Mary A. Castillo
When Carol Carlson met Selma Allen and Christina Vickers of Tierra
Laguna Realty, the last thing she expected was that they would hand over
a $4,000 check made out to the Community Service Programs Youth Shelter.
“Donations are such a great part of how we service the teens,” Carlson
The doors of the shelter have been opened to troubled children ages 11
to 17 since 1979. Providing six beds, three daily meals, counseling and
activities, the Carlson and her staff give teens in crisis a safe haven.
“There is always someone to answer a call from a teen on the street, a
parent or the police,” she said, citing the shelter’s 24/7 open door
The shelter is one of three operating in all of Orange County,
providing an alternative to the foster care or the juvenile justice
systems. Residents at the shelter, said Carlson, are given the
responsibility to change their lives and meet daily goals.
“They realize they’re in a safe place where they can go about the
business of putting themselves back together,” she said.
Last year, the program had an 89% success rate of reuniting teens with
their families. Allen, who has owned and operated Tierra Laguna Realty
for more than 40 years, became aware of the shelter through a client who
listed his Laguna Beach home with her and Vickers. The client requested
that 2% of her commission go to the shelter.
Delighted to continue her tradition of supporting local charities,
Allen complied. When she and Vickers presented the gift to Carlson at the
shelter, they were deeply moved by meeting the children and understanding
the circumstances that brought them to the program.
“We were both in tears because we couldn’t give more,” she said. Allen
wants the public to know that Tierra Laguna will regularly offer to give
2% of their sales commissions to any local charity. “We’re ready to do it
so we can make a difference,” she said.
However, Carlson and her staff of 21 youth counselors and volunteers
couldn’t be happier with the gift.
“Federal and county grants cover less than one-third of our annual
budget,” she explained. The shelter works very hard not only to fund
raise, she said, but also to “friend-raise volunteers.”
The shelter definitely found a friend in Tierra Laguna Realty, she
said. “This is a win-win situation,” Carlson said. “They get the
listings and we get help.”