with FOFC through the sitting at the Sugar Plum Trees with her daughters, Rachel and Carolyn, as members of the National Charity League. "After sitting at the tree just one year, I approached our VP of Philanthropy about making FOFC one of our designated philanthropies. Before I knew it, I was the FOFC liaison! By 2004 I was looking for an organization that our whole family could be involved in on a regular basis; that's when we joined FOFC."
Cathy and the girls made it their "tradition" to sit the very first shift of Sugar Plum on opening day. A Personal Trainer at Pasadena's Gold's Gym, Richard Cota says he accompanied his family to the Arcadia Westfield Shopping Mall to "work a few shifts," too.
In addition to the holiday program, the Cotas participated in other activities such as fall school supply and Halloween candy collections for the children at the local organizations supported by FOFC. Cathy served as Sugar Plum Co-Chair twice, was a past board member, and as part of the Foster Caring Committee, she is the liaison to Rosemary Children's Services.
Last year Carolyn joined the board and served as Sugar Plum Chair and this year she is joined on the FOFC board by Cathy and Richard, making it a family affair. She explains, "I was asked to be on the board last year and thought it would be a nice way to be more involved so I said, yes. My mom had been on the board before, so I asked her if she would want to return this year. She and I then decided it'd be good for my dad to be more involved in the organization so we asked him to join the board too and he said, yes."