A Licensed Vocational Nurse Finds Time to Help Children in Foster Care

Genevieve Laguna (center) donates toys and pajamas for Five Acres’ holiday drive. With her are Brandon Ito and Stephanie Perez who work in the Five Acres Advancement Department. | Photo courtesy of Genevieve Laguna

Genevieve Laguna, a licensed vocational nurse, works tirelessly to keep people safe, healthy, and recover from surgeries. Overworked and exhausted, Genevieve still finds time to help others outside of the hospital.

Six years ago, her friend who lives down the street from Five Acres, a foster care and mental health charity in Altadena, was interested in volunteering and reached out to Genevieve to support a Christmas collection drive for the charity. Since then, Genevieve has committed to having a pajama clothes drive for the children living at Five Acres in time for Christmas Eve. Each year Five Acres children open their pajama gift, have hot cocoa, and enjoy a holiday movie.

“Like most people, I’ve gone through some very personal things in my life where I’ve been down and out, but instead of giving up, I’ve learned what it means to live in gratitude,” said Genevieve. “I am truly blessed and grateful for all that I have, what I have accomplished so far, and all that I have been able to overcome. But at the end of the day what truly matters is who I have lifted up, helped, and made better. It’s about what I have given back. If I can make a difference in one life, it matters.”

She asked doctors, nurses, other co-workers, family, and friends to contribute towards the Amazon wish list, pajama drive, and other seasonal drives for Five Acres. Despite the pandemic, they pulled their energy and resources to help children in need throughout the year. Feeling blessed, Genevieve feels it in her heart to continue helping Five Acres children, ensuring each one has their gifts and knows they are cared for.

Raised by a mother who has volunteered many years at church and still continues to volunteer now, Genevieve said, “by her example, she taught me to care for those around me, look past our differences, and give in any way I can of whatever I possess. To give is to love but to withhold is to wither. If I care less for what I have and more for how it is shared, my life will have meaning and my heart will have peace.”

Genevieve’s parochial education, both as a graduate of St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, shaped her life of service. Besides volunteering at Five Acres, she raises money for the Fontana Police K-9 Pals and donates blood to the American Red Cross.

Genevieve’s blood type makes her a donor for both plasma and platelets, which she donated for COVID-19 and cancer patients weekly when needed during the pandemic. As an incentive from the American Red Cross, they gave Amazon gift cards, which she collected for an entire year to purchase two bikes for Five Acres.

With a heart of gold, Genevieve’s compassion, kindness, and love extends beyond her bedside manners as a licensed vocational nurse.

Learn how you can donate or volunteer at Five Acres.