CASA of San Luis Obispo County

Monday, February 11, 2013

The mission of CASA San Luis Obispo County is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the court system. They have served the Central Coast since 1993 and are a local partner of National CASA which oversees a network of over 1,050 local community program offices supporting volunteers serving children. 

CASA provides programs to recruit, train and support volunteers in their work with abused children. The goal is to ensure each and every child grows up in a safe, nurturing, and permanent home. 

According to their website, "Approximately 100 CASA volunteer advocates are actively working on cases in our local community at any given time. Many of your friends and neighbors have either had experience as a CASA advocate, know someone who is or has been, have attended a CASA event or have some other involvement with our organization." 

"We rely on the support of our local community to continue providing advocacy for children in need. Generous individuals and philanthropic groups assist CASA through donations and grants. Many businesses provide financial support to CASA through sponsorships and donations. But the need is still great for funding, as the number of children in our local community who are waiting for a CASA advocate remains high. Please consider supporting CASA with your tax-deductible donation."

Hidden Harvest

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Written by: Shannon Fissori 

One thing that always frustrates me is when things go to waste.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s time, money or anything else.  When there are great needs in our communities and problems can seem overwhelming, sometimes solutions can be as simple as utilizing resources already available to us.
Hidden Harvest is an organization that has modeled itself on this philosophy.  

Based in the Coachella Valley of California, their mission is to tackle the burdens of poverty and food insecurity that so many people struggle with everyday.  

They do this by employing low-income farm workers at higher wages to harvest produce that would otherwise be left to rot in the fields.

The USDA estimates that 25-30% of all food crops are left in the fields after harvest due to factors ranging from overproduction to cosmetic imperfections.  Despite this apparent abundance, more than 40% of the Valley’s children live at or below the federal poverty line.  By employing the working poor to rescue these fruits and vegetables, Hidden Harvest not only provides free and nutritious food to vulnerable populations but also gives them economic opportunities to become more self-reliant.  Talk about win-win!

 Hidden Harvest also operates other programs including free produce markets at senior centers and housing locations.  Their goal is to make sure fixed-income seniors don’t have to choose between paying for the prescription drugs they need and the healthy diet they want.

Nutrition and cooking classes are offered as well.  Educating the public on these subjects can further combat rising health problems such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Learn more about this great organization and get inspired to find your own ways to make sure nothing is left to waste.

Remembering Rosa Parks

Monday, February 4, 2013

Written by: Jane Cozby 
For those who don’t believe that one person can make a difference, let’s remember Rosa Parks today, on what would have been her 100th birthday. 
It was 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger and it spurred a city-wide bus boycott. This boycott helped launch a nationwide effort to end segregation of public facilities.  
One brave stance, by one brave woman, turned out to be an enormous turning point in the civil rights movement.
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” ~Rosa Parks

American Heart Month

Friday, February 1, 2013

Written by: Jane Cozby 

February is American Heart Month.  What better time to refresh our knowledge of the warning signs and risk factors of cardiovascular disease.  

This increased awareness can help prevent a heart attack or stroke from occurring.  Sadly, my father didn’t know that he was at risk.  In 1980, he died suddenly of a heart attack.  He was only in his 50s.  Our family was devastated by his unexpected death. 

He was a vibrant, strong and fit man.  He ate well, exercised and was rarely sick.  There were no warning signs to identify that he may be unhealthy. No obvious need to see a doctor.   It wasn’t until after he died, that we came to learn of a strong family history of heart disease. With this knowledge, we can now take a pro-active approach to our health and try to stop this disease from becoming part of our future.

It’s important to remember that heart disease does not discriminate.  It affects women as well as men.  In fact, it is estimated that 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease. About ten years ago, the American Heart Association created National Wear Red Day® and the Go Red for Women  challenge to increase awareness of this issue and dismiss the falsehood that cardiovascular disease only happens to men.  

The first Friday in February marks a day where millions of people come together to wear red in commitment to fighting this serious disease.  Since the inception of this program, great progress has been made in the fight against heart disease.  The latest statistics reflect that 21% fewer women are dying from heart disease and 23% more women are aware that it is their number 1 health threat.

In recognition of American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association website and utilize the risk assessment tool, take the America Goes Red Challenge, or simply share this important information with your friends and family.  Go Red and take charge of your health.

Go Red - Women's Heart Disease Awareness

Thursday, January 31, 2013

TOMORROW - Friday February 1st is National Wear Red Day.  

All across America people will take women's health to heart by wearing red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness. 

Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for women? 

Each year, heart disease claims the lives of more women than breast and lung cancers combined. I was also surprised to learn a greater percentage of women die within one year of a heart attack than men. Learn more facts about women and heart disease here

Encourage those you love to participate tomorrow by sporting red. You can start the conversation, send an email to your coworkers or text friends and family! 

The Darius Goes West Foundation

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Written by: Jane Cozby 

I’d like to introduce you to Logan Smalley & Darius Weems.

Logan is the founder of the Darius Goes West Foundation. The roots of the foundation began with Logan’s volunteer efforts at a summer camp for children with special needs. 

At this camp, Logan met Mario Weems who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) - the number one fatal genetic disease of children.  He also met Mario’s  younger brother Darius, who was then 5. After seven years of summer camp, prior to Mario’s death, he asked Logan to look after Darius.  He couldn’t possibly know that this pledge would turn into a recorded 7,000 mile road trip and documentary that would help raise well over a million dollars for DMD research.  

DMD is a form of muscular dystrophy that worsens quickly. It occurs in about 1 out of every 3,600 male infants. Children with this disease are not expected to live beyond their mid-20’s.

It was Logan’s idea to take Darius, who was now 15, on a cross country adventure in attempt to get MTV to customize Darius’ wheelchair on the popular show, Pimp my Ride.  Logan, Darius and a crew of incredible friends departed Athens, Georgia and headed west to California.  They chronicled this road trip and turned it into a documentary entitled “Darius Goes West”.  

The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2005, where it earned its first of over 25 awards, while raising awareness for the critical need to find a cure for DMD and the importance of handicap accessibility in public facilities.

Darius just celebrated his 23rd birthday, lives a fulfilling life, and continues to pursue his dreams.  He recently debuted his single Thank You for 23 on iTunes.  He possesses an incredible positive attitude and love for life. 

“Darius Goes West” is available on DVD and has evolved as part of the “Know About It” Program, which is a classroom series targeting middle/high school students.

Check out the foundation website to make a difference.