A Holiday Where Student STARS Shine

Story by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-01-09

Officer Parsons with STAR Lynnae and mom Annette. Photo by Trins Drotat

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Polite, hard worker, sweet, great smile, perfect school attendance, kind, resilient, energetic, empathetic, loyal, trustworthy, and curious about the world were the words written by the teachers of the 41 elementary school and preschool students who were honored at the second annual Holiday STARS event on December 20. Parents, students, and principals from 13 elementary schools and one preschool gathered by 7:15 a.m. to enjoy breakfast from McDonald’s alongside 41 City of Rancho Cordova staff and Rancho Cordova police officers.

As a couple of principals noted, not all schools are in the same school district, but Rancho Cordova, they said, always remembers that the schools are located within the city and works to honor all of the students attending school there. Cordova Villa, White Rock, Cordova Meadows, Cordova Gardens, Rancho Cordova, Riverview STEM, Peter J. Shields, Williamson, A.M. Winn, Navigator, Sunrise, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert McGarvey were the elementary schools and Cordova Lane Center was the lone preschool.

 “This city is amazing,” said Marty Hock, principal of Sunrise Elementary School, who introduced his students. Faith, who “never complains, is caring, and respectful,” took a bow. Bethany and Naomi’s mother is deployed, and they both share a trait with Faith and other students. “Resilience,” said Hock.

Abraham Lincoln’s students were introduced by Laura Butler, the school’s principal. Siblings Aizik and Vinnicio, shared “hard work and grit” with Chloelynn, one of the first graders selected to be honored.

The event’s emcee pairing of Rancho Cordova Mayor Robert McGarvey and Assistant Chief of Police Chad Lewis was well received. The pair took turns introducing each principal and school and handed each student his or her personalized backpack which included a pair of shoes selected by Famous Footwear. One student’s eyes lit up bright as Christmas lights when he saw a pair of sneakers in his backpack. Student shoe size and favorite brands were submitted to the store by the principals.

Students, officers, city staff, and principals wore Santa hats and donned blue and grey knit gloves celebrating Rancho Cordova’s 15 years of cityhood. Besides the backpack, students each received a bag of clothes from WalMart and a $100 shopping spree at the store.

Photo opportunities sprouted everywhere. Some students were dressed for a possible meeting with Santa, who was spotted handing out candy canes and frolicking with a canine officer. The real excitement began once students, shoppers, and parents entered the store.

Officer Parsons accompanied Riverview STEM Academy’s Lynnae and her mother, Annette. Parsons learned quickly that young girls don’t want to purchase sweet potatoes or batteries. Bubble bath, suggested by her mom, was also turned down.

 “She’s heading for the balloons,” said her mom as Lynnae quickly darted down aisles of colorful ribbons and party supplies. She quickly found the balloons and Parsons helped her choose the best value package. She picked up several items, posed for photos, and quickly left those items behind as she continued her search for the elusive special gift. Parsons, in the meantime, pushed the cart and kept track of the prices.

 “Some kids chose gifts for other people,” said Navigator Elementary teacher Jessica Kahn. “It gives the opportunity to feel good by giving to others.”

Students were selected by their teachers, not necessarily based on grades or attendance, and the comments about each of the students pointed out that they all shared one particular trait – respect. Whether “voracious readers,” “handing out high fives,” or assisting other students with their studies, the students, who often faced challenging home circumstances, smiled and showed appreciation.

 “The City of Rancho Cordova and the Rancho Cordova Police Department are proud of its students and the hard work and effort they put into school,” wrote Mayor Robert McGarvey in an email. “This program is a great way for us to come together during the holiday season to show our students how much we care about their success and future in Rancho Cordova.”

For additional information about Rancho Cordova Police Department, visit www.ranchocordovapd.com. For more information about City of Rancho Cordova, visit https://www.cityofranchocordova.org.

Photos by Trina L. Drotar and Sandy Thomas



Rancho Cordova's History

Benefits Rancho Cordova Soroptimist Club Projects

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Did you receive some nice new electronic or powered “toys” over the holidays? Wondering what to do with your obsolete or broken old “toys?” The Rancho Cordova Soroptimist club signed up with a year-round fundraiser, ewaste4good. They will come to your home and pick up your e-waste on an appointment you set with them. You don’t even need to be home when they come to pick everything up. Just leave everything on your front porch! It couldn’t be easier to get rid of unwanted, broken or obsolete electronics and protect the environment. They are based in Stockton but will pick up from anyone in the Central Valley, Napa Valley, throughout the Greater Sacramento-area as far as Roseville/Rocklin and El Dorado Hills. So, if you know people in any of these areas, please share this announcement with them!

They take televisions, video games & consoles, computer monitors, computers, fax machines, calculators, desktop copiers, cell phones, telephones, printers, vacuum cleaners, speakers, keyboards, scanners, mice, laptops, networking equipment, power tools, misc. wires and cords, small appliances, household phones, stereo systems, medical equipment, and much more. CONDITION DOESN'T MATTER! They will wipe hard drives-TWICE, just to be certain.

Schedule a pickup by visiting this website: http://www.ewaste4good.com/Home.html#Anchor_1, in the Select County of Organization, select “Sacramento S,” look for “Soroptimist International of Rancho Cordova & Gold River.” If the club’s name doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, then type the club’s name “Soroptimist International of Rancho Cordova & Gold River” in the next field under the drop-down list. NOTE: There are other Soroptimist clubs signed up for this fundraiser. Make sure the Rancho Cordova/Gold River club is selected or typed in!

Soroptimist is an international organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. The name, Soroptimist, means "best for women," and that's what the organization strives to achieve. Soroptimists are women at their best, working to help other women to be their best.

Club projects money raised from this fundraiser will benefit is our purchasing of new bras for homeless teen girls, creating and distributing Comfort Kits to domestic violence survivors through Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE) and A Community For Peace and Comfort Kid kits for the children survivors bring with them to the safe house, college scholarships for single mothers, and new projects such as “Life Preparation” workshops for teens and a new cash award for teens in honor of late City Councilman Dan Skoglund. In the nine-year existence of the club, approximately 4,185 women and girls have been helped. The club has received the Key to the City of Rancho Cordova, three Proclamations from the City, Congressional Recognition from Ami Bera, and a Certificate of Recognition from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

Please send an email to siranchocordova@soroptimist.net to receive more information about Soroptimist International of Rancho Cordova & Gold River, how to become a member, or just learn how you can volunteer with our club members or visit http://www.soroptimistranchocordova.org/.

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Monster Jam Series Returns

By Heather Atherton  |  2019-01-09

All photos courtesy Atherton Public Relations


SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable!  Monster Jam®, the most action-packed motorsports experience for families in the world today, returns to Sacramento with a new level of high-flying, four-wheel excitement!  Be prepared for another high-octane weekend of Monster Jam Triple Threat Series events featuring six different competitions of speed, racing and freestyle stunts at the Golden 1 Center from January 18–20, 2019.

Featuring eight of the most intense athletes of Monster Jam, Central Valley fans will witness a fierce battle for the championship with each Triple Threat Series competitor contending in customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and of course, the iconic Monster Jam trucks in six events sure to leave fans on the edge of their seats.

Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world. Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones. 

Fans also have the unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal to their favorite Monster Jam trucks and drivers at the Monster Jam® Pit Party pre-show experience for photos & autographs.  

Tickets are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at just $20 each. Pit Passes available to purchase for $15 each.

Tickets and Pit Passes will be available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office. Ticket prices are subject to change, venue/ticketing fees may apply.

For all the latest news, announcements and updates, be sure to watch the Monster Jam 2019 Season Kickoff Show live streaming on www.MonsterJam.com

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SACRAMENTO, CA – The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is increasing light rail service on weekends starting Sunday, January 6, 2019.  Light rail service will increase from 30 minutes to 15 minutes during peak travel hours.

“By offering more frequent service on the weekends, people will be able to travel to their destinations as safely and quickly as possible,” said Henry Li, SacRT General Manager/CEO. “All of these historic improvements reduce barriers for people to ride public transit, and show SacRT’s commitment to our customers and the community.”

On Saturdays, the 15-minute service will operate from approximately 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Sundays and holidays, the 15-minute service will operate from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All other times on Saturdays and Sundays/holidays as well as service to Folsom stations, light rail frequency will be 30 minutes. Visit sacrt.com to view the schedules.

This service improvement is just one of many customer initiatives that SacRT has implemented over the last year. SacRT expanded service hours to Folsom light rail stations in June, lowered fares in October, brought back the 25 cent transfer ticket, and reduced the student monthly pass from $55 to $20.

Visit sacrt.com for more information on fares and schedules.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) announced on January 2, 2018 a new optional service program with HomeServe USA (HomeServe) to provide its homeowner customers with the opportunity to purchase coverage for exterior water and sewer service lines as well as in-home plumbing. HomeServe will be mailing information to Golden State Water customers detailing the service plans designed to cover unanticipated costs and minimize inconvenience associated with piping system repairs. This program is optional, offered as a courtesy, and customers are under no obligation to make any purchases.

“Many homeowners are unaware that they are responsible for maintenance associated with the underground service line that connects their property to the water system, and they may not be prepared to cover repair costs if the service line is damaged,” said Robert Sprowls, President and CEO of Golden State Water. “As a courtesy to our valued customers, Golden State Water has selected HomeServe to offer optional coverage options that may help schedule and make repairs to their service lines. Customers are under no obligation, but HomeServe repair plans may provide peace of mind in the event that unexpected repairs are needed.”

Water (and sewer) lines from a home to the water provider’s meter are the responsibility of the property owner. Repairs to these pipes may not be covered by basic homeowners’ insurance. As a result, property owners may have difficulty coordinating and covering the cost for emergency repairs. HomeServe’s plans serve as a line of defense, ensuring that in the event of an unexpected repair the burden on homeowners is minimized or eliminated. The HomeServe repair process is seamless, and repairs are made by licensed and approved local contractors.

HomeServe coverage includes access to a 24/7/365 Repair Hotline as well as local, licensed, and insured contractors who provide timely repair services. Exterior Water Service Line Coverage will be available for $6.99 per month. HomeServe will also offer a combined Exterior Sewer and Septic Line Coverage for a total of $11.49 per month. An Interior Plumbing and Drainage plan to cover in-home plumbing is available for $16.99 per month. Golden State Water customers enrolling in the optional plans will have convenient payment options directly through HomeServe.

“Our service plans cover the cost of the repair and provide homeowners with reputable, local contractors who will do the best possible job,” said John Kitzie, CEO of HomeServe USA. “We’re thrilled to partner with Golden State Water and look forward to the opportunity to provide coverage to help homeowners should they be faced with a repair emergency.”

Golden State Water customers can visit www.homeserveusa.com or call 1-833-492-3884 for more information.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The elected SMUD Board of Directors approved a $1.71 billion budget. The 2019 budget provides funding for all capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) programs needed to meet the Board’s Strategic Directions in the year ahead and in future years.

The 2019 budget is $25 million less than the 2018 budget, which is primarily due to lower planned capital expenditures, though SMUD anticipates an exciting and transformational year as the electric company continues laying the foundation for the future. Next year’s budget includes funding for many industry-leading initiatives and a variety of programs and investments that support the development of SMUD’s load-serving capacity, grid modernizations and compliance with regulatory requirements. Support for outreach and communications to educate customers about SMUD’s move to time-of-day pricing is also included.

Some major capital projects for next year include the rebuilding of three major substations that serve large numbers of residential and commercial customers, hydro generation facilities work and the designing and building of a new energy control facility. Completion of the SMUD Headquarters remodeling project, and new and ongoing technology projects are included as well.

Other major projects include removing and replacing more than 50 circuit miles of cable; automation of a couple of dozen high-voltage switches; upgrades and expansion of the downtown Sacramento electrical distribution network; expansion of the grid into new communities in Folsom and Rancho Cordova; and improvements at a bulk substation that serves the Arden area.

SMUD continues to be in a strong financial position. In 2017, Fitch and S&P upgraded SMUD’s credit ratings to AA, from an already impressive AA-, while Moody’s continues to rate SMUD Aa3. To maintain these credit ratings, which continue to be the highest in three decades, SMUD has a strategic financial target to maintain strong operating cash flow. Forecasted 2019 operating cash flow cover is 1.76 times operating cash flow, which exceeds the SMUD Board’s minimum target of cash flow cover of 1.5 times operating cash flow and supports a higher level of proposed capital spending. The higher credit rating produces a lower cost of borrowing.

SMUD customers continue to pay significantly less for electricity than most Californians, and as of September 1, 2018, more than 30 percent less than customers who are supplied by neighboring PG&E.

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit smud.org.

Source: SMUD Media

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United Way Honors Young Rancho Cordova Leader

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-01-06

Creston Whiting-Casey of Rancho Cordova receives United Way’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year Award from president and CEO Stephanie Bray and board chair Julie Quinn at a recognition event earlier this month. Photo courtesy Kristin Thébaud

Rancho Resident Named United Way's Young Leaders Society Member of the Year

SACRAMENTO – Creston Whiting-Casey of Rancho Cordova was named United Way California Capital Region’s Young Leaders Society Member of the Year earlier this month at a recognition event held at Antiquité Maison Privée in Midtown Sacramento. Whiting-Casey was one of four United Way donors and volunteers honored by the local nonprofit for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project that is ensuring local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. 

Whiting-Casey, a principal clerk with the California State Assembly, joined United Way’s Young Leaders Society in 2016, where he now serves as chair of the Leadership Council. As chair, he works to expand United Way’s reach through partnership with other young professional groups and to deepen engagement with Young Leaders Society members. He also is active with the Sacramento Global Shapers, Sacramento Semester Internship Program Alumni Association, the Sacramento Junior Giants Program, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity for Sacramento State and Masonic Lodge Washington #20. 

Other honorees included Andrea Shipley of UPS who was named Women United Member of the Year, Carolyn Mullins who is retired from AT&T and received the Boje and Price Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, and SMUD which received the Cornerstone Award.

At the recognition event, United Way California Capital Region President and CEO Stephanie Bray told guests and honorees, “I know we have a bright year ahead as we continue to work together to make sure kids succeed in school and beyond. But it’s going to take all of us. I hope you will step up your commitment to the exciting work we are all doing together through the Square One Project. Please join us in making Sacramento the best place to live, work and play for everyone.”

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending generational poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: www.yourlocalunitedway.org

Source: Thébaud Communications

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Cordova Gridiron Athletes Honored

Story and photos By Rick Sloan  |  2019-01-06

Alvin Banks, Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Cordova Lancers football team wrapped up their 2018-19 Season with a team banquet held at Cordova High on December 10th. The Lancers finished with an undefeated record in the Greater Sacramento League and captured the outright Championship.  They took the school football program further that any other team in the last 15 years making it to the 2nd round of playoffs. 

     Their 12 game schedule included contests verses 7 playoff caliber teams including the 5-AA State Champion Rio Linda Knights. Head Coach John McCoy had this to say about his team. “While our season had its ups and downs, I am extremely proud of the young men and woman on this team.”

     Nine players received All Greater Sacramento League First Team Honors. They were seniors: Raymond Fite, Johnelle Sanders, Alvin Banks, Andrew Turner, Austin McCoy, Elijah Jenkins, and Anthony Patterson. Freshman Deshaun Bradley and Sophomore Dumaurier Hackett were also selected to the first team. Two players were selected to the 2nd Team. They were Jeremiah Bankett (Senior) and Jalen Jones (Junior).

     League Most Valuable Player awards selected by league coaches found 3 Lancers standouts. They were League MVP Raymond Fite, Defensive MVP Andrew Turner and Lineman of the Year Austin McCoy.

     In addition, Austin McCoy won the Marvel A. Smith Lineman of the year award chosen by Strap’Em Up Sports. This prestigious award that started in Oakland, California was awarded to a Sacramento Area athlete for the first time this year. Austin was selected out of 8 finalists. Also, Alvin Banks was chosen to participate in the Optimist All Star Game on January 19th at 1pm at Sacramento State.      

     Congratulations to the entire Cordova Lancer football team and coaching staff for a job well done. Your performance on and off the field will be an inspiration to future players. Way to GO BIG RED!

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Optimist’s Serve Up a Great Volleyball Tournament

John Yoshikawa, Optimist Sports Director  |  2019-01-06

The Hall of Fame inductee (in the middle) Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School. On Mike

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The 35th Annual Optimist High School Girls’ Volleyball All Star games were held on December 8, 2018 at El Camino High School. The Small Schools match was won by the North Team. The scores were 25 (South) – 23 (North), 25 (North) – 21 (South), 30 (North) - 28 (South), and 25 (North) – 17 (South). All of these sets were so exciting that they brought the fans to their feet and yelling for more.

The Outstanding Player for the North was Amy Hiatt from Placer High School and for the South Team was Jillian Petnicki from Vacaville Christian High School. The Large Schools match was swept by the South Team 25 – 21, 25 – 18, and 25 – 16, and as like the Small Schools match, the fans were super excited.

The Outstanding Player for the South Team was Sam Chavez from St. Francis High School and for the North Team was Kaylie Honberger from Whitney High School.

During the intermission, Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School was inducted into the Optimist Hall of Fame for his tremendous dedication and commitment to encourage and train our youth to take their volleyball to the next level.

Mike has been the Girls’ Volleyball Coach at Ponderosa High School for the past 5 seasons. Within that time, he has won three (3) league championships, two (2) SacJoaquin Section championships, and Ponderosa’s  first State appearance in the past 30 years….to include having an undefeated season last year. Prior to his coaching at Ponderosa, he coached at Union Mine High School for five (5) years. In his last season, he won Union Mine’s very first Section championship and subsequently went on to win the State championship.

Club Volleyball has also played an important part in Coach Yates’ activities. Within his involvement in the Precision Volleyball Club, he has been the driving influence for the boys and girls to take their volleyball game to the next level to include beach volleyball. Last year, he created the first ever high school volleyball sand league and continues to be the leading force in its development.

His involvement in volleyball would have never taken place was it not for being burned out from playing baseball. He started playing volleyball, loved the sport, and his achievements took off from there. He played volleyball at Ponderosa High School and subsequently had a successful collegiate career at California State University-Sacramento. Thereafter, he transferred these indoor volleyball skills to beach volleyball which has made him one of the best known beach players in the Sacramento area.

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Society for the Blind Members to Join National Fitness Challenge

By Kristin Thebaud  |  2019-01-04

Society for the Blind members join the challenge. Photo courtesy Society for the Blind.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Society for the Blind, a Sacramento-based nonprofit serving blind and low vision people in Northern California, has received a grant from Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore Foundations to create opportunities for individuals to participate in the National Fitness Challenge, an initiative founded by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore. Society for the Blind is one of 17 organizations across the nation that is participating in the National Fitness Challenge and is using grant funding to offer adaptive yoga classes, walking groups, running clinics and other sports and fitness activities that can help people who are blind or low-vision to maximize healthy lifestyles. These activities will be offered over the course of eight months to help hundreds of youth and adults to increase physical fitness levels and live healthier lives.

“The goal of the National Fitness Challenge is to help people with visual disabilities to live more active lifestyles,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “The program launched during Blindness Awareness Month in October, and through May 31, 2019, will highlight what people with visual disabilities can do, rather than what they cannot do. We are lucky to live in an age where a person with vision loss can achieve most anything they set their mind to doing, and we are grateful to Anthem Blue Cross Foundation and CareMore Foundation for helping us to empower this year’s participants.”

This year’s challenge integrates technology and social media to inspire participants to set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. Each participant has been provided with a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable – a universal way to measure activities, calories burned and number of steps taken. Participants also have the opportunity to utilize Fitbit Coach, which is a personalized training app that provides adaptive video workouts and audio coaching. Foundation grant funding is being used to provide Fitbits, fitness and nutritional instruction, performance prizes as well as technical and financial support for all participants.

“Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety,” said Ricardo Young, CareMore Health Medical Director. “We are proud to support members of the Society for the Blind through our collaboration with the National Fitness Challenge, and to create access to activities supporting healthier individuals and stronger communities.”

More than half of those who are blind or low vision in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine, mostly due to barriers to accessible fitness or misconceptions about their abilities. Individuals of all abilities should have equal opportunities to engage in activities that improve health outcomes, so the National Fitness Challenge aims to increase access to fitness and health for blind and low vision people. 

“Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is committed to removing barriers and increasing access to critical programs and services that help individuals and communities to lead healthier lives,” said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, Interim Anthem Blue Cross Medicaid Plan President. “We are proud of our Foundation’s ongoing support of people with visual disabilities and are confident that this support will go a long way in helping Californians to improve their overall wellness while enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of exercise and group sports.”

Since 2011, the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross and CareMore has provided $1.3 million in grant funding to U.S. Association of Blind Athletes for the National Fitness Challenge initiative and has impacted thousands of Americans with visual disabilities by partnering with 40 different agencies across the country. To learn more about the National Fitness Challenge, visit www.usaba.org/NationalFitnessChallenge

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information: SocietyfortheBlind.org

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