Group of Orange County staff on stage holding and pointing to a donation box.

Great Oaks Village Holiday Kickoff Begins: Annual Fundraiser for Foster Children

Community & Services

Great Oaks Village, an Orange County residential foster group home, has served as a safety net for abused, neglected and abandoned children for close to a century. This holiday season, the County will hold its annual Great Oaks Village Holiday Kickoff Program to help raise much-needed funds for the children ages 6 through 21, who live in the historic home.

“I can’t stress enough how the generosity of Orange County employees and our community partners ensures an environment in which these kids can thrive and grow,” said Tracy Salem, Ph.D., Orange County Youth and Family Services Manager. “The fundraiser helps Great Oaks Village buy the children Christmas and birthday presents and also help with other expenses such as field trips and prom tickets.”

This year, with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important Orange County employees and community partners come together to help those in need. The young people at Great Oaks Village all share one thing in common, which is that circumstances beyond their control have forced them to seek a place of safety and protection outside of their family home.

“I can’t say enough about the staff at Great Oaks Village, who, with limited resources, continue to ensure these kids experience love and support,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “Providing a safe place for our most vulnerable citizens is imperative to the overall quality of life in our region, and Great Oaks Village is literally saving and changing the lives of these kids.”

Last year, during the 2020-2021 campaign, Orange County employees donated $ $33,727.34 (including in-kind contributions from community partners). Broken down by department, Public Works raised $7,300, Utilities $6,771, Corrections $3,815, and County Administration $2,477. Add to this the additional $43,728.07 the community donated, and a total of $77,455.41 was raised.

“We did a great job last year, but we can always strive to do even better,” said Byron Brooks, Orange County Administrator. “This year we have another opportunity to assist Great Oaks Village, and I want to encourage both Orange County employees and the rest of the community to open their hearts and donate to a very worthy cause.”

For more information on the Great Oaks Village Holiday Kickoff Program and how you can donate, contact Tracy Salem at or call 407-836-7682.

Photo Caption: L to R: Warren Kenner, past board chair of Great Oaks Village; Lesli Odum, board member of Great Oaks Village; Sasha Ruiz, board member of Great Oaks Village; Sarah Robinson, board chair of Great Oaks Village; Nicole Wilson, Orange County District 1 Commissioner; Tracy Salem, Orange County Youth and Family Services Manager; Jerry L. Demings; Orange County Mayor.

Watch the Great Oaks Village 2021 Holiday Kickoff from Orange TV on Vimeo.

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