Tag Archives: Collaborating to Build Community

Riverside Firefighter Gives His Shoes To Barefoot Homeless Man

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Katie Kindelan and published in Yahoo/ABC News on January 19, 2016.)

Photo Credit: ABC News
Photo Credit: City of Riverside Fire Department/Facebook

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.

The moment was captured on camera and shared on the fire department’s Facebook page last Thursday.

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.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Families Go On Shopping Spree With Firefighters

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Rob McMillan and published in ABC7 on December 16, 2015.)

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.

To read the original article, click here.

All Helping Hands On Deck For Habitat Project

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Tom Sheridan and published in the Press Enterprise on November 21, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Frank Bellino, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Frank Bellino, The Press Enterprise

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 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.

To read the full article, click here.

Art Teacher’s Classes Help Inspire Youth In Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Patrick Brien and published in The Press Enterprise on October 21, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Annette Ramsey
Photo Credit: Annette Ramsey

When Annette Ramsey thinks back to her childhood, it is her teachers that she remembers as her greatest inspiration.

“My teachers made me feel important,” she said.

Ramsey waited until after her children were grown and had moved out before she decided to return to school so that she could follow a longtime dream and become a teacher. Leaving a successful 23-year career as a designer, Ramsey got her A.A. in education from Riverside City College before transferring to UC Riverside, where she earned a B.A. in liberal arts.

“I went through several years of focusing on the one goal of becoming an elementary school special needs teacher,” Ramsey said. “I realized toward the end that I did not like the way they said I had to teach. I’m a rebel and have been since my early days. I still wanted to teach, but I wanted to teach something I was good at and something that would really benefit a child who struggles in a regular class setting. I believe with all my heart that art is the answer for these children and adults.”

The 62-year-old Ramsey struck out on her own. She began teaching art classes for low-income children at the Cesar Chavez Community Center in Riverside’s East Side neighborhood. It was the first class of what would become the Riverside Art Academy. She currently operates Studio 38B in downtown Riverside’s Life Arts Center and teaches classes for children at the Orange Terrace Community Center and Starting Gate Educational Services, both in Riverside, and for developmentally disabled adults at Corona’s Peppermint Ridge.

Although she lives in Redlands, Ramsey’s work is primarily in Riverside. Her young students have been exhibited in China and Mexico, as well as several locations in Riverside, including the Riverside Community Arts Association and Riverside Art Museum. In addition, their work has appeared in three exhibitions in U.S. Rep. Mark Takano’s Riverside office. Ramsey is also assisting Congressman Takano’s staff with the annual congressional art competition.

“It’s an honor to help with something that can have such an important impact on a student’s life,” she said.

If a program can be said to be dearest to Ramsey’s heart, it would be Starting Gate, a non-public school housed on the former campus of Riverside’s Grant Elementary School. The program serves multiple school districts that refer students who are currently not able to be enrolled in public schools.

“This is my calling,” Ramsey said. “I see a huge difference in these students. The teachers and staff are amazed at the students’ response. I wasn’t. I know that the arts can make a difference in their lives. These are children who are going to be lost if we don’t do something to make them feel like there is a future in something they do well.”

Ramsey is a mother of two and a grandmother of seven. She is also a tireless advocate for the community and will be recognized as the November Arts and Innovation Honoree of the Month at the Riverside City Council meeting Nov 10.

In addition to the classes she teaches at various sites, Ramsey runs the Art Masters Academy out of her studio in downtown Riverside’s historic Life Arts Center. She hopes to build up a scholarship fund for students and to create an art masters curriculum that she can share with other teachers.

Ramsey’s kindness and passion to make a difference in her community is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Ramsey demonstrates that we  are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

For more information on Annette Ramsey, visit her Facebook page, Heart Enterprise.

To read the full article, click here.

CBU President Honored For Improving Community Through Education

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on October 26, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

The Salvation Army Community Center in Riverside honored California Baptist University President Dr. Ronald L. Ellis for his leadership in higher education.

“Dr. Ellis has elevated the city of Riverside when it comes to educational opportunities,” said Dan Vaughn, CEO of Gallant Risk & Insurance Services. Vaughn read a statement on behalf of the Salvation Army Community Center at its “Soup-er Stars” luncheon on Oct 23.

“Residents are enriched because of Dr. Ellis’ innovative leadership,” Vaughn said.

When Ellis became president of California Baptist College in 1994, enrollment totaled 808 students. This fall, CBU surpassed an enrollment goal of 8,080 five years earlier than anticipated, with a record enrollment of 8,541 students. It is the largest enrollment in CBU history and an increase of more than 1,000% in the past 21 years. Ellis is a testament to the intelligent growth of our community.

Academic offerings also have increased during the Ellis presidency. In 1994, CBC offered 22 academic majors and one graduate program. Today CBU offers more than 150 majors, minors and concentrations through traditional and online programs. CBU also offers more than 40 graduate programs through traditional and online programs. In the current academic year, CBU will offer its first two doctorate programs, one in nursing practice and the other in public administration, delivered online.

To read the full article, click here.

CBU Faculty And Students Shine At Riverside’s Long Night Of Arts & Innovation

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in cbu news & events on October 9, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

California Baptist University faculty and students showcased some of their innovative work at the Long Night of Arts & Innovation in downtown Riverside on Oct. 8.

The event stretched over several blocks, allowing event-goers an opportunity to browse through the latest developments in arts, science and education.

CBU’s Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering presented several exhibits, including a high-speed camera, the electronic design of the Pong video game, a NAO robot and a 3-D printing device.

Events like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. CBU is dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These events play a vital role in strengthening our community.

For the full article, click here.

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

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Affordable Housing For Disabled Veterans Coming Soon

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Suzanne Hurt and published in The Press Enterprise on September 20, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Kurt Miller, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Kurt Miller, The Press Enterprise

A World War II officer’s club at a long-shuttered military base is morphing into a new center of hope and healing for veterans in an innovative Riverside housing project expected to open early next year.

The Camp Anza Officers Club, with its huge dance floor, tiki room and paintings of Polynesian beauties, was the site of send-off parties for thousands of officers leaving for combat in the Pacific.

The massive building, which sat at the heart of a vital U.S. Army troop staging area, is undergoing a renovation to make it the centerpiece of the Home Front at Camp Anza.

The $14.1 million project by San Diego-based Wakeland Housing and Development Corp., Mercy House of Santa Ana and Riverside’s housing authority will offer affordable apartments for 29 disabled vets and their families and on-site services to keep them together.

On a tour of the area Wednesday, Riverside City Councilman Jim Perry said the effort to help returning war vets also will revitalize one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods by breathing new life into an important piece of its past.

The historic clubhouse will function as the complex’s community center, offering services tailored to vets and a place for relaxation and meetings. Vets will work with a full-time case manager provided by Mercy House.

Vets will get on-site physical therapy, job coaching and placement, and classes on civilian life skills and financial literacy. They will be connected with Veterans Affairs benefits and vocational training or higher education, said Mercy House Executive Director Larry Haynes.

For vets and their families, there will be on- and off-site behavioral and mental health support, conflict resolution, financial assistance, tutoring and school supplies for kids.

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 participating organizations 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.

To read the full story, click here.

Riverside Wants To House All Homeless Veterans

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Alicia Robinson and Published in The Press Enterprise on July 19, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

The Riverside apartment David Oakley shares with his girlfriend and their gray cat, Mittens, is a modest one-bedroom with a cramped kitchen, donated furniture and a few framed prints on its off-white walls.

But it’s home, and Oakley is grateful for it.

Before he moved into the apartment seven months ago, Oakley, a 51-year-old National Guard veteran, was homeless for about two years.

Having his own place is “like it used to be, it’s the way it should be,” he said, then added, “It’s kind of, to be honest, like a dream come true.”

Oakley is one of several military veterans helped by an ambitious Riverside program that aims to house all of the city’s homeless veterans by the end of this year.

So far, the program, backed by Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, has found homes for 11 veterans. It has 21 more veterans linked with caseworkers to help them apply for benefits and find jobs and apartments.

“It’s inexcusable in my mind to have homeless veterans,” said Bailey, a West Point graduate and Army veteran. “(With) 200,000 veterans in the two-county (Inland) region, we need to lead by example and to take care of our troops.”

The Riverside apartment David Oakley shares with his girlfriend and their gray cat, Mittens, is a modest one-bedroom with a cramped kitchen, donated furniture and a few framed prints on its off-white walls.

But it’s home, and Oakley is grateful for it.

Before he moved into the apartment seven months ago, Oakley, a 51-year-old National Guard veteran, was homeless for about two years.

Having his own place is “like it used to be, it’s the way it should be,” he said, then added, “It’s kind of, to be honest, like a dream come true.”

Oakley is one of several military veterans helped by an ambitious Riverside program that aims to house all of the city’s homeless veterans by the end of this year.

So far, the program, backed by Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, has found homes for 11 veterans. It has 21 more veterans linked with caseworkers to help them apply for benefits and find jobs and apartments.

“It’s inexcusable in my mind to have homeless veterans,” said Bailey, a West Point graduate and Army veteran. “(With) 200,000 veterans in the two-county (Inland) region, we need to lead by example and to take care of our troops.”

House Veterans
Riverside is taking part in a federal program that challenges cities to find housing for all homeless military veterans by the end of 2015.

Participants: A total of 709 city, county and state officials have accepted the challenge. Other California cities involved include San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno.

Progress: In Riverside, housing has been found for 11 veterans, but 44 more still need homes.

Resources: Veterans and their advocates can call the Access Center, 951-715-3434, or visit endhomeless.info. Lighthouse, 951-571-3533, and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Loma Linda, 909-825-7084, also assist homeless veterans.

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 participating organizations 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.

To read the full article, click here.