Ventura student wins prize for deforestation video

A Foothill Technology High School student has won $250 for a video he created for the World of 7 Billion international student video contest sponsored by the advocacy group Population Connection.

Bryan Sturm’s video, “Deforestation — A Problem for All,” focuses on the connection between deforestation and increasing population worldwide. Sturm says he chose the topic to learn more about the issue and the impact it has on communities around the world.

“I was really surprised and shocked by the impact farming and agriculture has had on deforestation,” said Sturm. “Seeing photos of the vast deforestation in countries like Brazil was shocking.”

Sturm is no stranger to rising to the top of competitions, as he took part in world championship high school robotics competition recently as well. Sixteen students from the U.S. and one from Belgium won the top spots at the World of 7 Billion competition out of 2,000 entries.

To view the winning videos, including Sturm’s, visit

Simi Valley Brain Injury Retreat for survivors

The nonprofit, Ventura County-based Life After Brain Injury is hosting a retreat for survivors of traumatic brain injury on Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, and is currently seeking registrants.

Fifteen educational and creative workshops will be held for survivors and their families and friends, providing a chance to meet and share stories with peers. This will be the fourth such retreat, last year featuring workshops on employment readiness, modified Tai Chi, “A Better Memory for a Better You” and more.

There are two different categories of brain injuries — traumatic (most often associated with car accidents and other blows to the head) and acquired brain injuries resulting from an aneurism, stroke or even a near drowning. Speaking with the VCReporter in September of 2015, Cherie Phoenix, Certified Brain Injury Specialist and founder/executive director, said that brain injury survivors often face hurdles when returning to work and home.

“Most service providers, even medical professionals, don’t fully understand brain injury outside of the medical setting,” said Phoenix. “They don’t know what it means to be a survivor and live with the brain injury and move home.”

The retreat is free of charge for the first 40 registrants. For more information and to register, visit, send an email to or call 490-8211.

Soroptomists sell a whole lot of enchiladas in Camarillo

Soroptomists International of Camarillo sold over 200 dozen enchiladas on Saturday, May 21, with all proceeds going to fund the Amy McAvoy Scholarship for women. The scholarship assists women who are heads of their households majoring in math or science at California State University, Channel Islands.

Total proceeds amounted to over $3,500. For more information on the Soroptomists, visit

— Chris O’Neal