At the Heart of Helping - November 2018 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Showing Each Other and Ourselves Kindness

It_s all about hope kindness and a connection to one another
Throughout November and the holiday season, many of us try to focus on gratitude. I've also continued to encourage more kindness and enjoyed celebrating World Kindness Day this past Tuesday, as well as reading about the Born This Way Foundation's Channel Kindness CK Challenge and Youth Service America's Kindness Rising Challenge.

I've been thinking a lot about the small ways we can be kind and connect with each other, especially after hearing Dr. Twenge's engaging and informative speech last month (more on that event below). We need to lead by example and show our children how important it is to spend time face-to-face, helping them realize they are seen and cared for. Big or small, kind gestures really add up and help both the giver and the receiver - a lesson we teach the first grade students every year as a part of Operation Teddy Bear!

Will you join me in leading by example and be more kind to yourself and others this holiday season? Below are a few examples you might consider:
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Send an uplifting text to someone
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Make plans to have coffee with a friend you haven't seen in a while
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Smile and wave as you let someone merge into your lane or they let you into theirs
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Celebrate a small victory during your daily routine
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Call someone and tell them how much they mean to yo
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Compliment someone as they walk by
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Recharge yourself with a bubble bath or your favorite cup of tea
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Tip an extra generous amount on your dinner bill
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Make a donation to charity

Sara Myers

Save the Date - Giving Tuesday
p.s. Speaking of that last bullet - don't forget Giving Tuesday is coming, and Facebook is partnering with PayPal to match up to $7 million in donations made through Facebook Fundraisers on Tuesday, November 27, starting at 5am PST, until the $7M match runs out! 

We will be hosting a Facebook Fundraiser on our Facebook page as a Giving Season Kick-off starting Monday, November 26. Join us or consider hosting a Facebook Fundraiser of your own this holiday season for us! Questions about Facebook Fundraisers? Contact Liz Reinhardt at or (310) 212-5009.
twengeProminent Researcher Discusses Today's Youth
...At the Heart of Educating Our Community

Today_s Youth_ Screen Time and Social Media

Last month, we held our first major community event focused on youth mental health - an evening with nationally-renowned author and psychology professor Dr. Jean Twenge, in partnership with Torrance Unified School District and South Bay Families Connected. Dr. Twenge delivered an engaging presentation, including eye-opening data from her research on "iGen" and practical tips to counter the effects of screens on teens, which were in line with the services we are currently developing - a Parent Education Course, the reinvention of our popular Teen Program, and a Community-wide Awareness Campaign.

Before the presentation, we hosted a Special Reception for community leaders and those who have played an integral role in our work over the past year. It was truly gratifying to hear Dr. Twenge - who we have quoted in countless conversations - confirm that we are headed in the right direction. Click here to learn more about what we're focusing on, why and the services we're developing. Click here to see more photos from the recent event on Facebook.
musicalAward-winning Musical Highlights Familiar Issues
...At the Heart of Speaking About Our Mental Health

Dear Evan Hansen _You Will Be Found_ Mental Health Month Symposium
This month, thousands of people are heading to the Ahmanson Theatre to see the Tony Award-winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen, featuring the same themes as our new youth mental health focus and the effects of screens/social media. We began to appreciate this musical and its message during our research, and we gathered more insights when we watched the "You Will Be Found" Mental Health Month Symposium last May, including members of the Broadway production team and their nonprofit partners, when it was broadcast live on Facebook.

Producer Stacey Mindich's opening remarks reflected the types of stories we heard from our community members during the past year: "Those of us associated with the show have been approached by fans and friends alike, and have heard intimate, deep dark stories about suicides hidden in family histories and young children stymied by social anxiety or OCD. Teenagers with depression. Adults who simply can't connect." The show's cast has also received letters from the public, and highlights are included in this video shown during the symposium's broadcast, which also features Dr. Jean Twenge.

how are you_ really_ PSA
We are grateful this show is exposing these issues in such a powerful way, and we are glad it is helping people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences. In fact, another short video aired during the broadcast asked, "how are you, really?" stressing the importance of really talking about our mental health with each other.

We encourage you to try to see this powerful production during its limited run. Many of the songs and lyrics directly touch on the feelings we've heard local parents and youth express, and further support the need for more dialogue, guidance and resources for families in our communities. If you haven't been to our website recently, click here for updates on our new focus, including information about the Parent Education Class, updated Teen Program and Community-wide Awareness Campaign we are developing (found in the Current Progress/Timeline section).
otbAnother Year of Packing Schoolbags in the Books
...At the Heart of Teaching Kindness Through Acts of Kindness

Operation Teddy Bear Packing 2018

We successfully completed three days of packing more than 4,000 Operation Teddy Bear schoolbags! We are thrilled that all the schoolbags are now ready for distribution next month, and we couldn't have done it without the help of our amazing volunteers from our Affinity Group, Beacon House, John Deere, Kinecta, Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, Sandpipers, Sandpiper Juniors, South Bay Touring A's, and Uhaul Moving and Storage of Carson, as well as some of our Food For Kids volunteers. See a few videos of packing-in-action on YouTube or Facebook.

We are extremely grateful to our major sponsors and in-kind donors for making this program a reality, including the Affinity Group, California Water Service, John Deere Foundation, Keenan & Associates, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Molina Foundation, Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, QuinStar Technology, Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, Sandpipers Philanthropy Trust, Valero Energy Foundation and Watson Land Company. Click here to learn more about Operation Teddy Bear and view a complete list of sponsors.
ffkYour Latest Donations to Food For Kids
...At the Heart of Full Shelves and Helping Hands

Food For Kids Donations November 2018

We are so grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community for our Food For Kids program!
  • Students from Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society at El Camino College donated 66 pounds of food!
  • Two Torrance troops participated in "Scouting For Food:" Boy Scout Troop 718 collected 1,478 pounds of food, while Cub Scout Pack 718 collected 1,606 pounds of food!
  • The Emerald Church in Lomita donated 389 pounds of food!
  • Girl Scout Troops 2385, 3355, 3735 and 9286 hosted a school-wide food drive at Dapplegray Elementary School in Palos Verdes Estates, collecting and donating just under 600 pounds of food!
  • The South Bay Chapter of the National Charity League hosted a food drive, donating 303 pounds of food. They also created Thanksgiving Cards for us to include in the bags we deliver!
  • The Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes took on a unique challenge, collecting and donating 76 can openers for the families we serve who don't have one of their own!
  • Our September Food Drive at the Torrance Smart & Final stores - with donations from you at check-out - resulted in nearly 700 pounds of food!
  • The local Social Security Office participated in Feds Unite Against Hunger, donating 229 pounds of food!
  • Swim Torrance collected 415 pounds of food, and then visited the Volunteer Center with their donation to teach their young members about giving back by packing 44 bags of food for local families!
  • A kind-hearted local 10th grade student, Xander Higbolt, collected and donated 146 pounds of food!
Click here for more information about how you too can help this important effort, including a downloadable copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List. We've also made it easy to support Food For Kids through our Amazon Wish List. Want to learn about the latest Food For Kids donations as they happen and see other regular updates? Follow us on  Facebook , Instagram and Twitter !
terryKathleen Terry Honored for Going Above & Beyond
...At the Heart of Leadership in Community Service

Kathleen Terry Honored at Above _ Beyond Gala
We are proud to announce that our longtime Board Member and dedicated volunteer Kathleen Terry was honored for "Excellence in Community Leadership and Service" by the Angel Light Academy Leadership Training Institute at their recent Above and Beyond Coastal Gala. Established in 2009, the event serves as a recognition program for the "doers" in local communities, and each of the 12 honorees were nominated by their peers for demonstrating that they consistently go above and beyond.

Kathleen was nominated for this honor in recognition for her work with Leadership Manhattan Beach. In addition, she has spent nearly 20 years as a South Bay community leader with such organizations as the Crown Jewel Club, Leadership Redondo Beach, the PS I Love You Foundation and the Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, where she previously served as President.
voloppFeatured Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteer at the Downtown Torrance Association's
on Tuesday, November 20, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Be a part of this fun and festive event! Contact Julie Randall at or (310) 328-6107 for more info and to sign up.
The Affinity Group
Battle Creek Community Foundation
California Water Service
Crail-Johnson Foundation
John Deere Foundation
Keenan _ Associates
Los Angeles Trial Lawyers_ Charities
The Molina Foundation
Moog_ Inc.
The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation
The Port of Long Beach
The Port of Los Angeles
Torrance Refining Company
Saatchi _ Saatchi
Watson Land Company
Carl E. Wynn Foundation
Whitney Young Children_s Foundation
The Volunteer Center  South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
Phone: (310) 212-5009 | Fax: (310) 212-7201 |

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The Volunteer Center recognizes the value of empathy and service to others, and we have been "at the heart of helping" for more than 50 years, referring thousands of volunteers to both traditional and court-referred service opportunities. The heart of our mission lies in knowing the most urgent, local needs. We discover this by regularly listening to the members of our community. When we discover a critical need is going unmet, we lead the response by assembling a team of caring, talented volunteers to create signature programs, such as Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids, which offer members of our community the opportunity to contribute to the solution. Visit to learn more.