Testimonies


“You have been such an inspiration to myself and so many people.
The lessons I learned from you have greatly shaped the person I am today.
The seeds you’ve planted in the hearts and minds of many have truly made the world a better place.”

– Mike Leatherman

 

“I believe that the confidence and poise I gained as a result of my participation in the program contributed greatly to my business success.”

– Amy Burr Young

 

“As a parent, I see how important it is to have children involved in programs that provide them structure, good role models and the chance to find their inner strength that can help them reach their dreams.”

– Francene (Galloway) Rongione

 

“Not only was my participation a way to earn talent and scholastic scholarships, it was also an opportunity to build my confidence as a performer and grow as an individual. You have impacted my life in a way that few people have. Thank you for your continuous love and support.”

– Jenny Davelaar Dicker

 

“What I wanted for my daughter in her early years was a chance to learn self-respect, be respected, share her creativity, be safe, be loved and nourished, learn the value of honesty and hard work, open her arms to diversity, not be judgmental, experience success, but also learn from her mistakes without too much pain, and to be happy with who she was and strive to be the very best at whatever she chose to do in life. These she found within Youth Focus.”

– Kathleen Jackson

 

“They gave me the confidence to make a difference in my community by teaching others that community pride, self-confidence, God-given talents, scholastic achievement, awareness of your ability to add to your community with what you have to offer as an individual makes for successful people.”

– Carol Noceti

 

“My experience with Youth Focus not only gave me credibility as a singer and entertainer, but helped to polish me, and make me into the woman I am today. The titles that I took away with me, the trophies, and the accomplishments, have supported and validated my career, my whole life. I am so honored to have been a part of Youth Focus Family and I treasure every single memory.”

– Jessica Ford

 


 

 

You have been such an inspiration to myself and so many people. The lessons I learned from you have greatly shaped the person I am today. I can still remember coming to tryouts for the Jr. King and Queen pageant back in 1978. I remember being taken back by the fact that even though all us contestants were between the ages of 9 and 12, you treated us with respect and dignity like we were adults. That in itself had a huge impact on my own self-worth, and made me want to be the best person I could be. From you I learned that being a champion isn’t about winning a contest or accomplishing a goal. It’s about becoming a better human being. It’s about going the extra mile to be a good friend or doing your very best at whatever you decided to do. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to thank you.

Currently, I am living in Nashville, TN where I have performed with various country music artists including JoDee Messina. I am currently playing Keyboards and Banjo for country music super-star John Michael Montgomery. I have accomplished a life-long dream of performing on the Grand Ole Opry, had numerous TV appearances, and performed for and met the President of the United States.

The seeds you’ve planted in the hearts and minds of many have truly made the world a better place and the love you have shared has spread farther than you can imagine. There are no worldly possessions that could repay you for all you’ve done, and I know that for you the only treasures that really matter are gifts from the heart. So, mine to you is once again, thank you.

Mike Leatherman


It’s so easy to procrastinate on the big things, saying the important stuff, worrying about the right words. There have been little few truly powerful male influences in my life and even fewer I consider mentors. I have been trying to write a letter to express my deepest feelings for so long that I’ve accumulated notebooks full of drafts and wastebaskets full of white mountains of crumpled up paper balls. So, I’ll just close my eyes and wing this one. I hope it’s the start of many letters and phone calls.

I remember the first time I went to the Fair. It was a class trip to the Winter Festival. I sat and I stared at the costumes and glitter and the most beautiful girls with crowns and big fluffy hair. I told my mom that night I wanted to be beautiful when I grew up and wear a crown and a pretty dress…I told her some day I would be Miss Winter Festival (i still have the journal entry in my diary). The rest is a long story of how coincidentally my family was involved with the Fair and my cousin Robert Montoya was Jr. King. My Auntie Judy got me an audition with you. I remember how much I wanted to be in the Young Californians and someone told me I was too big for that group…I thought I was too fat to sing with Katie Manning and TJ and Olgalydia and that made me want to be Miss Winterfestival more than ever. You gave me my own show “the Furskins” and I met Tom Tomasello. He was writing down roman numerals as “Love Makes the World Go Round” played. He said someday I’d understand what he was writing and then we could talk serious music.

Fast Forward, I became California Miss in 1990 and later I did become Miss Winter Festival. Not exactly, but I did place 1st runner up to Miss Santa Clara County in 1996 (although sad to say…..at that time there was no Winter Festival anymore) The many years of hard work toward my goals was tremendous, the obstacles were terrifying, but you taught me to dream big, even when I really didn’t think I could ever be queen of anything, you helped me realize that it was my struggles and my determination to overcome and win that made me a true representative. And today I am faced with the same struggles as I fight to be a musician…who would think that a fat girl could make it in the music industry? I am applying the same principals you taught me…acting with the right heart, fighting for the happiness of others…I feel confident I will win because of the strong foundation you helped me build.

New York is hard, Mr. S. Life is hard. but it’s good and when I think about the time I spent with you and Youth Focus…I know it’s my mission in life to fight harder…what if I can be for someone what you have been for me? Oh great, I’m crying while I type this…

“I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.” – Martha Graham

Natalie Hull


I just wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on 35 years of service to the community (wow!), and thank you for your contribution to the things that so greatly affected my life. I look back very fondly on my years as a pageant dancer, pageant participant and dance student of yours for so many years.

Mr. S, you were definitely instrumental in shaping me as an individual and helping me to grow and develop as a person early in life through dance and the pageants. The pageants, which you were so instrumental in establishing and operating, also helped me to develop leadership skills and gain confidence that I have frequently used throughout my life. Looking back, I don’t know how you did all that you did.

Over the years, as a senior vice president of my company, I had to give many presentations to my company’s board of directors. I believe that the confidence and poise I gained as a result of my participation in the pageants contributed greatly to my business success, and allowed me, on many occasions, to make effective presentations. I mentioned this to my sister just a few weeks ago as we were discussing pageants. She also feels the same about her pageant days.

Thank you Mr. S for your tireless years of giving. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

Amy Burr Young


Congratulations on 40 amazing years of service. What wonderful memories all the programs have provided to so many people. As I think back on all the great people I met through the fairs and competitions, it always brings me a smile. So many of the Youth Focus programs make up my childhood memories. Now with my own two children I wonder what memories they will most cherish when they are older. As a parent, I see how important it is to have children involved in programs that provide them structure, good role models and the chance to find their inner strength that can help them reach their dreams. Now living so far from California I hope I can find a program like Youth Focus that can provide my kids with the same wonderful experiences I had growing up. The confidence I developed from the California State Talent Competition and the various pageants have molded my ability as an adult to know I can do anything I put my mind to.

Thanks you Mr. S. for giving of yourself to so many of the youth of California. The many lives you have touched are too numerous to name but know that your spirit will live forever in their lives and in the lives those people touch. We all love you very much.

Francene (Galloway) Rongione


Thank you for inspiring me. I now live in Danville for last 13 years – now there’s a “be careful what I wish for story”. Lived in Arizona for 4 years and loved it.

I love telling my stories – am not short-winded. Guess I should have known, having been Miss Congeniality a few times.

In between careers – going towards Real Estate, from Computer Accounting Software Sales & Consulting. Successfully built & sold two businesses.

Launched many women into own businesses. Love empowering Women to succeed in business.

Michelle McBee


Even with my B.A. in Journalism, finding the right words to bring to justice what a positive impact Youth Focus had on my life is extremely challenging…but I’ll try.

The Texas state fair was in October and my husband just went on and on about how it is ranked the best fair in the US and blah, blah, blah. So we went and we saw and we ate and we ate and we ate. “Where’s the entertainment?” I asked Cory. This wasn’t a fair. Where were the dancers and the singers and of course, the “Royal Family?”

My point is that we had it so good. We are so lucky to have the memories of performing three shows a day in the scorching sun and late night rehearsals with Mr. S. We are so lucky that we had an outlet for all our energy to be welcomed and applauded by thousands of fair-goers every summer. Not to mention what great times we had at all the dance competitions, scholarship pageants, holiday fairs, too!

If I could, I would turn back the clocks and go back to those days, the first thing that I would do, is grab Mr. S. by the hand and pull him up on stage and tell the thousands of fair-goers what an amazing man he is and how much his love and support mean to all his kids. But since I can’t go back, I can tell him now…

Mr. S you are truly one of a kind. I have never met anyone who is so dedicated to the betterment of youth and who reaches out in a way that makes everyone feel like they belong. I miss everyone that I ever shared a stage with and a dressing room with. That I ever rode in a parade car with. And that I ever shared a laugh with. Thank you for the irreplaceable memories everyone. And thank you Mr. S. for making them all possible.

Angela Kreig (Craig)
(AKA Angela Powell)


Parent Comment

You and Mrs. S have been a part of the Moles-Trevino family for over twenty years! Wow, we’re getting old! When I think of Taryn’s and Brad’s childhood years I think of the Youth Focus family, the fair, singing and dancing, toilet papering friends homes, and of course you. I really miss those times, the friends, and the fun we all had.

These wonderful memories wouldn’t be without you. What an incredible impact you’ve had on our family. Taryn and Brad grew up in the Youth Focus family. They saw first hand how a man who loves God conducts himself. How he gives freely of his time and his talent for the benefit of others. The benefits to them of those years are evidenced in the self confident, loving and caring adults they are today. Thank you for that.

Speaking of impact, Steve and I met at a Miss Santa Clara County competition (with a little help from Suzette.) I wonder if we would have met had there been no Youth Focus. Not only did we meet at a Youth Focus event but, you performed our marriage ceremony. Thank you and thank you again!

Looking back I see that God has used you in many ways and in many lives. Our family has certainly been blessed by the things you’ve done and the man that you are. Thank you.

May God richly bless you and your family.

Cindy Moles


That special time we all shared can not be replaced. Those were some of my most treasured moments. We were young, fresh, excited and full of hope for the future which would come. Now we are leaders, business women, mothers, wives, teachers, even International opera singers. Who would have thought? Well, I guess we all knew from the beginning that Mr. and Mrs. S saw our potential. They were founders for a good cause to build a healthy new generation. All of the people working with them, like you, were supporters of all that is good. I thank you, I thank them, and all of those who supported all of the youth. Do they still do competitions? It would be sooooo much fun to judge them or be involved again if I lived in California.

How are my vocal students and friends? Why has so much time passed and the ones you love are at such a distance? I guess my brother passing away at the end of the summer made me realize that we should take advantage of the time we have on this earth to spend time with each other. The career is not everything. Once the performance is over, it is like the Fair the day after it closes. Always empty.

People are what matter. Please help me keep in contact with some of these special people. You are the best person to keep us all together. I love you for that! You have always known what is important. I will learn from you.

Anyway, thank you Mrs. G for your message. Send my greetings and my love. You are all in a very soft and special place in my heart.

Eilana Lappalainen


I will never forget sitting in my living room listening to Jenny Bennett talk about her experiences in an organization called Youth Focus. I had always participated in CSTC through my dance and vocal schools, but knew nothing about the opportunities provided by the program. When I was ten years old, Jenny convinced me to participate in the California Little Miss Competition. I had such a wonderful time that I knew I wanted to participate again the next year.

After that first year I learned about the Entertainment Division. I auditioned for you in your Fair office and sang the theme from Ice Castles. I was so nervous! That summer I was thrilled to be the first “Chuckles” in “Clowning Around”.

That was the beginning and as you know Youth Focus and the Youth Focus Family have been a huge part of my life ever since. I am proud to say that I have been involved with the organization for 23 years. Not only was my participation a way to earn talent and scholastic Scholarships, it was also an opportunity to build my confidence as a performer and grow as an individual.

Mr. S, I am personally so grateful to have had Youth Focus in my life. Without your dedication and love for young people, I feel that I would have missed out on many experiences that truly shaped me into the person that I am today.

You have impacted my life in a way that few people have. Thank you for your continuous love and support.

Jenny Davelaar Dicker


I am thrilled for you and all that you and your organization has accomplished over the years. To know that I’ve been a part of this journey is an honor.

Living in today’s society we are surrounded with ideas of self-interest and reward. It is my goal to keep messages like your organization’s alive because I believe so strongly in it’s importance. Thank you for sharing this life lesson with me as a young person. It is my hope that I can pass on what you taught me.

Congratulations and thank you for all you have done to inspire young people.

Kelly Shenefiel Velasquez


Parent Letters

I know you will get many messages from the youth that have been involved in several of the Youth Focus’s programs. Certainly you have touched many of their lives in ways they probably will not even realize for many more years.

I would like to tell you what it meant for me as a mother to have my daughter be a part of Youth Focus. What I wanted for my daughter in her early years was a chance to learn self-respect, be respected, share her creativity, be safe, be loved and nourished, learn the value of honesty and hard work, open her arms to diversity, not be judgmental, experience success, but also learn from her mistakes without too much pain, and to be happy with who she was and strive to be the very best at whatever she chose to do in life.

These she found within Youth Focus – thanks to you, Mr. S and your staff.

Kathleen Jackson
(mother to Shannon Self)


It was 25+ years ago that I walked into a room full of young women. The energy in the room was so great. A Man stood up and began to speak, he was a kind looking man, very much full of life, happiness and love. He was a beacon in that room. I sat in amazement as I heard him speak. I wondered why I was even there, but his words, attitude and demeaner told me it was the place to be. He made me feel like I was special. During the next few weeks as we danced, walked and spoke in preparation for our competition I grew to admire and respect this man even more then I did the first time I saw him. He had a way, and still does, about him that makes each person he speaks to feel special, he radiates with a glow that is beyond words.

As the years past I began to look forward to those summer nights of rehearsal, the long days at the fair, the hugs in the morning and the smile and a wink during the day. I also looked at this man as my friend, a special friend. As I grew in years and started out on my own life he was the first person I thought of when I started to plan my wedding. It was an honor for me to have such a wonderful friend and person be the one to perform the wedding ceremony. He was always a part some how of each major event in my life…the birth of my children, divorce, death of a loved one. A true friend.

He taught me many things, but there is one I will never forget. “Each of us are winners and each of us wear a crown. Within that crown are many rhinestones with many more sparkles. For each sparkle there is at least one person we will touch during our lifetime. It is our responsibility to always wear our crown with our head held high, with dignity and with respect. we must always give the people we come in contact with that same respect”.

You have touched my life in a way I can not express in words. I know that you are a blessing to me and each day I thank God for having me share so much with you. May you continue to be a blessing to many more and may your life always be filled with love and joy. I love you Mr. and Mrs. Smethers more then you will ever know.

1 Cor 13:7 NCV – Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.

Valerie Kotoff-Mazzone


Thank you Mr. S. for the gift of gratitude. You taught me so many things, but the most important lesson you taught me was the importance of saying “thank you”.

I will never forget the first time I met you. It was during the first “Santa Clara County Youth Hall of Fame” scholarship program in 1979. I had participated in many scholarship programs that year, but this one stood out. It was not just the focus on community service, it was the way the whole program was run. So, I couldn’t wait to find you and thank you for creating the program.

I thought that was it. But, I was so surprised when you called and offered me a job at the Fairgrounds a few weeks later. After three months on the job, we had a chance to go to lunch together. I will never forget what you said:

“Jerry, do you know why I offered you a job? It was because you said thank you.” It made such an impression on me. I continued to watch your actions during the four years I worked at the Fairgrounds and went to college. I saw countless acts of giving back to the community with so many different types of youth programs. I saw inspiration that continues to impact me every day.

Since then, I have gone to communications executive positions with Hewlett-Packard and IBM. I now have the blessing of becoming co-founder of my own company. One of the first things that my business partner and I did was develop a set of values that was going to help us serve the bio-technology, medical device, and health services companies we work with.

On the top of the list is how we are going to give back to the community and serve God. Each time we have a chance to do that, I think back of the examples you and God above have given me.

Jerry Cashman


I can not thank you enough for your constant devotion to Youth Focus. Through Youth Focus my friends, vocal students and I were given opportunities that I will cherish forever. Young performers were encouraged to share their gifts with the public and touch people’s lives in the process. As performers, we grew immensely, and the chances that we were given in our youth have molded us into the adults we are today. I truly believe that no other program offers such memorable rewards as Youth Focus does, and any one who participates is a better person because of it…well, because of you, Mr. S., because you are the driving force of Youth Focus and therefore have made many people’s lives special. Please know that this note is to thank you dearly for your everlasting kindness, support, and love.

Jackie Hammond (Jackie Stewart)


Mr Smethers gave me confidence that has helped me my entire life. He always gave kind words and positive actions. Performing all those years has given me confidence and determination to know that If I put my mind to something, I can do it, and the confidence to do it.

Traci Bucher (Toney)


Youth Focus is a huge part of who I am. I received so much support and love from the member of the program for all the years I was involved and I still do until this day. I was fortunate to be around such a supportive atmosphere that allowed me to grow and meet wonderful life long friends. I thought you should know that your influence has had a positive affect on most everyone’s lives it touched.

All of us Youth Focus kids are doing great and the best part I can tell you is that very few of us have forgotten where we came from and who took part in molding our lives.

Ronnell Valencia Hein


Some of my fondest childhood memories were at the fair. Mr. S gave us an opportunity to sing, dance, express ourselves through music and a chance to be on stage. I will always be grateful to Mr. S. for pushing us to do our best, teaching us to be good citizens and how to give back to our community. In the future, I would like to follow his lead and coordinate place for underprivileged children to sing and dance.

Mr. S gave me a place to sing and a place to grow as an entertainer. I will always be grateful and thankful for his service to the youth of Santa Clara County.

Nova Dague


As a 17 year old with very little confidence in herself, the idea of competing was just not an option. I was in awe of my little sisters ability to get in front of so many people and perform with what seemed to be the greatest of ease. I knew from the start that was impossible in my situation for in my mind I was sure I had no talent. Being fascinated with the Youth Focus family kept me coming back, watching and learning and constantly in amazement how one person, with one idea, with one focus, could manage to bring all these people together and make a difference in all of their lives in one way or another. His focus…to touch the lives of as many people as possible. I am positive that Mr. S never considered he would do as much or more for someone who would never consider herself either capable or worthy of any of his programs. I loved the impact I saw that Mr. & Mrs. S made on all who they came in contact with. I wanted just a small part of how he must have felt.

I am 50 years old now and have raised 3 beautiful children who too have reaped the benefits of Youth Focus Incorporated. You see, none of them have had to experience the feeling of not being good enough to compete. They are all very accomplished young women and who is responsible for all that? Yes Mr. S, you are the one who showed me that I too had talent, just not the same as all those kids I saw on your stages.

Mr. & Mrs. S have given me the confidence to be a wonderful mother and raise my children with all the confidence and assuredness I was lacking as a child. They gave me the confidence to make a diffence in my community by teaching others that community pride, self confidence, God given talents, scholastic achievement, awareness of your ability to add to your community with what you have to offer as an individual makes for successful people. The “power of one” is truly amazing. My life has been enriched in so many ways, I can’t begin to put it in words. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. S for all that you have done for me and all the people I have had the opportunity to be apart of their lives. It was all because of you.

Carol Noceti


Mr.S was a part of my childhood. I’ll never forget how he was always encouraging and supportive, no matter what studio you came from or your social status. It was because of the California State Talent Competition in 1973 at the age of 9 that I became hooked on dance. After winning third place, and receiving a trophy that I still cherish, Mr. Smethers, not knowing who I was or where I was from, gave me a sly smile, a pat on the shoulder, and told me to stick with it and I’d get first place some day. This moment is etched in my memory and still makes me smile. Out of all the awards, even the Emmy Award and the American Dance Award for Best Choreography I received working with legendary choreographer Walter Painter, that third place win is one of the most important victories in my life. I thank and honor Mr. Smethers for his devotion to the young talent in the Bay Area and for providing an outlet to express that emerging creative spirit. I am forever indebted to him for instilling a sense of fairness and fun in all that you do. Even if it’s a competition. Thank you Mr. Smethers. You will never be forgotten.

Michael Chambers


Those wonderful days involved with Youth Focus programs…are what molded who we are…I feel so blessed to have been a part of it!! Staci Flood


Dear Mr. S, thank you so much for all you have done over the years. The youth of our country needs a million or more like you. Just think what a place it could be. You have helped so many young people reach and accomplish dreams.

Continue to stay healthy, eat right and exercise, that is what they say is the key, and remember how much your loved and appreciated even if we are not able to always be there for you at times like this celebration, know that you are always with us in our hearts.

Cindy Brown-Hamblin


Heartfelt congratulations on this fantastic milestone celebrating the love and dedication you’ve so generously given in helping youngsters find meaning in their lives. As a recipient of that generosity, I treasure the opportunity you gave me and countless others in striving to be the best we could be. The feeling of accomplishment in achieving that goal is immeasurable.

My pageant years left an indelible impact on how I would live the rest of my life. I decided then that the fear of failure would not get the better of me, but that I would continually put myself on the line to set goals, meet challenges and strive to live a life of creativity and balance. And what a lovely life it is! I have a beautiful marriage, and a good measure of success in stage writing and performing, incorporating my musical talents wherever I can. Through these years I have earned the enormous respect of my peers which, I’ve come to understand, has been my quest all along. In extraordinarily large measure, I have my years with you, Mrs. S and the entire pageant family to thank for that. I know I am joined by countless others who have been affected so positively by your work and devotion, and I only wish I could be there to join you for this well-deserved celebration.

Kathy Esteves-Bates


I came to know Youth Focus in 1981 at the First State Competition (Miss California State) that provided me an opportunity that only you knew how to provide. You welcomed this mountain-born girl as if I were royalty. I was inspired by all of you in San Jose that competition week and then was blessed to spend more hours with you during the year to follow. What stands out, to me, is your love of country, decency, Christianity through example and the importance of community. Although the culture I have adapted in Chile is a far-cry from that of how you live there, I have tried to weave many of your examples in my day-to-day life. You have been a positive force in my life.

Congratulations at this important 40 year mark! I embrace all of you in the distance. Love, Tara Sur Turner Stolzmann


Congratulations on 40 years of dedication to young people!

I was first introduced to the Youth Focus family at the age of six. A bit shy at the time, the programs helped me gain self-confidence and come out of my shell. Much of my life revolved around the Youth Focus programs since my sister and parents were so involved also. What wonderful childhood memories I have of those years. All of the people were always my supportive, extended family.

One of the things that helped me the most as I went on to college and into my career in Finance was the opportunity to develop interview skills from an early age. Many of my friends had not been through interviews much before college and felt less prepared. Although the interviews were not my favorite part of the competitions when I was young, they were important in building necessary skills I would need later in life. It has been fun to come back as an adult and be on the other side doing the interviewing and see the dynamic young people that are still benefiting from the programs so many years after I did.

Youth Focus and my parents also instilled the importance of community serve. It wasn’t necessarily their words but their actions. As a child, I witnessed a lot of adults, with hearts full of love, giving of their time to Youth Focus. As an adult I have realized what they knew, that giving back to your community is very rewarding. I have spent my adult life involved with various community organizations. The joy I experience while doing things to help others is truly fulfilling. And a bonus was I met my husband at a golf tournament while volunteering to help raise money for Youth Focus. We were then honored to have Mr. S. perform our marriage ceremony.

Youth Focus has made an indelible impact on so many lives over the year. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. S., for all the love and support you continue to give.

With much appreciation,
Wendy (Galloway) Renwick


Though Youth Focus, I have had the opportunity to go to places that I never even dreamed of going to. People like Alice Faye & Mary Ann Norris Bullen, Jim Bedford & Helen Blackstone, helped to unlock and cultivate God given talents and abilities that helped me to learn more about myself and just how God could use me to represent Him, and serve others. Most of all talented singers, dancers, politicians, artist, teachers, minister, parents, and community advocates that have become some of the best friends that I’ve ever had in my entire life. It is so comforting to know wherever I go on this planet, I will more than likely run into someone that has been touched by “The Fair” more formally know as Youth Focus.

Now, as I return to my high school, I truly feel like a torch has been passed on to me by the Gallowyas, coupled with a charge by the Smethers to “Let my light shine” as the Bible commands me to. As I nominate students and write letters of recommendations for some of the Youth Focus scholarship programs, I always hope that they will be able to experience at least a portion of the organization, and the people that changed my life for the better.

Anthony Butler


March 29, 2009

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Galloway, Mr. and Mrs. Smethers, and our Youth Focus family,

We have many words of praise for The Youth Focus programs that have helped guide and shape Blake into his adult life. We know that “it takes a village,” to raise a child these days, and Youth Focus was the first “fire” that gave Blake the needed confidence to shine!!! His year as Jr. Ambassador and his other competitions, really helped to prepare him for this one moment and more to come. Blake has learned well that not everything in life is a “win,” but the tools he has gained though interviews, performance, communication, victory and defeat are immeasurable. You see, when one does not “win” everything, they realize that maybe they need to work harder, or move in another direction. Blake has worked very hard over the last couple of years, and it has now paid off. He has learned to enjoy this moment, because around the corner there may be another does of humility. God works that way in our lives doesn’t he? Blake was saying last night how wonderful it felt, and how easy the interview was for him. He also said that he was really thankful for Youth Focus and the opportunity it have him to prepare for this interview. He realized that he was better prepared for what might be asked. because he had been better prepared for what might be asked, because he ad been in interviews before. This, he felt gave him a “let up” on the competition.

Again, thank you to all of you from Youth Focus who have helped our “boy” on his journey into the adult world!

With love, Bobbie Hosfeldt-Ward and Geoffrey Ward


Hello Youth Focus,

I am a Vocal Coach in Nashville, TN. I own a home here near down town and run my business out of it. I currently have a production deal with Dolly Parton’s producer/guitar player Ken Wells. We will be recording 3-4 songs that I have written in the next moth or so. They are Christian and I’m really excited to have new music really soon.

I’m so sorry I missed the anniversary/reunion. I would love to have been there, I didn’t know about it in time. I would also love to come sing for you, at any of your events, as a guest singer if you ever want or need one. I know there is no lack of talent around there!!!

So glad to reconnect with you, and I want you to know my experience with Youth Focus not only gave me credibility as a singer and entertainer, but helped to polish me, and make me into the woman I am today. The titles that I took away with me, the trophies, and the accomplishments, have supported and validated my career, my whole life. I am so honored to have been a part of Youth Focus Family and I treasure every single memory.

Much love and respect,
Jessica Ford


April 27, 2009

Dear Youth Focus,

It truly was an honor and a blessing for me to have been involved in the Youth Focus program having served as a County Fair Miss, for the Santa Clara fairgrounds, as well as, a seasoned performer/vocalist for many other events. The Youth Focus program truly provided me the grace, confidence and pose to become the woman/wife/mother I am today. I have always honored my experience with the Youth Focus family, and credit the organization for giving me a strong foundation to achieve and overcome any obstacle or challenge that came my way. I remember my speech and one of the things that resonates in my mind was my statement, “I aspire to be a successful business woman, just like my mom.” Well I have become that woman. That’s what make Youth Focus so important. It truly fosters and inspires young people to realize their goals. That’s what it did for me! Thank you to the Smether’s, the Galloway’s and the Youth Focus family for your contribution, love, and dedication.

Best,
Traci Freeman Rodriguez


Dear Youth Focus Family,

I wish I could be with you all tonight to celebrate such a wonderful occasion; unfortunately work keeps me from getting away. I have always had great memories of my time with Mr. and Mrs. S and the entire Youth Focus family. The times tat we all shared will never be forgotten.

It is a great accomplishment for Youth Focus to touch so many young lives over the course of the past 40 years. I know that the times that I spent and the people I met will never be forgotten.

Thank you again for everything you have done for me, and I hope so many more young people get to experience the love that the Youth Focus family has to give.

Once again, I wish I could be back hove in California with everyone tonight, but I am currently in Jacksonville, Florida working as Production Manager for country artist Kellie Pecker. We are currently on tour with Taylor Swift, and will be throughout the year. Life has been exciting and keeps me busy traveling from city to city across the US and back throughout the years.

I hope everyone is doing well,and look forward to hopefully seeing you all in the future. Please enjoy this night, and send my love to the Youth Focus family. I miss you all.

Love,
Robert Heacox
Cal State Ambassador 1999


To my wonderful Youth Focus Family:

Congratulations to Youth Focus for 40 wonderful years of love, service, and helping hundreds of young people to live a more positive life! I wish I could be here tonight, but my entertainment company has taken my husband and I down to Southern California this weekend for business.

I wanted to personally thank you, Mr. and Mr. S and the Youth Focus team of dedicated volunteers, for your encouragement, support, love and friendship throughout my life. I know, I would not be who I am, where I am, and what I am today without the positive influence. love and support from this incredible organizations. Words can never express it all, but I hope that by living my life in a positive way with love in my heart, it is my way of giving thanks to Youth Focus for all it has done for me.

To another forty years and many more!

Love,

Kristen Diane Burke Scott
Miss Santa Clara County 1989


Mr. “S” (aka Bill Smethers) was probably our primary focus of attention when it all began for us. “Now welcome to our stage audition time 9:50,” is what we heard from Mr. “S” as we sat and waited for Jennifer to perform. And then nervously we’d wait as we heard and “now I have the results in Division II, Vocal Performance, Broadway Show tunes.” Now instead of, “who are those people,” it was “who is that man?” Well of course through time we discovered just who that man was, is and continues to be, Mr. and Mr. “S” have been and will continue to be the very “hear beat” of Youth Focus, Inc. The “heart” of this organization has bee beating for 40 year, to which we are awe and eternally grateful. We congratulate Mr. and Mrs. “S” for this amazing milestone. To God be the Glory as the “BEAT” goes on.

With Love and Admiration:
The Allen’s and family, Darryl, Stevie
Jennifer, Gregory and Gabriel Csefko
Erica and Danny Yamasaki