Walden Family Services Addresses Post-Foster-Care Needs

Walden Family Services pic
Walden Family Services
Image: waldenfamily.org

Formerly a warship commander in the US Navy, Captain David Schnell holds responsibilities as an executive with a Xerox subsidiary and as executive director of the Christ Kitchen nonprofit agency. Captain David Schnell also serves on the board of Walden Family Services of San Diego.

The agency began in 1978, with the mission of supporting youth before and after their experience in foster homes. Its transitional housing-plus-foster-care program addresses the needs of the 65 percent of California children who have no home after emancipation at age 18.

Walden was one of the first groups in California to provide foster care until age 21, provided individuals continued their education and obtained employment. The organization provides necessary structure while encouraging youth to develop life skills such as job-hunting, budgeting, preparing meals, and attending to their studies.

Through Walden’s therapy services, participants work through issues, such as domestic violence and substance abuse. Crisis counseling also is available at all times. Further, mentors help with the challenges of employment and parenting.

Walden also provides access to necessities, such as SAT preparation, school supplies, driving instruction, and public transportation. Uniforms and clothing for job interviews are also made available.


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A U.S. Navy veteran with more than 26 years of experience as an officer in increasingly challenging roles, including the command of two naval warships, David Schnell has a vast background in executive leadership, management, and team building. David Schnell’s military service offered him the chance to develop a wide range of skills in business management, crisis management, financial planning, and problem solving. He served in multiple deployments to the Arabian Gulf, provided combat support to ongoing military operations in the Middle East, and led thousands of sailors from a variety of different professional backgrounds. During his naval career, David Schnell served as Commanding Officer on board the USS Peleliu, an amphibious aircraft carrier and flagship for an expeditionary strike group, and the USS Ford, a guided missile frigate in support of an aircraft carrier strike group. During both commands, he led a total of 1,250 sailors and oversaw the security of 1,800 Marines in combat and support operations. David Schnell also held several staff positions in Washington, DC, including Staff Officer to the Chief of Naval Operations Deep Blue Directorate, where he offered technical guidance and expertise on emerging warfare concepts, and Branch Chief to the Joint Staff in the War on Terrorism Directorate, where he worked on anti-proliferation issues concerning weapons of mass destruction as well as biological and chemical agents. Schnell retired honorably from the Navy as a Captain and currently works in San Diego as Executive Director of Christ Kitchen, an organization that provides thousands of meals to people who are homeless and families in need. David Schnell also serves on the board of Walden Family Services and is a counselor with Royal Family Kids Camp, two organizations that offer assistance, support, and developmental activities to foster children.

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