My daughter and I had a unique opportunity this past Mother’s Day weekend. We received an invitation to attend a fundraiser called “Once Upon an Apron” for the non-profit Chula’s Mission. The mission of Chula’s Mission is mentoring and nurturing motherless girls. They provide free services to girls during the critical ages of 11- to 13-years-old. Services include cooking classes, grief counseling and mentoring. The idea of cooking classes really resonates with me, as cooking is part of my own personal self-care and a highlight of raising my daughters.

Chula's Mission San Diego

Scatena Daniels, a philanthropy-focused communications firm, extended the invitation, and was proud to sponsor the event, along with Brian Malarkey’s Green Acres and KyXy 96.5. I had never been to Green Acres, although I have enjoyed several of Brian Malarkey’s other restaurants. The Campus Point location is on a beautiful campus, featuring native plants, including my favorite, fragrant Cleveland sage.

“We named the event ‘Once Upon an Apron’ because we felt the act of decorating the aprons helps to bond mothers and daughters, and prepares them for some memorable times in the future cooking and craft-making,” shared Lyndsey Ruiz, co-founder, Chula’s Mission. Event proceeds benefitted the programs and outreach activities of Chula’s Mission, which includes a unique and dynamic grief counseling program for young motherless girls that incorporates cooking classes, which are designed to aid in the healing process, by providing the comforts found in a tradition shared by many mothers and daughters. The goal is for each girl that comes through Chula’s Mission to grow into a bright, well-adjusted and successful young woman. Through the generous hearts of volunteers and benefactors, motherless girls will have the opportunity to heal and thrive.


My daughter and I enjoyed the pizza and chocolate cookies, as well as the activities, including apron decorating, cookie decorating and a photo booth. I also enjoyed hearing from a panel of celebrity moms who shared their insight and ideas on balancing family, work and “me time.” The panel was comprised of Courtney Dwyer from XETV-TV/San Diego 6, Jodi Kodesh from KNSD-TV/NBC 7 and Marcella Lee from KFMB-TV/CBS 8. Laura Cain from KyXy 96.5’s  “Jef and Jer Showgram” moderated the panelists.

The founders of Chula’s Mission were very touching sharing about the program. I joked about sublimating my anxiety into donating a few old stuffed animals to charity. This is a group of women truly channeling the hardest thing in their lives into an amazing opportunity for girls at a vulnerable age.

About Chula’s Mission:

Founded in 2010, Chula’s Mission is a San Diego-based 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to mentor and nurture young motherless girls. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. The organization’s programs are specifically aimed at addressing issues young girls may face after losing their mothers, reducing the risks and creating a healthier path to adulthood.   Chula’s Mission was co-founded by Lyndsey Ruiz and Mayra San Juan, who both lost their mothers at a young age. The organization is named after Ruiz’s mother who was given the nickname “Chula,” which means beautiful or pretty in Spanish. Please visit their website to see more of what they do.