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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Foothill Unity Center, Helping People Changing Lives

Foothill Unity Center acts as a lifeline for very low income individuals and families who are struggling to survive. 38% of them are children. Our service area covers eleven cities in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County: Monrovia, Arcadia, Duarte, Bradbury, Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Azusa, Baldwin Park and Irwindale. Clients are often unemployed, employed at wages too low to provide for their families, on welfare, or facing a temporary crisis. We also serve seniors, homeless, disabled, emancipated foster youth, victims of domestic violence, students on limited incomes and individuals just released from prison. In 2010, with support from the community and a large group of dedicated volunteers, we served 12,644 unduplicated persons (4,606 families).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kidney Quest Foundation - Greater Awareness, Greatest Hope

Arnold and Carolyn Urquidez are the founders of Kidneys Quest Foundation. When Arnold was diagnosed with a rare genetic kidney disease, he thought his life was over. They were determined to learn whatever was necessary to help prolong Arnold’s life and enable him to live life to the fullest. This has brought many changes including a healthier way of living, a more nutritious renal diet, having a positive attitude, and focusing on how to gain good physical conditioning. After much research, Arnold and Carolyn have found a successful journey for living with a kidney condition.

Kidneys Quest Foundation, Inc. is an outreach organization dedicated to families and individuals with kidney disorders and those in need of kidney transplants. The foundation is designed to help people focus on building inner strength and learning how to take action to manage their health condition.

KQF is committed to educating and providing people with knowledge about the choices that are available. The goal of KQF is to support and direct kidney patients when they feel they don’t know how to get to that next step and to alleviate some of the fears and stress of living with a kidney disease.

Kidneys Quest Foundation works in several areas:
• Support and direct kidney patients on next steps to take after being diagnosed with a kidney disorder.
• Dialysis support
• Training potential candidates to do dialysis at home so they can have time available for employment.
• Preparing renal patients to become and stay active on a Kidney Transplant List as a recipient.
• Dieting with enjoyment, including menus located in our cookbook.
• Exercising or staying active, and being involved in hobbies.
• Staying in control of your life with a kidney condition.
• Mentally and emotionally surviving this time in your life.
• After kidney transplant support services.
• Outreach events to let people know we are here for them.
• Bringing information to the community on how to become a Live Kidney Donor (how to give the gift of life).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hillsides - Creating a Safe Place for Children

Hillsides has always created safe places for children; strengthened families, provided special education; and advocated for children’s rights.

From its inception in 1913 as an Episcopal Orphanage, The Church Home for Children, until its present-day status as a private, nonprofit foster care and treatment center, Hillsides has never wavered from its commitment to creating a safe place for children. Although it began as an orphanage, Hillsides now works to end the cycle of child abuse that destroys children and tears families apart. Loving care, therapeutic healing, special education, family crisis intervention and children's rights advocacy are at the heart of the agency's mission. These priorities were created by the vision of Deaconess Evelyn Wile. At Hillsides, children suffering from abuse and mental illness can still find a "safe place" to call home. Today, the children’s charity located in Pasadena is considered an official institution of the Los Angeles Diocese of the Episcopal Church.

Children in residence, who are in foster care or suffer from mental health needs, are referred to Hillsides by the Dependency Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court and the Department of Mental Health. Although they come from all over Southern California and encompass every ethnic and socioeconomic group, they share a common experience - the emotional scars that result from child abuse. With counseling and mental health treatment, children at Hillsides learn that they are not alone, that they are safe and cared for through. Six programs constitute the framework for Hillsides treatment services-Residential Treatment, the Education Center, the Family Center, and Advocacy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

PVW: Your Business to Business Solution

PVW invests in people and that investment pays off in a multitude of ways. People with developmental disabilities are offered the tools and support needed to be more productive members of society. They learn work skills and earn a paycheck which boosts their self esteem and self worth. They pay taxes which boosts our economy. And many reduce the level of benefits received by State and Federal governments as they become more self-sufficient as part of the local economy’s work force. It’s a win-win situation for the individual and for the business community!

Since 1966, Pomona Valley Workshop has been partnering with businesses by providing contract packaging and employment solutions. There are many qualified, trained and work-ready men and women with disabilities seeking employment opportunities yet they are often overlooked. However, it has been proven time and time again that providing employment opportunities for these individuals is good for business. Save time and money, improve entry-level turnover and absenteeism and build goodwill with your customer base through a positive public image.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

David & Margaret Fundraiser

by Suzanne Sproul, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

LA VERNE -- The David & Margaret Youth and Family Services is having its fourth annual Notes of Love dinner and silent auction, helping to raise money for necessary programs to children in need.

Former La Verne Mayor Jon Blickenstaff will be the emcee. Arun Tolia of Arun Home Realty will present the La Verne Chamber of Commerce Champion Award to Brian McNerney also for his dedication to children and to David & Margaret in particular.

The theme for the Oct. 14, event is "A Night on the Red Carpet." It will be in The Avalon, at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. There will be dinner, entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets are $100 per person or $150 per couple.

"We hope to increase awareness of David & Margaret and the services we provide to our community. And we hope to raise much-needed funds for our art therapy program, while also helping provide for our residents' leisure activities for the year," said Julie Griffith, publicity coordinator.

The David & Margaret Home was established in 1910 by The Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church as an orphanage. The Henry Kuns family donated 17.5 acres of land in La Verne which housed an old hotel. The facility was named after Kuns' parents and his son.

In 1967 it became a treatment center of adolescent girls. The Joan Macy School was started on campus to educate the girls who lived there in cottages as well as some community students. The Foster Family Agency was added in 1986 to help place boys and girls in homes. And The Learning Enhancement Center opened in 1990 offering neurodevelopmental therapy.

During the years, the mission has changed but has always remained faithful to helping young people in need.

"There are many ways the community can invest in the important work of David & Margaret such as becoming a volunteer or a benefactor of programs like the residential library, the art program, health services, transportation services and drug rehabilitation services," Griffith said.

"Naming opportunities include the vocational education program, Healthy Choices program, the Learning Enhancement Center and the Transitional Living Program."

The motto of The David & Margaret Youth and Family Services is "Sharing Hope Since 1910." For more information about the organization and its upcoming fundraiser, call 909-596-5921.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Good Neighbor Tool Kit: Improving Your Community

By giving of your time, you can help make your community a better, safer, cleaner, and more pleasant place to live. And often, very small gestures can make a difference.

23 Simple Ways to Give Back to Your Community
Not every volunteer effort has to change the world. Let your efforts make your corner a little brighter. Here are some simple ways you can improve your community:

1. Help an elderly neighbor rake leaves, shovel snow, or do home repairs.

2. Plant flowers in the town center.

3. Give away free flowers or seeds in the spring.

4. Put out flags for the 4th of July in neighborhood front yards or the town center.

5. Sponsor a Little League team where there wasn't one already.

6. Become active in the chamber of commerce.

7. Organize a garden walk.

8. Speak at career day at the elementary school.

9. Repaint a playground.

10. Take your pet to the local senior center.

11. Organize a summer cleaning or painting of the local school.

12. Ask past clients to take part in a house tour.

13. Give a free first-time homebuyers seminar.

14. Collect customer donations in your office lobby.

15. Encourage sellers to donate clothing and furniture rather than throw it out.

16. Sit as a member of your city capital improvements task force.

17. Use your real estate contacts and skills to identify property that might be donated or purchased for charity use: building low-income homes, local schools, hospitals, or group homes.

18. Bring a carload of newspapers, towels, and blankets to an animal shelter.

19. Ask a local teacher what supplies his or her class needs most, then donate them.

20. Hold a canned food drive, then deliver the goods to a soup kitchen.

21. Organize a town clean-up day.

22. Take a lonely child with you when your family goes to the movies.

23. Join the PTA.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Doing the Remarkable

By Jim Rohn

When it comes to meeting and conquering the negativity in your life, here is a key question: What can you do, starting today, that will make a difference? What can you do during economic chaos? What can you do when everything has gone wrong? What can you do when you've run out of money, when you don't feel well and it's all gone sour? What can you do?

Let me give you the broad answer first. You can do the most remarkable things, no matter what happens. People can do incredible things, unbelievable things, despite the most impossible or disastrous circumstances.

Here is why humans can do remarkable things: because they are remarkable. Humans are different than any other creation. When a dog starts with weeds, he winds up with weeds. And the reason is because he's a dog. But that's not true with human beings. Humans can turn weeds into gardens. Humans can turn nothing into something, pennies into fortune, and disaster into success. And the reason they can do such remarkable things is because they are remarkable.

Try reaching down inside of yourself; you'll come up with some more of those remarkable human gifts. They're there, waiting to be discovered and employed. With those gifts, you can change anything for yourself that you wish to change. And I challenge you to do that because you can change. If you don't like how something is going for you, change it. If something isn't enough, change it. If something doesn't suit you; change it. If something doesn't please you, change it. You don't ever have to be the same after today. If you don't like your present address change it--you're not a tree! If there is one thing to get excited about, it's your ability to make yourself do the necessary things, to get a desired result, to turn the negative into success. That's true excitement.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Giving Back

By Kelli Holmes

Not sure how to fit "giving back" into your everyday life? That's okay. You can define service and giving in any way that works for you. Possible next steps could be:

  • Volunteer one day per month to assist a non-profit in your community
  • Mentor a new employee at work
  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
  • Donate blood through the American Red Cross
  • Help an elderly neighbor with some of their shopping needs
  • Cook a meal for a family in need
  • Join Habitat for Humanity and help build a home for a family in need
  • Teach someone how to read
  • Take the extra step "above and beyond" to provide services to a customer or find a solution to a problem outside your job description
  • Make a phone call to someone who needs cheering up
  • Sign up for a committee at your child's school or in your community
  • Mentor a teenage girl who needs help
  • Commit yourself to reaching out today. When we give to others, we are the greatest recipients. As physician and writer John Andrew Holmes said, "There is no experience better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

7 Good Reasons to Give Back

Improve Your Health and the World
Around You
By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer

According to the Giving USA Foundation, charitable giving in the United States reached an
estimated $295 billion in 2006—a new record. The record-setting donations included $1.9 billion from Warren Buffett, paid as the first installment of his 20-year pledge of more than $30 billion to four different foundations. But you don’t have to be rich to make a difference. Millions of
ordinary Americans—people who you pass on the street every day--also gave to charity,
for the sake of making the world a better place, one dollar at a time.

Whether you donate money or time, giving back is beneficial--and not just for the recipients. Research has shown that the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is true after all.

A Gallup survey on volunteering in the U.S.A. found that 52% of volunteers do it because they like doing something useful and helping others. Another 38% said they enjoy doing volunteer work and feeling good about themselves.

Besides feeling good about yourself for doing something for others, giving back is also good for your physical health. In a Canadian study, 85% of Ontario volunteers rated their health as "good," compared to 79% of non-volunteers. Only 2% of volunteers reported "poor" health, one-third the amount of non-volunteers who reported the same health status

Still other studies have shown a relationship between volunteering and increased self-esteem,
with volunteers reporting both greater personal empowerment and better health. Doing for others may stimulate the release of endorphins, which has been linked to improved nervous and immune system functions, too.

Many people report a “high” from volunteering, similar to the good feelings that come from exercise. Others have found that volunteering can help fight depression. Helping others can help take your mind off your own problems and enable you to see the bigger picture. Once you see the difference you can make in another person's life, your own problems can seem smaller and more manageable.

As more research is showing that people with fewer social contacts have shorter life spans than people with wide social circles, regardless of race, income level or other lifestyle factors. If you are lonely or live in an area far away from friends and family, volunteering is one way to build a social life and improve your emotional and physical health at the same time.

Here are 7 More Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Develop new skills. Gaining skills, knowledge and expertise are common side effects of volunteering. Giving others your time brings you interesting and challenging opportunities that might not come along otherwise. This experience can be added to your resume and could result in a better paying job in the future.

2. Make social connections. Loneliness and boredom are common among retirees, students, and transplants to a new city. Volunteering can relieve this sense of social isolation and help you fill empty hours in the day.

3. Give back to your community. Doing something for the community you live in and returning the favor to those who have helped you are strong motivators. Everyone, rich or poor, takes from society, and volunteering is one way to show a sense of appreciation.

4. Develop and grow as a person. Volunteering is an excellent way to explore your likes and dislikes. If you’re interested in a new career, volunteer in the field first to see if you will actually like it. You may find a totally unrelated field is a much better fit for you, one you’d never consider if you hadn’t volunteered there first.

5. Gain a new perspective. Life can be hard and when you’re feeling down, your problems can seem insurmountable. Volunteering can offer a new perspective—seeing people who are worse off than you are, yet still hanging in there, can help you see your life in a whole new light.

6. Know that you're needed. Feeling needed and appreciated are important, and you may not get that appreciation from your paid work or home life where the things you do are expected or taken for granted. When you volunteer, you realize just how much you are truly needed. Meeting people who need your help is a strong incentive to continue— people are depending on you. If you don’t do it, who will?

7. Boost your self-esteem. Many volunteers experience a sense of increased self-esteem and greater self-worth. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves.

Research has shown that the good feelings you experience when helping others may be just as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet. But it’s the smile from a child or thankful person that shows you’re really making a difference in someone's life. And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.