Non-Profit of the Week – Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley

| SC Living | January 4, 2018

Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley (SIGSCV) is a local non-profit organization which falls under the umbrella of Soroptimist International, a global women’s organization whose members volunteer to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Approximately 76,000 Soroptimists in over 120 countries and territories support community–based and global projects benefiting women and girls. The organization is particularly concerned with providing women and girls access to education, as this is the most effective path to self-determination.

The name, Soroptimist, means “Best for Women,” and that’s what the organization strives to achieve. Soroptimists are women at their best, working to help other women to be their best.

L to R: Sue Reynolds, Sandi Naba, Chris Blazey, Pam Ingram, Kim Kurowski, Aida Weinstein, Cheri Fleming, Karen Towels, Lori Crawford, Rebecca Johnston, Jennifer Haberer and Chris Hough

Soroptimist members belong to local clubs that participate in the Dream Programs of Soroptimist: Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women, and Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls to help women and girls achieve social and economic empowerment. The Dream Programs of Soroptimist ensure women and girls have access to the education and training they need to reach their full potential and live their dreams. Soroptimist is committed to investing in programs that have a sustainable, measurable change for women and girls.
Soroptimist also sponsors LiveYourDream.org, an online community empowering offline volunteer action. The self-motivated network is made up of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. Members of the free online community work on topics such as women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, human trafficking, and more. They also have access to inspirational articles, tips, and blogs that can help them live their own personal dreams.
As a local club, SIGSCV raises funds to benefit many local charities in addition to giving funds directly to Soroptimist International to support its mission and programs. Locally, we have supported organizations such as: Sheila R. Veloz, Circle of Hope, Alzheimer’s Association, SCV Youth Project, Single Mothers Outreach, Domestic Violence Center, Child and Family Center, Carousel Ranch, LARC Ranch, College of the Canyons Scholarships, the Women’s Unit at Henry Mayo Hospital, COC Center for Early Childhood Education, Mothers Fighting for Others, Habitat for Humanity, Celebrating Women – Hirschberg Foundation, and Mending Kids, among others.

On a local level, over the past two years we have distributed nearly $100,000 to our three pillars: “Women in Crisis, Women’s Health Issues and Celebrating Women.”

Monies are raised by SIGSCV through our two annual fundraisers. The first event is The Wine Affair – Sip, Stroll & Savor the Sounds, which will take place on Sunday, April 15, 2018. Those attending The Wine Affair will stroll down Town Center Drive while enjoying a great afternoon of local food, wine tasting and fabulous music. The Wine Affair offers a great opportunity for community partners to team with us for such a good cause. Proceeds from this event will go towards supporting our programs and projects, which include our Live Your Dream Awards, Dream It, Beat Program, and the Go Girls.

Our second major fundraiser is the Annual Fashion Show, which will take place this year on November 18, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Information about this event will be forthcoming.
For more information about Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley contact President Kim Kurowski at 661-803-6506 or kim_kurowski@hotmail.com.

Submitted by Sandi Naba

Non Profit of the Week – St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary

| SC Living | December 21, 2017

In 2007, through a generous bequest, Lange Foundation purchased a 4.5-acre Sand Canyon ranch property in Canyon Country. In mid-2010, the first of what the non-profit organization hopes will be many kennels, was completed. It has 23 indoor/outdoor dog runs, a large cat room with a fully enclosed cat play area, and plenty of outdoor space for the horses. The kennel is equipped with all modern animal care amenities and was given the top rating by Los Angeles Animal Care and Control.

The dogs, cats and horses that are rescued by the Lange Foundation from various shelters throughout Southern California come to St. Bonnie’s in all sizes, ages and conditions. Staff members and volunteers work daily to rehabilitate and care for each and every animal that is at St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary until they are ready to go to their forever homes.

St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 661-251-5590 or email St.bonnies@gmail.com. All the adoptable animals and further information about the foundation can be viewed on the Lange Foundation website, langefoundation.org.

Heroes of the Week – Hamlet and Bonita

After being in a home for a year, Hamlet and his lady Bonita were turned in to the Lancaster shelter. Bonita was pregnant and Hamlet was doing his best to stay close and care for her. We rescued the two of them and quickly found out that Bonita was ready to give birth a few days later. We ended up with seven puppies!

Bonita tried her best to take care of them, but a kennel is a tough place for newborns and their mom. Hamlet was a wreck and desperately wanted to be by Bonita’s side. The whole family was then put into a foster home and we got to see what amazing house dogs Hamlet and Bonita were.

They are a bonded pair that are in search of a home to cater to their high activity life, but to also snuggle and love them like a small dog. They also love to play ball and understand basic commands. Hamlet and Bonita are a wonderful pair of intelligent and friendly huskies. Hamlet & Bonita do great with other dogs and children as well. We have had them for just over a year now and they are still in search of their forever home during yet another Christmas season. If you would like to meet this wonderful pair or have any questions, please feel free to call us at 661-251-5590 or email us at st.bonnies@gmail.com. You can also view all of our animals and learn more about everyone on our website: www.langefoundation.org

Thank You & Happy Holidays!


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Non Profit of the Week – Carousel Ranch

| Community, SC Living | December 14, 2017

With the new year approaching quickly, it is a good time to reflect on all of the good things that happened in 2017. For Carousel Ranch, it was a year full of changes and growth … something that would not have been possible without the incredible support of this community, filled with those who choose to keep Carousel Ranch in their hearts throughout the year.

In years past, Carousel Ranch was proud to provide equestrian therapy to over 80 children each week. This year, however, the program has seen over 50 percent growth, serving 140 individuals with special needs through both their equestrian and new Ready to Work! vocational training programs.

They say that timing is everything and at Carousel Ranch that statement seems so true. From a tiny little program that started in a backyard—to where they are today, the Ranch has literally come full circle. Today’s programming enables the organization to take a student from childhood all the way through adulthood, meeting their ever changing needs along the way.

In the words of Luc’s mom, Ashley:

Luc has an undiagnosed neurological condition that affects his motor skills and he has difficulty with balance, resulting in frequent falls. While what he experiences is mild, it is so big to Luc and to me. It has been hard for him to not always be able to keep up with other kids or do the same things they can. Carousel Ranch is one of the few places he does not experience limitations. It’s apparent how much they love working with these kids and that makes all the difference. Being a total ham, Luc loves having the undivided attention of three adults while he rides and is always excited to go to the Ranch.

Luc only started riding in July, but his core strength has already improved and the tightness through his hips and hamstrings is starting to loosen. His neurologist was blown away that he’s shown progress so quickly. I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw him be able to raise his knees up while hanging from a bar for the first time, when he had not been able to pick his feet up, hardly at all. I am thrilled that he is starting to be able to almost jump. It’s not much movement, but his feet are getting off the ground together and he is moving forward ever so slightly. Our family

has been blessed by Luc having the opportunity to ride at Carousel Ranch and we look forward to seeing him continue to become stronger and gain more abilities.

In the words of Alexa, who participated in the equestrian program as a small child and then the RTW! program recently as a young adult:

Carousel Ranch has impacted many parts of my life, from helping me become physically stronger in the equestrian therapy program and teaching me valuable life lessons in the volunteer program to helping me learn work skills in the Ready to Work! program, and then giving me my first job as a Carousel Ranch employee. A few months later, Carousel Ranch helped me get my first job interview at Rise & Shine Preschool, and fortunately, I was hired and continue to work as a teacher’s assistant there. I am forever grateful for all that Carousel Ranch has done for me and so many others.

What does the next year hold for Carousel Ranch? The answer is simple and has remained the same for over 20 years — working to make a difference, one child at a time.

For the young adults serving in the RTW! program, that means more working in jobs and volunteering in our great community. For the many children in the equestrian program it means another year of working with each to achieve their very best.

Carousel Ranch is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with special needs. Through both equestrian therapy and vocational training programs, the program strives to create an atmosphere where every student can and will succeed … a place where therapy is disguised as fun.


Santa Day at Carousel Ranch

Last weekend Carousel Ranch held its annual Santa Day, where students and their families could enjoy a holiday celebration in a safe environment that accommodates disabilities. The party is designed to offer hundreds of disabled individuals a chance to socialize and make new acquaintances. It is an action-packed day complete with Santa (a former special education teacher) and Mrs. Santa, petting zoo, crafts, s’mores over the fire, gifts and a Sweet Shop for refreshments. Gifts for students and their siblings were provided by the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Santa Day is sponsored by Pardee Homes and staffed by many of the company’s employees.



Girl Scouts Build River of Hope

Local Girl Scout Troop 6592 dedicated their Silver Award project to children with special needs. Members of the troop built a “River of Hope” at Carousel Ranch, a project finalizing their efforts to earn the highest award possible for Girl Scouts at the Cadette level. The scouts first joined Carousel Ranch students in hand painting rocks including each child’s name, and then created a rock river by placing all of the artwork within the riverbed. The Carousel Ranch River of Hope is a visual representation of each child’s personal progress and growth.

“We were so excited to create a dry river bed, acknowledging hope on a long journey that the Carousel Ranch students have accomplished, enabling them to grow to where they are today,” said Brooke Lackey, one of the scouts who participated.

Girl Scout Troop #6592 is made up of seven girls ranging from 12-14 years of age who are students at Rancho Pico Jr. High School, Rio Norte Jr. High and Legacy Academy. After completion of their Silver Award, the girls will bridge to become Senior Girl Scouts.

Carousel Ranch is located at 34289 Rocking Horse Road in Santa Clarita. For more information, call 661-268-8010 or visit CarouselRanch.org.

Non Profit Event of the Week – 7th Annual Breakfast with Santa Claus

| SC Living | December 7, 2017

Last week, new radio station Brigade-Radio-One brought more than 400 children from local homeless shelters to a breakfast at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia to help them celebrate the Christmas spirit of giving and hope. Founders Ethan Dettenmaier and Lota Hadley of Santa Clarita are in their seventh year of bringing excitement to local children, including time with 100 characters and talent from shows such as “Star Wars Rebels,” “The Avengers,” “The Defenders,” “A-Team,” “X-Files” and “The Regular Show.” Actors volunteer their time to make the morning magical and unforgettable.

The Make The World A Better Place Children’s Foundation was designed by 14-year-old Shawn Dettenmaier when she, as a third grader, created the “Combat Radio Christmas Event For Homeless Children” in collaboration with her father’s radio program, Combat Radio.

Brigade-Radio-One is based at Universal Studios in the San Fernando Valley. It features shows hosted by Sheila E., the members of Guns N’ Roses, the producers of “Big Bang Theory,” the director of “Daredevil,” “The Flash,” and many more.

The central focus of the station, in addition to the entertainment, is its collaboration with the Make The World A Better Place Children’s Foundation. These two organizations have teamed up with Salt Creek Grille to bring Christmas to needy children through Breakfast With Santa, in addition to adopting homeless shelters across the San Fernando Valley.

In October, Shawn Dettenmaier was honored by Mayor Garcetti and the L.A. City Council with a proclamation for her charity work. For more information, visit Brigaderadioone.org and find Make The World A Better Place Children’s Foundation on Facebook.

Non Profit of the Week – The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita

| SC Living | November 30, 2017

by Alice Renolds

When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The death of a child is probably the most traumatic, life-changing event that you will ever experience. That is why we are here to help and support. The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita is a self-help organization made up of bereaved parents who have experienced that deep searing pain. We provide highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild and help others assist the grieving family.

The Compassionate Friends was first established in England more than 40 years ago by two sets of bereaved parents. It quickly spread to the United States and was incorporated in 1978 in Illinois. There are now over 700 chapters serving all 50 states. The Compassionate Friends is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization with a presence in at least 30 countries. The Santa Clarita chapter has been supporting bereaved families here locally for 18 years. Diane Briones started the chapter after her 20-year-old daughter was killed in a horrific car crash and needed a support group and there was none here in Santa Clarita. Alice Renolds started attending the group following the tragic death of her two sons in a reckless driving incident and has been the Co-leader now for 16 years.

Our Chapter meets the first Thursday of every month here locally in Santa Clarita. Our monthly support group meetings are the heart of TCF. These gatherings provide a caring environment in which bereaved parents, adult siblings, and grandparents can talk freely about the emotions in which they are going through and receive the understanding support of others who have “been there.” We usually have between 20 and 30 members attend our meetings. The meeting may also include a brief program, panel or speaker. As we meet together, we learn from each other through our shared experiences. The bereaved members not only obtain support through our monthly meetings, but also from our newsletter, our website, Facebook, telephone of friends, and our library of books.

The death of a child is devastating and it’s important to the family and their friends that the child always be remembered. That is why we have two events yearly: a balloon release in the spring and the Candle Light Remembrance Program. The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita will participate in an annual worldwide event designed to honor the memories of all children, regardless of age, who have died. On Sunday, December 10, the local chapter is joining hundreds of organized memorial services around the world for the 21st Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.

The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held at 6:30 p.m. at La Mesa Jr. High School, 26623 May Way in Santa Clarita. It will feature poems, selected readings, music, a slide show and performances with featured singers. Annually, tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during the Worldwide Candle Lighting. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lit in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light, which continues the observance around the world. With the theme “that their light may always shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year.

To contact The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita, call Diane Briones at 661-252-4654 or Alice Renolds at 661-252-4374, or visit www.compassionatefriends-scv.org.


by Alice Renolds and Dianoe Briones

Fourteen years ago, Carol Costin lost her 28-year-old son Jeffrey in a horrible car crash in Texas. She moved to California shortly afterwards, because her only surviving daughter had moved here and she needed to be close to her. She left her family, friends, job, house and everything she knew. Carol, her husband and daughter attended support meetings of The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita and still do today!

In fact, Carol is a hero to our chapter. She is a member of our steering committee and took over the job of treasurer without hesitation when the job became suddenly vacant. Now with her years through this journey of grief she contributes so much to our local meetings. Carol is able to share her loss, but can show families that there is hope for healing, although it’s a loss we never fully get over. Carol is one of three different facilitators for our meetings. She gives so much love, understanding and support to all the grieving families.

Our local chapter will participate in the annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Program to be held at a new location this year, La Mesa Jr. High School, located at 26623 May Way in Santa Clarita on December 10 at 6:30 p.m. It is open to the public and we would love to share this evening with all of you.

For more information on The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita visit www.compassionatefriends-scv.org

Athletes of the Week: Mariah Castillo and Ethan Danforth

| SC Living | November 24, 2017

Mariah Castillo

A strong runner on the Saugus Centurions girls’ cross country team, Mariah Castillo finished second overall in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 cross country finals with a time of 16 minutes, 28.4 seconds. Mariah’s second place finish helped Saugus’ team take second overall in the Division 2 finals, and qualify for the CIF State championships.

“Mariah is a very dedicated athlete who has been training with a mission and a goal this season,” said Saugus High School track coach Kevin Berns. “She has always had an eagerness to sacrifice personal interest of glory for the team. This Saturday, Mariah will be competing at the CIF Division II State Championships for the fourth time, seeking the 10th team title in 12 years, and her first CIF Individual Division II State Championship.”

Ethan Danforth

A runner for the Canyon Cowboys cross country team, Ethan Danforth took first overall in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 cross country finals with a time of 14 minutes, 50.2 seconds. Ethan was in third, but was able to pull ahead of the pack in the last 400 meters of the race. His first place finish helped the Canyon boys’ team finish 6th overall and qualify for the CIF State championships.

“Ethan is only a junior and winning the INDIVIDUAL CIF CHAMPIONSHIP is really special,” said Canyon cross country coach Dave DeLong. “He grew up before our very eyes and is a rising star.”  

Non-Profit of the Week: The Gentle Barn

| SC Living | November 22, 2017

We live in a concrete, violent, noisy, high tech, busy world. We have lost our connection to animals, to nature, and most of all, to ourselves. Animals are living lives of torment from beginning to end, their cries are unheard, their pain is unseen, and they are suffering. The rate of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes has never been higher. The rain forests are being destroyed, we are in a global drought, we are polluting our air, and species go extinct every day. But by having reverence for all life and by reconnecting with Mother Earth we each can change all that. At The Gentle Barn we stand up for the innocent, and we help animals and children alike remember that they matter. We open people’s hearts to the connections with nature. We open people’s minds to what is happening around us. And we inspire people to be an integral part of the solution. Through the stories and interactions with our animals, we can raise future generations to have reverence for all life, protect our planet, live good, healthy, happy lives, and we will all be closer to having peace on earth!

The Gentle Barn is an educational facility that teaches children about animals in a way that will change their perspectives about themselves and the world around them. Staff members seek to show children that even though we all look different, we are all the same inside. Every living being has language and needs food, water, shelter and love. Programs at The Gentle Barn teach the children why roosters crow, why pigs love mud, why goats chew, and how each species communicates through body language. At The Gentle Barn kids gain an understanding of animals, see how much they have in common with them, and get to expand their empathy for all living beings.

The Gentle Barn is currently located in Los Angeles, California, Knoxville, Tennessee, and St Louis, Missouri. It is open to the public once a week for guests to hug the cows, give the pigs tummy rubs, cuddle the turkeys, feed the horses, hold the chickens, and learn their stories of resilience. During the rest of the week The Gentle Barn is available for private tours, VIP all day tours, school field trips, birthday parties, groups of at risk, inner city, and special needs kids, and special events.

“We believe that animals can provide unconditional love, kindness, and a non-judgmental attitude to all,” says The Gentle Barn website. “The animals at The Gentle Barn have so much love to give back, and we believe they are perfect for people with special needs.”

You can take a private two-hour tour, which includes a maximum of 20 people 2 Hour Private Tour and has a donation price of $400.

You may also book a VIP Day Tour, which includes having the barnyard to yourself and lunch with founder Ellie Laks. You receive an intimate six-hour experience where you learn the history of The Gentle Barn, a personal introduction to all of the animals on both of The Gentle Barn’s California properties, and share their stories of rescue and recovery. It costs a suggested donation of $1,000 and includes a maximum of five people.

Groups from high-risk teens to foster youth have a place at The Gentle Barn. The environment is safe and quiet, giving groups the freedom to be themselves, and the room to explore at their own pace. The animals teach forgiveness, love, trust, and a sense of responsibility, which means a lot to many children, especially those with special needs, says The Gentle Barn website.

Their visits from September through June include activities to cultivate self-awareness and hope for the future, such as working in the vegetable garden to connect with Mother Earth, walking horses to practice leadership skills, holding smaller animals to practice gentleness, and going on nature hikes to talk about resilience. Each time they come out to The Gentle Barn, these special guests open up, become vulnerable, relate to the animals, and find more and more of themselves in the barnyard.

“Watching clean city kids come for the first time is an amazing thing,” says Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn. “They are stand-offish at first, or concerned about getting dirty. But after hearing stories of the animals, similar to their stories, they very quickly open up, and before we know it, they are hugging and cuddling the animals with no concern for their cleanliness or tough reputations at all. At The Gentle Barn we get to see miracles every day, and I am so grateful to be able to do this work!”

A Gentle Thanksgiving
The Gentle Barn is celebrating life with a holiday event for the community. Each year, guests to A Gentle Thanksgiving are treated to a gourmet vegan meal, in addition to time with the animals that includes feeding cranberries and vegan treats to The Gentle Barn’s turkeys. There will be various activities such as a Native American drum circle, music and dancing. Also, attendees each receive a gift bag filled with donated products from The Gentle 52 Sponsors.

The purpose of the event is to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving in a cruel-free way that honors animals and raises the awareness of a plant-based diet (veganism).

The event runs from 3-8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Tickets are $200 for adults and $175 for kids age 12 and under. You may purchase tickets on the website, GentleBarn.org.

Non Profit of the Week – The Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates

| SC Living | November 9, 2017

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization which assists the County of Los Angeles, Department of Parks and Recreation, in the operation and programming of Placerita Canyon Natural Area.

The organization’s mission statement is: To inspire a passion, awareness and respect for the environment, and to preserve and protect for future generations the history and ecosystem of Placerita Canyon.

Placerita Canyon’s docent naturalists lead educational programs and nature hikes for elementary school groups and others throughout the year. They undergo an intensive training process to serve as guides and educators. Education about the environment is one of the goals of the docent organization at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. Four mornings each week, school groups go on trips to Placerita where they are greeted by docents who give them a presentation in the onsite classroom about the circle of life, explaining the interactions between plants, animals and why the food web is so important. The children are provided a simple, though vivid, explanation about how living organisms depend on each other. A presentation with live animals is next; then the children are divided into groups to walk on different trails, each group led by a docent. A parent or a teacher is at the end of the group to make sure all of the children are accounted for. Beyond the classroom presentations and walks, the possibilities for a docent to get involved with other projects are nearly endless, from outreach and patrolling the trails to fighting the never-ending battle against non-native plants. Docents also organize special projects, fundraisers, parties, stock food supplies, plan crafts for children and help with animal care, among many other activities. If there is nothing interesting to you on that list, you may present your ideas to the board. They have been known to get pretty excited by all kinds of new projects.

Docent training starts Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The Nature Center calls them “docent naturalists,” and they attend these classes for a 9-week training.

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center is going through a lot of changes. This year, the school groups started early and many outreaches were booked in advance. The amphitheater is finished and so is the first phase of the Braille Trail. Phase 2 will bring educational panels along the trails, and the first one should be installed soon.

FAMILY NATURE WALK: Every Saturday from 11 to noon. An easy 1-hour walk exploring the area’s natural and cultural history.
ANIMAL PRESENTATION: Every Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. See, learn and ask questions about live native animals of the area.
BIRD WALK: Second Saturday of the month from 8 to 10 a.m. for all levels of birders. Bring binoculars, water and field guide.

BIRD WALK, CASTAIC: The Placerita Canyon Natural Area docents lead a monthly bird walk at Castaic Lake Recreation Area on the first Saturday of the month at 8:00 a.m.
BLOOMS OF THE SEASON: Learn about native plants and what is blooming along the trails. Meet in the patio at 9:30 for a one-hour stroll on the fourth Saturday of every month. Bring your camera and questions. For more information about this free program, call 661-259-7721 or 259-7832.
NATURE EDUCATION: An exciting new program at Placerita in conjunction with the Community Hiking Club. Every 3rd Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. the PCNCA and the CHC will provide a free educational program open to the public. Changes may be made, so call the center at 661-259-7721 to verify.
TWILIGHT HIKES: This program is offered on the 3rd Saturday of each month. This program begins at 7 p.m. and runs for about an hour. Park staff and the Nature Center Docents split groups and courses through the different trails in the dark. Come howl at the moon — if there is one that night!
JUNIOR RANGERS: Second Saturday of each month from 11:30 to 12:30 for children 6 years and above. Nature topics and a small hike, this new program is provided by Ranger Frank Hoffman.
CRAFT FAIR: December 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (article below for details)

For further information on any of these programs, visit the website (Placerita.org) or call the nature center office at 661-259-7721.

Placerita Canyon Nature Holiday Craft Fair

An annual event in the Sand Canyon area has become a holiday tradition for many Santa Clarita residents. The Placerita Canyon Nature Center Holiday Craft Fair brings people together to create and decorate holiday wreaths, centerpieces and ornaments using an assortment of fresh-cut greenery, pine cones and other items from nature.

This year’s Holiday Craft Fair will be held on December 2-3, 2017 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall. As it is a fundraising event for Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates, there is a charge for some of the activities. For more information, call 661-259-7721 or visit Placerita.org.

Non-Profit of the Week: American Diabetes Association

| SC Living | November 3, 2017

It Starts With You! Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes on Nov 4

November is National Diabetes Month, and for good reason. The numbers are staggering: every 48 hours, 7,670 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s one person every 23 seconds. In Los Angeles County, 44 percent of adults have prediabetes; 10 percent have diabetes. And in a recent study, Californians experienced a 31 percent increase in diabetes-related amputations between 2010-2016.

Stand up and be part of the fundraising walk culture by joining thousands of area residents in the 2017 Step Out Walk To Stop Diabetes movement at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Nov. 4. Every dollar raised plays an important role in supporting the American Diabetes Association’s mission: To prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Team up with family, friends and co-workers to make a difference in the fight to Stop Diabetes. This year every walker can earn a FREE ticket to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Donate or fundraise $100 to receive a FREE ticket to spend the day at the popular theme park after the walk on Nov. 4. Whether you are a physical walker or virtual supporter, your team will raise money for this inspirational event, not only because nearly 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because everyone more than likely knows someone who is living with the everyday challenges of this condition.

Registration is easy when you visit www.diabetes.org/StepOutGreaterLosAngeles. There is no registration fee to sign up, but donations and fundraising are encouraged. Parking is free for walkers and volunteers arriving before 8 a.m. Strollers and leashed canine friends are welcome.

This event is for everyone who wants to support the Association and raise critical funds that will help Stop Diabetes. This year, the national Step Out sponsors are Novo Nordisk (national premier/Red Strider Sponsor), Nutrisystem D, Walgreens, Kay Jewelers, Visionworks and Davis Vision. Local sponsors include Colgate Total, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, PDC, and Herbalife Nutrition. Media Sponsors include Magazine of Santa Clarita, InsideSCV Magazine, The Signal, SCVTV, KHTS AM 1220, and Point of View Communications.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. with a stage program at 8 a.m. followed by a walk through Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Parking is free for walkers and volunteers arriving before 8 a.m. Vendors, entertainment and diabetes resources are available until 1 p.m. To register, volunteer, donate or find out more information, visit diabetes.org/stepoutgreaterlosangeles or call 1-323-966-2890 ext. 7413 or email stepoutgreaterLA@diabetes.org


The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find the Los Angeles office on Facebook (adalosangeles), Twitter (@ada_losangeles) and Instagram (@adalosangeles).

For more information on the Step Out Walk and sponsorship opportunities, contact Laura Kirchhoff, development manager of the American Diabetes Association: 323-966-2890 x7413 or visit www.diabetes.org.

November is National Diabetes Month, and for good reason. The numbers are staggering: every 48 hours, 7,670 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s one person every 23 seconds. In Los Angeles County, 44 percent of adults have prediabetes; 10 percent have diabetes. And in a recent study, Californians experienced a 31 percent increase in diabetes-related amputations between 2010-2016.

Stand up and be part of the fundraising walk culture by joining thousands of area residents in the 2017 Step Out Walk To Stop Diabetes movement at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Nov. 4. Every dollar raised plays an important role in supporting the American Diabetes Association’s mission: To prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Team up with family, friends and co-workers to make a difference in the fight to Stop Diabetes. This year every walker can earn a FREE ticket to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Donate or fundraise $100 to receive a FREE ticket to spend the day at the popular theme park after the walk on Nov. 4. Whether you are a physical walker or virtual supporter, your team will raise money for this inspirational event, not only because nearly 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because everyone more than likely knows someone who is living with the everyday challenges of this condition.

Registration is easy when you visit www.diabetes.org/StepOutGreaterLosAngeles. There is no registration fee to sign up, but donations and fundraising are encouraged. Parking is free for walkers and volunteers arriving before 8 a.m. Strollers and leashed canine friends are welcome.

This event is for everyone who wants to support the Association and raise critical funds that will help Stop Diabetes. This year, the national Step Out sponsors are Novo Nordisk (national premier/Red Strider Sponsor), Nutrisystem D, Walgreens, Kay Jewelers, Visionworks and Davis Vision. Local sponsors include Colgate Total, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, PDC, and Herbalife Nutrition. Media Sponsors include Magazine of Santa Clarita, InsideSCV Magazine, The Signal, SCVTV, KHTS AM 1220, and Point of View Communications.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. with a stage program at 8 a.m. followed by a walk through Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Parking is free for walkers and volunteers arriving before 8 a.m. Vendors, entertainment and diabetes resources are available until 1 p.m. To register, volunteer, donate or find out more information, visit diabetes.org/stepoutgreaterlosangeles or call 1-323-966-2890 ext. 7413 or email stepoutgreaterLA@diabetes.org


The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find the Los Angeles office on Facebook (adalosangeles), Twitter (@ada_losangeles) and Instagram (@adalosangeles).

For more information on the Step Out Walk and sponsorship opportunities, contact Laura Kirchhoff, development manager of the American Diabetes Association: 323-966-2890 x7413 or visit www.diabetes.org.

Athletes of the Week

| SC Living | November 3, 2017

Da’Von Jones

This junior is a strong member of Hart High School’s football team. He returned a 70-yard punt for a touchdown in the final seconds of the Indians’ game against Golden Valley, giving Hart the 34-27 victory. The victory gives Hart a 3-1 record in Foothill League. They finish their regular season schedule against Saugus on Friday, November 3.

“Da’Von makes things happen,” said Hart High School football coach Mike Herrington. “He’s a big time player. We look to him when we need a game-changing play.”

Keili Butler

A junior and runner on the cross country team at Trinity Christian Academy, Keili Butler took it home last week at the Heritage League Championship. She took first place in the girl’s race with a time of 20:52, which helped the Knights clinch the Heritage League title and gave Butler the league’s individual title as well.

“Keili loves to be on the cross country team and be with her friends,” said Kathleen Kahovec, cross country coach at Trinity. “She was a gymnast for 10 years and tried cross country in high school and is a natural athlete. She wants to be a nurse some day and care for people. She has a heart for helping people.”


Non-Profit of the Week – Gibbon Conservation Center

| SC Living | October 26, 2017

For more than 40 years, the Gibbon Conservation Center has been dedicated to promoting the existence and study of the rarest group of apes in the Western Hemisphere. Not only does the non-profit organization provide observation and non-invasive research opportunities for students and scientists, staff members do consulting work with zoos, museums, and government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Originating from countries that include Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia, Gibbons are endangered arboreal apes with entertaining antics making them “acrobats” and “songbirds.” They live in the dwindling rainforests of Southeast, South and East Asia, where they mark their territory by vocalizing (singing). Adult gibbons and their mates sing duets and their offspring join in. Swinging from branch to branch, known as brachiating, the rare mammals leap distances as high as 40 feet at speeds of up to 35 mph while 200 feet above the ground.

Baby Howard was born on December 7, 2016 at the Gibbon Conservation Center.

The apes eat fruit, young leaves, flowers, bird eggs, insects and birds. The Gibbon Conservation Center houses the following species: Northern White-Cheeked Gibbon, Eastern Hoolock Gibbon, Javan Gibbon, Pileated Gibbon and Siamang, which is the largest.

The founder of the Gibbon Conservation Center is the late Alan Mootnick, who did not enter the field through academia. He was a self-taught primatologist who grew to earn the respect of leaders in the industry. He gained important insights into gibbon social behavior, species identification and captive management, at the same time publishing nearly 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

“Having your own primate center takes a great deal of dedication, and a person cannot just walk away from it,” Mootnick said. “It becomes your life.”

The Gibbon Conservation Center operates on the generosity of donors. The organization’s website invites the public to donate time, skills and talents, or money in the form of a tax deductible contribution. Members of the community can visit the center and groups can book tours year round.

The public is invited to visit for “Halloween at the GCC” on Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Visitors can take part in a costume contest, pumpkin decorating, plus trick-or-treating, candy stations, spooky activities and music. Bring your money to support the non-profit with purchases from the gift shop and a silent auction.

The Gibbon Conservation Center is located 19100 Esguerra Road in Santa Clarita. For more information, email Info@gibboncenter.org or visit www.GibbonCenter.org.


Heroes of the Week

Gabriella “Gabi” Skollar has been working for the Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) since 2005. She graduated in 2004 with a master’s degree in Biology at the University of Szeged, in Hungary. She is an active participant in the gibbon zoological, conservation, and scientific communities worldwide. As the SSA Zoo Liaison at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Primate Specialist Group, she is responsible for representing the SSA within the Zoo community, and improving links between in-situ and ex-situ conservation. She is also a husbandry advisor for the gibbon SSP in the USA, as well as a member of the gibbon hand-rearing and surrogate team. Gabriella gives educational lectures and tours at the GCC, focusing on gibbon conservation and behavior.


Alma Rodriguez is a graduate of California Polytechnic University in Pomona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Alma holds an Event Planning certificate from Cal Poly Pomona, the Extended University. She has been featured on TV & radio, including an online article by National Geographic about the GCC. In 2015 she visited Java to see both the field and release sites of the Javan gibbons and meet with key individuals in their in-situ program. Alma has developed the off-site and on-site education programs and has been called on to speak to local elementary school children. She is currently working on expanding and improving those programs to continue to make them a valuable resource to the community.

Tiffany Darden graduated from California State University, Channel Islands in 2017 with a BS in Anthropology. In 2017 she received recognition on a paper presented in regard to captive gibbons’ response to predators. Tiffany gives tours of the center and is regularly interviewed by college film students. She also feeds gibbons, trains volunteers and oversees Girl Scout and Eagle Scout Projects.

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Non Profit of the Week – In Care of Hope

| SC Living | October 19, 2017

In 2009, local business owner Brian Schneider was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After undergoing eight rounds of chemo and 17 sessions of radiation, he was told he was in remission on April 13, 2010.

He wanted to give back, so together with family and friends they formed “Hodgkin’s Haters,” a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night team for the local Santa Clarita fundraising walk. They held numerous fundraisers as Hodgkin’s Haters’ “Party For A Cure,” which included celebrity bartending at the local Drifters Bar in 2012 and the Party For A Cure Casino Nights at the W in Hollywood for the following two years.

They developed a desire to hold more events locally, so in 2015 they held their first Par Tee Fore A Cure golf tournament at Robinson Ranch (now Sand Canyon Country Club). Parker Christensen, a local 15-year-old Hart High School football player and Hodgkin’s lymphoma fighter was the first Honorary Warrior. He came out to the tournament and shared his personal journey during the awards banquet and helped bring awareness to blood cancers. Parker is now 17 and enjoying his new cancer “free”dom.

In 2016, due to the unfortunate Sand Fire and the damage to Robinson Ranch, the second tournament was moved to the Valencia Country Club and was, again, a success. A courageous 3-year-old, Kylie Lynn Branch, was the honorary Warrior for 2016, and hid behind her mother, Katie, as she shared Kylie’s story and told participants about the treatments that lay waiting for her.

It was clear at that time that more needed to be done to eradicate this terrible disease. The tournament was gaining momentum and getting larger each year, but still encountered road blocks when trying to obtain large sponsorships and donations from local businesses. It was determined that becoming a nonprofit is what was needed in order to reach a higher level of financial support. In 2016, Brian and Sandra Schneider founded In Care Of Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization, and they chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as their charity of choice, which means LLS receives nearly 80 cents of every dollar donated. The support raised goes directly for blood cancer research and patient services.

In Care Of Hope hosted the Hodgkin’s Haters’ 3rd Annual ParTeeForeACure Golf Tournament at TPC Valencia Golf Club last week. Although it was an extremely windy day, golfers comprised of local contractors, business owners, and contractor vendors from as far away as Orange County came out in full force to enjoy a day of golf, on-course contests, raffles, and laughs, all the while chipping away at a cure!

Sponsors from local businesses such as Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Valencia BMW, Roma Jewelers, and Phyl-Mar Electrical Supply, In Care Of Hope / Hodgkin’s Haters, along with all who participated, sponsored, donated, and volunteered raised over $17,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! This brings the total raised by the Hodgkin’s Haters since 2011 to more than $100,000 for LLS. (See all sponsors at Hodgkins-haters.com.)

With the help and support of many local volunteers, friends, family and cohorts each year, the ParTeeForeACure Golf Tournament becomes more and more successful. In Care Of Hope will be hosting the 4th Annual Hodgkin’s Haters ParTeeForeACure in September of 2018. If you’re interested in sponsoring, volunteering, and/or participating in any way, it’s never too early or too late to get involved.

In Care Of Hope Organization is all about giving back and is now in the early stages of planning an event with actress Kristen Renton for a cause near and dear to her heart, saving the Manatees. For future In Care Of Hope events, visit www.Incareofhope.org.

Hero of the Week – Kylie Lynn Branch

She is our four-year-old Warrior Princess. In January of 2015, at just two years old, Kylie was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and her life changed rapidly after that. Instead of her Mickey Mouse birthday that was planned, she was put on a clinical trial for her uncommon form of cancer. Her first days battling the disease consisted of several procedures, numerous pokes, and lots of tears.

She endured 11 months of intensive chemotherapy and 2 ½ years of chemo in total. She hated it all, but forgave quickly. She feared the new people in her life that wore scrubs and stethoscopes, but learned to love them and call them her friends.

Over the next several months Kylie went through so many obstacles that she had to learn to overcome. In the beginning her body became septic, went into shock and started to shut down. She was sent to the ICU for days to recover. Kylie endured numerous infections, which caused her to spend well over a hundred days hospitalized on and off during her first year of treatment. She suffered chemo burns, an actual open wound from the toxicity of chemo through her body. She lost her voice due to a side effect of her drug treatment. Next, she was unable to walk because of the effect of intensive steroids, which caused her whole body to swell. She was almost unrecognizable. Then, she endured pain in her legs and damage to her nerves because of another chemotherapy drug.

Though she quickly became accustomed to her “new normal” and regular visits to the hospital, she missed how things used to be before cancer came into her life. But that didn’t stop her from being able to smile while she fought through it all. Soon she would have a life that resembled some normalcy again.

Now, Kylie is in remission and celebrated the end of her treatment in May 2017 with a “No More Chemo” party. She is currently kicking butt in physical therapy to gain strength and coordination that was weakened by chemotherapy. She has just started preschool and is really enjoying making new friends like a normal child. You wouldn’t know by looking at her, all that she has accomplished in the past years. But she truly is a Warrior Princess. Our family will never take for granted each day we have with Kylie.


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Non Profit of the Week – Thank-A-Vet Golf Foundation

| SC Living | October 13, 2017

Nancy Butler, founder and organizer of the annual Thank-A-Vet golf tournament, has very personal reasons for working tirelessly throughout the year to produce and implement her event. There are four very important military veterans in her life: her father, brother, and two uncles, as well as dear friends and former students. They were, and are, men of honor who were bound by duty and love of country to do what was asked of them to protect and guard the dreams of so many while putting their own dreams on hold. This made a huge impact on her as a child.

Thank-A-Vet’s mission statement is a testament to Miss Butler’s dream: The mission of the Thank-A-Veteran Golf Foundation is to honor and embrace the spirit of the dedication and sacrifices of military and their families by:

Organizing and implementing fun, enriching, and community-connecting events, the major event being the non-profit’s annual Thank-A-Vet Golf Tournament
To be able to provide a meaningful monetary contribution to organizations that benefits local military veterans

Her dream of honoring those special veterans in her life blossomed into an annual golf tournament which consistently has a waiting list of participants. Veterans play for free (or make a voluntary donation), while others pay a very reasonable set fee. Still other individuals and local businesses donate goods and services for silent auction and raffle items to raise money for various veteran-based organizations. Past events have taken place at Robinson Ranch Golf Club (now Sand Canyon Country Club) and TPC Valencia.

This year, Thank-A-Vet’s annual 18-hole scramble format golf tournament will be returning to the beautiful TPC Valencia Golf Club on Monday, October 30, 2017. Again, as expected, it is sold out, but hole sponsorships, silent auction, and raffle donations are still available.

Typically, each event is kicked off by an address from a local city or state official.

Miss Butler closes the opening ceremonies by thanking all the participants, contributing community partners, and the highly valuable volunteers that make this event a success.

Veterans are treated to a boxed lunch while on the course and a catered dinner when play is complete. The event is capped off with prizes awarded to winning teams and sponsor recognition ending with the silent auction and raffle.

Thank-A-Vet hopes at some point in the future to involve professional golfers in a pro/am format and to implement and host a few more tournaments … all aimed at raising funds for local veterans.

For more information about this golf tournament, to make a donation, or to obtain more information about the Thank-A-Vet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, contact Nancy Butler at thankavetgolf@gmail.com. Look for them on Facebook as well.

Non Profit of the Week – The Painted Turtle

| SC Living | October 5, 2017

From its adaptive programming to its hospital outreach program, The Painted Turtle empowers children with life-threatening illnesses to gain independence and build a community where they are not alone.

SeriousFun Children’s Network Back Story

In 1988, Paul Newman started the first camp in a family of camps in Ashford, Connecticut. He then expanded that vision by helping to establish camps in New York, North Carolina, Florida, here in California at The Painted Turtle, as well as overseas in Ireland, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Hungary and Israel. This family of year-round camps continues to grow and there are currently 14 camps (including provisional members) in the United States and seven camps overseas. Additionally, Global Partnership Programs based on this camp model have been developed in Africa, Southeast Asia, India, and South America.

Each of the SeriousFun Camps is independent and responsible for raising its own funds. The programs empower children to reach beyond the limits of their medical conditions to create lasting and positive impacts on their lives.
Since 1988, the SeriousFun Children’s Network of camps has improved the lives of more than 864,000 children and their families from more than 50 countries and throughout all 50 United States. They strive to serve more than 90,000 children with varying medical conditions and their families every year — all free of charge.

For more information, visit www.seriousfunnetwork.org.

In 1999 Paul Newman and Page Adler, along with a group of other dedicated individuals, co-founded The Painted Turtle. Through the ongoing commitment of these individuals and many who sit on the board of directors today, the dream of The Painted Turtle became a reality. Since opening in 2004, the camp has served thousands of campers and family members through its year-round programs. In September 2007, The Painted Turtle established its Outreach Program called The Painted Turtle Outpost, which brings the hopeful, playful spirit of camp to children at hospitals and community events. Now in its fifth year, The Painted Turtle Outpost program continues to thrive and reach children all across California.

The Painted Turtle Hoedown BBQ

The Painted Turtle’s North Los Angeles County Regional Advisory Board will host its 12th annual BBQ fundraiser on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at The Painted Turtle camp in Lake Hughes. Community members are invited to attend the celebration, which offers an exclusive tour of the campground, delicious food and cocktails, live music from The Hit Machine, and a boisterous live and silent auction with prizes ranging from exclusive Paul Newman memorabilia and adventurous trips to fine jewelry and autographed sports memorabilia. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Painted Turtle camp for children with serious medical conditions.

“The annual BBQ is not only a great evening, but it’s also an important fundraiser for The Painted Turtle,” said Chris Butler, chief executive officer of The Painted Turtle. “Through the generosity of individuals and companies, like this year’s Title Sponsor, Ridgetop Ranch Properties, funds raised at this event help support Camp’s programs and services. We are grateful to the Regional Advisory Board for hosting an event that benefits campers and their families in such a festive way.”
The only medical camp of its kind in California, The Painted Turtle serves over 70 different medical illnesses for children. The organization’s year-round, state-wide programming strives to give kids the opportunity to celebrate the simple joys of childhood. “This is the perfect opportunity for the Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley communities to learn about and get involved with The Painted Turtle,” said Ryan Murphy, co-chair of the North Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board for The Painted Turtle.

“This incredible camp has served more than 130 children from within the Santa Clarita Valley community since 2006 and is located just 20 minutes from Copper Hill Drive, yet few people know about this amazing place,” added Tom DiPrima, co-chair of the North Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board for The Painted Turtle. “By attending the BBQ, guests can experience camp while also supporting the incredible work provided to our community.”

For more information, contact Brianne Sheldon at briannes@thepaintedturtle.org, call 310-451-1353 x112 or visit www.thepaintedturtle.org.

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Female Athlete of the Week – Lauren Russ

| SC Living, Sports | October 5, 2017

A senior at Valencia High School, Lauren Russ is an outside hitter for the Vikings girls’ volleyball team. Last week Lauren scored 20 kills and notched 13 digs in the Vikings’ 3-1 win over West Ranch. The two schools were co-champions of the Foothill League a season ago. This season the Vikings are 3-1 in the league so far.

“Lauren had a great weekend at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix,” said Valencia High School girls’ volleyball coach Ray Sanchez. “She led the team to a 5-2 record and the championship of the Sapphire Division, where she was named the MVP.”

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Male Athlete of the Week – JT Shrout

| SC Living, Sports | October 5, 2017

William S. Hart High School quarterback JT Shrout is leading the Indians’ football team for one more year before taking his strength to the Cal Bears. Last week, the 6-foot 3-inch, 190-lb. senior threw for 344 yards, with two passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. The Hart Indians shut out Ventura High School 26-0. Hart is now 3-2 in the season, and will begin Foothill League play against Valencia on Friday, October 6.

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Non Profit of the Month – The Brittany Foundation Sanctuary and Dog Rescue

| SC Living | September 28, 2017

Saving the lives of animals is the mission of The Brittany Foundation Sanctuary & Dog Rescue in Agua Dulce. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rescue, care and placement of dogs — all breeds and mixtures. There are approximately 50 dogs on the property at any time, many with various physical challenges.

The dogs are shown at the Foundation’s weekly adoption program at the sanctuary in Agua Dulce, plus there are adoption events throughout the year. While in the care of Foundation staff members, the dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and given a thorough check-up, along with any necessary medical attention. The dogs are also micro-chipped. If dogs are not adopted, they will live at the sanctuary for their entire lives. In other words, it’s a no-kill facility!

They rescue all dogs, regardless of breed, and focus efforts on the harder-to-place dogs such as seniors, disabled or abused dogs, and “media condemned” breeds such as pit bulls, chow chows and Dobermans. It’s relatively easy to find a home for a cute little terrier, but the gratification for Brittany Foundation volunteers comes from placing the 6-year-old pit bull with one eye, the stray mutt who has never had a home before, or the 12-year-old Doberman with severe separation anxiety (who is now living in a wonderful home of his own). Of course, they also have the adorable, well-behaved angels who are still searching for their forever homes too.

A Day in Their Paws

The Brittany Foundation will be holding their major, yearly fundraising event, A Day in Their Paws, on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at the Agua Dulce facility. The community is invited to visit the dogs during the event, and maybe find the dog-companion of their dreams.

At A Day in Their Paws volunteers commit to spending 24 hours in a kennel with the dog of their choice. It is a dramatic way to raise awareness of how shelter and rescue dogs live.

Volunteers can only get out of the kennel by finding sponsors who will “buy their freedom” for $1 per minute. There is an open house at The Brittany Foundation Sanctuary that day from 12 noon-4 p.m., with music, raffles, a silent auction, and of course you can tour the sanctuary, visit the “incarcerated” volunteers, and learn about the dogs who are keeping them company.

You may also visit the website to meet participating volunteers and to help them meet their fundraising goals: Brittanyfoundationonline.org.

For more information and a visit to the facility, contact founder Nancy Anderson at 661-713-5420 or email Brittany_dogs@yahoo.com.

Female Athlete of the Week – Grace Ferguson

| SC Living, Sports | September 21, 2017

This Saugus High School senior is a middle blocker for the Centurions’ girls’ volleyball team. She had 14 kills and five blocks last week in the Centurions’ 3-1 win over West Ranch. Saugus’ victory marks the first time they have defeated the Wildcats since October 14, 2014.
“Grace is a steady force at the net for Saugus volleyball this year,” said Zachary Ambrose, coach of the Saugus High School girls’ volleyball team. “Her ability to read the play helps her score with powerful kills and soft shots when needed. Her blocking forces opponents to change their shots, making the court smaller, helping the defense pick up more balls.”

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Male Athlete of the Week – Cameron Ravenell

| SC Living, Sports | September 21, 2017

A senior at Golden Valley High School, Cameron Ravenell is a defensive end on the Grizzlies football team. Last week he tallied 13 total tackles, four for a loss, and three sacks in the Grizzlies’ 26-13 win over Crespi. The victory comes a week after Golden Valley suffered a 26-19 loss to Crescenta Valley High School. The Grizzlies play Fullerton High School before opening conference play against Saugus on October 6.

“Cameron had one of the best performances from the defensive end position I have ever seen,” said Golden Valley High School Football Coach Dan Kelley. “His size and athletic ability has many colleges looking at him.”

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Non Profit of the Week – Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary

| SC Living | September 14, 2017

Watching an 8-week-old calico kitten relax into the arms of her new 9-year-old human sister, occasionally tossing a tiny white paw through the air to play with her favorite person’s long hair, it’s hard to believe where she came from.

Callie was rescued from a hoarding situation along with her three siblings when she was just 3 weeks old. The clearly neglected litter was discovered outside in the harsh summer heat, filthy, infested with fleas, underweight, and battling an upper respiratory infection – all while separated from their mother.

Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary worked quickly to place the un-weaned kittens in a foster home, where they were given around-the-clock care and taught to trust the loving touch of humans for the first time in their young lives. Now all four kittens are healthy and happy, with Callie being the first to find her forever home.

MAPS Co-Founder MElissa Lampert-Abramovitch with the rescue’s first dog, Edie, who was adopted in February 2017

This story is one of many of the dogs and cats in need who have been rescued by Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary since the rescue was first established in November 2016. Headed by mother-daughter duo Melissa Lampert-Abramovitch and Randi Lynn Lampert, MAPS has rescued 14 animals in need in its first 10 months, and found loving forever homes for seven of them so far. To continue their lifesaving work – which the Lamperts currently fund almost entirely out of their own pockets – MAPS volunteers are getting ready for their first fundraiser event: a bake sale at the 2017 Gilchrist Farm Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Patch in Saugus.

Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary will have a table set up at the bake sale on Saturday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, October 29 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., where they plan to sell homemade fall treats and animal-themed desserts for festival-goers in an effort to raise money for their cause. Proceeds from the bake sale will go directly toward the rescue’s mission to help the abandoned and forgotten animals of the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond find their way to a forever home.

Animal lovers who can’t make it to the bake sale in person can still help make the fundraiser a success by signing up to contribute their own yummy treats, which will be collected the day before each bake sale date. In addition, the rescue is always looking to add foster homes to their growing network so they can save even more animals. Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary provides the supplies, and just needs compassionate individuals to provide a loving temporary home for one or more animals until the foster pets can find their forever homes.

To find out more about Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary or to sign up to contribute to the bake sale fundraiser, email mapsanimalrescue@gmail.com or go to mapsanimalrescue.wordpress.com. The Gilchrist Farm Harvest Festival is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. For more information, go to gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival.



Non Profit of the Week – Michael Hoefflin Foundation

| SC Living | September 7, 2017

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that provides financial and emotional support to children and their families in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. The organization strives to educate the public and provide grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Michael Andrew Hoefflin was born January 10, 1986, and as he grew, his good health and athletic ability was matched with energy and enthusiasm. But at the end of his kindergarten school year, Michael had flu-like symptoms that didn’t improve with various treatments by his pediatrician. After a few weeks of illness, the occurrence of double vision prompted a brain scan.

On July 13, 1992 at the age of 6, Michael was admitted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor — PNET/medulloblastoma — an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Following brain surgery to remove the large tumor pressing against his brain stem, Michael received weeks of rehabilitation therapy to recover from the impact of surgery. He needed physical therapy to regain his strength, his ability to walk, speak clearly, and perform the most basic activities in order to care for himself again.

Michael received both radiation and chemotherapy treatments during the subsequent months, but to everyone’s great disappointment, doctors found that a small amount of the cancer had survived the early treatments and had spread into his spine. Children’s brain cancer has a propensity for recurring; however, a relapse this early into a child’s treatment was unusual, signaling the threat of a very resistant form of cancer.

Michael’s recovery from mega-therapy and a bone marrow transplant was slow and difficult, but he was fortunate to have 17 months of remission following that procedure. During that period, Michael enjoyed his second grade year in elementary school and resumed some favorite activities, however, a routine screening in May of 1994 showed his cancer had returned and was actively growing again. The doctors were very clear: each recurrence poses a much more difficult battle than the last.

Michael immediately began treatments with the most promising chemotherapy drugs, but unfortunately, the brain cancer cells that had survived were the strongest and most resistant to medical technology known at that time. During that period of treatments, the cancer had advanced significantly with diffuse disease forming dozens of tumors throughout his brain and spine. But you wouldn’t guess that by seeing him. Michael insisted upon being active, and had a persistent smile on his face. Amazingly, despite his declining condition and very young age, Michael continued to maintain his positive attitude. He wanted to help others in need, and was a grand spokesman for the many other children suffering with cancer. He had a strong spirit, refusing to dwell upon his situation; he cared more about how others were doing.

Inspired by his amazing example, Michael’s family and friends in 1994 reached out beyond the fight for just Michael’s recovery and included the tens of thousands of other afflicted children. With the commitment to being a positive force in the advancement of effective treatments, compassionate support to afflicted children and their families, and discovery of cures for childhood cancers, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation was formed in late September of 1995.

Michael’s loss on May 15, 1996 brought immense sadness, and reaffirmed the critical need to eliminate cancer as a threat to our children. Michael is dearly missed and continues to be our inspiration.

Evening Under the Stars Gala Benefits Kids with Cancer
For almost a quarter of a century the Michael Hoefflin Foundation has hosted a local fundraiser bringing hundreds of residents together for food, entertainment, and a common goal—to fight childhood cancers.

The 24th Annual Michael Hoefflin Foundation Evening Under the Stars gala dinner and charity auction will be held on Saturday, September 16. The event will be held at Mann Biomedical Park beginning at 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by Salt Creek Grill, live music, and the opportunity to bid on hundreds of unique auction items.

Although the Michael Hoefflin Foundation focuses on fundraising efforts throughout the year, Evening Under the Stars is critical in raising funds to help drive the foundation’s mission to provide support to children and their families facing the emotional and financial difficulties of pediatric cancer.
“We are grateful for the support of our community, whether at our 5K earlier in the year or the amazing efforts by people such as Roy Wiegand, who recently ran in honor of one of our recently lost angels,” said Gillian Stone, MHF’s executive director. “This is our chance to give the community that we so appreciate a beautiful, memorable and hopefully inspiring evening, and let people know about why we need the support we do,” she said.

Honorary chairs are Jon and Mardilan Giorgio of Gothic Landscape, and this year’s entertainment is the third appearance by the Kelly Rae Band, a high-energy country band that has been delivering crowd-pleasing performances around the world for more than two decades. The band is comprised of seasoned musicians who have performed with such names as Tanya Tucker, Rascal Flatts, Bobby Bare and Trick Pony.

To find out more about the event, visit www.mhf.org for ticket information and to discover what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is doing in the community.

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Female Athlete of the Week – Alondra Solis

| SC Living, Sports | September 7, 2017

College of the Canyons freshman midfielder Alondra Solis scored two goals in the Cougars women’s soccer 4-0 victory over Ventura College during the team’s season opener on Aug. 28. Solis found the back of the net in the 42nd minute to score the first goal of the season for COC, and later capped the scoring with a second goal in the 85th minute. Canyons (3-0) will now head north to take part in the annual Las Positas Tournament Sept. 7-8.

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Male Athlete of the Week – Andrew Brito

| SC Living, Sports | September 7, 2017

College of the Canyons freshman quarterback Andrew Brito started his Cougar football career in impressive fashion by tossing five touchdowns in COC’s 42-30 victory over Antelope Valley College in last week’s season opener. The young signal caller finished the game 16-of-33 for 243 yards, while spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. Brito also rushed for 22 yards in the victory. Canyons will next travel to Orange Coast College at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

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Non Profit of the Month – Santa Clarita Senior Center – Sponsored by Wolf Creek Brewery

| SC Living | August 31, 2017

Wolf Creek Brewery’s Community Pints Program honors a non-profit every Tuesday with donations from its total sales. This month, the SCV Senior Center will receive 10 percent of all sales at the brewery on Tuesdays in September, plus proceeds from the purchase of Golden Eagle Ale at Wolf Creek’s Restaurant.

Wolf Creek Brewery, located at 25108 Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia, will host live music and special food on the following Tuesdays in September:
Sept. 5—Steve Jones Acoustic Blues/Shreiners Fine Sausages
Sept. 12—Monkey Bump Band/BurgerBar LA Food Truck
Sept. 19—Bob Heller Acoustic Rock/Pacific Pizza Food Truck
Sept. 26—Jackie Beckwith Easy Rock/Swami Sandwiches

The brewery is open from 4-9 p.m., with music starting at 6 p.m. Ten percent of all Tuesday sales go to the SCV Senior Center.

The Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company, located at 27746 McBean Pkwy in Valencia, will donate 50 cents from every pint of Golden Eagle Ale purchased on Tuesdays this month.

For more information, call 661-294-9977 or visit Wolfcreekbrewingco.com.

About the Senior Center:

The SCV Senior Center has served the Santa Clarita Valley aging population for more than 40 years, offering programs and services that promote quality of life for seniors to over 10,000 individuals and their families annually.

The SCV Senior Center provides nearly every program and service listed in the Los Angeles County Senior Center Directory, including Adult Day Program and Respite, Handyworker Program, Congregate and Home Delivered Meals, Information and Resource Referral, Health and Wellness Programs, Caregiver Resources and Support Groups, Lifelong Learning Classes, Transportation, Recreation, Leisure Activities, Fitness and Exercise and more.

The Adult Day Program is a licensed program specializing in the care and activities for adults with Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, post-stroke, Parkinson’s or other conditions requiring assistance and supervision. The SCV Senior Center’s focus is to enhance the lives of participants by encouraging independence, while building on their skills, knowledge, strengths and abilities.

The Handyworker Program is designed to provide free minor home repairs to qualified homeowners to improve the safety and habitability of their homes. Individuals who qualify for the program are eligible for repairs to their dwelling unit. The program enables homeowners to live safely in their own homes by addressing health and safety issues.

The Congregate and Home Delivered Meals Program provides an opportunity to enhance the daily nutrient intake, nutritional status, social interactions and functionality of older adults. The center’s Congregate Meal sites allow for social interaction with others and promote conversation, camaraderie, support and friendship. The Home Delivered Meal Program allows those who are homebound a nutritious meal, while also receiving comfort and interaction from a Home Delivered Meal Driver. For many seniors, the driver is the only visitor they receive in the day. Giving residents the opportunity to connect with others provides relief from loneliness, social isolation and feelings of depression.

The Support Services Department is the largest component of the SCV Senior Center, offering a wide range of assistance and providing information about available Caregiver support resources and services. They are there to educate groups of current or potential caregivers and provide them with assistance. Care Management offers assistance in the form of access coordination in circumstances where the client is experiencing diminished functioning capacities, personal conditions or other characteristics that require the provision of services by formal service providers or family caregivers. The program is also designed to assist caregivers through the development of a care plan that provides home and community-based support services. These plans are additionally supported through counseling, support groups and workshops designed to improve decision-making and problem-solving skills related to caregiving responsibilities.

The Transportation Program serves individuals who are in need of transportation and have no other resource available. The program offers the comfort they want and the confidence they need when going to a doctor’s appointment, picking up a prescription and going grocery shopping, providing a sense of independence and freedom for their lives.

The center’s Health and Wellness Programs provide a safe, supportive and cheerful environment for adults to discover rewarding new hobbies and pleasurable crafts, learn new game skills, bring new adventures and expand horizons, enhancing life-long learning and engagement. The primary focus of the Health and Wellness Program is to promote physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellness in seniors in a relaxed, non-intimidating environment.

The public is invited to join more than 250 volunteers a month who support the SCV Senior Center, or just stop by to take a tour.

For more information about the organization, visit the website at www.scv-seniorcenter.org.

The Senior Center is located at 22900 Market Street in Newhall, and can be reached by calling 661-259-9444.

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