December 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The family of three—a couple approximately in their 40s, and their 17-year-old son and pet dog—slept in sleeping bags and blankets behind a Santee gas station last week. They were dressed in layers and were huddled or lying down on the concrete ground close to the building with their belongings in a few small carts. The family has been homeless since last December. Because the father works there five days a week, the gas station owner allows them to sleep on the property on occasion.
December 15, 2015 (San Diego) - During the holiday season, members of the Sheriff's Senior Volunteer Patrol work hard to make sure seniors who live alone feel extra special. Throughout the month of December, Senior Volunteer Patrol members will be delivering gift baskets or hot meals to seniors enrolled in the Sheriff's You Are Not Alone program.
November 30, 2015 Thanksgiving Day (Santee) – The fourth annual Waddle and Trot 5K Fun Run (that’s the waddle part) and race (for the trotters) took off from the parking lot of the Pathways Community Church at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Over 600 runners raced down Mast Boulevard and into Santee Lakes park.
The course took competitors around three lovely lakes while Egrets and Great Blue Heron watched with cautious curiosity. You cannot imagine a more eclectic group. There were people of all ages from 90 years old to the unborn and every color you can imagine.
But we all had one thing in common – to reach out and help someone in need, collectively do a good deed and in spread a little holiday cheer along the way. All proceeds went to benefit the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank.
Animals are safely en route, soon to find refuge at sanctuaries
November 24, 2015 (Alpine)--Bobbi Brink, Founder/Director of Lions Tigers & Bears (LTB) in Alpine, and her team are making a 5,000 mile round trip journey to rescue and provide transport to six exotic animals, including four tigers from Ohio. The animals are en route to reputable sanctuaries in Nevada and California.
Part 2 in our series on foster youth programs. Read Part 1 here.
By Tasha Matthews
November 25, 2015 (San Diego)--Just in Time (JIT) is an organization that helps foster youth receive necessary resources in finance, education, basic needs, and life skills. Just in Time for foster youth was a part of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in 2003 (now known as Promises2Kids). Since then, Just in Time has vastly expanded, dedicated to helping foster youths through their early adult years. Just in Time has eight programs and is growing more along the way:
November 25, 2015 (Alpine)—For every toy donated to this year’s toy drive, Viejas Casino & Resort will match it one-for-one. “We have a very ambitious goal and we need your support to achieve success,” a press release states.
Since the Toy Drive in partnership with The Salvation Army in 2010, Viejas has donated over 30,000 toys, giving back to our community and helping to make the holiday season brighter for children in need.
On the drive home to San Diego from an event in Los Angeles, USA Today best-selling author Jennifer Coburn and Adventure by the Book owner Susan E. McBeth came up with an idea to throw a fundraiser benefiting the French Red Cross. The two women had recently taken trips to Paris and wanted to do something to help the victims of the November 13 attacks.
By the time they arrived home, they already had four authors of Paris-themed books on board, according to Coburn. Eight days later on November 22, the Je Suis Paris fundraiser was realized and proceeds exceeded the initial goal of $5,000.
November 11, 2015 (La Mesa)- On November 6th, the Caregiver Coalition of San Diego with the city of La Mesa had an event for caregivers of military veterans called “Finding the Balance in Caregiving- Caring for Veterans.” The event took place at the La Mesa Community Center with resource booths, free lunch provided by AARP, and a drawing. Respite care was available, provided by Heritage Senior Care.
East County Magazine was there- and below are details on many important programs and services to help our local veterans.
November 9, 2015 (San Diego)--Members of CAL FIRE Firefighters, along with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, will celebrate their 61-year partnership and kick off the fire fighters' annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign to benefit children and adults affected by muscle disease throughout the San Diego area.
More than 300 members of CAL FIRE will fan out across San Diego County with boots in hand for this year’s drive during the week of November 9 through 13th at intersections throughout the San Diego region.
November 7, 2015 (San Diego)--The San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive is putting out an all-points bulletin on new, tagged, huggable stuffed bears and they are asking the public to “turn them in” at law enforcement stations and San Diego County Chick-fil-A restaurants. The stuffed animals will be donated and delivered on Dec. 8 to Rady Children’s Hospital to comfort sick and scared children.
The 25th annual drive is coordinated this year by the San Diego County Probation Department and the Coronado Police Department. Chick-fil-A, a corporate supporter, is hosting the kickoff event from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 10 and will donate a free chicken sandwich meal or nuggets kid’s meal to those who bring in a brand new stuffed bear with tags still attached to any of its nine area stores during the special event. Area law enforcement will have representatives there and emergency vehicle displays as well as Chick-fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” Cow for photo opportunities with the public.
November 5, 2015 (El Cajon)--About 30 military veterans, now students at Cuyamaca College, enjoyed a barbecue and received school supplies at a Veterans Week commemoration hosted on campus Wednesday by the El Cajon Elks Lodge. The event, which also included a raffle for prizes including T-shirts, gift certificates from merchants and a pair of tickets to a Chargers’ football game, marked the second year that Elks Lodge 1812 joined the college in honoring student veterans.
November 3, 2015 (Lakeside)- Nearly $5,000 was raised at an October 23rd benefit event to help fund search efforts to find Elijah ‘Bear’ Diaz, who has been missing since August 29th. The event, which drew 218 guests, was held at the Loretta Quitae LaChappa Clubhouse near Barona Resort and Casino in Lakeside. The funds will help the family hire a private investigator.
November 1, 2015 (La Mesa) - The La Mesa Chamber is beginning to gather items for the 22 seniors that the Chamber adopts each year during the holidays. It is the goal of the Chamber to collect, purchase and assemble items and place them in large gift baskets. These gift baskets are delivered along with a hot turkey dinner, with all of the trimmings to the selected seniors by the La Mesa Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol.
Water Conservation Garden Hosts Second Annual Flagship Fundraiser
By Reema Makani Boccia
October 31, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon wowed attendees at its second annual “Enchanted Garden Gala” on Saturday, October 17 with an evening filled with delectable food and captivating entertainment all while supporting the East County institution. The event theme ‘Water – More Precious Than Gold’ was prevalent throughout the event, particularly striking a note with California’s current drought.
October 13, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa Human Relations Advisory Commission is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the San Diego Food Bank. The food drive will be held on Saturday, October 17, from 8:00 am to noon in the municipal parking lot (Farmers Market site) at 8130 Allison Avenue, along Date Avenue. The drive-thru drop off will be fast and convenient – no need to get out of the car.
Drive to support AJ’s Kids Crane and Rady Children’s Hospital
October 2, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department will begin its 3rd Annual Toy Drive on October 5, 2015 which will continue through November 17, 2015. The police department is hoping to collect enough toys to fill their Bearcat Rescue Vehicle, which will deliver the toys to AJ’s Kids Crane in the Mission Valley Ikea parking lot on November 17th.
October 1, 2015 (San Diego)— As it prepares to celebrate 35 years in business, Toward Maximum Independence, Inc. (TMI), a well-respected San Diego non-profit, has appointed Jane Moore as its new Community Relations Specialist. TMI has a longstanding reputation for implementing “Best Practices” that help people with developmental disabilities and deaf and hard of hearing to live, work and fully participate in their communities. TMI is dedicated to “Transforming Lives” for the people it serves.
San Diego Lifesaving Association Raising Funds for Lifeguard Injured On Duty
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)-- After completing a routine rescue at Windansea beach in La Jolla on August 15th, San Diego Lifeguard Gareth “Chappy” Chapman was struck by a large wave in shallow water and driven headfirst into the ground. The resulting impact left Gareth with several broken vertebrae in his neck and back, but fortunately did not cause any permanent damage to his spinal cord or nervous system.
El Cajon cancer survivor is organizer of “Dance for Life” event
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)--Jazzercise instructors will bring San Diegans together to fight breast cancer and dance for a cure aboard the USS Midway on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 8:30-10 a.m. More than 1,000 Jazzercise instructors, customers, family and friends, including many who have been affected by breast cancer, are expected to participate in a huge group fitness class on the deck of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier located at 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego. Proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. At last year’s Jazzercise Dance for Life event, more than 1,100 people danced together and raised more than $93,000 to fight the disease.
Photo, left: Staff and mentors at Fostering Opportunities Scholarships
Part I in a series on foster youth programs
September 22, 2015 (San Diego)-- Half of all foster kids in the U.S. end up homeless as adults. Just 10% go to college, and of those, only 3% graduate. Although foster youths comprise less than 0.3% of the state’s population, 40% of the people in homeless shelters are former foster youths, as is a high percentage of the country's prison population. Over half (51% ) of foster youths are unemployed. Yet despite these staggering statistics, many foster youths are bright, talented individuals who have proven that they can thrive—with help from some local groups working to help them have a brighter future.
Photo: Maggie Espinosa in the Oxnard Strawberry Fields
September 25, 2015 (La Mesa)--In Spain, there is a famous pilgrimage/walk, called El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a 450 mile walk. Many people have that walk on their bucket list. La Mesa resident Maggie Espinosa has completed her own version of that peregrination by walking the 800 mile El Camino Real, up the California coast.
September 16, 2015 (San Diego)--A San Diego County program that helps safeguard vulnerable adults in dependent care has received the California Counties Innovation Award, the highest honor given in the California State Association of Counties’ annual awards.
Kylie Rowand Foundation founded by Alpine parents aims to help fight childhood cancer
By Janis Russell
September 11, 2015 (Jamul)—Luke and Bree Rowand lost their young daughter, Kylie, to neuroblastoma last February. Now they have started the Kylie Rowand Foundation in hopes of sparing other families from having to endure with such a devastating loss.
San Diego Military Veterans Volunteer at Garden As Part of National Service Project
September 12, 2015 (El Cajon)--The Water Conservation Garden proudly hosted more than a dozen military veterans from The Mission Continues as part of a national veterans service day on September 11. The volunteers planted trees in one of The Garden’s newest exhibits, the Native Habitat Garden.
September 4, 2015 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Rotary Club invites you to a Comedy Hypnosis show with Marsha Starr –where the audience members are the stars—on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in the La Mesa Community Center. She’s performed on Broadway, in Vegas, and at the Comedy Store.
Photo: Craig McClain with his wife, Kathleen and daughter, Deanna
August 28, 2015 (El Cajon)--The Boy Scouts of the Heartland District in East County honored Craig McClain of Boys to Men Mentoring at a luncheon on August 26th at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon.
August 21, 2015 (El Cajon) – The Haute with Heart fashion show held August 15th at the San Diego Hilton was a stylish success, raising over $116,000 net to benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center in El Cajon, which serves developmentally disabled adults.
August 21, 2015 (San Diego)- Mary Lubey, division director of Behavioral Health Sciences from Volunteers of America Southwest, recently sat down with ECM to talk about Hawley Veterans Center and what the center has been doing to help veterans among other topics. Lubey is also in charge of overseeing the program manager at Hawley Veterans Center at 9980 Hawley Road in El Cajon.
August 14, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Applications are being accepted for several openings on the City’s Aging and Veterans Commission, Environmental Sustainability Commission, La Mesa Community Parking Commission, and Historic Preservation Commission.
“The Mayor and City Councilmembers value the input from our community volunteers,” said Mary Kennedy, City Clerk. “By bringing new ideas to the table and representing the community, you will be helping your City government make the best most informed decisions possible for the benefit of the entire community.”