A California firefighter and his captain are being praised for pulling their fire truck over to give a pair of shoes to a homeless man walking barefoot on a highway.
The firefighters, from Riverside, California, were driving back to the fire station last week from a physical fitness test when they saw an elderly homeless man walking on the side of the freeway, Bruce Vanderhorst, the battalion’s Chief Public Information Officer, told ABC News.
The firefighters turned their fire truck around to help the man and then noticed he was barefoot.
One of the firefighters aboard the engine, David Gilstrap, donated his own pair of sneakers to the homeless man, while the engine’s captain, Rob Gabler, walked over and helped the homeless man put on his shoes.
Vanderhorst told ABC News the firefighters also offered the homeless man water and access to the city’s homeless services.
“Services are always offered and we tell them, ‘We can get help to you,’” he said. “We’re very proud of the work we do building our community relations and we’re here to help in any way we can whenever those opportunities present themselves.”
Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of this Riverside firefighter demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
On May 4, 1981, Valley Resource Center opened in Hemet, California with 17 clients and by year end was serving 29 persons. In 1983, Valley Resource Center received a grant that helped to establish a facility in San Jacinto. In 1985, a second facility in Perris was opened. At present, EXCEED is serving over 480 clients in its Perris, Hemet, Riverside and La Quinta locations; and over 150 others in individual or enclave community placements throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
What they do:
Life Skills Training- EXCEED’s Adult Developmental Centers (ADC) provide basic living skills training, which assists clients in reaching their maximum level of independence and access into the community. Their curriculum includes self-advocacy, mobility training, money management, functional reading and writing, pre-vocational and daily living skills training.
Senior Component- Their Senior Program is designed for clients who are older and wish to focus on retirement and leisure skills. The program includes hobbies, recreational activities, and other appropriate activities and living skills geared to older adults.
Healthy Living- Their Casa del Valle Residential Program provides long-term housing, care and training to 14 adults with developmental disabilities in a 4,400 square foot, 8-bedroom facility on approximately 0.9 acres.
Vocational Training and Job Placement- EXCEED’s Supported Employment program offers job matching and individual placements within the community. When an individual enters the program, a match of the client’s skills to the appropriate work environment is made. Initially, a Job Coach is assigned to the individual to provide training. Clients receive on-going support as needed in order to maintain or enhance employment. Clients usually work 20 or more hours per week and earn competitive wages.
Supervised Work Teams (enclaves) are an extension of the Supported Employment program. Clients are placed in industry, in small groups with an on-site supervisor. These clients learn and perform various jobs within Industry in a competitive employment environment. Clients enhance work and social skills to go on to Individual Placement or competitive employment. Clients are referred to enclaves from other EXCEED programs, or from outside referral sources.
Teaching Marketable Work Skills- EXCEED’s Work Activity Centers (WAC) provide vocational training for persons that wish to acquire marketable work skills. Clients have the opportunity to work on a variety of contracts including packaging, assembly, labeling, light manufacturing, and mailers. A Maintenance Training Program provides instruction in janitorial and lawn maintenance.
Our crews work at various residences and businesses in the community, and State Highway Rest Areas. In addition to specific work skills, the Work Activity Center program stresses the development of appropriate work habits and attitudes. Some of our contract companies include: Cal Trans, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County municipalities, nationwide and worldwide retailers and distributors. Clients in this program spend their time in paid work and vocational skills training. Over the past year, more than 25 clients have transitioned from WAC to community placement.
EXCEED can also provide a well-trained crew to perform janitorial and grounds keeping work. A contract agreement is made and services are billed monthly.
Organizations such as EXCEED are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Riversiders are working together everyday to not only to address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation, and world.
About a week ago the Riverside Police Department was contacted by a family on Facebook looking for information on car seats for their two daughters. The mother explained that her daughters had outgrown her old car seats but she did not have the money for new ones. After contacting the family and discussing their needs the Riverside Police Department decided to pay a visit to the family on Tuesday, December 22nd. In addition to installing two brand new car seats, officers presented Christmas gifts for the family.
Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of the Riverside Police Department demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
On Dec. 4, Terrace Elementary School presented a check for $3,000 to Together We Rise, a charity dedicated to aiding foster children. The elementary school students raised the money by bringing in coins to class and met their goal within a week.
The elementary school is part of No Excuses University, a national network of schools that prepares students for college. During its annual No Excuses National Convention they announce the Charity of the Year. At this year’s convention, Together We Rise was chosen as the charity.
Together We Rise, which is based in Brea, is a nationwide charity that promotes welfare of foster children – even after they have aged out of the adoption system. Children who move to a new home are typically given trash bags to put their belongings in, but this charity provides what are called Sweet Cases, which are bags with a blanket, a book, and a teddy bear. Together We Rise also provides clothing for back-to-school season, bicycles and care packages for college students.
Last year, the students of Terrace Elementary raised $2,500 for the Friends of Jacqueline Foundation, a charity that supports children with brain tumors. This year, Principal Emily M. Devor wanted to meet the goal of $3,000. They met that goal within a week.
The school began a Coin Drive to raise the funds. On Monday, the students brought in pennies, Tuesdays they brought in nickels, Wednesday were dimes, Thursday for quarters, and finally on Friday they brought in dollar bills.
Although donations had been made before and after the Coin Drive, the students raised the majority of the funds.
“We try to teach them that we all have challenges, we all have variables, but there’s always someone who has it worse than we do,” Devor said. “We need to help others even when it seems like we’re struggling ourselves.”
According to Devor, the students were excited to be able to contribute and gleefully brought in bags of coins. Together We Rise’s mascot is a teddy bear and paper cut outs of the mascot were distributed for children to color in and later hang in the administrative office. At the school’s Gateway to College Pep Rally, where students learn college words, have an adopted school, and celebrate the year they will potentially graduate from college, the youth leadership group, PAW PALS, presented the check for $3,000 to Together We Rise.
Gianna Dahlia, executive director of Together We Rise is thankful for the school’s efforts in promoting the cause. The money raised will directly fund the Sweet Cases program and care packages for college students.
“We are really humbled that people are getting involved with foster kids,” she said. “I think we’re showing that anyone can help and it’s humbling that people are starting to get that concept.”
Damen Lopez, founder of No Excuses University, praised the students of Terrace Elementary.
“We have so many kids who live in poverty, [and] those kids have such great hearts. They know that there are other people who need them,” he said.
Efforts like this truly demonstrate why Riverside is such a unified city. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants and beyond.
For several Riverside families, Christmas got a little merrier as they spent Wednesday morning shopping for gifts with city firefighters.
“It’s very rewarding and very honorable to be able to give back to people that aren’t as fortunate as others,” firefighter Jennifer McDowell said.
Among the families selected this year was the Fields family. Amelia Fields was picked after writing an essay at school on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The family shopped and got some comfy boots, toys, books, slippers, a coffee cup for dad, and even something for their puppy.
Amelia thought of everyone.
“She obviously is thinking about the entire family, not just herself, which is probably one of the reasons why she is so special,” McDowell said.
The $300 shopping spree was donated by the Riverside Fire Department. In all, four families were selected to partake in the event.
Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of the Riverside Fire Department demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
About 400 people attended a candlelight vigil near the Highlander Union Building Dec. 4 to honor the victims of the mass shooting in San Bernardino Dec 2, that killed 14 and injured 21, including four UCR alumni.
Among the dead were Sierra Clayborn, 27, who graduated from UCR in 2010 in biochemistry, and 58-year-old Damian Meins, who graduated in Economics in 1978. Meins spent his career in environmental safety. His two daughters are also UCR graduates.
Jennifer Stevens, 22, who graduated this past June in environmental science, was hospitalized, as was Denise Peraza, 27, who earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science at UCR in 2013.
Wilcox reminded the crowd that “we are becoming more closely connected as human beings, more tightly knit. When we talk about changing the world, when we talk about making the world a better place, we are empowered in ways that humans have never been to do that, through our connectedness.” Coming together in these times of sorrow is a true demonstration of what makes us a unified city. We are a caring community that has compassion for all people and we stand with San Bernardino in their time of need.
A lone bagpipe played by Mike Terry, head of UCR’s Pipe Band, closed the somber event as the attendees quietly held their electric candles.
Southern California is famous for its beaches, but not many people know it’s home to one of the most unique river ecosystems in the world, the 110-mile Santa Ana River, which is fed by many smaller tributaries. It’s such a special environment that famed biologist E.O. Wilson named it one of the world’s 10 biological hotspots, according to Megan Brousseau, director of the nonprofit organization Inland Empire Waterkeeper. The Riverside, California, group has worked hard to restore these waters and to protect them from pollution.
“People don’t know this river is a riparian forest, with great white egrets and blue heron, and home to an endangered species that lives nowhere else in the world, the Santa Ana suckerfish,” she says. “We are absolutely responsible for this species continuing or disappearing, right here in little old California.”
Director, Inland Empire Waterkeeper Brousseau spends a lot of time educating people about their personal part in pollution, and motivates them to recycle and reuse by getting them down to the river, where they can see the effects with their own eyes. By bringing their attention to the intersection between the natural world and their own consumption, she’s better able to encourage recycling and proper disposal.
“Overall, what we’re working on is creating ownership and pride,” Brousseau says. “If there is no ownership, then there will be no stewardship. What we really want to do is give this river back to the people. We are cleaning it not only to make it safe and to recreate, but by getting [people] down there, they start to feel like it’s theirs.”
Thanks to her organization’s cleanup efforts, the portion of the river that runs through Riverside—creeks and streams once too full of trash and toxins for anyone to swim or play in them—are now host to kids’ educational summer camps and recreational play that teaches personal responsibility.
Brousseau feels that stewardship, which includes teaching the importance of recycling, should be a part of the curriculum at every grade level. “We would never give somebody a car and not teach them how to pump gas, steer, or change a flat tire. Even in the most remedial job, you give them the tools to do it right. We release our kids with no tools on how to care for this earth. The river is an outdoor education space that is free to 10 schools within walking distance that are Title 1 impoverished,” says Brousseau.
With grant funding, Inland Empire Waterkeeper has been able to sponsor a summer river camp for kids. Under the guise of fun experiments like inspecting the water under microscopes, collecting aquatic insects, and testing water quality, the camp teaches them good habits for life, like recycling and reusing. “All of my life I was told: ‘Don’t drop that chip bag, it will end up in the ocean,’” says Brousseau. But today’s kids are not as aware of the connection between trash and our waterways. “Many kids think I’m full of it, until I take them down for these cleanups and show them the huge pipe dumping right into the river and the Mylar Capri Sun packaging floating by.”
Thanks to grants and a partnership with Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, parts of the Santa Ana River are on their way back to recreational health. At a joint last cleanup at Mill Creek, volunteers pulled more than 4,500 pounds of trash from the urban stream, including such egregiously dumped items as shopping carts, tires, and carpet rolls. The group has since initiated a program that redirects thousands of pounds of housing and landscape development materials by setting up drop-offs for hazardous trash and big, bulky items.
Organizations such as Inland Empire Waterkeeper are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation, and world.
Riverside Water Polo players, parents and coaches achieved a club record when they packed 572 sack lunches for the homeless Thursday, Nov. 19 on the pool deck at the Riverside Aquatic Center at Riverside City College.
Each lunch consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, an orange and water, all of it donated by Riverside Water Polo families.
Charlie Koosed of Riverside Water Polo said in an email the club has been packing sack lunches for the homeless for many years as a way to give back to the community. The number of lunches packed this year exceeded last year’s total by 84.
The group topped off the packing event with a scrimmage pitting coaches and parents against athletes.
Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of all the students and parents demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
Residents of King Arthurs Mobile Home Estates who were up early Saturday morning, Nov. 21, might have noticed the hum of activity emanating from the area around the clubhouse.
A little before 8 a.m., some 90 volunteers were in the process of gathering to clean, trim, rake and paint – in general, spruce up – 15 residences at the mobile home park which sits just a stone’s throw from the I-60 freeway.
The project was coordinated by Habitat For Humanity, which is no stranger to the neighborhood.
“This is one of the parks we regularly work in,” said Kathy Michalak, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. “We have a really good relationship with this park.”
More than half of the volunteers were employees of local Lowe’s stores. Myrna Vega, a Lowe’s store manager, helped coordinate the project and gather the volunteers.
“We love going out into the communities, not only where we work but also where we live,” Vega said. “So we can help people love where they live.”
Other volunteers came from Habitat for Humanity chapters at Ramona High School and UC Riverside. Funding for the project included a $25,000 grant from Lowe’s for Habitat’s Women Build Week program.
Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified citypillar. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
Hundreds of California Baptist University students, staff, faculty and their families worked diligently to pack more than 550 gift shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) on Nov. 12.
OCC is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters and other crises. The gift boxes have reached approximately 150 countries and territories since 1993. Some of the gifts items include hygiene products, clothes, school supplies and toys.
More than 750 participants packed the CBU Recreation Center gym to fill boxes with donations that were spread out on tables.
Planning and organizing the event was a months-long effort that included help from many departments on campus, said Julie Dobbins, assistant director of chapel and compassion ministries and event organizer. Schools and departments provided donations for the shoeboxes as well, she said.
Efforts like this truly demonstrate why Riverside is such a unified city. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants and beyond.