After a career in the US Navy that spanned more than 25 years, Captain David Schnell currently serves as vice president of operations for the Electronic Tolling Division of Xerox Corporation. During his distinguished career, he commanded several warships, including the amphibious aircraft carrier USS Peleliu and the guided missile frigate USS Ford. In addition to his professional responsibilities at Xerox, Captain David Schnell volunteers his time to the Christ Kitchen in San Diego, where he is executive director, and to Walden Family Services, where he serves on the foundation board.
Walden Family Services began in 1976 as a private, not-for-profit corporation to care for neglected and abused children in group residential facilities. Seven years later, it transitioned into foster care, and it expanded again in 1994 to open its doors to young people with developmental disabilities.
During the 21st century, Walden Family Services has expanded its services and broadened its appeal, serving foster youth both before and after emancipation, as well as those with special health care needs. It established a program for pregnant teens and those who are themselves parents. It also developed an education program with the objective to advocate for and safely place foster youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ).
Walden secured an adoption license in late 2008, which enabled it to serve as a comprehensive adoption agency from family assessment through post-adoption support. Walden today serves more than 250 youth daily in more than 180 foster homes throughout Southern California.