Tag Archives: Community Service

Riverside Couple Collaborates To Better The Lives Of Others

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Melanie C. Johnson and published in The Press Enterprise on March 13, 2015.)

Damien and Jenn O'Farrell with one-year-old daughter Marleigh. The couple, dedicated to community service, won a Riverside Heroes Award late last year. Photo Credit: Melanie Johnson, Contributing Photographer
Damien and Jenn O’Farrell with one-year-old daughter Marleigh. The couple, dedicated to community service, won a Riverside Heroes Award late last year. Photo Credit: Melanie Johnson, Contributing Photographer

Riverside residents Damien and Jennifer “Jenn” O’Farrell see their desire to serve their community as just a part of who they are.

For Damien, a former church youth pastor, it’s his calling. Jenn traces it back to her childhood, when she would go with her mom to visit her great grandfather at a senior-living facility. They would cap the day by going to the rooms of other residents to offer greetings.

Besides their jobs and their respective leadership roles for other nonprofits, such as Operation SafeHouse and Today’s Urban Renewal Network, the couple also volunteers for community organizations and initiatives. Jenn serves on the Riverside Community Health Foundation’s board and is a three-term past board president of the YWCA. While involved in Riverside’s leadership program, she and others in her class created an annual bike ride that benefits the Riverside and Alvord Unified school districts. The event, the Riverside Citrus City Classic, is in its fourth year.

Damien serves on the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership and both he and Jenn worked with others to co-found Pick Group, an organization that brings young professionals together to socialize and find ways to impact the community socially.

Damien has been at the helm of Path of Life Ministries in Riverside for seven years. His organization has three shelter programs for homeless individuals and families with children. Most of the 1,500 people the nonprofit serves in its shelters are children under the age of 10, he said.

Other nonprofits Path of Life has launched include Health to Hope Clinics, which offers medical services to people in need, and Path of Life Enterprises, a transitional employment program. The first business opened under that program is Angel Wings Bakery, which sells its goods online, he said.

Jenn has been with the newly formed Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire chapter for a year. The program serves at-risk children and youth ages 6 to 18, providing them with a one-on-one mentor. Before this post, she previously co-facilitated a task force on human trafficking.

In working with victims of human trafficking, she said she learned from the teen girls she served that if they had positive role models and mentors earlier in life, their lives might have taken a different path.

“Seventy-five percent of those we serve come from single-family homes and are at risk for homelessness or gang violence, so mentors are needed at the tipping point to point them in another direction,” she said. “All of us have had a mentor at some point. While our mentors happen naturally, it’s not happening for the children we serve.”

Damien said while some may see problems such as homelessness or human trafficking as impenetrable, he feels efforts to make the community better do have an impact.

“It’s important for all of us to do what we can to better the lives of other people,” he said. “There’s a tangible cost to homelessness, and there is also an opportunity cost. Bringing families stability is what opens them up to generations of opportunity and following dreams instead of generations of poverty.”

Damien and Jenn exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Riversiders such as Damien and Jenn are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation, and the world.

To read the full article, click here.

Homeless Families To Benefit From 3rd Annual Fundraiser

(This article contains excerpts from www.thepathoflife.com and retrieved on March 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Path of Life Ministries
Photo Credit: Path of Life Ministries

Sheltering Hearts benefiting Path of Life Ministries will be holding it’s 3rd annual fundraising event on March 21, 2015.

Path of Life Ministries is a dynamic group of community-minded individuals serving our city since 1998. They’ve become a premier non-profit service agency committed to serving the greater Riverside homeless, challenged youth and family population with the goal to rescue, restore and rebuild lives in our community. One of their core guiding principles is grounded in partnering with the community. They accomplish this by extending their services with their local collaborative partners, other providers and support agencies. This contributes to a holistic, community based solution that improves the social, economic and spiritual health and vitality of the poor, homeless, at risk youth and families.

Path of Life Ministries addresses significant barriers of dysfunction with people in crisis including children and families. Families are met first at their place of largest need with food, shelter and stabilization services; the rescue point. Next, the process of restoring and rebuilding begins through compassionate case management, housing, health care services, community resources and wrap around services that are provided to promote self-sufficiency and family restoration.

Path of Life Ministries’ current capacity is 373 beds per night and serves the community in the areas of:

  • Homelessness – two Emergency Shelters and one Transitional Housing Program with supportive services through a comprehensive case management plan that sets goals to attain an independent life and prevent the cycle of homelessness
  • Recovery Services –  of people with alcohol/substance abuse or other dysfunctional behaviors that prevent self sufficiency in three Christian-based congregate living homes
  • Youth Services  – for challenged,  at-risk children and youth population
  • Health Care Services – ‘Health in Motion’, offered through our partner organization Health to Hope, provides mobile medical vehicle and two fixed sites that deliver primary care healthcare services to the homeless.

Path of Life Ministries is an outstanding example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar- people coming together for common goals and interests for the betterment of all.

To purchase your tickets or find out more information about the Sheltering Hearts event, click here.

For more information on Path of Life Ministries, contact their main office at (951) 275-8755 or visit their website.

La Sierra Service-Learning Class Fulfills After School Program Pledge

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Darla Martin Tucker and published in La Sierra News/Events on December 23, 2014.)

Photo Credit: La Sierra
Photo Credit: La Sierra

With ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ like it was Christmas morning, dozens of students at Stokoe Elementary School in Riverside stretched to view the colorful stacks of games, art supplies, school supplies and sporting goods filling their school’s stage.

The bounty, intended for the after school programs at Stokoe and at Wells Middle School, included paint sets, marker sets, painting canvases, packs of paper and pencils, educational games, soccer and volley balls, tennis balls, volleyball, badminton, and soccer goal nets and a 32-inch Toshiba LED television.

The goods were unveiled during a special assembly on Dec. 9, and were purchased with $3,909.49 raised during the fall academic quarter by 14 La Sierra University Senior Project business students led by Jere Fox, an associate law and management professor at the Zapara School of Business. The effort capped a pledge Fox made two-and-a-half years ago to Carmen Phillips, After School Programs coordinator for the Alvord Unified School District, that his Senior Project classes would raise funds to benefit all 16 Alvord After School programs. Donations to Stokoe and Wells schools this month fulfilled the promise. All told, Fox’s six classes since spring 2012 have delivered to Alvord’s 16 after school programs a total of $22,556.53 in products paid for with student fundraising efforts.

The donation from Fox’s class also helps the district reach matching fund goals for state grants that pay for after school programming, she said.

“The After School Programs in Alvord are funded by an After School Education and Safety grant from the State of California. We are required yearly to provide documentation of matching funds to be considered in good standing with the state,” said Phillips. “In the 2013-2014 school year, we were required to have in-kind matching funds of $1,073,112.19.”

As part of an academic service-learning program, the business students in Fox’s class visited Stokoe and Wells early in the quarter to determine the needs of the After School programs and then created a fundraising business plan to help meet those needs.  The university requires undergraduate students to perform 14 hours per student per quarter of community service. This quarter the student’s in Fox’s class contributed a total of 291 service-learning hours outside of the classroom, with more than 95 of those hours voluntarily contributed above the required minimum hours. The business students in Fox’s six Senior Project classes over the past two-and-a-half years voluntarily contributed to the after school program project an additional 884 hours above the minimum required hours, for a combined total of 3,474 hours of service-learning outside of the classroom.

The generosity and care shown by all of the La Sierra University students is a model of Riverside acting as a unified city.  Riversiders collaborate and work together to build our community and accelerate the common good for all.  We are a caring community that has great compassion and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

CBU Listed On 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Honor Roll

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on December 8, 2014.)

Photo Credit: CBU
Photo Credit: CBU

California Baptist University has been listed on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Honor Roll for exemplary community service. Approximately 700 institutions qualified for the list nationwide.

“The President’s Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions whose community service efforts achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Ted Miller, chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service. “This distinction is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. This recognition is part of our strategic commitment to engage millions of college students in service and celebrate the critical role of higher education in strengthening communities.”

To qualify, CBU submitted a lengthy application outlining the university’s community service and service learning participation. Students, faculty and staff contributed more than 600,000 service hours in 2013, with a value of more than $16 million to the community.

Riverside as a unified city is demonstrated by CBU’s staff, students and faculty in their compassion for and engagement with one another. They are working together to build our community and accelerate the common good for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Smiles For Seniors Program Going Strong After 16 Years

Smile Seekers

(This article contains excerpts from www.SmileSeekers.org and retrieved on November 14, 2014.)

Smile Seekers is a Riverside home-grown non-profit corporation whose goal is to unite the youth of this country with the forgotten elderly.  Started 16 years ago by Jim Baldwin, the organization has literally connected thousands of adult and youth volunteers with the elderly through their convalescent-visitation program.

Baldwin came from a life of addiction.  After becoming clean, he was approached by some friends who needed a ride to visit their dying father in a convalescent hospital.  “While waiting for them, I decided to walk around and say hello to some of the people in the care center.  Every room I walked into, people were dying of loneliness.”  When he returned to Riverside, he called a local convalescent hospital and asked if he could visit even though he had no relatives there.  The woman on the other end of the phone asked if “we could come right now”.

phoca_thumb_l_SS-Africa-002

While continuing his convalescent ministry today, Smile Seekers was also instrumental in creating Smile Seekers House in Nairobi, Kenya.  The 3-story stone building is a home for children made orphans due to Africa’s AIDS epidemic, and their “Goats for School” program provides the orphans with goats whose milk and offspring help offset the cost of their education.

Smile Seekers demonstrates Riverside as a Unified City – people coming together for common goals and interests for the betterment of all.

For more information on Smile Seekers, contact Jim Baldwin at (951) 452-9212 or visit their webpage.

 

Volunteers Build Playground At Salvation Army

(This article contains excerpts from an article written by Staff Reporters at The Press Enterprise and published in The Press Enterprise on November 12, 2014.)

Volunteers from the Salvation Army Riverside Corps, Humana Inc., and the community helped build a playground in Riverside on Nov. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Saramaya Weissman from Edelman
Volunteers from the Salvation Army Riverside Corps, Humana Inc., and the community helped build a playground in Riverside on Nov. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Saramaya Weissman from Edelman

Volunteers from the Salvation Army Riverside Corps, Humana Inc., organizers from KaBOOM! and the community helped to build a playground in Riverside on Saturday. The playground went up in about five hours with the help of 200 volunteers. Efforts like this reflect the Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar by bringing the community together for a common interest of creating a safe place for kids to play.

The customized, multigenerational playground, funded primarily by Humana Inc. (a health and wellness company), was created with personal drawings and input from local community members – from children to seniors – during a special design event in September. It includes senior-focused and adult elements, including fitness stations and walking paths, to promote good posture, balance and flexibility – as well as more traditional, kid-friendly equipment to create a multigenerational space.

The 2,695 square-foot playground is at the Salvation Army Riverside Corps Community Center.

For the full article, click here.

Aleph Group Inc. Fights Against Food Insecurity in the Community

(This article contains excerpts from the press release published by Shane Hupp, Ticker Report on October 30,2014.)

Aleph Group Inc. serves, seeks and shares the positive impact in the fight against food insecurity in the community, United States and around the world; by manufacturing specialty vehicles and mobile solutions.

Photo Credit: Aleph Group, Inc.
Photo Credit: Aleph Group, Inc.

Aleph Group Inc. felt a driven purpose in the fight against food insecurity and wanted to impact people’s lives. AGI and Family Service Association of Redlands partnered together and created a fundraiser event “Feeding with a Purpose,” to benefit this cause. By generating this fundraiser Aleph Group Inc. wanted to build momentum into the Feeding Angles initiative. Feeding Angels is focused on extinguishing child food insecurity in America and around the globe. Through partnerships with businesses and community based organizations, for every specialty vehicle or mobile solution that AGI designs and manufactures Aleph Group Inc. will donate a portion of the proceeds to feed a food insecure child three meals a day for an entire year. AGI is another example of a Riverside company leading the way in philanthropy and demonstrating what makes Riverside such a unified city.

For the full press release, click here.

Car Giveaway Changes Lives

(This article contains excerpts from article by Kevin J Keckeisen, published in The Press Enterprise on October 26, 2014.)

Roshard and Michelle Fairman enjoy their restored 2010 Toyota Camry given to them by Ben Clymer's The Body Shop in Moreno Valley, which volunteered more than 200 hours to fix the vehicle and partnered with several organizations. The family also received one year of insurance, had the DMV fees paid, and received a trunk full of groceries. Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise, Kevin J. Keckeisen
Roshard and Michelle Fairman enjoy their restored 2010 Toyota Camry given to them by Ben Clymer’s The Body Shop in Moreno Valley, which volunteered more than 200 hours to fix the vehicle and partnered with several organizations. The family also received one year of insurance, had the DMV fees paid, and received a trunk full of groceries. Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise, Kevin J. Keckeisen

When Roshard and Michelle Fairman’s car broke down in 2011, they couldn’t afford to fix it.

Michelle, who is deaf and blind, walked their three children to school every day. Roshard bought a bike and drove seven miles to work at the Ross Stores Distribution Center in Moreno Valley. At the grocery store, they would load supplies into three backpacks and walk home.

Their lives changed Thursday, when Ben Clymer’s The Body Shop gave them a restored 2010 Toyota Camry with fewer than 60,000 miles, one year of insurance and a trunk full of groceries. The shop also covered the DMV fees.

“I’m not really used to receiving things,” Roshard Fairman said. “I don’t apply for contests or things like that.”

His wife said the car means the family can to go church again.

“We haven’t been to church for four years now,” she said. “It’d be nice to go again as a family.”

Michelle Fairman also is excited about going to family gatherings again, and visiting her 93-year-old grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s.

This is the 11th car in six years that Clymer’s shop has given away to a family in need through its five locations in Moreno Valley, Riverside, Yucaipa, Palm Desert and Pomona. The staff volunteered more than 200 hours to fix the vehicle. Ben Clymer’s shop will be holding another Benevolence Car event in Riverside on November 13th. The Benevolence Car event is an example of the compassionate community in Riverside that joins together as a Unified City to support each other in times of need.

The company partnered with Automobile Club of Southern California, Martin Auto Color, PPG Finishes, P&D Wholesale, Enterprise Rent A Car, Bud’s Tire & Wheel, Precision Auto Glass and Community Connect to make it happen.

Community Connect, a Riverside nonprofit, collected applications and whittled them to about 20, factoring in household income and need. Clymer’s office narrowed it down to five, and the whole crew voted on which family would benefit most from the car….

For the rest of the article, click here.