Walden Family Services Helps Youth in the Foster Care System

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

Before his retirement after 27 years of service, Navy Captain David Schnell commanded two U.S. Navy warships. He currently holds the position of general manager of Los Angeles Metro Express Lanes with the Americas Commercial & State Government Transportation Group, a Xerox subsidiary. A devoted server of his community, David Schnell is on the board of Walden Family Services.

Inspired by 19th century writer Henry David Thoreau’s vision of every person’s potential, Walden Family Services began its caring for young people by finding single-family homes for children living in group institutions. Serving a large part of southern California, the organization believes that all children should have a loving family and the chance to realize their potential, both for themselves and their communities. With this goal in mind they support children by creating nurturing and lasting relationships.

Walden Family Services is known today for its focus on supporting children through their foster care years, especially those with special health needs, developmental disabilities, and behavioral and emotional challenges, as well as youth who identify as LGBT. Its services also include finding temporary or long term foster care families for youth who need to escape home environments which may include physical abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, and neglect.


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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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