Story by Lt. Daniel Tristan AA/Public Information Officer
California Institution for Men

Photos courtesy of Araceli Talavera

The holiday season is all about giving back and inspiring hope and the California Institution for Men (CIM) recently had the opportunity to do both.

On Dec. 15, CIM partnered with the Chino Valley Fire Department, Chino Police Department, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrole and Wal-Mart for the annual “Make a Child Smile” event.

The event is coordinated annually by the Chino Valley Professional Firefighters and the Chino Valley Fire Foundation.  The focus is to brighten the holidays for kids in need, while also strengthening the bond between law enforcement, fire personnel and the community.

The Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) does its part by helping to identify children whose families are in need and organize a field trip.

The festivities began when the school buses arrived escorted by fire trucks and motorcycle officers.  As each child got off the bus they were greeted by the uniformed police officer or fire fighter they would be paired with and a Wal-Mart employee.  They were then taken over to meet Santa Claus and take a few photos.

Twelve CIM custody staff members volunteered to participate in the event. They accompanied the children through the store on a $150-shopping spree donated by Wal-Mart and other businesses and organizations.  Once the child had finished shopping, they “checked out” together. The gifts are packed and shipped to the school and made ready to go under the Christmas tree.

In total, 100 children were selected to take part in this event making it the largest one in 14 years.

Acting Warden Dean Borders expressed his appreciation of Officer Daniel Pineda and Sgt. Michael Diaz for connecting CIM with the event organizers.

Warden Borders stated, “CIM is excited and honored to be a part of this event.  Our staff volunteered their time and energy to be part of this and did so with a great attitude.  Anytime CIM has the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with community and in doing so brighten a child’s day, we’re in.”

CIM was opened in June 1941 an is located in Chino.

Learn about the history of CIM at