At the Heart of Helping - May 2019 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of  Helping Local Youth and Families

Mental Health Month is an important time that's taken on new meaning now that we're in the midst of developing programs to help all of us deal with the effects of screen time on mental health. After nearly two years of research, it's satisfying to see the momentum building both locally and nationally. We are grateful to all the partners who attended the launch of our new Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force on May 1, as well as the acknowledgements our elected officials presented to us honoring our new Youth Mental Health focus, the Task Force launch, and Mental Health Month - you can learn more below. Meanwhile, Diane Sawyer's recently-aired "ScreenTime" special for ABC News highlighted the effects of screen time on our lives, including how it is impacting our social and emotional wellness. 

We're incredibly excited to bring everyone together to celebrate everything we've accomplished, and more importantly, raise funds to launch our new programs at our Heart to Heart Gala one month from today! Our Board is planning a fantastic event at a unique venue - CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. The evening will include a delicious dinner, drinks, dancing, silent and live auctions featuring some exciting items ( see a list of auction donors to date here), and moments for us to really connect with each other. 

There's just two weeks left to get your tickets, so we hope you'll buy yours today and join us to celebrate kindness, empathy, compassion and mindfulness, while helping us raise money to pilot the programs local youth and families told us they really need next school year. Click here to learn more and purchase your tickets by May 31.

We are grateful to the Gala Sponsors who have already committed to supporting this effort. They include Torrance Refining Company, ActivePDF, California Water Service, Griswold Insurance Agency, Torrance Memorial, Continental Development Corporation, Torrance Community Credit Union, Mark Schneider Fine Jewelry, South Bay Bar Association, the Hans and Dianne Bozler Trust, Anne and Ray Destabelle, and the Friends & Family of Sara Myers. 

And we're grateful to you for continuing to join us "at the heart of helping!"

Sara Myers
taskforceNew Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force
...At the Heart of Creating a Greater Impact Together

Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force Launch Meeting
We kicked-off Mental Health Month on May 1 by coordinating the launch of the SPA 8 Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, a cross-sector group of community leaders and experts from L.A. County's Service Planning Area (SPA) 8. Our leadership and planning for this effort was heavily supported by the valuable contributions of Claire Coignard, Director of Health Education/Health Links for Torrance Memorial, and Traute Winters, Area Director for the Greater Los Angeles and Central Coast Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The Task Force will be meeting regularly, so that we can share knowledge and best practices; identify resources and gaps; and collaborate on specific, local efforts to help AFSP with "Project 2025," a nationwide initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20 percent by 2025.

In addition to the Volunteer Center, Torrance Memorial and AFSP, the first meeting included representatives from Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi's Office, Congressman Ted Lieu's Office, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Long Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles Unified School District/Carole Keen Wellness Center at Carson High School, Mental Health America of Los Angeles, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) South Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, South Bay Children's Health Center, Supervisor Janice Hahn's Office, Torrance Council of PTAs, Torrance Public Library, Torrance Unified School District, and Torrance-South Bay YMCA. We're proud to announce that the May 1 launch meeting was also supported by a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, through its Prevention and Early Intervention funding and in collaboration with the California Mental Health Services Authority. Click here to learn more.
mhmonthDeclaring May as Mental Health Month
...At the Heart of Prioritizing Mental Health in Our Community

Mental Health Month Acknowledgements

We are proud to report that May was officially declared as Mental Health Month in a State Resolution by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and a Proclamation from Mayor Patrick Furey on behalf of the City of Torrance. Both the State Declaration and the Proclamation also recognized our innovative, new youth mental health focus and the launch of the collaborative Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, as did a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Congressman Ted Lieu and a Commendation from Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. We're so grateful for the support our local officials continue to provide.
mhactivitiesMental Health Month Activities
...At the Heart of Helping Ourselves and Others

TUSD Stop the Stigma Campaign
Do you know a student in the South Bay who would love to create a poster or video with a positive message to increase awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues? All South Bay students are invited to enter the #TUSDStoptheStigma Poster/Video Contest. Prizes include a mental health swag bag filled with #StoptheStigma promotional materials and a $100 mall gift card for the first place winner, a $50 movie gift card for the second place winner, or a $25 Starbucks gift card for the third place winner. Entries are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 31. Click here for complete details, including guidelines and submission instructions.

In honor of Mental Health Month, we're re-launching our Community Input Survey to gather more input as we finalize our new programs and services. Your responses will help us focus more precisely on the information you want/need and how best to deliver that content to you. If you didn't get a chance to complete our survey in March, we hope you'll take a few minutes to provide your feedback here before May 31.

Teen Wellness Week
The Torrance-South Bay YMCA and South Bay Families Connected are celebrating Teen Wellness Week with a series of workshops May 20-24. Our President/CEO, Sara Myers, is presenting a workshop for teens and their parents on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. She will be discussing things teens can do to improve their health and happiness, including insights we've found through our research. The Teen Wellness Week events are free and you don't need to be a Y member to attend. Click here to learn more and click here to sign up for our Thursday evening workshop.

Mental Health Month is also a great time to check in with the people you care about and practice self-care. Here are some resources to help you:
ffkKind Hearts, Full Shelves
...At the Heart of Volunteering to Give to Others

Food For Kids Donations May 2019

We are so grateful to the members of our community for continuing to show compassion and generosity for the families we serve by donating shelf-stable food to our Food For Kids program!
  • Board Members Jean Adelsman and Shirley Starke-Wallace both donated to Food For Kids, collectively totaling 70 pounds
  • The Kiwanis Club of Rolling Hills Estates donated 560 pounds of food
  • Saddleback Church South Bay donated 55 pounds of food
  • The Torrance Woman's Club donated 447 pounds of food and more than $500 to Food For Kids
Food For Kids Shopping List
We are currently in need of breakfast foods (cereal, oatmeal, granola bars) and canned vegetables. Donations can be dropped off in the lobby of our Torrance Office (1230 Cravens Ave, Torrance CA 90501) Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Please make arrangements for larger donations by contacting us at (310) 212-5009 or You can also donate items to Food For Kids by shopping from our Amazon Wish List here.

Click here to learn more about Food For Kids, including a downloadable copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List. You can also learn about the latest Food For Kids donations and see other updates when you follow us on 
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunities
Volunteer with Food Finders!

Our Partners at Food Finders - a multi-regional food bank and food rescue program - are looking for volunteers to help in Manhattan/Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Century City/Mid-Wilshire, Downtown LA and Glendale.

Food Finders volunteers pick up donated food from local grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants and produce markets and help distribute it directly to missions, shelters and social service agencies. This greatly reduces the amount of food waste and food insecurity throughout Southern California, so it's a great way to give back to a great cause.

Click here for more information and to fill out a Volunteer Application.
The Affinity Group
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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Recognizing the value of empathy and service to others, the Volunteer Center has 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 learn these needs 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, offering members of our community the opportunity to contribute to the solution. Click here to learn more about our new Youth Mental Health focus and how we're tackling this critical community need.