CRPD Donates Gifts to Homeless Children

By Cady Nagy-Chow, CRPD  |  2019-01-06

CRPD staff members were honored when leadership presented them with this opportunity to give back. Photo courtesy CRPD

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On December 17, Cordova Recreation & Park District (CRPD) staff donated 40 gifts to 10 homeless children in partnership with the Folsom Cordova Unified School District Homeless Student Services. CRPD “adopted” these four homeless families for the holiday season, reflecting a fierce commitment to their mission to serve the needs of their diverse and growing community.

Director of this endeavor, CRPD’s Administrative Specialist Gail Bair, reached out to the school district a few years ago to see how CRPD could help the homeless in the community. “The children we provide for are in kindergarten through high school who live locally but don’t have homes. The wonderful thing about the Homeless Student Services program is that throughout the year they provide basic needs that we take for granted like clothes, hygiene products and school supplies, for these children. So, what is magical about this partnership during this season is we can step it up a notch and help give these kids elements of a childhood with games, coloring books, stuffed animals, etc.” Bair said.  

CRPD staff members were honored when leadership presented them with this opportunity to give back. “I love to give back because there are so many families in need out there and I have the opportunity to help them have the best Christmas possible. It’s part of why I love working here,” Office Assistant Jacqueline Yoos said.

Recreation Coordinator Chase Michelotti agrees with Yoos that the spirit of giving back is what makes CRPD such a great work environment. “Having the chance to contribute to something greater brings out the best in everyone. I believe it is the responsibility of those who can give to give, so the presence of opportunities like these is really important in my work place,” Michelotti said.

CRPD staff wishes these families and yours a joyous holiday and Happy New Year!

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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:

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

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:

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SAFE Credit Union Awards City Year Sacramento with $20,000 Grant

By Carole Ferguson, SAFE Credit Union  |  2019-01-04

SAFE Credit Union employees making the donation to City Year. Photo courtesy SAFE CU.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Calling out the cheer, “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? City Year! City Year” staff members from SAFE Credit Union marched into the Oak Park, California, offices of City Year on a recent rainy morning to surprise the nonprofit with a $20,000 grant.

City Year Executive Director Jeff Owen and Development Manager Maggie Lawrence were on hand to accept the donation. “This is going to go a long way in our work to help students who really need some support, and our amazing AmeriCorps members who are working 10 hours a day for peanuts,” Owen said.

City Year sends near-peer mentors to under-served schools in Sacramento to help students succeed. City Year representatives cheer students as they arrive to school each day to honor them for their hard work and to pump them up for the day. During class time, AmeriCorps members use positive coaching to help students overcome challenges that may lead them to dropping out of school. They also assist with tutoring students in math and English to stay on track to graduate with their peers.

“City Year shines in its mission,” said SAFE Credit Union Community and Advocacy Engagement Manager Amanda Merz. “City Year’s dedication to helping at-risk students over hurdles and standing by them to ensure their success really spoke to us here at SAFE. By staying in school, these students will have a better foundation to build a more financially secure and personally satisfying life. We are proud to be able to assist City Year with its efforts to help our community’s students.” 

SAFE Credit Union is a leading financial institution in Northern California with more than $2.8 billion in assets and more than 229,000 members. SAFE is a not-for-profit, community-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by the NCUA.

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Bringing Hope to the Camp Fire Children

Submitted by Bringing Hope to the Camp Fire Children  |  2019-01-04

Carl Burton bringing toys to Camp Fire Children.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Republicans of River City and American River Republican Women joined with California Federation of Republican Women in raising items and funds to help families of deadly wildfires in Northern and Southern California.

Carl Burton, President of RRC, said, “We collected enough toys for the of fire victim’s children to fill up my jeep, and we made delivery of them last Saturday, December 15, to Oroville Municipal Auditorium.”

Bonnie Williams, President of American River Republican Women, said, “Our neighbors are in trouble they need our help, so we are going help.”

Because of the Butte County, Camp Fire surpassed all other fires in California becoming the most destructive fire in our history, burning over 125,000 acres and obliterating over 6,453 homes.  It was also the deadliest fire with 88 dying in the fire, mostly older Americas.

It’s not too late to help join us in supporting our neighbors dealing with their losses. This Christmas season, we are suggesting gift card donations.”  Give gift cards from Gas Stations, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes; groceries from Albertsons, Ralphs, Safeway, Save-Mart, Stater Bros., Trader Joes, and Vons; clothes from J C Penney, Kohls, Macy's, and Target.

For Northern California victims, please send gift cards to: Republicans of River City, P.O. Box 1776, Carmichael, CA 95609

Burton said, first as Americans and as Republicans, we believe “No one may forsake their neighbors when they are in trouble.  Everybody is under obligation to help and support their neighbors as they would themselves like to be helped.” Martin Luther 1483-1546

Source: Republicans of River City

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