Monday, January 22, 2018

Story of Giving by Lynn Briggs

In response to your request for Stories of Giving, I just wanted to let you know that our office, Coldwell Banker Tri-Counties Realty has enjoyed being involved in a couple of very special charitable efforts over the past ten years or so. 1. We are given the names of 20-25 children, of varying ages, from the McKinley's Children's Center, San Dimas, CA. The Agents choose a child and buy gifts for them. We have been doing this every Christmas for over 10 years. 2. We have a 50/50 drawing at each of our office meeting throughout the year and the proceeds are donated to Inland Valley Hope Partners, Pomona, CA. They in turn provide services to throughout the area, such as temporary housing, food and necessities for needy people. We have been donating to the Inland Valley Hope Partners for at least the last 10 years. I am sending you this letter to let you know what we are quietly doing, not to bring attention to our office, as that is not why we give, but because either of the charities that we support would be so excited to receive the $500 that you are offers and put it to good use to benefit the most people. If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call. Thank you for what you do to support the charitable causes in our area. Lynn Briggs Sales Manager Coldwell Banker Tri-Counties Realty

Story of Giving by Rick Sanders

HLC Stories of Giving: First of all, I want to thank HLC Broadview Mortgage for the generous gift to charities I have supported in the past. This year I would like to share a story about my late friend and Broker, Kirk B. Johnson, who passed away in August of 2016. Kirk was a Real Estate Broker, Appraiser, and an Attorney in La Verne for over 25 years. Kirk was born and raised in La Verne and was a graduate of Bonita schools, Cal Poly Pomona and the University of La Verne School of Law. Kirk believed in community service and routinely helped with community needs. Never wanting recognition or attention for his kindness. In February 2016 just six months before he passed, Kirk started a scholarship fund for two graduating students at Bonita High School. His goal was to keep this scholarship going for years to come. Kirk was able to see the first two students receive their awards in 2016. Friends, family, and others in the community have continued to contribute to the Kirk B. Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations can be made in his memory to Bonita High School ASB Kirk B. Johnson Scholarship. I hope others in the Real Estate business will join me and insure Kirk’s dream of helping graduating students at Bonita High. Sincerely, Rick Sanders, Broker BRE # 01886909

Story of Giving by Tiffany Merrill

Dear HLC Team, We are writing this letter to enter the Annual Stories of Giving that your team has so generously created. Let me tell you about our work in support of education and the overall well-being of our students. We currently work as the Foster/Homeless Youth Liaisons in the Bonita Unified School District in San Dimas/La Verne. In our role, we are in contact with approximately 500 foster youth each school year, as well as several homeless families that are of course in need of emergency support. As a school district, and at each school site, we are limited financially as to what we can do to help these individuals and families, no matter how deep our desire. Throughout the year we reach out to the families for ongoing support; therefore, when there is a crisis these students and families reach out to us. Our team works hard to support as many needs as we can; however, financial constraints and limited budgets hinder providing the assistance and resources they need. Some of the needs that have arisen in this school year alone include: emergency motel payment to keep one more night of shelter, bus passes for multiple homeless family children to get to school, grocery store gift cards for that night’s meal, a refrigerator so a family with six children could keep perishables, clothes and shoes for children, science camp gear/clothes for children, birthday treats (Starbucks drink or a cupcake) for our foster youth who reside in group homes and homeless students, school letterman jacket for a worthy athlete, school spirit wear so students feel a part of the community, and additional costs that arise for our students that schools cannot absorb or sponsor. Although our role lies on the educational side for our students, we cannot help but recognize additional critical needs by looking at the whole child. As such, we are sometimes the people in the best position to know the specific needs and are willing to make the effort to meet them. Thank you for your consideration! Sincerely, Tiffany Merrill, Foster Youth Liaison, Bonita Unified School District Mo Williams, Foster Youth Liaison, Bonita Unified School District

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stories of Giving from Bernadette Loera

I want to tell you about how I am inspired by Community Senior Services’ Enrichment Center Adult Day Program located in the Larkin Park Building in Claremont, California. The adult day program is open daily from 10:00am until 4:00pm. Participants are older adults living with memory impairment in various stages. I was inspired to write this “letter of giving” after reading a testimonial of gratitude written by family members of a participant in the program that attended for for nearly three years and had recently passed away. The letter was touching and a true testament of how a community can come together to engage and value members living with dementia. With the decline in memory and ability to perform daily activities, dementia is crippling for both seniors and the family having to care for them. The difference the Enrichment Center makes on a daily basis to the participants and their families is substantial. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be exhausting and lonely. Through the Enrichment Centers’ engaging activities and caring staff and volunteers, family members and caregivers are offered a rare moment of relief from the stress of caring for a loved one. Participants at the Enrichment Center are treated with dignity and respect and as important members of society. They are valued and cared for in a manner that brings both mental and physical engagement. I have been able to witness firsthand the importance the program brings to its participants and the value the program brings to the community. The staff and the many committed volunteers work tirelessly to implement a program that reflects the many needs of those living with dementia, a complex and often misunderstood group of conditions that can devastate families. The Enrichment Center strives to offer much needed support, comfort and peace of mind to the participants and their families. The program is based on “The Best Friends “approach which focuses on relationships, empathy, support, trust, humor and respect. The recent letter from the family I mentioned above is touching, in that, it brought me to tears to read the heartfelt thanks of the family members expressing deep gratitude for the care their mother received while attending the Enrichment Center. Please consider the Enrichment Center Adult Day Program and the efforts of Community Services, their employees and all of the volunteers for the difference they make in this world. I’ll close with a quote from the heartfelt letter mentioned above, “Your program doesn’t just provide a service. It changes lives.” Respectfully submitted by Bernadette Loera, MSG candidate, University of La Verne

Monday, January 23, 2017

Story of Giving from Stephanie Roberts on Behalf of Assistance League of Pomona Valley

Operation School Bell®, Assistance League® of Pomona Valley October delivery day finally arrived. Preparation had been underway for weeks to order and receive clothing, then fold and put on shelves or hang up on racks. It was Operation School Bell Delivery Day. Assistance League of Pomona Valley initiated their program in 1999 and joined many other chapters of this special charitable organization called National Assistance League. The volunteers work hard in this organization and see what it has done for the local communities. Pomona Valley chapter provides at least five of these shopping days each school year and help individual families as the need arises, helping about 1,200 children each year. This particular day was a very wet one, not unlike what we have been experiencing as of late. The usual clients came in. Some with just mom or dad, some brought their kids. Shopping was a new experience for most of these children. They delighted in picking out their tops. Each child had their own opinion as to what was just right for them. Some girls would want 5 pink tops and moms would be doing some ‘back seat shopping’ and advising them as to what they needed. By the time they finished with their new socks and underwear their smiles were ear to ear. The boys liked to look for their 5 t-shirts with sports insignias or Spiderman or Laker colors or just their favorite color. It was all there for them to select the perfect item for maybe the first time in their young lives. The families would leave not only content but feeling that someone cared for them. Their children could now go to school and fit in. They could raise their hands in answer to questions and not have rips and tears under their arms. They could take their shoes off and not have holes in their socks. They could wear their new underwear that many had never owned before. They could feel comfortable in their own skin. They could receive compliments on their cute sweatshirts or patterned leggings. They could fit in with their new jeans. And the members and volunteers felt like they had helped in some small way to make the world a better place. But this was an October of a few years ago, and there was more to come that day. The volunteers were tired. It was almost 4 o’clock and time to close the doors. A woman appeared at the open door with her 2 sons. She was panicked she was not going to be able to get clothing for her sons. She was encouraged to come on in and go shopping. The family was checked in and the 2 boys had their own personal shoppers. The members were delighted to help these two young people that were out of breath from running. The mom waited at the counter just watching them shop. This particular delivery day there were some shoes in stock. But they would not take off their shoes. One volunteer finally convinced them, finding a hole where the sole of the shoe should be. The socks were soaked. New socks were immediately given to the boys. They did not want to wear them. They did not want to ruin their new socks. An extra pack was given to each and explained that they would also be taking home detergent so they could wash the ones that were soiled. In the meantime, at the check out counter, the mother asked if there was any place that could help out at Christmas time. Their lives had been so disrupted having escaped from an abusive relationship and she wanted some continuity in their lives. Fortunately, “Act of Giving” is a special delivery for Operation School Bell in December. She was told they would be included that day. The member at the desk realized that water was running off the counter. The mother was wearing a mohair sweater that was dripping wet. This old sweater had seen better days. Mom was very slender and was finally convinced to pick some clothing from the gently used clothes that hung close by. She was elegant in her new sweatshirt and jacket and so thankful for what they had been given that day. With umbrellas and all their new garments, they departed. The boys with smiles, the mom with tears in her eyes. December came, and as promised, her family was included in this delivery too. Two handsome boys, wearing clothes they had picked in October came down the stairs. But what the volunteers saw was this beautiful woman, in clothes that had been given to her. She was different. Her head was held high, her smile was bright. She shared that she had found a job. But what was most important to her was to relate that that October day, she was unraveled. She did not know if she could make it. But the volunteers had made her feel cared for and that she was valued. Something everyone can understand. Submitted by Stephanie Roberts

Story of Giving from Patrick and Christina Hartrick

We would like to share with you a close friend of ours who lives in Upland, CA. Molly Ondich is an exceptional 13 year old in many ways. Due to some serious medical problems, she has been home schooled since second grade. As life goes on, more medical concerns have arisen. The most serious diagnosis is EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which attacks the connective tissue, causing most of her organs to be compromised). She has also been diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which affects the heart. There are other medical problems, which stem from these two major syndromes. She is learning to pace herself, and there are days that she cannot get out of bed. Being a “typical” 13 year old, she is quite adept on social media. Several months ago, she asked her parents if she could start a charity to help children and teens who suffer from Pots. So Molly started MOLLY’S MAIL, a charity that sends packages of encouragement to those in need. The word spread so fast, that she now serves children and adults, who suffer from physical or mental life- altering or terminal diagnoses. Many of those she has assisted are young cancer victims. On more than one occasion, she has attended funerals of children who succumbed to their disease. The parents of these kids have personally invited her, as they are so grateful for the joy she has brought to their stricken children. (There are many testimonies on her Molly’s Mail Facebook and Instagram accounts.) Her “care” packages are full of words of encouragement, as well as aids that keep these people positive. To date, she has sent out over 140 packages all over the world. It is a costly endeavor, and her family has assisted by raising money via garage sales and Go Fund Me. But the funds go quickly, as she is never short on requests! Not only because awarding her a gift would be helpful to those she encourages, but it would also be such a morale booster for Molly! She has the most contagious smile and an unbelievable positive attitude about her work. She is a wonderful, bright, caring young lady, with a heart of gold and a real understanding of those who suffer. If you would like to see some of the amazing work Molly has done, I've included a screen shot of her Instagram account. Feel free to look her up and follow her! Sincerely, Patrick and Christina Hartrick

Stories of Giving from Joseph Iwobi

When a new chapter in our lives approaches, we usually make an opportunity to reflect on our past and how it brought us to the present. With this in consideration, I would like to take this moment to recognize an association that has done much for people like me. I speak of an organization whose sole purpose is to provide advice and services to those diagnosed with diabetes, and by this I mean the American Diabetes Association. In the early 1990's, I needed a physical for my place of work. During this medical procedure, my doctor brought to my knowledge that I had diabetes. Even though diabetes has been in my family’s history, hearing about it came as a bit of shock to me. From then on, I had to change my lifestyle especially my way of eating. The routine would be anything to keep my blood sugar in check to prevent any other bodily complications like kidney failure, eye defects, and leg amputation. Since the establishment of the American Diabetes Association in the early 1940’s, it has supported and taught those with diabetes on how to work hard to control the aforementioned problems caused by this metabolic disease. Its diligent efforts in diabetic research inspired me to subscribe to their membership program in 2013. For example, one of the most important aspect to my diabetic routine, dieting, is emphasized on each monthly subscription. There is a featured recipe that is catered towards healthy eating. In conclusion, talking from the viewpoint of someone with diabetes, I can without any hesitation, say that the American Diabetes Association has helped me, my friends, and my relatives immensely in enlightening and controlling the bad effects of this dangerous disease. Joseph Iwobi