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DUDE. be nice: 49ers Cheerleaders, Students Honor San Ramon Crossing Guard

DUDE. be nice: 49ers Cheerleaders, Students Honor San Ramon Crossing Guard

12-15-2014 9-51-35 AM

The kindhearted man was greeted by cheering and a pizza party.

By Bea Karnes (Patch Staff) December 12, 2014 at 12:48pm


Like he had done time and time again, San Ramon school crossing guard John Lussing recently helped two young ladies make their way across his intersection near California High School. But John was left scratching his head when the two women, San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders, thanked him on behalf of the team for all he does for the children.

And that confusion only grew as roughly 100 of the high school and elementary school students he helps at the crossing every day came pouring into the intersection from every direction while cheering, waiving home-made signs and causing a ruckus in celebration of the kindhearted crossing guard. The students and cheerleaders then escorted him to the nearby Montevideo Elementary School for a pizza party in his honor and presented him with a chair that they all signed.

It was all in a day’s work for Brent Camalich, founder of Ventura-apparel startup Dude. be nice, who has been using the brand to create a platform to inspire young people to build a positive community by rallying together to recognize a person or group in a fun, creative, and meaningful way.

“California High School told us about their long-time crossing guard John Lussing and how much they enjoy crossing the street he manages because of his kind personality and amazing interest in their lives,” said Brent. “They wanted us to help show him how much he matters, so we surprised him with a party just to say we appreciate you.”

Brent met California High School student Kaidyn McClure during a summer leadership conference in Santa Barbara, California, leading to Dude. be nice’s latest “Random Act of Niceness.”

Another California High School student in on the surprise, Sydney Louie, recalled that John has been her crossing guard since she was in elementary school.

“One day when I was in kindergarten he learned it was my birthday because I was carrying balloons,” said Sydney. “The following year he greeted me as I crossed his street with a gift because he kept track of my birthday from the year before — such a great guy”

–Information and image provided by Dude. be nice




Foodbank of Santa Barbara County: Face of Hunger in Santa Barbara County Revealed in New Feeding America Report

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County: Face of Hunger in Santa Barbara County Revealed in New Feeding America Report




By Amy Bernstein for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County | Published on 12.12.2014 8:08 a.m.

Over 70 percent of local households seeking food assistance from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s network have to choose between paying for food and other necessities such as utilities and transportation, according to the Hunger in America 2014 report for Santa Barbara County.

Working families countywide are making other tough trade-offs between food and housing, medicines and education opportunities. The recent study was conducted by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County in partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. The study supports and confirms statistics collected by the Foodbank on the number of people served and amount of food distributed by the organization. The Feeding America data provides an understanding of the economic circumstances and the factors that those relying on Foodbank encounter.


Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that more than 46 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has had over a decade of partnership as a member of the Feeding America network.

The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Foodbank — their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes. It is also the first nationally-representative study that assesses the prevalence of past and current members of the U.S. military and adult students receiving charitable food assistance.

“In Santa Barbara County, the faces of food insecurity and hunger may not stand out from the crowd, but the poverty of working families, and the day to day trade-offs that the study brought to light are alarming,” said Erik Talkin, Foodbank’s CEO. “It’s hard to imagine facing the choice between your family going hungry or being able to pay for the transportation you need to get to your job, or the housing you need to shelter your family. No one in our community should have to face even small everyday trade-offs, like our neighbors who must feed expired or watered down food to their families or else go hungry. As we approach the holidays, these are shocking findings but ones that strengthen our resolve to help our neighbors move from hunger to health which improves our community in far-reaching ways.”

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

Key statistics from the report include:

Widespread Use of Food Assistance

» The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County last year, served 140,575 people — over 25 percent of the local population, including 49,729 children (0-17 years old) and 21,750 seniors (60 years or older).

» A full 35 percent of Foodbank participants are children under age 18.

» Among all clients, 3 percent are black/African American, 65 percent percent are Latino and 38 percent are white.

» 17 percent of households include someone who is a veteran or who has ever served in the military, and 39 percent of those households include someone who is currently serving in the military.

» The Foodbank distributed 9.3 million pounds of food (over 50 percent was fresh produce), through its nine direct-to-client programs for children, families and seniors at 100 sites countywide, and through its network of over 330 member nonprofit partners.

» 80 percent of Foodbank’s nonprofit partners rely on Foodbank for food and other services (e.g. capacity building, CalFresh/SNAP training).

» Last year, 600 volunteers contributed over 20,146 hours of their valuable time and service to make Foodbank’s services possible.

Making Tough Choices and Trade-Offs to Keep Food on the Table

Following are the choices client households reported making in the past 12 months:

» An estimated 71 percent of households reported using three or more coping strategies for getting enough food in the past 12 months.

» These trade-offs included: eating food past its expiration date, purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options, growing food in a garden, pawning or selling personal property, and watering down food or drinks.

» 70 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.

» 74 percent report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.

» 52 percent of households chose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage at least once in the past 12 months.

» An estimated 38 percent of client households currently receive SNAP benefits, while an estimated 35 percent of client households neither currently receive SNAP nor have ever applied for SNAP benefits.

Clients Struggling with Health Issues

» 60 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months.

» 21 percent of households include a member with diabetes.

» 49 percent of households have a member with high blood pressure.

Low Wages, Underemployment and Unemployment Driving Need

» 64 percent of client households have annual incomes under $10,000

» An estimated 55 percent of households have a household member who had worked for pay in the past year.

» In 65 percent of client households the most-employed person from the past 12 months is currently out of work.

» An estimated 87 percent of households reside in non-temporary housing, such as a house or an apartment. An estimated 20 percent of respondents have experienced a foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.

» 4,425, or 3 percent of families are homeless.

Hunger in America 2014 was conducted using rigorous academic research standards and was peer reviewed by a technical advisory team including researchers from American University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Urban Institute. Nationally, confidential responses were collected on electronic tablets by 6,000 trained data collectors, majority of whom were volunteers. The study was funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

A summary of the findings is available by clicking here. The full national report is available on Feeding America’s website at Hunger in America 2014 by clicking here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.




Garden Court Residents Celebrate the Holidays with Boutique and Open House

Garden Court Residents Celebrate the Holidays with Boutique and Open House


noozhawk_senior living

121114-GardenCourt-630Suzon Bishop and Garden Court resident Fathuna Alford delight in the array of holiday-themed crafts at Garden Court’s Holiday Boutique. (Garden Court photo)


By Amy Bernstein for Garden Court | Published on 12.11.2014 1:48 p.m.

On Tuesday, Garden Court residents welcomed the entire community to celebrate the holiday season at their 14th annual holiday open house and boutique.

Both young and those young at heart enjoyed holiday-themed crafts, a chocolate fountain, and taking photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event also featured live music from Ron Paris, renowned R&B musician, and the Inner Light Gospel Choir.

Guests were also treated to a spread of traditional tasty treats and seasonal beverages. Exquisite handmade crafts created by Garden Court residents were also available for sale with proceeds benefittng the Garden Court Resident Activities Fund.

Garden Court is dedicated to assisting frail, low-income Santa Barbara seniors to live independently for as long as possible.

Many of Garden Court’s 97 seniors, 62 years of age or older, are long-time Santa Barbara area residents who worked all their lives serving  the Santa Barbara community as laborers, nurses, business owners and teachers. These residents are spending their golden years as an active part of the community they helped to shape and tend. Some residents have moved to Santa Barbara in more recent years to be closer to families who live here and to enjoy those relationships.

Click here for more information about Garden Court on De la Vina.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Garden Court.



Hospice of Santa Barbara Calls on Local Artists for Public Art Opportunity

Hospice of Santa Barbara Calls on Local Artists for Public Art Opportunity



By Kelly Kapaun for Hospice of Santa Barbara | Published on 12.11.2014 11:30 a.m.

Hospice of Santa Barbara invites regional artists, either individuals or group, to submit their hanging works for consideration for the Leigh Block Gallery at Hospice of Santa Barbara. Art that explores grief and loss as well as the deeper aspects of life’s journey is desired.

The deadline for submission is 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30.

Selected exhibitions are to be an expression of Hospice of Santa Barbara’s vision and commitment to heal the fear of death and the loneliness of grief. The exhibitions will run quarterly: February through April 2015, May through July 2015, August through October 2015 and November through January 2016.

Artists interested in submitting must send a cover letter and a disc containing images or proposed work and a current resume. Groups may also be considered. Detailed instructions for artist submission can be found on Hospice of Santa Barbara’s website.

Checklist for artists:

» 1. In a cover letter, clearly state qualifications, any previous experience, areas of artist skills and expertise. Address your willingness and ability to deliver your work to and from the site at your own expense; install your work and un-install at your own expense, and provide ongoing maintenance if needed.

» 2. Include a disc containing five to 10 images of recent or current work, 300 DPI jpegs with a work file of a corresponding list including all image information:  size, medium and title. You may include additional detail shots if they help define craftsmanship or materials used.

Please mail all submissions to Art at HSB, Hospice of Santa Barbara Inc., 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100, Santa Barbara, CA 93103.

Selected artists will:

» Interface with Hospice of Santa Barbara staff to sign an exhibition agreement.

» Prepare all art works to be ready to hang using picture rail molding and hooks. Note: All artworks must be less than 20 pounds.

» Be available to deliver, install and un-install in a timely manner.

» Donate a portion (generally 25 percent) of art sales to Hospice of Santa Barbara.

Hospice of Santa Barbara invites all artists to view the site ahead of time by calling 805.563.8820.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.



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