November 7, 2015 (San Diego)--The San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive is putting out an all-points bulletin on new, tagged, huggable stuffed bears and they are asking the public to “turn them in” at law enforcement stations and San Diego County Chick-fil-A restaurants. The stuffed animals will be donated and delivered on Dec. 8 to Rady Children’s Hospital to comfort sick and scared children.
The 25th annual drive is coordinated this year by the San Diego County Probation Department and the Coronado Police Department. Chick-fil-A, a corporate supporter, is hosting the kickoff event from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 10 and will donate a free chicken sandwich meal or nuggets kid’s meal to those who bring in a brand new stuffed bear with tags still attached to any of its nine area stores during the special event. Area law enforcement will have representatives there and emergency vehicle displays as well as Chick-fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” Cow for photo opportunities with the public.
November 5, 2015 (El Cajon)--About 30 military veterans, now students at Cuyamaca College, enjoyed a barbecue and received school supplies at a Veterans Week commemoration hosted on campus Wednesday by the El Cajon Elks Lodge. The event, which also included a raffle for prizes including T-shirts, gift certificates from merchants and a pair of tickets to a Chargers’ football game, marked the second year that Elks Lodge 1812 joined the college in honoring student veterans.
November 3, 2015 (Lakeside)- Nearly $5,000 was raised at an October 23rd benefit event to help fund search efforts to find Elijah ‘Bear’ Diaz, who has been missing since August 29th. The event, which drew 218 guests, was held at the Loretta Quitae LaChappa Clubhouse near Barona Resort and Casino in Lakeside. The funds will help the family hire a private investigator.
November 1, 2015 (La Mesa) - The La Mesa Chamber is beginning to gather items for the 22 seniors that the Chamber adopts each year during the holidays. It is the goal of the Chamber to collect, purchase and assemble items and place them in large gift baskets. These gift baskets are delivered along with a hot turkey dinner, with all of the trimmings to the selected seniors by the La Mesa Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol.
Water Conservation Garden Hosts Second Annual Flagship Fundraiser
By Reema Makani Boccia
October 31, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon wowed attendees at its second annual “Enchanted Garden Gala” on Saturday, October 17 with an evening filled with delectable food and captivating entertainment all while supporting the East County institution. The event theme ‘Water – More Precious Than Gold’ was prevalent throughout the event, particularly striking a note with California’s current drought.
October 13, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa Human Relations Advisory Commission is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the San Diego Food Bank. The food drive will be held on Saturday, October 17, from 8:00 am to noon in the municipal parking lot (Farmers Market site) at 8130 Allison Avenue, along Date Avenue. The drive-thru drop off will be fast and convenient – no need to get out of the car.
Drive to support AJ’s Kids Crane and Rady Children’s Hospital
October 2, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department will begin its 3rd Annual Toy Drive on October 5, 2015 which will continue through November 17, 2015. The police department is hoping to collect enough toys to fill their Bearcat Rescue Vehicle, which will deliver the toys to AJ’s Kids Crane in the Mission Valley Ikea parking lot on November 17th.
October 1, 2015 (San Diego)— As it prepares to celebrate 35 years in business, Toward Maximum Independence, Inc. (TMI), a well-respected San Diego non-profit, has appointed Jane Moore as its new Community Relations Specialist. TMI has a longstanding reputation for implementing “Best Practices” that help people with developmental disabilities and deaf and hard of hearing to live, work and fully participate in their communities. TMI is dedicated to “Transforming Lives” for the people it serves.
San Diego Lifesaving Association Raising Funds for Lifeguard Injured On Duty
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)-- After completing a routine rescue at Windansea beach in La Jolla on August 15th, San Diego Lifeguard Gareth “Chappy” Chapman was struck by a large wave in shallow water and driven headfirst into the ground. The resulting impact left Gareth with several broken vertebrae in his neck and back, but fortunately did not cause any permanent damage to his spinal cord or nervous system.
El Cajon cancer survivor is organizer of “Dance for Life” event
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)--Jazzercise instructors will bring San Diegans together to fight breast cancer and dance for a cure aboard the USS Midway on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 8:30-10 a.m. More than 1,000 Jazzercise instructors, customers, family and friends, including many who have been affected by breast cancer, are expected to participate in a huge group fitness class on the deck of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier located at 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego. Proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. At last year’s Jazzercise Dance for Life event, more than 1,100 people danced together and raised more than $93,000 to fight the disease.
Photo, left: Staff and mentors at Fostering Opportunities Scholarships
Part I in a series on foster youth programs
September 22, 2015 (San Diego)-- Half of all foster kids in the U.S. end up homeless as adults. Just 10% go to college, and of those, only 3% graduate. Although foster youths comprise less than 0.3% of the state’s population, 40% of the people in homeless shelters are former foster youths, as is a high percentage of the country's prison population. Over half (51% ) of foster youths are unemployed. Yet despite these staggering statistics, many foster youths are bright, talented individuals who have proven that they can thrive—with help from some local groups working to help them have a brighter future.
Photo: Maggie Espinosa in the Oxnard Strawberry Fields
September 25, 2015 (La Mesa)--In Spain, there is a famous pilgrimage/walk, called El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a 450 mile walk. Many people have that walk on their bucket list. La Mesa resident Maggie Espinosa has completed her own version of that peregrination by walking the 800 mile El Camino Real, up the California coast.
September 16, 2015 (San Diego)--A San Diego County program that helps safeguard vulnerable adults in dependent care has received the California Counties Innovation Award, the highest honor given in the California State Association of Counties’ annual awards.
Kylie Rowand Foundation founded by Alpine parents aims to help fight childhood cancer
By Janis Russell
September 11, 2015 (Jamul)—Luke and Bree Rowand lost their young daughter, Kylie, to neuroblastoma last February. Now they have started the Kylie Rowand Foundation in hopes of sparing other families from having to endure with such a devastating loss.
San Diego Military Veterans Volunteer at Garden As Part of National Service Project
September 12, 2015 (El Cajon)--The Water Conservation Garden proudly hosted more than a dozen military veterans from The Mission Continues as part of a national veterans service day on September 11. The volunteers planted trees in one of The Garden’s newest exhibits, the Native Habitat Garden.
September 4, 2015 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Rotary Club invites you to a Comedy Hypnosis show with Marsha Starr –where the audience members are the stars—on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in the La Mesa Community Center. She’s performed on Broadway, in Vegas, and at the Comedy Store.
Photo: Craig McClain with his wife, Kathleen and daughter, Deanna
August 28, 2015 (El Cajon)--The Boy Scouts of the Heartland District in East County honored Craig McClain of Boys to Men Mentoring at a luncheon on August 26th at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon.
August 21, 2015 (El Cajon) – The Haute with Heart fashion show held August 15th at the San Diego Hilton was a stylish success, raising over $116,000 net to benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center in El Cajon, which serves developmentally disabled adults.
August 21, 2015 (San Diego)- Mary Lubey, division director of Behavioral Health Sciences from Volunteers of America Southwest, recently sat down with ECM to talk about Hawley Veterans Center and what the center has been doing to help veterans among other topics. Lubey is also in charge of overseeing the program manager at Hawley Veterans Center at 9980 Hawley Road in El Cajon.
August 14, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Applications are being accepted for several openings on the City’s Aging and Veterans Commission, Environmental Sustainability Commission, La Mesa Community Parking Commission, and Historic Preservation Commission.
“The Mayor and City Councilmembers value the input from our community volunteers,” said Mary Kennedy, City Clerk. “By bringing new ideas to the table and representing the community, you will be helping your City government make the best most informed decisions possible for the benefit of the entire community.”
August 14, 2015 (La Mesa) --Ivan Alba, Elena Lujan-Alba, Isabel Alba and Lily Alba are four Allied Gardens residents who are going on an amazing journey at the end of August. Read on and learn about their upcoming travels around the world. All four of them are members of the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club.
East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hosts First Fundraising Event
August 11, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--The East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting a first annual Wine & Beer Garden Fundraiser on Thursday, August 20 at The Water Conservation Garden from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
his premiere social event will help raise funds for some of the Foundation’s flagship business development and education programs, including the Ethics in Business Program, the East County Business Incubator Program, East County Business Resource Center, Business College Student Scholarships, and much more. The event will feature several local restaurants, breweries and wineries, as well as Garden tours and a silent auction.
August 6, 2015 (Alpine) – For Childhood Cancer Awareness month, the Kylie Rowland Foundation is hosting “Wine and Bunco Under the Stars” on Sept. 9 at 6 pm.. to raise funds for promising less-toxic cancer treatments for children. The foundation was started in memory of Kylie Rowland, who lost her battle to neuroblastoma at age two in February 2015.
August 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Last month we reported on community efforts to help Debra Zeldin, a foster mom with several special needs children. Thieves stole her van and crashed it, leaving her with no transportation since her insurance didn’t cover damage due to vehicle theft. Now we’ve received an update from Zeldin with both good and bad news.
July 29, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--YMCA Camp McGrath in Rancho San Diego will celebrate its ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. The beautiful outdoor area, located at the McGrath Family YMCA - 12006 Campo Road, is in a position to provide a variety of recreation programs that allow camp kids and family members to enjoy a serene park atmosphere with numerous exciting features for the kids and the kids at heart.
July 30, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce was proud to host a gift giving activity in partnership with the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center. "Christmas in July” allowed toys to be given to the La Mesa City Employees Association, who will distribute them to deserving children during this year’s holiday season.
July 25, 2015 (Poway)—The Marine Reconnaissance Foundation supports past, present, future and fallen recon brothers and their families. On Friday, September 11, a day of remembrance, golfers and donors are invited to join in the 1st annual Marine Recon Foundation Charity Golf Tournament and auction.
The event will be held at the Maderas Golf Course at 17750 Old Coach Road, Poway, 92064. Lunches are available on the course followed by a dinner and awards ceremony with auction featuring fabulous prizes.
Proceeds will send San Diego’s WWII Veterans to Washington, D.C. memorials
July 23, 2015 (San Diego)--On Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m., Honor Flight San Diego will host “Comedy for a Cause,” a fundraiser at the San Diego Yacht Club. The fundraiser aims to raise monies to send World War II veterans on the organization’s October 2015 honor flight to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to their sacrifice.
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East County News Service
July 19, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)—Last week we told you about a foster care family in need here in East County. (See our story). Debra Zeldin’s van was stolen and crashed by the thieves, and her insurance won’t cover the repairs. She’s helped over 60 foster kids including Russell, a 6-year-old who had a kidney transplant recently but “is still wheelchair bound with a tracheotomy. He is blind and developmentally delayed. See this Voices of Children video about his inspiring story: https://vimeo.com/76706300 .
Despite fundraising efforts the Zeldin family is still far short of what’s needed to repair or replace their damaged van.
San Diego family prepares for 10th annual “Grand Stand” to raise funds for childhood cancer research, family adds new stand location in 2015
July 17, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Continuing their quest to end pediatric cancer, the Miller family of San Diego will host their 10th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand on Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 10am-6pm. In addition to their home lemonade stand located at 3366 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, the Miller family had added a second satellite location to their efforts this year in front of Thorn Street Brewery (3176 Thorn Street) in North Park. These “Miller Tribe and Crew San Diego Grand Stands”—led by team captain Amy Miller—will raise funds and awareness for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit that works toward better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer.