United Way Announces Sacramento Foster Youth Summit in April

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-04-03

Stephanie Bray of United Way stands with keynote speaker September Hargrove, emcee Kitty O’Neal from KFBK and local foster youth at the annual Women United Luncheon where she called for a summit to address foster youth graduation rates. Photo courtesy United Way.

Findings will determine how to prepare foster youth for success in college and career

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - United Way is gathering foster youth and community leaders working on foster care issues for its inaugural Foster Youth Summit on April 5 from 9 am-3 pm at the Sacramento State Ballroom, 6000 J Street.

The summit will identify opportunities to increase the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to complete post-secondary education. Summit findings will be released as a report that will determine the direction of United Way’s foster youth programs. For more information and to sign up: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FosterYouthSummit.

Stephanie Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region, announced the summit to 300 supporters at United Way’s 17th Annual Women United Luncheon on March 21. More than $78,000 was raised through the luncheon for United Way’s programs that are preparing foster youth for success in college and career. Since 2002, United Way’s Women United action group has raised more than $2 million for programs for local foster youth.

“It’s time to take our work to the next level,” Bray said at the luncheon. “For far too long, we have talked about the drop-out and homelessness rates for foster youth. We know that no one person or organization can do this alone. So we are convening a public forum to discuss how we move the needle on high school graduation and college or career attainment for foster youth so that fewer struggle as they transition into adulthood.”

Nonprofit service providers, state and county foster youth advocates, school districts, foster youth and other supporters will come together for a deep dive into community level data, a foster youth panel on real-world implications of the data, breakout sessions and a keynote speech by Jennifer Rodriguez, JD, executive director of Youth Law Center and a former foster youth.

At the luncheon, Bray cited a 2018 Annie E. Casey Foundation report that noted without any support, California foster youth drop out of high school at a rate of 24 percent, 30 percent do not have stable housing and 51 percent are unemployed.

 “That is so much lost potential,” Bray said. “We at United Way believe that every child, including each foster youth, has the opportunity to achieve. Imagine the impact if we don’t invest in our foster youth’s potential.”

Bray referred to luncheon keynote speaker September Hargrove as an example of how foster youth achieve success, not only for themselves but for communities across the country. Hargrove, a former Sacramento foster youth who volunteered with United Way a decade ago, is now VP of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co., leading the company’s $150 million commitment to Detroit through neighborhood revitalization, small business, financial capability and workforce development.

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 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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

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Hailing Volunteers

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-03-29

 Max McGregor (center), Dick Laursen (second from left) and other supporters were recently commended for volunteer effort at the Effie Yeaw nature Center. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Effie Yeaw Nature Center recently honored top volunteers with an awards luncheon.

Located in Ancil Hoffman park, the non-profit facility lost County funding nine years ago. Its educational mission is now spearheaded by the American River Natural History Association. Center doors stay open with the assistance of supporter donations and 250 nature-loving volunteers.

One of two helpers surpassing 1000-hours of selfless service was 17-year-old Max McGregor from Sacramento. The home-schooled teenager has assisted in animal care for three years and is the youngest of many volunteers to reach the 1000-hour mark. ARNHA board member Dick Laursen (90) also passed the grand milestone. 

Located in Ancil Hoffman Park, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and its 100-acre preserve see many thousands of visitors in all seasons of the year. For information, call (916) 489-4918.

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All Buttoned Up

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-03-29

Rancho Cordova button collector Barbara Alfidi (right) enjoyed a display of historic fasteners with fellow enthusiast Dawn Healy at the Button Bazaar in Carmichael. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Dealers and collectors from three states recently assembled in Carmichael for the California Button Society’s bi-annual show. This year’s event was co-hosted by the Sacramento and Santa Clara Button Clubs.

The one-day bazaar drew 17 vendors and more than 200 aficionados to the la Sierra Center. “We’ve preferred Carmichael for 12 years,” explains Sacramento Button Society treasurer Sue Rhoades. “La Sierra Center is a great facility that affords lots of light – that’s very important for viewing – and it’s easily accessible from the Bay Area and the Foothills. Our vendors are experts from Washington, Nevada and California. A button show is a new experience for many people; we welcomed many new faces and everyone had a good time.”

The Sacramento Button Society is 65 years old. Its 25 members meet monthly. For information, contact fwolfe@surewest.net

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DOVIA Presents Annual Awards

By Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-03-29

Darlene Cullivan, CVA (Outstanding Achievement in Volunteer Engagement winner) with Rachele
Doty, Photos by Mika Guevarra, courtesy DOVIA Sacramento

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - On March 14, volunteers were recognized by Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA) at Shriner’s Hospital for Children – Northern California. Nearly 100 people attended the annual awards ceremony which recognized three categories of volunteers – Youth Volunteer of the Year, Individual Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Volunteer Engagement.

Rachele Doty, CVA is the board’s chair and presented the welcome to all nominees, their friends and families, judges, and Brian Ricks from Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s office. Doty said that each of the nearly twenty-five nominees present received certificates from DOVIA and from Cooley’s office. He was unable to attend this year but is very supportive of the awards.

The Youth Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Abby Schumacher, who has volunteered at Fairytale Town since 2016. In addition to the certificate, she received the $500 Margaret Einsphar Memorial Scholarship award to assist with college tuition. Youth volunteers are under 21 years of age and must currently be students. They are also required to have donated a minimum of 25 hours of service during the year and are nominated by their organizations.

Schumacher was nominated by Fairytale Town’s Education and Program Coordinator, Samantha Hawes who wrote, “Abby has truly made the lives of people who come to our park helping in summer camp, programs, events, marketing and so much more. We are so proud of her, and she is truly a wonderful volunteer.”

Doris Henke, a decades-long volunteer with Snowline Hospice received the Individual Volunteer of the Year award. She received a certificate and a $100 honorarium gift for Snowline Hospice. Henke has spent a lifetime giving back to the community in El Dorado County where she has lived since the 1960s.

“Doris Henke is a name to be recognized and remembered. Her name is truly synonymous with love and caring because of the profound difference she makes in the lives of others,” wrote Bonnie Davis, CVA, Director of Workforce and Volunteer Services for Snowline Hospice. Davis nominated Henke for the award. “It is impossible to quantify the hundreds or thousands of lives she has touched through the years. This loving wife, encourager, mother, caregiver, businesswoman, selfless giver, community developer, friend, ministry-builder, and mentor lives an intentional life of service to others and is a shining example of ‘giving your all’.”

The Individual Volunteer Award of the Year is new this year, said Doty. “We had always focused on the youth volunteer, and DOVIA is looking to the future.”

The final award for Outstanding Achievement in Volunteer Engagement award was presented to Darlene Cullivan, CVA of Eskaton for her work. “I am honored to receive this special award as it demonstrates Eskaton’s vibrant philanthropic culture. Eskaton is grateful for the over 2600 volunteers who invest their time, talent and compassion to enrich the lives of seniors. I am inspired daily by people of all ages aspiring to make a difference. Eskaton volunteers illustrate our belief that Age is Beautiful.”

Nominees were judged by Carla Lehn, CVA, Cole Forstedt, and Valeri Mihanovich and had, Doty said, a difficult time making the final decision this year because all of the nominees were “so wonderful.” Volunteer service must have been performed in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, or El Dorado counties during the 2018 calendar year.

Service includes work release time, without pay or for student course credit, and each nominating organization must provide service for the larger community, not simply for its members.

Nominees were involved with Access Leisure and Paralympic Sport, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, ACC Senior Services, Sacramento Sheriffs Explorer Program, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, Breathe California Sacramento Region, yolo County 4-H, Project R.I.D.E., Inc., Sacramento Tree Foundation, First Call Hospice, Sacramento SPCA, Foothill Therapy Dogs, Sutter Hospice, Oak Park Community Center, Gardenland/Northgate Neighborhood Association, and Junior League of Sacramento, Inc., Snowline Hospice, Eskaton, and Fairytale Town.

“DOVIA exists to support the volunteer managers, to provide networking, continuing education and support,” said Doty who has held several board positions. DOVIA presents at least one event each month.

For additional information, visit http://www.doviasacramento.org/.

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Chamber Bestowes Best in Business Awards

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-03-29

Members of Redtail Technology received awards joined by Rancho Cordova Chamber members. Pictured with award in hands, beginning left center to right: Andy Hernandez, COO; Krysta Malonson with award in hands, Director of PeopleOps; Ryan Oakes, Director of DevOps; Alison Hawkins, Director of Customer Service; Sarah Thomas, Managing Team Lead, Customer Service. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - This past month of March, the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 2018 BIBA Best in Business Awards for businesses and individuals contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.

The Chamber of Commerce bases its awards on “business growth, financial health, excellence in the marketplace and contributions to the community.”

The Micro Business Award was given to Gloria Howe Nycum and Kerry M. Shaw of Howe’s It’s Done Catering; The Small Business Award was given to Usha Datla of AlphaGraphics a graphic design, sign and banner company serving Rancho Cordova; The Medium Business Award was given to Heritage Community Credit Union.

For Large Business, Redtail Technology was awarded and recognized for its Web-based financial advising firm which interestingly incorporates in its offices a foster dog haven. The Nonprofit Award was given to The Sacramento Children’s Museum of Rancho Cordova. The Rising Star recognition was given to Fox Family Heating and Air.

This year, the Chamber introduced a new feature to their awards ceremony by establishing a Business Hall of Fame in which Curt Haven, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Rancho Cordova, and Aerojet Rocketdyne were inducted.

The retiring Haven was lauded for having turned Rancho’s tide after the Mather Air Force Base shut down over three decades ago. Assemblyman Ken Cooley attending the awards told the audience, “I know what it takes to succeed in business and what you need is a good story, and this man has it.”

Haven of 62 years of age said, “I am retiring to make room for other people and to mentor a new generation.” “I know there are some really strong business women in this place,” directing a welcoming invitation to the new leadership of the city.

Celebrating 70 years of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s history, the aerospace and defense manufacturer, with some 5,000 local employees, joined Haven in Rancho Cordova’s Business Hall of Fame.

The recognition for Ambassador of the Year award was given to Thomas L. Steinbach of Steiny’s Mobile Notary Service; Steinbach a 55 year old native of Rancho Cordova with a passion for his city has been an ambassador of the Chamber since 2015.

Steinbach is a Graduate of The Leadership Academy and heads Rancho Cordova’s HART Homeless Assisted Resource Team. Mixing passion and compassion for the community is a driving ideal for him. “Any person can become homeless, the car breaks down, the boss gets mad and then they get fired,” he explained.

The Chairman’s Award was given to the Cordova Community Council for its 60 years of service and having Rancho Cordova recognized as an ‘All American City’. Larry Stafford of the council received the award on behalf of the organization.

The Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the new additions to the Chamber’s Board of Directors for 2019 including: Ken Henderson, Sublime Digital Marketing Group; Hyowan Kim, KP International; Anil Kondakrindi, Sacramento Telangana Association; Krysta Malonson, Redtail Technology; and Chad Suggs, Heritage Community Credit Union.

New directors Hyowan Kim and Anil Kondakrindi were highlighted for bringing that “vital global perspective.” Recently, Rancho Cordova was recognized #1 city in building diversity in the State of California.

The Chamber also thanked those completing their service: Douglas A. Brewer (State Farm Insurance Agency), Board Chair 2016 & Director 2013-2018; Kate Malmgren (VSP), Director, 2016-2018; David Mathis (Small Business Representative), Director 2017-2018 Steve Millner (US Bank), Chair 2014 & 2015, Director, 2012-2018.

Chamber staff member Ani Salakian of Administrative and Membership Services received a touching bouquet of flowers and will be missed by the staff.

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Reconciling a Rivalry

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-03-27

(Left to right) San Juan Unified School District Athletics Director Ron Barney, Rio Head Coach Sam Stroughter, El Camino Head Coach JP Dolliver, Playmaker Founder Greg Roeszler, and Playmaker Director Phil Dubois plan to bring rival teams together through community service. Photo by Shaunna Boyd

Playmakers Brings Rival Players Together to Serve Underprivileged Kids

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Last October, during the last game of their season, the football teams from local high schools Rio Americano and El Camino forfeited the game due to bad conduct — a bench-clearing brawl that ended the season with a lot of bad blood on both sides.

After hearing about the brawl, Greg Roeszler was inspired to find a way to turn the situation into a positive for both the players and the game itself. Roeszler — or Coach Roz, as he is affectionately called — has a long history with football: he played at Encina High School and at San Diego State University, went on to play for the NFL, and then eventually returned to Encina to coach the varsity football team. Coach Roz now runs a local non-profit, The Playmakers Organization, that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. 

Coach Roz saw an opportunity to heal the rift between Rio and El Camino through shared service to the community. He invited El Camino Head Coach JP Dolliver, Rio Head Coach Sam Stroughter, and San Juan Unified School District Athletics Director Ron Barney to join him and Playmaker Director Phil Dubois at a meeting to discuss a unique idea. Coach Roz suggested that the coaches and selected members from each team work together to serve at the upcoming Tim Brown Playmaker 9-1-1 Camp for Kids on April 12.

The Playmakers Organization is bringing retired Oakland Raider and NFL Hall of Fame player Tim Brown to West Sacramento for a free one-day football camp for at-risk and special needs kids. Coach Roz suggested that serving together at the camp could create a sense of camaraderie between rival players. He said, “There are so many good things that will come out of this. … Players being led by the most powerful guys in the community in serving at-risk underprivileged kids — using the greatest game that God put on the face of the earth as the magnet.”

Barney said the District fully supports the teams “doing something positive for the community and at the same time developing positive relationships between the two schools.” Barney explained that a good rivalry motivates the players to perform at their best and is based on mutual respect. He said teams all over the country deal with this type of problem all the time, and he hopes this could be an example of positive change. “This is big. … It takes people to step up to make a difference. … I think we’re on the ground floor of something good here,” said Barney.

The respect between Dolliver and Stroughter was evident. Both coaches agreed that the fight was the result of a few bad apples, and most of the players were out on the field trying to break it up. Stroughter said, “I had kids in the locker room afterward crying because they were seniors and that was their last game, and a handful of people did the wrong thing and ruined their last game.”

Both coaches also expressed frustration with social media, which they believe escalated the rivalry to the point that some of their players were throwing punches on the field. Dolliver said the kids typed things to each other with a screen between them that they never would have said face to face. “These kids are missing out by not treating this rivalry as a positive. … Without Rio, that last game of the season is just another game,” said Dolliver.

Stroughter and Dolliver are both committed to coaching their players on character as well as football. As Coach Roz said, “This is about loving the game more than loving the fight. … We can take this thing and turn it into something that’s good for the game. … We’ve all been in football a long time. Has anyone ever heard of reconciliation like this? ... What if Sacramento has figured out and is implementing how you take a bad rivalry and make it a good rivalry, how you take a bad situation and turn it into a good situation? This could be the model. … We very well could be on to something here beyond just our community.”

If you are interested in learning more about The Playmakers Organization or signing up a youth for the Tim Brown Playmaker 9-1-1 Camp for Kids, visit www.theplaymakers.org.

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The Butterfly Effect

By Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-03-27

Angela Laws, Monarch and Pollinator Ecologist at Xerces Society

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Western monarch butterfly population has declined, according to Xerces Society, by 99.4% in fewer than four decades. Angela Laws, Monarch and Pollinator Ecologist at Xerces Society, said that although this species’ numbers have been declining since the 1980s, the “sharp drop in numbers this year is alarming.”

Extinction is a possibility for this iconic brown and orange species. Environment California, Xerces Society, lawmakers, ecologists, and citizens throughout the state are working to preserve the Western monarch.

California Assemblyman Mark Stone (29th District) authored AB-2421, Wildlife Conservation Board: Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program, which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown on September 26, 2018.

Stone said that in addition to the butterfly’s iconic status, it is also “an indicator species that is helping us begin to understand the impact we are having on the habitats that monarchs, as well as native bees, beetles, and birds, depend on to survive.”

The Wildlife Conservation Board met in Sacramento on March 7 and approved guidelines for the Monarch and Pollinator Rescue Program. Grant project applications will be announced on the board’s website. Applications will be accepted year round for one of the four annual review periods. Funds may be used for restoration or enhancement of breeding habitat on private or public lands and may be used for seasonal or temporary habitats.

At a presentation at Pietro Talini’s Nursery in January, Laws said that the Thanksgiving count of the

Western monarch showed an 86% drop since the 2017 count. “Several factors come into play,” she said, “and one is the loss of habitat and loss of food.” She is currently working with City of Sacramento District 3 councilmember, Jeff Harris, to plant a butterfly garden at Niños Parkway in South Natomas and encourages others to do the same.

Since the majority of the overwintering land is located on private property, residents and land owners may be the best hope for the species, whose numbers are down to an estimated 200,000 from its high of 10 million in the 1980s.

Native milkweed is necessary for the butterfly’s survival and is being lost due to land development and herbicide use. It can, however, be planted, as Laws and Harris are doing, in gardens and other locations. The milkweed is critical since it is where the butterfly lays its eggs and the caterpillar feeds on the plant so that it can grow and become a monarch.

Native nectar plants are also necessary since they provide the food for the adult monarch. Both plants need to be available in order for the monarch to thrive through its complete lifecycle and during overwintering.

According to Xerces Society, “the Sacramento Valley, Sierra Nevada Foothills, and Coast Range are vital to the survival of the first generation of monarchs produced each spring,” and the group is urging the state to work to protect the butterfly by protecting its habitats from pesticide use, better manage overwintering sites and restore breeding and overwintering habitats.

Other ways that individuals can help are to contribute to citizen science by making and logging observations of the monarch, stop using insecticides and herbicides which not only harm the butterfly, but these can also kill milkweed. Xerces Society and Environment California also encourage people to encourage others to do the same.

 According to Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, increased habitat has helped the Eastern monarch butterfly numbers to rebound, but she said that a single good year is not an indicator of future years and calls for continued protection.

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a determination whether to add the monarch to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. USFWS has been reviewing data since the request was submitted in 2014.

For additional information, visit https://xerces.org/.

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