At the Heart of Helping - April 2019 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Prioritizing Mental Health

Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk
At the recent Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk and other local events, I've had the opportunity to speak with parents who have lost children to suicide. As we listen to the stories about these vibrant young people and learn more about their hobbies, their friends, and their school activities, it makes us even more determined to quickly roll out our new programs, so we can help local youth and families learn more positive coping skills and form stronger connections to empathetic peers.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since we announced our focus on youth mental health - and it's heartbreaking to see the suicide rate continue to increase... we recently learned that the South Bay now has the third highest suicide rate in Los Angeles County. We're grateful for all the progress you've helped us make, and we are determined to do so much more. As we get ready for Mental Health Month this May, we hope that you will join us in prioritizing self-care and having open conversations about mental, social and emotional wellness with our family, friends, colleagues, and especially, our youth.

We've included a few things you can try with your families below, and we'll be posting more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout May. We also recently updated the Helpful Resources on our website to include a few more key places to find guidance.

It really does take a whole community to support our youth, and we're proud to be working with South Bay and Long Beach partners - and you - to make an even bigger impact in the coming year.

Thank you for being a part of our community!

Sara Myers
Congratulations to Gesuina Lafayette, the lucky winner from our recent online survey drawing - her surprise gift is a $10 gift card to Torrance Bakery and a teddy bear!
southbaywalkJoining Together in Remembrance, Hope & Support
...At the Heart of Walking Out of the Darkness 

Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk

We proudly joined together with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the South Bay Association of School Psychologists last month to sponsor and participate in the first ever Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk at Torrance High School. More than 200 community members representing 45 teams walked together in remembrance, hope and support of suicide prevention and mental health. The South Bay Campus Walk surpassed its fundraising goal of $10,000 by more than $5,000, which will help fund AFSP's educational programs and services in our community.

The morning began with a resource fair and an opening ceremony featuring remarks by Congressman Ted Lieu, Torrance Unified School District (TUSD) Board Member Betty Lieu, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Dr. Mimi Hoang, a suicide survivor and someone affected by suicide. During a bead ceremony, participants held up the bead necklaces in various colors to indicate their personal reasons for supporting the walk, which also allowed them to connect with others who shared similar experiences. After the one mile walk around Torrance High School, the event closed with remarks by Clear Recovery Center's Howard Baker, Torrance Mayor Pat Furey, and the closing song, "Lean On Me," performed by Dalia Rodriguez.

Volunteer Center staff members were honored to walk with more than 40 other community members on Team Lucas in memory of Lucas Smith, the South High teen who died by suicide last summer. The team was led by his best friend Luke Antaky - one of the participants of our youth input panel - and Team Lucas earned the honor of carrying the banner at the front of the walk for raising the most funds. Click here to see more photos from the Campus Walk, and click here to watch Betty Lieu's remarks about what TUSD is doing to help with the rise in anxiety, depression and suicide of our youth.
galaRaising Funds to Help Youth & Families
...At the Heart of Crafting a Community Celebration of Support

Heart to Heart Gala

We have an ambitious goal to launch our new youth mental health services by next school year, and we are hosting a Heart to Heart Gala on Saturday, June 15 at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles to raise the funds we need. This event will feature dinner, entertainment, live and silent auctions, as well as some unique moments to really connect with each other. Click here to learn more about sponsorship or in-kind donation opportunities. We hope you will join us, bring guests, and spread the word!
nvwA Very Happy National Volunteer Week!
...At the Heart of Celebrating Kindness in our Community

National Volunteer Week Gifts
It's National Volunteer Week, which is always the perfect time to publicly thank all of our wonderful volunteers! We are extremely grateful for all the hours they dedicate to us, whether they're the members of our Board of Directors and Affinity Group, the faces we see weekly through Food For Kids, or those who help us with various aspects of Operation Teddy Bear during the fall and winter months.

Throughout the week, we've been highlighting some of our volunteers on social media, and we've given many of them a token of our appreciation in recognition of the way they touch so many lives in our community with their kindness: a special bookmark highlighting their true value, along with seed paper hearts in recognition of the "seeds of love" they've planted in countless lives.
springblingThey Came, They Saw, They Accessorized
...At the Heart of Putting a Little Bling in Spring

Affinity Group Spring Bling Jewelry _ Accessories Sale

The members of our Affinity Group - which includes some of our longest-serving volunteers - spent National Volunteer Week preparing for and hosting the Spring Bling Jewelry and Accessories Sale. This fantastic FUNdraiser featured a treasure trove of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, scarves and handbags. Community members joined us throughout the afternoon to schmooze, shop and bid on silent auction items, with proceeds benefitting Operation Teddy Bear. We are extremely grateful to the ladies of Affinity Group for all they have done and continue to do to support the Volunteer Center!
ffkKind Hearts, Full Shelves
...At the Heart of Volunteering to Give to Others

Food For Kids - April 2019

We are so grateful to our community members who volunteer such compassion and generosity toward the families we serve by donating shelf-stable food to our Food For Kids program!
  • The members of the Beta Iota Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma in Long Beach, an honor society of women educators, held another food drive benefitting Food For Kids. They collected and donated 192 pounds of food - 50+ more pounds than last year.
  • The team at CBRE in El Segundo collected and donated 169 pounds of food through their CBRE Cares efforts.
  • The 4th graders in Girl Scout Troop 2635 at Arlington Elementary School in Torrance collected and donated 85 pounds of food.
  • The families of Girl Scout Troops 8825 and 70483, and Cub Scout Pack 955 at Mira Catalina Elementary School in Rancho Palos Verdes collected and donated 726 pounds of food. During their visit, they also learned how their kindness supports other kids their age.
  • The Moms Club of Torrance SE held a food drive at Ralphs in South Torrance, collecting and donating 411 pounds of food.
  • The team at Simms Restaurant Group in Manhattan Beach returned to donate 98 pounds of food.
You can learn about the latest Food For Kids donations and see other updates when you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! For more information about how you too can help, including a downloadable copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List, click here. We've also made it easy to support Food For Kids through our Amazon Wish List.
staffStaff Additions
...At the Heart of Building Our Team

Jon Phelps
We are pleased to introduce Jon Phelps, our new Fund Development Assistant who joined our team in March. Jon will be helping us with donor stewardship, community relations, accounting, record keeping and office management, and he's already proven to be a talented and valuable asset! He brings with him a strong background in volunteer and community relations, including six years volunteering with the Brain Rehabilitation and Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.) and two years volunteering on the tall ships with the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI). Jon earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Biola University. In his most recent role, he oversaw studio operations, client relations and customer service for Samuel Lippke Studios in Long Beach, which is also where he grew up.
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunities
Relay For Life of Torrance
August 27-28 at South High School

The Volunteer Center proudly joins together with the Downtown Torrance Association to "paint the town purple" in honor of the annual Relay for Life later this month! The Relay team is also looking for volunteers to help during the event.

Contact Jillian Becker at to sign up to volunteer. Assistance is needed for things such as setting up or breaking down campsites, assisting with the day-of activities like the registration or survivors' booth, and other event needs.
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.