At the Heart of Helping - September 2018 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Creating Awareness For Suicide Prevention Month

Honoring National Suicide Prevention Month
As we continue to engage in conversations with the community about our new youth mental health focus, we keep hearing your personal stories about how stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are affecting the children you love, as well as the astounding number of lives lost over the past year. When we spoke with teens from local high schools at a community input session, they also candidly shared the effects that mental health issues and suicide are having on their lives.

There are a number of national organizations doing impressive work, which has contributed greatly toward our research and in helping us develop our local pilot programs. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, we wanted to share some of the best resources we've found to help you and your loved ones right now, instead of waiting until our plans and programs are finalized.

We hope you will take a moment to click on the links, read the information, and share them with anyone you think could benefit. We are also collaborating locally on a few important upcoming events as well - check out the information below. Please remember, you and your family are not alone, even though you may feel isolated. It's so important to reach out to one another right now and really connect face-to-face.

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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - General resources and a list of resources by mental health condition.

Heart Logo The Jed Foundation's Mental Health Resource Center - How to support each other and overcome challenges, with links by "What to do if... I'm worried about someone" and "What do to if... I'm worried about myself."

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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's #BeThe1To Campaign - In addition to the Lifeline's resources, the campaign helps spread the word about suicide prevention, and shows how we can all take action and make an impact in someone's life through the five "Be The 1 To" Action Steps.

Heart Logo Active Minds' Basic V-A-R - The three-step method (Validate-Appreciate-Refer) serves as a guide to listening and responding in a helpful way.

Heart Logo Born This Way Foundation - In addition to their focus on kindness, including the "21 Days To Be Kind" Challenge, they provide a number of mental health resources, including these Self-Care Tips.

Sara Myers
eventsUpcoming Community Events
...At the Heart of Promoting Healthy Youth and Families
The Volunteer Center is partnering on two upcoming events to promote youth and family wellness, including a focus on social and emotional health.

Fall 4 Wellness Fair

The Torrance Unified Scho ol District is hosting  Fall 4 Wellness - a Family Wellness Resource Fair - to promote a healthy Torrance community on Saturday, October 13, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., on Torrance High School's Back Field . Join the District's Family Welcome & Enrollment Center, in partnership with the District Wellness Committee, Building Bridges Collaborative, City of Torrance, Torrance Council of PTAs and the Volunteer Center for a day full of healthy activities and resources to improve your and your family's overall health through exercise, nutrition and social/emotional health.

This year's Fall 4 Wellness theme coincides perfectly with the fall season for a fun-filled family event featuring a keynote speaker, healthy refreshments, free opportunity drawings, and fun family activities and resources related to health, exercise, nutrition, environmental issues, social and emotional health, and more! The Fair is free and open to the community. Parking will be available in the District lot on Plaza del Amo, and the field can be accessed from Plaza del Amo, across from the Family Welcome & Enrollment Center (2336 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90501).


The Volunteer Center, Torrance Unified School District and South Bay Families Connected are proud to present Today's Youth: Screen Time and Mental Health, a free event featuring noted researcher and author Dr. Jean Twenge on Thursday, October 18, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Torrance High School Auditorium. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and youth wellness resources will be available in the auditorium's lobby.

iGen by Dr. Jean Twenge
Dr. Twenge is author of iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy-and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, and her groundbreaking research on teens and screens has been covered in major print and television media. Parents, caregivers, teens (9th grade and above) and groups working with youth are invited to join us to learn more about what influences are shaping iGen, and how we can harness the positive trends while mitigating the negative ones. Copies of iGen will be available for purchase at the event. Books can also be ordered online here - 10% of all book sales through this link will be donated to help fund this event.
otbHelp Us Provide Dental Supplies to Local Youth
...At the Heart of Clean Teeth and Happy Kids

Operation Teddy Bear Dental Supply Drive
There's just one more week to make a donation to our Operation Teddy Bear Dental Supply Drive, running through the end of September! We're gathering single, individually-packaged toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpaste, so the kids we serve can focus on school, NOT on how they haven't brushed their teeth. You can drop off donations in the lobby of our Torrance Office (1230 Cravens Ave.) Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. or click here to make a donation by shopping from our Amazon Wish List.
ffkYou Fill Our Pantry Shelves, We'll Distribute Bags
...At the Heart of Preparing for the School Year Ahead

Food For Kids Donations - September 2018

We are so grateful for the support we've received as we prepared to distribute bags of food to eligible students and their families through Food For Kids at the start of the school year.
  • Alex and Ani at Del Amo Fashion Center held a food drive at their store during the month of August and collected 81 pounds of food!
  • Magaly Morales DeGroot and Dianne Bozler contributed our first two Amazon Wish List donations, including oatmeal, apple sauce, reusable bags and items for our Operation Teddy Bear Dental Supply Drive!
  • Robert and Frances Espinoza visited us after a trip to Sam's Club, donating 48 pounds of food!
  • HealthCare Partners Claims and Eligibility Department donated nearly 300 pounds of food, along with a donation of $70!
  • Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach continues support of Food For Kids through their quarterly Pop-Up Pantry, and we are so grateful for their on-going support. Their latest delivery contained 278 already-packed bags and an additional 205 pounds of food, for a total donation of more than 2,150 pounds of food!
  • L3 Technologies held a food drive during the month of August and donated more than 400 pounds of food!
  • South Bay Mission Church donated more than 75 pounds of food!
  • Torrance Community Credit Union hosted a food drive for the second summer in a row. Credit Union members were extremely generous this year, donating more than they did last year - nearly 250 pounds of food was collected between June and August!
  • A South Bay Food Drive and Packing Party coordinated by South Bay Mommies and Daddies and Avenue Mama resulted in more than 500 pounds of food and 50+ packed bags. See a video of the Packing Party here.
Throughout September, you can support Food For Kids when you shop at Smart & Final in Torrance! Simply make a $5 or $10 donation at check out at one of the four Torrance Smart & Final stores (17500 Crenshaw Blvd, 21035 Hawthorne Blvd, 2775 Pacific Coast Highway or 21600 S Vermont Avenue).

We also accept food pantry donations at our office in Torrance (1230 Cravens Ave.) Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and we've made it easy to support Food For Kids through Amazon by creating a Wish List. Click here for more information about how you can help, including a downloadable copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List. You can also learn about the latest Food For Kids donations from the community and more on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!
artangelBoard Member Shirley Starke-Wallace is An Angel!
...At the Heart of Inspiring Youth Through Art

Shirley Starke-Wallace 2018 Art Angel of the Year
We are proud to announce that longtime Board Member and dedicated volunteer Shirley Starke-Wallace was recently honored with the 2018 Art Angel of the Year Award by the Friends of WGStill, the Sally Bell Mentor Group, and Mentors for Youth and Adults Worldwide for her efforts to bring Links to Art to students in Watts. Shirley coordinated the program with the Palos Verdes Chapter of The Links and the Palos Verdes Art Center, modeling it after Art at Your Fingertips.

Links to Art exposes underserved elementary school students to all aspect of the arts by bringing affordable visual arts education to the classrooms and helping every child feel comfortable using art as a means of expression. Thanks to Shirley's leadership, this program provides training to Links members, in collaboration with the Palos Verdes Art Center, so they can teach the students how to create each project. As a retired teacher, counselor and principal, it is no surprise that Shirley made sure the experience met the California State Visual and Performing Arts Standards.

During the event, a number of individuals shared remarks about Shirley and her impact in the community, including Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and representatives from the City of Torrance Performing Arts Consortium, King/Drew Magnet High School for Math and Science, League of Allied Arts, Palos Verdes Chapter of The Links, and Watts Learning Center Charter Schools. You can watch a video of the program here.
voloppFeatured Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteer at the Fall 4 Wellness Fair!

Saturday, October 13
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Torrance High School Back Field

Volunteers are needed for various duties, including set up, clean up, greeting and directing individuals to various Fair activities. 

For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, 
contact Nancy Gutierrez at
The Affinity Group
Battle Creek Community Foundation
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.