Friends of Children United Society (FOCUS) will be celebrating 40 years of service to battered, abused, homeless, and children in need of San Diego County this coming year, 2022.
It was in 1982 that Dr. Paul Pettit’s wife, Rosemary Pettit met with motion picture film star Jane Russell to inaugurate a non-profit corporation in San Diego to help raise funds for charitable purposes for the comfort and betterment of battered, abused, homeless, disabled, disadvantaged and foster children in San Diego County. This non-profit entity disburses all funds raised to purchase necessary items for children upon approval of the membership.
No board members, or any member of FOCUS receive money for their services, or is paid a salary by FOCUS. It is an all volunteer organization that has committees to designate where monies are spent, what organizations are given money, and committees for membership, and fund-raising. “The work FOCUS does with its teams of volunteers, is monumental,” said FOCUS president Pat Robitaille.
FOCUS has supported Armed Services YMCA, Community Christian Services, San Diego Center for Children, San Diego Rescue Mission, San Diego Youth Services, Stand Up for Kids, Operation Homefront, International Rescue Committee, Coronado SAFE, Coronado United Schools, and Urban Street Angels, an organization dedicated to retrieving homeless youth of all ages, off the streets of San Diego, and providing temporary housing, medical care, and immediate food and nourishment.
To memorialize their 40th anniversary, FOCUS accepted the city of Coronado’s invitation for non-profits to create banners which to display along Orange Avenue in Coronado.
“It was with great pride and joy to have banners made and installed on Orange Avenue,” Pat Robitaille said. “We are proud of the service we provide to the community of Coronado, and the County of San Diego. It is all about the needy children we so strongly support and their welfare, that is why we exist today.”
Jane Russell, the Hollywood actress, who starred in such films as “The Outlaw” (1943), “The Paleface” (1948), and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), was a champion for Children. During the 1950’s, the actress founded WAIF, an organization working on behalf of American children living in foster care and institutions. Jane Russell also championed the passage of the Federal Orphan Adoption Amendment of 1953.
Rosemary Pettit was living in the Coronado Cays at the time of her meeting with Jane Russell. Rosemary Pettit put together a committee to launch the beginning of FOCUS, and with the incorporation of a California Public Benefit Organization ,501c non-profit corporation in 1982, FOCUS was born. A movie celebrity, coupled with a physican’s wife, made for the beginning of an organization dedicated to helping battered, abused, homeless, disabled, disadvantaged and foster children in San Diego County.
FOCUS for many years was staffed and run by women. In 2012 it began accepting men as members. “We always had the husbands helping with what needed to be done, and then one of the member’s husband wanted to make it official, so we did,” said Pat Robitaille. “We invite everyone to join and participate for the benefit of needy children.”
“Active members pay $75 a year, Patron members pay $150 a year, and corporate sponsors pay $300 a year. Membership allows individuals to vote on what organizations receive FOCUS funding each month, attend social events, which allows members to get to know other members and join various committees, as well as become acquainted with the organizations that FOCUS supports,” stated Lorna Perez-Caster, second vice president of membership.
FOCUS has a website at www.focus-sdkids.org. Their mailing address is FOCUS, P.O. Box 180023, Coronado, California 92178. Pat Robitaille will be having an orientation meeting in October for new members, and interested persons can contact her at email@example.com.