5th Annual Fall Festival Wrap Up | Youth raise $18K for Hands4Hope programs!

Updated: Nov 1


Thank you to everyone who supported our 5th Annual Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Fall Festival that took place on October 8-9 along the beautiful waterfront of the El Dorado Hills Town Center.

The Fall Festival Planning Committee began meeting in May to set goals, plan, market, and implement the details of this annual event. Managing the complexity of a large-scale project like the Fall Festival challenged our youth to communicate, collaborate and broadened their leadership skills.

As a team, they navigated through obstacles they encountered along the way and saw the result of their efforts, raising over $18,000 through sponsorships and ticket sales for the Hands4Hope Education and Community Engagement program!

The youth-led Fall Festival Planning Committee was broken down into four subcommittees: Operations and Finance, Games and Activities, Marketing and Fundraising, and Volunteer Management. Adult mentors included Kathy Gerstle, Hands4Hope Education Program Coordinator, and longtime Hands4Hope volunteer, Shirley Maier, who served as the Adult Lead.

Our Hands4Hope staff mentor, Kathy Gerstle had this to say about her experience planning the Fall Festival with this creative, dedicated and energetic group of youth:

"Working with this leadership planning team and their committee members was the best part of this whole process. The growth and confidence that I witnessed in the leaders as they grew into their roles and became more confident was incredibly rewarding. I can honestly say the skills they take away in this event planning will stay with them forever. I loved working with this group and am so proud of them."

Together, the youth and their mentors facilitated a wonderful, family-friendly, fun-filled weekend with fall-themed activities, including 15 carnival games, an obstacle course, pumpkin decorating, hay rides, a treat trot, and a special visit from the Barnyard Animal Rescue for over 800 attendees who came out to enjoy the festivities during the two-day event!


Here’s what our youth had to say about being involved in the Fall Festival Committee this year:

“Being the youth lead on the Fall Festival Committee was a great experience for me in so many ways! I was pushed out of my comfort zone by having to contact and connect with many different people in the community and get accustomed to regular email usage. I also learned a lot about how to lead a meeting, what works and what doesn’t, and manage a timeline of an event efficiently. These are skills that I will definitely continue to use in other aspects of my life and will be very helpful in a professional job down the road!”


Patrick Whelan - Operations and Finance Committee Youth Chair



“The Fall Festival is, arguably, the Hands4Hope annual event that best showcases teamwork. Seeing multiple different committees, hundreds of volunteers, and various adult leads come together to build an event to this scale is an incredible sight. The best part of it all was witnessing the amount of fun that all of the kids who participated had because of our hard work!”

Tarika Kahlon - Games and Activities Committee Youth Member


“I have thoroughly enjoyed the community that my participation in the recent Fall Festival Committee has brought me. Not only has it connected me closer to the incredible Hands4Hope community but it has taught me to be a clear communicator. I recall a past

quote I wrote at the beginning of this committee that expressed how I built my patience and assertiveness through Fall Festival Committee meetings. I still consider this true. Not only am I a more patient and assertive communicator, but a more decisive communicator. I know what I need to say and how to say it. Without these skills I have developed I would be a much less sufficient leader than I am today. These leadership skills are of great importance not only within Hands4Hope but within my other leadership throughout the community. I am so thankful to have been part of this project these past few months and I can’t wait to see the Fall Festival grow next year!”


Navy Morrison - Volunteer Management Committee Youth Chair




We are so grateful to the businesses who sponsored and supported this event:


El Dorado Hills Town Center, Doug Veerkamp Engineering, Agree Ya, 3 Generations Improvements, Inc., Fergerson Financial, Lyon Real Estate - Placerville, McDonalds, Marshall Medical Center, Mela Fratarcangeli Real Estate, Priyanka and Narish Anji, Datwyler Orthodontics, Freer Realty, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Muro+ Lampe, State Farm, Tri Square Communication and Western Sign Company, Barnyard Animal Rescue Nest, El

Dorado Hills TAZ Swim Team, Lees’ Feed, Thompson Toyota, Barsotti Family Juice Company, Bel Air, Nibblers, Crumbl Cookies, Rainbow Orchard, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Liz Drummond.

In addition, we’d like to thank our youth and adult mentors who planned and implemented the event, our volunteers who helped run the event, and those who simply attended - we appreciate your support and couldn't have done it without you!

Your time, financial support and help made it possible and allows us to continue our mission of inspiring and empowering youth in leadership and service.