Tag Archives: Unified City

Kaiser Permanente Approves $599,464 In Community Benefit Grants In Riverside County In 2015

(This article contains excerpts from the Kaiser Permanente press release published on August 12, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Kaiser Permanente
Photo Credit: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente, Riverside and Moreno Valley announced that it has approved 31 community benefit grants and donations totaling $599,464 in 2015. The not-for-profit organization is committed to supporting programs that enhance education and strengthen the quality of health care to underserved communities.

Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to improve the health of their members and the communities they serve. It is through our work in Community Benefit that provides community-based organizations with funding through grants, partnerships and dissemination of knowledge. Kaiser’s effort to improve the health of the communities they serve, is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar.

Key grants in each of the Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit health priorities include the following.

Improve access to primary health care services
MFI Recovery was awarded a grant for $25,000 for the Women’s Residential program. Designed to meet the specialized needs of at-risk women during pregnacy and for well-baby checks for children in the program.

A $20,000 grant was awarded to Jewish Family Services of the Desert for the Kids First Counseling program. A partnership with Palm Springs Unified School District to provide healthy life substance abuse prevention and counseling services for at-risk youth.

Obesity and overweight
Feeding America was awarded $20,000 for the Senior Nutrition Program. A program that provides fresh, affordable and nutritious produce at targeted senior community settings throughout Riverside County to increase access to healthy eating for residents living in food deserts.

100 Mile Club was awarded $20,000 to increase the physical activity/walking incentive program to students who would otherwise be unable to participate in the following Riverside County school districts: Alvord, Corona, Moreno Valley, Riverside and San Jacinto.

Diabetes
A $30,000 grant was awarded to Riverside Community Health Foundation for the Riverside Community Diabetes Collaborative, a multi-agency collaborative aimed at programs for diabetes prevention, management and support in community settings.

The American Diabetes Association received a grant for $12,000 to conduct Por Tu Familia (For Your Family) programs in Perris, Murrieta and Temecula. A diabetes prevention, education and management program in Spanish.

– See more at: http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-approves-599464-in-community-benefit-grants-in-riverside-county-in-2015/#sthash.BSZfdbZG.dpuf

School Districts Aim To Better Identify Homeless Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bo Kovitz and published in The Press Enterprise on Aug 10, 2015.)

Waudier "Woody" Rucker-Hughes
Waudier “Woody” Rucker-Hughes

Local school districts are on a mission to find homeless youths, described by many experts as hidden in plain sight.

The Riverside Unified School District and Moreno Valley Unified School District each plan to increase the number of counselors they send to individual schools to better identify homeless youths.

Waudieur "Woodie" Rucker-Hughes, a child welfare and attendance manager for the Riverside Unified School District, works in her office on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Woodie is also the president of the Riverside NAACP. Photo Credit: Stan Lim
Waudieur “Woodie” Rucker-Hughes, a child welfare and attendance manager for the Riverside Unified School District, works in her office on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Woodie is also the president of the Riverside NAACP. Photo Credit: Stan Lim

RUSD will hire 14 counselors to work with at-risk youth, which includes those who are homeless. They’ll be paid with state Local Control and Accountability Plan funding.

Both districts also received federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act funds for homeless youth services. RUSD plans to use that money to help pay for specific homeless-youth services such as bus passes and hosting outreach events. The funding also may help pay for more nutritional services, books and backpacks, tutoring, homework assistance at homeless shelters and access to field trips.

There are thousands of homeless youths throughout the Inland area.

In 2014, Riverside County identified and worked with 25,731 homeless public school students at some point in the year, and San Bernardino County identified as many as 36,866 homeless students, according to data from the California Department of Education.

In the city of Riverside, there were 3,826 homeless students identified, and 3,352 were identified in Moreno Valley, according to the state data.

Those numbers reflect only those students that school districts were able to identify as homeless. But many remain uncounted because they don’t share their housing situation with school officials.

Woodie Rucker-Hughes, homeless-student coordinator for RUSD said there are likely hundreds that may be uncounted — those still on the streets or sleeping in the living rooms of friends and relatives.

Rucker-Hughes, who works to find homeless youths and connects them to student services, now has $128,140 in McKinney-Vento funds to help homeless youth. Moreno Valley Unified School District received $157,979.

The San Bernardino County Office of Education was granted $225,684 in McKinney-Vento funds for the 2015-2016 school year. The Ontario-Montclair School District received $157,979 and San Bernardino City Unified School District got $142,462.

The Riverside and Moreno Valley districts both will use the funds to increase educational services for homeless youths, and Riverside will also use LCAP money to hire more counselors.

“Additional counselors are something sorely needed in the district,” Rucker-Hughes said. “These folks will come in and help lighten the load, and counselors will be given more meaningful time to be spent with the kids who need it.”

Currently RUSD uses two to three full-time counselors to work with homeless students. In the Moreno Valley school district, as many as 10 counselors are paired with homeless youth, but those counselors also have other duties.

To Rucker-Hughes, having more counselors will help schools find more of the hidden homeless.

Efforts like this truly show why Riverside is such a unified city. 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.

UCR Receives Grant Aimed At Improving The Health Of Local Latinos

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in the The Press Enterprise on July 30, 2015.)

Dr. Greer Sullivan, director of the Center for Healthy Communities, speaks to guests at the Latino Health Riverside Project Reception July 22 at UC Riverside. Photo Credit: Ross French
Dr. Greer Sullivan, director of the Center for Healthy Communities, speaks to guests at the Latino Health Riverside Project Reception July 22 at UC Riverside. Photo Credit: Ross French

UC Riverside School of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Communities has received a $250,000 grant for a community engagement project aimed at improving the health of Latino residents of the city of Riverside through partnered research.

The grant was awarded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a non-profit, non-governmental organization created by Congress in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. It funds projects that encourage patients and other stakeholders to become integral members of the research process.

UCR’s project, “Latino Health Riverside,” will be conducted in partnership with community stakeholders in the Riverside neighborhoods of Arlanza, Casa Blanca and the Eastside. The expertise of residents in these communities will be tapped to learn more about health-related problems of greatest concern and ideas for solutions.

This community engagement project is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Riversiders are working together everday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation, and world.

Jeanette Marantos contributed to this story.

To read the complete article, click here.

Athletes Get Warm Welcome And Hone Their Skills At Inland Venues

(This Article contains excerpts from the article written by Stephen Wall and published in the Press Enterprise on July 22, 2015.)

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Dakota bucked a bit, but Milagro was smooth in the saddle.

Changing horses was no big deal to Special Olympian Robert Seignious, who was fine-tuning his equestrian skills Wednesday, July 22, in Norco.

“It’s fun and I like to win medals,” he said with a smile.

The South Carolina resident was among the 10-member Special Olympics USA Equestrian team practicing for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which begin Saturday, July 25, in Los Angeles.

Nearly 350 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the country are training for 16 sports at Inland venues through Friday and are staying at the UC Riverside dorms for four days before leaving for Los Angeles..

After the morning workouts, competitors headed to downtown Riverside for an afternoon “Parade of Champions.”

Enthusiastic crowds lined Main Street to cheer on athletes who wore red shirts, waved American flags and chanted “U.S.A,” “U.S.A.” as they walked toward City Hall. About 100 athletes, coaches and trainers from Team Sweden preceded the Americans. The parade included the Martin Luther King High School band and cheerleaders from Poly High School in Riverside.

Riverside residents Holly Fajardo and her daughter Emily, 17, slapped high-fives with athletes as they walked in front of the Mission Inn.

“It’s important that they see the community supports them just like professional athletes,” Holly Fajardo said. “They don’t get the same recognition and they should.“

The care and compassion that Riverside showed towards our guests, truly demonstrated what makes us such a ‘unified city‘.  We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

Emily Fajardo, who graduated from King High in June, was part of a campus club that works to integrate special needs kids with the rest of the student population.

“You get to know how wonderful and unique they are,” she said. “You are drawn to them.”

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Grand Marshal Lauren Potter, an actress featured in the TV show “Glee,” was part of the procession. Potter is a Poly High graduate and has Down syndrome.

“I’m so excited to be with all these amazing athletes,” Potter, 25, said before the parade started.

EQUESTRIAN TRAINING

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Earlier in the day, Seignious, 21, talked about riding horses at the No Drama Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Norco, which is hosting one of the practices.

The horse named Dakota was challenging to ride because it was the first time the animal had a male rider, said Marissa Brzescinski, the equestrian team’s head coach.

“He was getting a little out of control, so I got a replacement,” explained Seignious.

He returned to the arena and hopped on Milagro, practicing proper form and posture with coach Tom Walmsley.

“I feel like I’m on a jet,” is how he later described the experience.

Horses at the ranch are trained for competitive events and are “as safe as can be,” said Walmsley, who lives in Illinois.

The athletes who were honing their equestrian skills hail from nine states — Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri and Arizona.

Team captain Jeremiah Schedlock looked forward to showcasing his talents in front of big crowds in Los Angeles. He also wants to meet and socialize with people from other countries.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Schedlock, 24, who lives in Prescott, Arizona.

‘SUCH AN HONOR’

After Wednesday afternoon’s parade, athletes mingled in front of City Hall, dancing as they listened to recorded music blaring over loudspeakers.

Basketball players from Minnesota expressed gratitude for the support.

“It feels good to be recognized,” said Joseph Ajayi, 24. “It feels good to be part of something this big and this successful.”

Hearing the cheers was heartwarming, added Abel Mehari, 22.

“It’s a really rewarding experience that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life,” he said.

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

As a gesture of friendship, Amy Norton, a triathlete from New Jersey, gave her American flag to a Swedish athlete and got a flag from that country in return.

Describing what it’s like to be in the world games, Norton, 27, said, “It’s just incredible.“

Her sentiment was shared by teammate Courtney Dreyfus.

“You‘re surrounded by so many new people,” said Dreyfus, 18, also of New Jersey. “You get to be in one of the biggest competitions in the world. It’s such an honor.”

Forty-One Students Awarded A Total Of $41,000 In Scholarships

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Anne Marie Walker and published in the Press Enterprise on July 22, 2015.)

Photo Credit:  Altura Credit Union
Photo Credit: Altura Credit Union

Forty-one high school students were recently awarded $41,000 in scholarships from Altura Credit Union. The Altura Scholarship Foundation gives out the $1,000 scholarships.

Twenty-three students received general scholarships. Five scholarships were given to students in the AVID program and three memorial scholarships were awarded. In addition, 10 scholarships were given to students who are going to UCR.

The winners of the 2015 AVID Scholarships are Caylynn Godoy from Ramona High School, James Goldsmith from West Valley High School, Jennifer Munoz from Cathedral City High School, Kevin Torres-Dominguez from Ramona High School and Nancy Valencia from Vista Del Lago High School.

The 2015 Memorial scholarship recipients include Chynna Porrata of Canyon Springs High School for the Kimberly Jean Flores Memorial Scholarship; Tatiana Su of J.W. North High School for the Terry Ferrone Memorial Scholarship and Stephanie Martinez of Arlington High School for the Bonnie Gail Polis Memorial Scholarship.

Altura Scholarship Foundation is a great 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.

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.

Postcard Project Designed to Unite Residents With All Neighborhoods

Photo Credit: Riverside Neighborhood Partnership
Photo Credit: Riverside Neighborhood Partnership

“I love the Wood Streets because of the traditional design and landscape.”  These are the kinds of comments received on postcards written by City residents for the Neighborhood Postcard Project – a global participatory art project that fosters community connection through storytelling exchange.  Residents share personal positive stories about their neighborhood on a postcard and those postcards are delivered to random people in different neighborhoods within the same city.

The Unified City pillar group of Seizing Our Destiny has been collecting these postcards since the NeighborFest event held on May 16th.  The City of Riverside has 26 neighborhoods.  They are being collected two ways:  via a handwritten postcard with a blank space on the back for creativity and through the Seizing our Destiny website.  The ones collected on the website are being shared via social media.

Photo Credit: Riverside Neighborhood Partnership
Photo Credit: Riverside Neighborhood Partnership

The goal of the project is to build community connections, awareness and pride in our local treasures – our neighborhoods.

Postcards are available at various community events throughout the City and on-line at www.SeizingOurDestiny.com/postcard-project/.  For more information about the national project, go to www.neighborhoodpostcardproject.com.

UCR Admits Many First Generation Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bo Kovitz and published in The Press Enterprise on July 2, 2015.)

University of California, Riverside
University of California, Riverside

According to preliminary UC admissions data released Thursday, July 2, 49 percent of new admissions to UCR were first-generation students, compared to 42 percent systemwide.

UCR admitted 19,237 California residents, which had one of the highest rates of resident admissions systemwide, second only to UC Merced.

UCR spokeswoman Kris Lovekin praised the incoming class.

“We know they will be talented and diverse,” she said in a statement. “We serve large numbers of first generation, low-income students — we are at the forefront of America’s race to regain its educational edge and increase economic opportunity and mobility.”

The UC system admitted 92,324 freshmen and 20,921 community college transfer students. UCR admitted 21,582 freshmen, and 5,500 community college transfer students.

UCR admitted 63 percent of community college transfer students who applied, the highest percentage of the nine UC campuses.

About 45 percent of UCR’s new admissions are Asian-American and 32 percent are Latino. UCR admitted 516 more Asian-American freshmen, 377 more Latino freshmen, 75 more African-Americans and 60 more white students than in 2014.

About 42 percent of freshman applicants admitted to UC Riverside were from low-income families, compared to 36 percent across the UC system. UCR’s rate was the second highest, behind UC Merced.

UCR has always been a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. They strive everyday to offer opportunities for people of all cultures, backgrounds, and interests to receive a great education at a great price.

Riverside Unified School District Partners With Local Women’s Prison To Give Hope To At-Risk Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in RUSD News feed on 7/2/2015.)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

At-risk Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) students who successfully committed to improving their grades and attendance received bicycles at a special event on Wednesday, July 1 at the Central Registration Center, 5700 Arlington Avenue. The bicycles were refurbished by inmates and donated to RUSD by the California Institution for Women, working with the non-profit Correctional Employees Youth Group, Continuing the Dream.

RUSD Superintendent Dr. David Hansen, California Institution for Women Warden Kimberly Hughes, retired corrections officer Roy Mabry, chief executive officer for Continuing the Dream, Sue Lynn Jones from the Riverside Police Department and RUSD staff joined students and their parents at the bike giveaway. Four bicycles were awarded to members of the Ramirez family, who worked hard to get to school each morning and to improve their grades. The Riverside Police Department provided helmets and locks. The district has six more to give to other successful students throughout the year.

“In the face of varying circumstances, our students work extremely hard to stay on track. It’s great to know that we have community partners who care so much about the student families of Riverside that they would reward our students with a donation like this,” stated Dr. Hansen.

“The women [inmates] love giving back,” added Warden Hughes. “It’s a win-win situation. It allows the children to look forward to something and to have something tangible for their accomplishments of going to school and furthering their education.  We are always looking for innovative ways to give back to the community. “

The idea for the bicycle giveaway grew from School Attendance Review Board (SARB) hearings that Mabry and other corrections officers regularly attend. These hearings are held for chronically truant students – those who have more than 20 unexcused absences. Mabry’s 30 years of experience as a correctional officer told him that these students’ stories would not have happy endings. In fact, he noted, research shows that as much 82 percent of students who don’t graduate end up in prison. He’s hoping that something as simple as a bicycle can help to change this dismal statistic.

Working with the Continuing the Dream organization, Mabry and other volunteers are partnering with the California Institute for Women and other correctional facilities to provide an incentive for students to work hard to improve their grades and attendance.  In addition to helping students, the project also provides an opportunity for inmates to give back to their community. The program is now in Rialto, San Bernardino, Pomona, Chino, in addition to Riverside.

“Bicycles seem to really work for kids,” Mabry said. “It’s good to see them focus…they have a different reason to focus.”

“It’s independence,” added Child, Welfare and Attendance Manager Woodie Rucker-Hughes, who said that in many cases, students have no means to get to school and sometimes their families also do not have transportation.

Rucker-Hughes said she the bicycle program can make a huge difference in a child’s outlook for success. It’s empowering to let students know that if they come to school and work hard, they will have a reward. Students start to think, “I’m going to change my life,” she said.

Although the program is just the beginning of a solution to a larger problem, Mabry said, it’s a good start.

“I see the results,” he said. “I say, we all need to be part of it.”

Organizations such as Continuing the Dream 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.

For more information about the Continuing the Dream organization, visit www.continuingthedream.com.

Riverside Unified School District is the 15th largest school district in California, serving nearly 42,000 students in 48 schools in Riverside, California. The district serves the majority of the City of Riverside as well as unincorporated areas of Highgrove and Woodcrest in Riverside County and is governed by a publicly elected Board of Education consisting of five members who serve five different trustee areas. The district is led by Superintendent Dr. David Hansen.