In Brief

In Brief

Change of plans at Kingdom Center
Pastor Sam Galucci of the Kingdom Center, the transitional living facility at the former City Center Motel in Downtown Ventura, announced last month that plans to relocate the daily services for the homeless from Harbor Church in Midtown have been canceled. The relocation of Operation Embrace, which currently provides breakfast, lunch, showers, clothing and job resources for 60 to 80 people per day, had been a contentious issue amongst neighbors of the Kingdom Center, who said it was not the appropriate place for such a program. Concerns had died down about the issue over the last year, and now, officially, the Kingdom Center will be centrally focused on its transitional living element.

“Having become better acquainted with the needs of our growing resident population, the need now arises to reclaim the entire space to accommodate additional areas for the children that are being reunited with their families,” Galucci said in a letter to the city.

The Kingdom Center, which was slated to have 30 rooms available for families in transition, will now have 27 rooms, with some spaces formerly intended for occupancy now converting into office space for the program.

“This reduction in rooms is being made in an effort to remain well within our original population estimates, which we submitted during the planning process,” Galucci stated.

The Kingdom Center opened in spring 2010 to provide needy families with temporary shelter, food and services with the goal of helping them get from the streets into permanent housing.

— Michael Sullivan

Sky Savers program rewards eco-minded consumers, merchants
Consumers are being offered the opportunity to “go green and save some green” with coupons and promotional discounts from a variety of eco-friendly and green businesses throughout the county. Sponsored by the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, the Sky Savers Program is an eco-friendly public awareness campaign.

“The Sky Savers program aims to raise awareness that choices we make as consumers can have a positive effect on our air quality and environment,” said Barbara Page, public information manager of the district. The program encourages Ventura County residents to keep the environment in mind by supporting local merchants who are dedicated to running eco-minded businesses.  

Coupons can be downloaded and printed from the Sky Savers website, www.skysavers.org/. All participating merchants meet specific environmental criteria, which are listed on the website.

Some of the 30 local merchants participating in this program include Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Petropolis, Bark Em Pet Supplies, Otto and Sons Nursery, Global Encasement Inc., A&F Country Market and McGrath Family Farm.

— Christine Carlson

5K walk fundraiser for mental illness April 30
For anyone whose life has been impacted by the effects of mental illness, the opportunity to help has arrived. The Ventura County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is gearing up for its seventh annual NAMI Walks for the Mind of America on Saturday, April 30. This year’s 5K event anticipates bringing in upward of 1,000 walkers whose aim is to raise funds to educate the public and to help those in need. The NAMI Ventura Chapter currently consists of around 500 members who helped raise $80,000 at last year’s event.

“NAMI members are volunteers whose mission is to provide help to people with serious mental and emotional illnesses and their families,” said Ratan Bhavnani, executive director of NAMI Ventura County. “NAMI Walks is a blast and a chance to do something positive and fun.”

He also added that “the walks have a very uplifting and inspiring atmosphere.” This is the largest annual event advocating mental illness awareness and support in the county.

The proceeds from the Ventura County walk will fund local NAMI programs, including emotional support, education and advocacy involving a wide range of mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety disorders. This year, NAMI Ventura County hopes to use some of the money raised to establish a new program entitled In Our Own Voice. This program will give two individuals the opportunity to share their personal stories and paths to recovery with the community in a public venue.

This year’s honorary walk chair is Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. The walk takes place at the Ventura Beach Promenade, 450 E. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. There is no registration walk fee for individual participants, but they are encouraged to collect donations.

For more information regarding NAMIWalks, to register for the walk or to become a sponsor, visit www.nami.org/namiwalks/ca/ventura or contact the NAMI office at 641-2426.

— Christine Carlson

In Brief

In Brief

Rain boots and messages of hope
Nearly one month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the death toll is still rising, the threat of nuclear disaster looms — the threat level raised to 7, the same as Chernobyl — and visions of devastation remain. Every day, hundreds of thousands of Japanese people live among the destruction without basic amenities like food, water and shoes. With the rainy season upon the tiny island, local luxury boot company däv, based in Oxnard. teamed up with Soles4Souls, an international nonprofit dedicated to the provision of shoes, to send 2,800 pairs of rain boots, a retail value of approximately $182,000, to the ruined areas of the country.  

“We know that Japan’s rainy season is about to begin, which will complicate lives further. We make rainwear, so it is imperative to us that we get involved and help,” stated Kerri Sengstaken, co-founder of the brand, in a recent press release.  

The resoundingly noble efforts of däv and Soles4Souls go even deeper than the dispersal of boots; each pair comes with a piece of artwork made by Ventura County children and featuring the word hope to convey courage and love in the face of despair. The action worked symbiotically, helping the people of Japan while addressing the needs of local youth, their desire to help and their fear, however abstract, of a disaster in California. The children were introduced to the acute sense of deference in the face of a global society and were able to discuss with teachers and parents their anxieties about such a catastrophe affecting their lives.

On March 31, the people of Ventura County came together at däv headquarters to package the boots and art for shipping. Community leaders such as Suzanne Scar and Carmen Ramirez of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce and City Council, respectively, joined with teachers, parents and children in the philanthropic festivities.  

“The atmosphere was very happy,” said volunteer Anna Clayton of last Thursday’s efforts, “but at the same time you could tell people were emotional; more than a couple people cried.”

On April 4, the boots were shipped to Soles4Souls’ main distribution center in Alabama, where they will be combined with other supplies, all bound for Japan.

Some of the artwork is hanging in an online gallery at the däv website; it can also be viewed on Facebook and YouTube.

— Martine Burtis

Giving back, one tooth at a time
Going to the dentist never felt so good. Though most cringe at the idea of a teeth cleaning or anything that has to do with drills and our chompers, Dr. Zachary Potts, DDS, of Moorpark, is making a difficult experience into a positive one by donating to relief efforts for Japan. Potts has committed to helping Japan through his patients and other giving individuals. Potts will:

• Donate $50 for every new patient seen in his Moorpark dental office, for whatever reason, through May 31.  

• Donate 5 percent of all proceeds generated by the promotion for all procedures performed before May 31.

• Price-match up to $100 for anyone who sends in a donation to his office, made out to American Red Cross, by May 31. (Donations to the American Red Cross are tax deductible. On a check, on the memo line, please write “Japan Earthquake/Tsunami”.)

For more information, call Dr. Potts’ office at 243-3999.

— Michael Sullivan

CLU to host luau fundraiser
California Lutheran University students are holding a luau and concert to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, on the Grace Hall basketball courts.

All Attached for Japan will feature Hawaiian singer-songwriter Justin Kawika Young. Young is the guitarist for pop singer Colbie Caillat, and his 2007 album is called All Attached. The event will also feature hula dancing and a presentation on the tragedy in Japan.

Admission is free. Catered Hawaiian food will be available for purchase.

Members of the Hawaii Club, Asian Club and Friends, and Action Abroad Alliance joined forces to organize the fundraiser to help the people of Japan.

Tickets for the buffet are $3. A food ticket and raffle ticket can be purchased together for $5. Raffle tickets will be sold individually as well. Anyone who donates to the cause will receive a wristband honoring Japan.

All proceeds will be donated to an organization providing aid to Japan.

Grace Hall is located at the south end of Campus Drive on the Thousand Oaks campus.

For more information, contact Melissa Harbison at mharbiso@callutheran.edu or (719) 360-3973.

— staff report

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia

    August 22 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Sunset Networking Event co-hosted by Ferguson Case Orr Paterson and Ventura Chamber

    September 19 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  3. Loni Love Headlines Levity Live

    September 20 @ 7:30 pm - September 22 @ 9:00 pm
  4. 2019 Quilt Rooms and Gardens Tour

    September 21 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  5. 3rd Annual Southeast Ventura County YMCA Reach For The Stars Gala

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  6. Premiere Party for “Beyond Function: Fiber, Wood and Clay”

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  7. Fundraiser for Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)

    September 21 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  8. Oxnard National Drive Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase

    September 22 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
  9. Chamber On The Mountain presents Tomer Gewirtzman, Pianist

    September 22 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  10. Morning Stretch to Classic Rock

    September 23 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am

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