UC Riverside Hosts ‘Boot Camp’ To Ease Native Americans’ Entry

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Krysta Fauria, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 23, 2014.)

Young college bound Native Americans are being encouraed to attend the “Boot Camp” opportunities at UC Riverside.  These exercises are an outstanding model of Riverside growing as a unified city.  Riversiders care for one another and ensure that everyone has access to a great education and the resources necessary to succeed.  We are a caring community that engages with one another for a better life for all. 

Native Americans take part in a drum circle before workshop sessions at UCR. Only 12 percent of Native Americans between 25 and 34 have four-year degrees, compared to 37 percent of whites, according to a 2012 report.  Photo credit: Chris Carlson

Native Americans take part in a drum circle before workshop sessions at UCR. Only 12 percent of Native Americans between 25 and 34 have four-year degrees, compared to 37 percent of whites, according to a 2012 report. Photo credit: Chris Carlson

Throughout their week at UCR, students got a taste of the college experience by attending classroom lectures, eating in the cafeteria and sleeping in the dorms. The 30 students also participated in cultural activities like prayer circles and beading workshops.  Upon completion of UCR’s program, students are given access to the university’s resources and staff to assist with the application process.

Elijah Watson knows he wants to go to college. He also knows it will be difficult to leave home on the Navajo reservation if he does.  The 17-year-old was reminded of the tough decision he’ll face next year when he participated in a week long celebration in March of his cousin’s Kinaalda, a hallowed Navajo ceremony marking a girl’s transition into womanhood.

Native Americans gather for a drum circle before workshop sessions at UC Riverside on Thursday, June 26.  Photo Credit: Chris Carlson

Native Americans gather for a drum circle before workshop sessions at UC Riverside on Thursday, June 26. Photo Credit: Chris Carlson

To reach students like Watson with higher education aspirations, a growing number of universities are offering programs to recruit and prepare Native American students for a transition to college life that can bring on a wrenching emotional conflict as they straddle two worlds.

Many young Native Americans find themselves divided by their desire for a higher education and the drive to stay close to home to hold onto a critical part of their identity. Sometimes, families discourage children from pursuing college, fearing once they leave the reservation, they won’t come back.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Ranks 28th On Annual Fit City Index

(This article contains excerpts from an article featured in theievoice.com, published on July 5, 2014)

Summer is finally here, and everyone’s attention shifting towards health and fitness.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) with support from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation,unveiled it’s seventh annual American Fitness Index (AFI) data report during the organizations annual meeting.

Photo credit: americanfitnessindex.org/

Photo credit: americanfitnessindex.org/

The Riverside area ranked 28th in the 2014 report with a overall score of 47.5 (out of as possible 100 points).  The 2014 AFI data report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” reflects a composite of preventative health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, and community resources and policies that support physical activity.  “Health advocates and community leaders have come to expect the arrival of the American Fitness Index as an annual check-up regarding their community’s health and fitness levels,” said Walter Thompson, Ph,D., FACSM, chair of the AFI advisory board.

“The AFI data report is a snapshot of the state of health in the community and an evaluation of the infastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles.  These measures directly affect quality of life in our country’s urban areas,” says Thompson.

Only through commitment and dedication was our beloved city of Riverside able to claim the 28th spot on the AFI report for 2014.  Riverside is a location of choice where health and fitness are priorities among its inhabitants.  An unmatched landscape, year-round outdoor activities, ample recreational options and attention to healthy living make Riverside one of the most inspiring, livable, healthy and adventurous cities to live in or visit. 

To read more, click here.

 

Arts Outreach Program Funded for 2014-2015

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on July 14, 2014.)

The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, UC Riverside’s premier arts outreach program, has been awarded $555,000 by the Max H. Gluck Foundation to fund a 19th year of arts programs in Inland Empire schools, senior centers and other community venues.

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

“We are grateful to the Gluck Foundation for their continued support of this program,” said Christine Leapman, program coordinator at UCR. The Gluck Foundation is very interested in creating opportunities for women and disadvantaged minorities in the areas of health, education, creativity and culture. We’re very proud that we reflect those values in our workshops, and with our fellows and the constituencies they serve.”

The renewal of this grant will fund program costs for the 2014–15 year, including fellowships for more than 115 graduate and undergraduate students who conduct workshops in art, creative writing, dance, history of art, music, and theater.  This is exactly the kind of program that makes Riverside a Location of Choice.

In 2013–14, Gluck fellows conducted 711 workshops that were attended by more than 36,500 people in venues ranging from public schools and senior centers to the Riverside Art Museum and UCR, which hosts school visits and a popular summer arts camp. The Gluck Fellows Program began in 1996.

arts program 2

Fellows who travel to schools are writing workshop curricula that fulfill Common Core requirements, Leapman said, which educators find helpful as they look to the arts to engage students while also satisfying state curriculum mandates.

New in 2014–15 will be the launch of GluckTV, a series of 12 short films from Gluck events at UCR that will be available on YouTube. Proposed by Gluck director and media and cultural studies professor Erika Suderburg, the student-produced films will provide information about workshops that are available to schools and other groups.

The Los Angeles-based Max H. Gluck Foundation was developed to support education and the arts. It funds programs that address the educational, health, cultural, and creative needs of the underserved.

For the full article, click here.

Mother Of Six Graduates With Two AA Degrees

(This article contains excerpts from rcc.edu)

Pursuing higher education is never an easy feat, especially when the odds are against you.  It is remarkable to witness individuals rise above the adversity they are faced with and achieve college diplomas.  This resilience of the human spirit that enables some to overcome obstacles and persevere is a model of seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Riverside is working everyday to embrace intelligent growth within all facets of the community making our city a location of choice that attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people.  Here is just one remarkable success story from an Riverside City College graduate.

Bree Dennis, graduating with an associate of science degree in Early Childhood, para-professional studies and an associate of arts in Social and Behavioral Studies, along with several certificates. Photo Credit: rcc.edu

Bree Dennis, graduating with an associate of science degree in Early Childhood, para-professional studies and an associate of arts in Social and Behavioral Studies, along with several certificates. Photo Credit: rcc.edu

Bree Dennis grew up with the words “you are not good enough” engrained in her head.  However, she did not let the verbal abuse stop her from living her life and pursuing an education.  “I grew up with divorced parents and a sister.  My parents were often yelling and physically fighting with each other. I attended more than 20 different schools before high school,” said Dennis. “My mother and sister were in and out of mental hospitals and I was left to fend for myself.”
Dennis thought being a single mother of six would be enough to keep her busy, but that wasn’t the case. She still felt a void and enrolled at Riverside City College.  Today, she works at the RCC Career Technical Education Office, assisting with special projects and coordinating the job fair. Dennis also serves as an ASRCC Senator, president of the Pathways to Teaching Club, and was crowned the 2014 Homecoming Queen.
She was awarded seven scholarships this year and received the Women’s Opportunity Award from Soroptimist International of Riverside and the California Financial Aid Counselors Scholarship.  This semester alone she volunteered over 400 hours and was instrumental in working with the RCCD Foundation to bring food resources to the RCC Resource Center.  In the community, Dennis serves on the Council for the Riverside Childcare Consortium and is a volunteer coordinator for the Early Literacy Conference.
“Studying with six kids is difficult but when you add a job and volunteering on top of that, as well as a learning disability, it seems almost impossible,” she said. “I have learned to have faith in myself and my abilities. I am achieving a 3.297 GPA, something I never thought was possible. I thank God for my counselors, Marc and Anne, and the CalWORKs and EOPS/CARE offices every day for helping make my dreams a reality.”
Dennis will be graduating with an associate of science degree in Early Childhood, para-professional studies and an associate of arts in Social and Behavioral Studies, along with several certificates.  She will be transferring to Cambridge University in Rancho Cucamonga.  Her goal is to become a first grade teacher.
To read more, click here.

 

Riverside Experiments With More Affordable Public Area ‘Hotspots’

(This article contains excerpts from an article by David Downey, published in the Press-Entreprise on May 30, 2014.)

About the middle of last decade, municipalities across the Inland region were jumping on the broadband wireless wagon, vowing to blanket communities with “Wi-Fi” service and connect residents of all income levels to the Internet.  Riverside ended up being the only city to follow through. It hired AT&T to build and operate a system that debuted in May 2007. The idea was to blanket 95 percent of the city’s 83 square miles with free basic Internet access.

Riverside abandons nearly citywide system, joins area cities that have opted for more affordable public area ‘hotspots.’

Riverside abandons nearly citywide system, joins area cities that have opted for more affordable public area ‘hotspots.’

Seven years later, Riverside is abandoning what is now an out-of-date, little-used system, said Lea Deesing, the city’s chief innovation officer.  Revamping Riverside’s public internet capabilities is a large project that will benefit all Riversiders, regardless of socioeconomic status.  This project exemplifies seizing our destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.   Riverside has made it a priority to ensure that all residents  have internet access.  Our community leaders collaborate to address issues, which lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches. 

“We plan to shut it off on July 1,” Deesing said, adding that 1,600 devices on light poles and traffic signals will have to be dismantled.  Riverside opted not to spend an estimated $6 million to replace and modernize the network. Instead, the city has decided to experiment with hotspots, something other cities provide.

It is becoming increasingly important for people to connect to the Internet to obtain public services, apply for jobs and maintain bank accounts, among other things, the report states.

While Riverside had plenty of company around the nation in the area of public WiFi, it was on its own in Inland Southern California. A handful of cities, however, have opted to provide limited service in area hotspots.

To read the full article, click here.

Wood Streets Green Team Encourages Riversiders To Use Local Transportation

(This article contains excerpts from woodstreetsgreenteam.wordpress.com.)

The Wood Streets Green Team encouraged people to get out of their cars and use public transportation for a Progressive Bus tour last Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Meeting at a local bus stop, participants rode a new, air conditioned RTA bus (with USB ports) to the Downtown Station on University.  One participant, Susan Fahrney, was overheard to say, “Riding the bus opens up a whole new perspective of our city! I love it!”   After a short walk to the Farmers Market on Main Street, people shopped and visited with the various vendors.

Memebers of the Wood Streets Green Team encouraging Riversiders to take advantage of local transportation.

Memebers of the Wood Streets Green Team encouraging Riversiders to take advantage of local transportation. Photo credit: Susan Fahnery

Next stop took them to Tio’s Tacos on Mission Inn across from the Downtown Bus Station.  As the group enjoyed tacos and wonderful agua fresca drinks, they listened to Stephanie Sanchez give a brief overview of how her parents started in the food industry and how the restaurant came into being.  Touring the acre of garden art made from recycled materials created by her father, Martin Sanchez, wrapped up the event.   After relaxing in the garden, the group crossed the street and grabbed the next bus back to the Wood Streets.

There will likely be other bus ride events scheduled in the future.  Especially for downtown events when parking and traffic is a challenge, the bus is a great alternative.  The Wood Streets Green Team would like to partner with other groups/events to plan more bus rides to encourage the use of public transportation.

The members of the Wood Streets Green Team exemplify seizing our destiny’s location of choice pillar by collaborating to build our community.  Finding new outlets for the community to engage in local activities and events is a valuable asset to any community.  The group is focused on encouraging all Riversiders to take advantage of the new public transportation.  Riverside is a location of choice and attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners and visitors.  Riverside has increasingly become the ‘location of choice’ for people and organizations from all over the world.

To read more about the Wood Streets Green Team, click here. 

Riverside Tops The List Of Best Cities For Small Business

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Amy Whyte, published in inc.com on May 12, 2014.)

A new study from Biz2Credit.com examines how a number of U.S. cities measure up and Riverside tops the chart as best city for small business when ranked by annual revenue.  See the infographic chart below. 

Infographic map comparing major cities based on annual revenue and average credit score.  Photo credit: shutter stock

Infographic map comparing major cities based on annual revenue and average credit score. Photo credit: Biz2Credit.com

The study, which defines a small business as a company with fewer than 250 employees or less than $10 million in annual revenue, analyzed more than 12,000 businesses that have been in operation for at least a year. The findings place San Jose in the top spot, on the basis of a weighted score that includes annual revenue, credit scores, and the average age of the city’s small businesses. Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco round out the top five.

This is an outstanding representation of Riverside as a location of choice.  For small businesses across the country, choosing what location to set up shop can be difficult and exhausting.  This type of chart is a useful tool for entrepreneurs to compare big cities side by side.   Riverside attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners and visitors.

To read more, click here.

Riverside Home Prices Up Over 20% In 2013

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Paul Ausick, published in 24/7 WallSt.com on May 13, 2014.)

As a location of choice, Riverside tops the list of California cities with rising home prices.  Although the value of homes across the country has risen roughly 11%, Riverside is way ahead of the curve at almost 24%.  Home prices in seven U.S. metropolitan areas rose at least 20% in 2013, according to the latest CoreLogic Case-Shillehome price index. The seven are Las Vegas (25.6%) and six California cities: Riverside (23.8%), Oakland (23.3%), Sacramento (23.0%), Los Angeles (20.3%), San Jose (20.1%) and San Francisco (20.0%).

Skyline view of Riverside, California.

Skyline view of Riverside, California.

House prices across the country rose 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, but remain 21% below the peak reached in the first quarter of 2006.

Overall, 308 of 384 U.S. metro areas posted price gains between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013. In those areas with populations greater than 1 million, every city either posted a gain or remained flat with the previous year.

For the current year, the CoreLogic Case-Shiller index is expected to post a home price gain of 5.3%, less than half the 2013 gain. Over the next five years, home prices are expected to rise at an annual rate of 3.1%.

Riverside attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners and visitors.

To read more, click here.

Foster Care Inspires Playwright

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Chrystal Allegria, published in the Press-Enterprise on May 7, 2014.)

Regina Louise wanted to do something big with her life, even if that meant baring her soul.  From birth until age 18, Louise bounced around the foster care system in Texas, Georgia and California. Now, 50, Louise is a playwright, motivational speaker and a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside.  The original play, “Bearing Our Soles,” is founded on Louise’s lonely childhood, but also tells the “shoe stories” of other authors that speak of life and love.

Playwright Regina Louise will present her play, Bearing Our Soles, in Riverside this weekend. Louise grew up in foster care.  Photo Credit: UCR

Playwright Regina Louise will present her play, Bearing Our Soles, in Riverside this weekend. Louise grew up in foster care. Photo Credit: UCR

“Life, love, story. It’s all relational,” said Louise, who is working on a master’s degree in creative writing and writing for the performing arts. “The sole holds us up. The soul of man is what holds us up to withstand the impact that we have every day.”

Growing up in group homes and institutions made Louise long for a parental figure, a feeling she discussed in her 2003 memoirs, “Somebody’s Someone: A Memoir.” The book inspired her to write a one-woman monologue of the same name, which she wrote and performed at the Sacramento Theatre Company in 2007.

Instead of revisiting the monologue, Louise’s professor encouraged her to seek stories from others. “So I sent out a call for stories about shoes,” she said.  The response was tremendous. Louise received shoe stories from individuals who also bared their souls.  “’Bearing Our Soles’ is this idea to bare, expose the story… it’s the idea that our stories aren’t so different and that the idea that they bear resemblance,” Louise said. “We are more alike than we are different.”

“The work I do is in service to something much larger. In order to do something possible, it must be fueled by hope. That hope is a fuel injection, if you will, to my being possible,” she said.

“Bearing Our Soles” is a part of the MaryLu Clayton Rosenthal New Play Festival and will be performed at 8 p.m. on May 23 and 31 at the UCR Studio Theater at 900 University Ave. in Riverside.

The work of Regina Louise is an example of why Riverside is a location of choice.  Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained, including arts and cultural offerings.  Her story is an inspiration and it catalyzes hope.

To read the full article click here.