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.

Students Interact With Officials In Summer Bridge Programs

(This article contains excerpts from rusdlink.org.)

Over the past several weeks, students enrolled in RUSD Summer Bridge programs have had a unique opportunity to learn about our community and government by speaking directly with local, state and national leaders. Congressman Mark Takano, Assemblyman Jose Medina, Riverside, City Councilman Mike Gardner, and Darlene Trujillo-Elliot, Assistant to Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and Riverside firefighters were among those who took part in this project.

Photo credit: RUSD

Photo credit: RUSD

Students participating in the community history project included those in the AVID Excel Middle School programs at Chemawa, Sierra andUniversity Heights Middle Schools and English Language Learner students from across the district.  Working with Taylor Libolt, Curator of Education for theMission Inn Museum, students learned about our community, researched government roles and wrote and practiced interview questions for dignitaries.

My broad goal with our community history project is to teach students about local history in non-traditional ways,” Darlene Trujillo-Libolt noted. “This is accomplished through guided research, walking tours, photography, mural design, and of course oral history interviews.  I hope that our students were able to gain insight into the many untold and unseen histories of Riverside by speaking with and learning from our community leaders and professionals.

Photo credit: RUSD

Photo credit: RUSD

The Summer Bridge Programs are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar.  Riverside is committed to nurturing an environment where everyone is involved and everyone has a voice.  Riverside is a city for everyone and by everyone. Riversiders respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of our neighbors, while proactively engaging them across historical dividing lines.

To read more, click here.

Don’t Miss Restaurant Week In Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from riversideca.gov/dineriverside/)

Be sure to participate in Riverside Restaurant Week, and take advantage of all the great deals and discounts available.  Help support local restaurants and dine within the city.

Riverside Restaurant Week exemplifies seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Participating restaurants throughout the city are being highlighted to promote the great dining experiences  available to Riversiders.   Our city promotes an outstanding quality of life for all through intelligent growth.

Click here to see what restaurants are participating!

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When is Riverside Restaurant Week?

Friday, June 20, 2014 through Sunday, June 29th.

Do I need to register?

No, registration is not necessary. As you dine at each participating restaurant, just let them know you’re there for the Riverside Restaurant Week special! Reservations are encouraged for those restaurants that accept them.

Who is supporting the event?

The City of Riverside alongside Riverside Downtown Partnership and Arlington Business Partnership.

For more information on Riverside Restaurant Week, click here.

 

Riverside Artnival Has Great Turnout

(This article contains excerpts from the Riverside Arts Council)

Artnival 2014 was a great opportunity not only in terms of serving a traditionally underserved population with a free, family-friendly event, but also as a cross-county promotional effort.  Approximately 300 people attended the event over the course of the day.  The Riverside Arts Council assisted The Community Foundation with the culminating activity of its Arts Regranting Program Inland Empire (funded through The James Irvine Foundation).

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Victor Valley had a musical petting zoo, with one of the students served through the program there to demonstrate instruments for children and to guide them in trying the instruments out for themselves. The High Desert Cultural Arts Foundation had an exhibit of the work created by students, as well as a drawing workshop and a performance of work created in their children’s theatre workshop. The group from tps had an exhibit and a workshop.

This family oriented Artnival event is a great portrayal of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar.  Riversiders from all backgrounds came together to be a part of the event and join in the fun.  People are brought together around common interests and concerns, while the unique character of Riverside’s neighborhoods and diverse communities are celebrated and valued. 

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Events such as this have the power to have a far greater impact than numbers will show. One of the teenaged performers from the High Desert Cultural Arts Foundation is autistic. Until just a few months ago, she was non-verbal. When she began the program funded by The Community Foundation, she began to speak. At Artnival, she sang a number with her mother. No one in her family would have ever imagined that she would be able to stand up on a stage in front of a group of people, much less sing a song. Through Park and Rec’s sponsorship of this event, this girl was provided a therapeutic opportunity that will have a lifetime’s worth of benefits.

 

Unbreakable Bond: American Soldier Opens Home To Afghan Compatriot

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Skylar Kund, published in the Commuter LBCC on May 28, 2014.)

Riversider Chris Grigsby, 48, spent 17 years in the United States Army Infantry. His last deployment was for 13 months in Afghanistan. In February 2006, during this deployment, he met Lais Khan.  Khan joined the Afghan National Army after the Taliban killed his father. When he learned to speak English he became an interpreter, who is capable of speaking four different languages.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (June 28, 2010) Seabees, Marines, Soldiers and members of the Afghan National Army take a tour of an area surrounding a newly completed Mabey-Johnson Bridge project. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ace Rheaume/Released) Image via Wikimedia Commons.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (June 28, 2010) Seabees, Marines, Soldiers and members of the Afghan National Army take a tour of an area surrounding a newly completed Mabey-Johnson Bridge project. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ace Rheaume/Released) Image via Wikimedia Commons.

When asked to comment on the relationship between Grigsby himself and Khan, Grigsby said, “He saved my life both directly and indirectly more than once.”  After creating an unbreakable bond, when Grigsby’s deployment was over he flew home, and the two went their separate ways. Khan continued his work for the U.S. government, and Grigsby returned home to Riverside, California. They didn’t know it, but they would meet again in a very different place.

Seven years later, Grigsby received a phone call.  “Lais worked for the U.S. government the last 9 years. Now that the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban is trying to kill him and his family,” said Grigsby.  When Lais inquired about receiving a special immigrant visa and moving to America with his family of four, Grigsby didn’t just offer help to this man who had saved his life: he offered his home. A year later, Lais’ family, a family none of the Grigsby’s had ever met, moved in, bringing three trunks of their only possessions.

Since moving in, the public outpour has been amazing. From food to a car, the Riverside community has reached out to the family. One donor named Sandra Reierson passed on her family’s car to the Khan family.  “We’re so glad it went to a good home. The first time we drove that car was to pick up our granddaughter,” said Sandra Reierson.

The transition for the family has been relatively smooth. The families get along well and the children have entered the local public school.  We would all be lucky to have friends like the Grigsby’s.

This story of friendship, adversity, and the resilience of the human spirit is a remarkable example of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar.   We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.  Not only did the Grisby family generously open up their home, the people of Riverside made an effort to welcome the deserving Khan family as well, and that is exactly what sets our community apart from many others.  Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world.  

To read the full article, click here.

 

Young Professionals Promote Volunteerism

(This article contains excerpts from pickgroup.org)

The Pick Group provides opportunities for career-minded young professionals to connect socially, develop professionally, and engage civically for the betterment of Riverside.  The Pick Group ran a successful social media volunteer drive, for the second year, during the month of January called the Pick and Pledge Challenge where young professionals and others in the Riverside area were called upon to promote volunteerism. The challenge provided a media forum to publicly post hours participants will volunteer in 2014 to local organizations and non profits.

Volunteers from the social media drive.  Photo credit: Pickgroup.org

Volunteers from the social media drive. Photo credit: Pickgroup.org

Together, 85 PICK Group members, board members, friends and community members pledged a total of 16,750 volunteer hours to the community through the group’s official Facebook page. “We had a goal of 10,000 hours this year and we exceeded it by 68%. Last year, we had a total of 63 people pledge 9,600 hours. We are excited to see the increase of people pledging volunteer hours as well an increase in the number of hours,” said Jesse Limon, Civic Involvement Chair of PICK Group.

Pick Group Volunteer. Photo credit: the PICK Group

Pick Group Volunteer. Photo credit: the PICK Group

“According to the Independent Sector, the monetary value of a volunteer hour in California is currently $26.34. The economic impact of those 16,750 hours pledged is $441,195.00,” said Eugene Kim, President of the PICK Group. “With the increase of the value of volunteer hour and hours pledged, in just one year we doubled the value of the economic impact of volunteers to our community.”

The annual Pick and Pledge event seeks to pair eager young professionals with local nonprofit boards and volunteer opportunities by highlighting local organizations on the PICK Group website and social media outlets daily during the month of January. Volunteer opportunities to fulfill the hours pledged will be posted throughout the year on the website and social media outlets.

Pick group volunteer. Photo Credit: The PICK Group

Pick group volunteer. Photo Credit: The PICK Group

The Pick Group is a great representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation, unified city, and location of choice pillars.  Finding new opportunities to promote volunteerism and community outreach is an admirable cause that the Pick Group has dedicated a lot of energy to.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.  Riversiders are committed to improving the quality of life within the community, making Riverside a location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world.  We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read more about the Pick Group, click here.