Five Acres Presents Community Awards and Welcomes New Board Members

New board members Carol Alexis Chen and Zoe Walrond are picturedALTADENA, Calif.—Five Acres announced its new board members and recognized its community award recipients at its 134th Annual Meeting and Board Celebration today on March 9. Hosting the virtual celebration, Five Acres honored community members and volunteers who demonstrated an unwavering commitment to its mission during the previous year.

These individuals have supported the charity’s mission in serving more than 7,000 children and families annually across five counties. The charity offers a full continuum of care for children and families in crisis, including foster care, adoption, deaf services, therapeutic residential care for foster youth, and community-based mental/behavioral health programs.

The individuals and organizations recognized were:

  • In honor of their memory, Gene Gregg and Margaret Sedenquist, Dorothy Cook Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Florence Nelson, Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Rustin Mork, Person of the Year Award
  • Carbon Health and Five Acres Nursing Staff, Special Service to Children
  • Don Boline, Special Recognition Award
  • In honor of her memory Melissa Kobe, The Children’s Thanks
  • Paul Maurin, Commitment to Service Award

Five Acres also bids farewell to Don Boline and Rustin Mork, who served their tenure this year. Board members who departed made a mark on the agency’s mission. Being a local builder, Boline started on the Building and Grounds Committee before he joined the Board in 2012. He served as the vice chair of administration and last year co-chaired the Gala Committee, galvanizing additional support for Five Acres. Mork started his involvement serving on the golf committee raising funds for the charity until he was recruited to join the Board in the same year as Boline. He chaired the Golf Committee and last served as the vice chair of nominating and audit committees.

The charity also welcomed two new board members: Carol Alexis Chen and Zoe Walrond who join the class of 2022. Chen is a partner and trial lawyer in Winston & Strawn LLP’s Los Angeles office. She represents public and private companies, corporate officers, entrepreneurs, and other individuals in high-stakes white collar criminal and complex civil litigation. Carol is heavily involved in community, pro bono, and non-profit board service and various professional associations, and serves as a mentor for Yale Law Women, Asian Pacific Asian Women Lawyers Alliance, Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, and The Mentorship Boardroom, the latter for which she mentors young lawyers in South Africa through virtual meetings.

Walrond comes to the Five Acres board with a background in broadcast journalism. She was a television reporter and anchor for NBC affiliates in Denver and Kansas City, Missouri, and the CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs. She also served as news director of National Public Radio affiliate KCUR-FM in Kansas City, as Morning Edition anchor on NPR affiliate KPCC-FM in Pasadena, and as a contributing reporter for NPR. In addition, Zoe was a news anchor on all-news radio station KFWB in Los Angeles. As an adjunct professor at Cal Poly Humboldt, formerly known as Humboldt State, she taught journalism and radio production and was faculty advisor to the university’s award-winning student radio station. 

The charity’s new executive committee are Susan McGuirl, chair; Shoshana Puccia, secretary; Jason Melillo, vice chair, finance/investment; Chris Selak, vice chair, advancement; Grace Russak, vice chair, nominating; Chris Kerns, vice chair, audit and past board chair; and Kirsten Hansen, vice chair, administration.

“We honor, recognize, and appreciate all of our wonderful awardees, departing board members, new board members, and new executive committee, who have been an asset to the impact and growth of Five Acres,” said Chanel Boutakidis, Five Acres chief executive officer. “We have experienced the numerous challenges brought on by the pandemic yet the loyalty and commitment of those we recognize this evening have enabled us to continue focusing on the children and staff’s safety and well-being, while bringing loving, permanent forever families to children and youth in foster care.”

To learn more about Five Acres, visit

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About Five Acres

Since 1888, Five Acres has protected the most vulnerable members of our community: children. Serving more than 7,000 children and family members annually across five counties, Five Acres now strives for permanency—a permanent, loving home—for all children in their care. The three pillars of safety, well-being and permanency provide the framework for its programs and guide the steps as the agency develops even more effective means of caring for children and families in crisis.