FitExpo Provides Fun and Fitness for the Entire Family

Enjoy a morning of fun and fitness for the entire family on Saturday, October 8th from 9:00am to 12:00pm when the Junior League of Riverside, Inc. (JLR) hosts their 2nd Annual fitExpo at Bordwell Park located at 2008 Martin Luther King Blvd., between Kansas and Ottawa in Riverside. 

This FREE family event will offer fitness demonstrations, family-friendly games, raffle prizes and events together with valuable information on staying fit and healthy. There will be a variety of activities to fit every family member including rock climbing, USKO, Jazzercise, toddler games and more.  Families are also invited to participate in our fit and fun triathlon relay races.  The first 300 participants who finish all three mini races or complete all of the circuit activities will receive a free lunch with a reusable lunch bag. 

Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

The fitEXPO is part of JLR’s larger effort, fitRiverside, that strives to build a healthier community, addressing both fitness and nutrition by encouraging families to play, exercise and eat well together.

For more information on JLR or the fitExpo visit their website or facebook page, or  email

UCR Receives $3.93 Million Grant to Assist Hispanic and Low-Income Students on Path to STEM Careers

Courtesy of UC Newsroom ( — A five-year, $3.93 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow the University of California, Riverside to continue efforts to help Hispanic and low-income community college students on a path towards bachelor’s and advanced degrees in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The grant will be used to continue to support student recruitment and retention activities for Hispanic and low-income students in both the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), according to Chinya Ravishankar, associate dean of undergraduate education in BCOE and the lead principal investigator on the grant. Richard Cardullo, dean of life sciences in CNAS is co-principal investigator.

“This program is about creating and sustaining a pipeline to get these traditionally underrepresented students into STEM fields,” Cardullo said. “This has been part of UCR’s commitment over the years – it is consistent with our diverse student profile and one that we are extremely proud of.”

Ravishankar agreed, saying that between 8,000 and 10,000 students have gone through UCR-based STEM programs since their inception in 2004.

In those seven years the programs provided initial outreach through pre-matriculation and transfer support activities including summer bridge programs, academic advising, and hands-on design projects. For enrolled students, success programs include academic support, mentoring, STEM clubs and paid research opportunities. The new grant will enable these programs to continue as well as provide funds for some new opportunities.

“We propose to use technology to increase the range of our outreach. In the past, our staff has visited community colleges to talk to students and counselors about careers in engineering and science, and about academic preparation for these fields,” Ravishankar said. “We now plan to increase access, creating advising booths where the students can come at times that are convenient to them and meet with our advisors through teleconferencing.”

Riverside City College, Moreno Valley Community College, and Mt. San Jacinto College are the formal partners on the grant, but Ravishankar said the outreach programs are applicable to any two-year college. “Our plan is to make the impact much broader,” he said. “We will reach out to the other community colleges, locally, throughout Southern California and statewide. The programs we develop are applicable to any community college.”

He emphasized that the goal of the program is to increase student interest, participation, and success in the STEM fields, and to help students to go on to earn degrees from the institution that best serve their needs, not just UCR.

“They meet with our students and staff, and experience the excitement of STEM by understanding UCR’s own STEM programs. But our goal is to get more students in the STEM areas, period,” he said. “If they go to UCLA, Cal Poly, Cal State San Bernardino, we will have succeeded, as long as they are in STEM.”

Ravishankar said that the STEM outreach program is a critical aspect of increasing the number of graduates in these areas of national importance.

“Engineering and science will be the primary drivers of social and economic change in the 21st century, so strength in these areas is critical to our future. Industry cannot function without a technically competent workforce,” Ravishankar said.

‘Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful’ to Host Watershed Cleanup

Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB) and the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District will be hosting a Santa Ana River and Fairmount Park watershed cleanup on October 1 from 8:00am to 12:00pm.

Volunteers will be assigned to Fairmount Park and the Santa Ana River for weeding, litter cleanup and graffiti eradication. Those interested in participating in the cleanup must RSVP. Volunteer check-in will be located near the maintenance yard of the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

KRCB recommends volunteers BYOWB (Bring Your Own Water Bottle). KRCB will provide refills, lunch, free t-shirt & all project tools. No sandals or flip-flops and volunteers must wear long pants.

Community cleanups are yet another example of Riversiders coming together to ensure Riverside is full of inviting places.  For more information, click here or contact Andrew: (951) 683-7100 x212, or

La Sierra University Freshman Start the Year by Giving Back

La Sierra University kicked off the new school year with community service work from approximately 420 freshman and 100 upperclassmen. The volunteer work is a new component called iServe that was added to the annual IGNITE freshman program held before the beginning of school each fall to welcome freshman to the university. IGNITE includes a talent show, “Hello Walk” to introduce freshman to faculty and administration, a “Blessings” service for parents and their students, as well as workshops and meals.

iServe allowed students the opportunity to work with about 20 community service organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful, the Riverwalk Dog Park and La Sierra University Church. Students worked with Habitat for Humanity to paint a double-wide trailer in a mobile home park to prevent the eviction of a tenant who is on a fixed income. Some students also helped organized craft supplies in the children’s room at La Sierra University Church, while others helped to clear debris from a dirt lot on the corner of California Avenue and Tyler Street.

The Riverside Police Chief, Sergio Diaz visited with students at the three work sites to thank them for their service and recognize the importance of their contributions to the city and the integral role the university plays in the community. The Riverside Police Department and La Sierra University have recently formed a partnership for the university’s new Criminal Justice bachelors degree undergraduate program. RPD has arranged guest speakers for criminal justice classes and helped to facilitate the Ryan Bonaminio Scholarship Fund in memory of the 27-year-old Riverside police officer who was shot to death last November when he ran after a suspect through Riverside’s Fairmount Park.

La Sierra has always played an integral role in the community with a nationally recognized service learning program and the new iServe program is no exception and only further shows the commitment the university holds to providing a valuable educational experience while helping others and giving back.

Cultural Exchange Shares Art Between Riverside and Sister City Jiangmen, China

As part of a cultural exchange with one of Riverside’s eight sister cities, the Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA) received 10 works of art from some of the best artists in Jiangmen, China. Five of these works will be donated to various Riverside area cultural institutions. The gift also included 15 works by Jiangmen youth which were displayed in November and December last year along with the 1o paintings in a gallery titled “Riverside/Jiangmen Views”. In completion of the exchange, works by Riverside artists and youth will be displayed in Jiangmen this November.

Two of the artworks will be donated to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and Riverside Art Museum and several other paintings will be auctioned off at various fundraising events for the arts. Mark Schooley, director of the RCAA and a member of the International Relations Council of Riverside board of directors, feels passionate that “Artists are the true ambassadors who can have a major positive impact around the world.” He says that the RCCA is “committed to continue to integrate part of our mission to reach out to creative artists in our sister cities to create shared bonds.”

Riverside is proud of its sister city relationships and cherishes every opportunity to share in an exchange of culture. The International Relations Council furthers this initiative by providing networking opportunities for like-minded community leaders to collaborate around business, culture, education, and humanitarian efforts internationally. Riverside is constantly working to nurture a diverse economy and promote the City as a location of choice and center for creativity in the global economy.

Sister City Concert Features “Music Without Borders”

The Riverside Community Arts Association and the Mission Inn Foundation will host an historic concert celebrating the sister city relationship between Ensenada, Mexico and the City of Riverside. The October 27th concert titled “Music without Borders” or “La Musica Sin Fronteras” will be held in the Mission Inn Music Room at 7:30p.m. The performance will feature the Riverside Lyric Opera and the Ensenada Chamber Orchestra including works by Mexican composers and the United States premier of “Piece for String Orchestra” by renowned Mexican composer Jose Pablo Moncayo. The Riverside Lyric Opera will also perform selections of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

The concert is also a celebration of the vision of Frank Miller, whose goals of fostering international friendships have made an invaluable impact on the community. Riverside currently has eight sister cities and values the relationship and cultural exchanges that result from each one.

Tickets are available through the Riverside Community Arts Association with various options and price ranges. For reservations, call (951) 682-6737. The concert was organized in partnership with the International Relations Council of Riverside and The Mission Inn Foundations, with support from the Mission Inn Hotel, Riverside Marriott Hotel, Riverside Downtown Partnership, City of Riverside, and the City of Ensenada.

7th Annual Riverside College and Career Fair Helps Prep Students for Successful Futures

Bank of America presents the 7th Annual Riverside College & Career Fair at the Riverside Convention Center on October 3rd from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The event provides thousands of Riverside students and their families with a one-stop opportunity to get the information they need to apply for college and find a career pathway.

Get answers to questions about financial aid, which college will suit you best, and how to prepare for your first job interview. Local business representatives will also be available to provide career advice and helpful tips for you career goals. Plus, High School Seniors will have the chance to win a partial scholarship to California Baptist University, La Sierra University, Riverside Community College, or the University of California, Riverside!

Co-hosts for the event include: City of Riverside, Alvord Unified School District, Jurupa Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside Convention Center, Riverside County Workforce Investment Board and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

Click here for a College & Career Fair Flyer .  Admission is free.

October 3, 2011
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Riverside Convention Center
3443 Orange St. Riverside, CA


First Sundays Youth Art Program Kicks Off a New Season October 2nd

First Sundays is starting its 2011-2012 season on October 2nd. This seasonal series runs from October to May (except January) and offers free family programs featuring fun art and cultural activities from 1 to 4 p.m. for children and teens at six locations in downtown.

The October 2nd free events include:

Join the community for some free family fun and enjoy the variety of cultural and art experiences Riverside has to offer. Visit one event or visit them all! Free parking is also available. First Sundays is sponsored by the Riverside Arts Council.

For more information, view the flyer here.

Riverside Named Third in the Nation in Newsweek’s Ranking of America’s Can-Do Capitals

In a time of economic anxiety, the City of Riverside has it “going on” according to a recent report published by Newsweek ( 

Newsweek reviewed the country’s 200 largest cities focusing not only on current performance but also cities’ progression in areas of business development, sustainability, livability, transportation and infrastructure.

“Riverside has taken a strategic approach to improving our City’s infrastructure, sustainability and livability” commented Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “…we are proud to be recognized as one of America’s 20 Can-Do Cities.”

Of the 20 cities named as top performers, three were located in California and included San Diego and Oakland.  The study reviewed reductions in air pollutants, increased park acreage, LEED building certifications, and the number of people with health care.  In addition, education levels were considered as was the pace of new construction, venture capital growth and the change in costs of doing business.

The full Daily Beast (Newsweek) article can be found here.

Annual Mariachi Festival Celebrates Riverside’s Diverse Culture

The 2011 City of Riverside Mariachi Festival is an annual cultural celebration of music, cuisine and art. In addition to feature performances by the nationally known Mariachi Mujer2000, Mariachi Aguascalientes, Mariachi Halcones de Jalisco, and Mariachi Monumental, the festival will include a Ballet Folklorico competition, multi-category art contest, vendor fair and the Wild or Mild Salsa recipe contest.

The festival will be held Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Fairmount Park. The Mariachi Festival is one of several signature events held annually throughout the year.

More details and ticketing information can be found here and on the event’s facebook page.