At the Heart of Helping - February 2019 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Showing Appreciation For Those We Love

Add a note to the bear suggesting they give it a hug whenever they feel the need
Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate those we love, and we couldn't imagine letting this heart-themed holiday go by without telling you how much we love and appreciate having you as a part of our Volunteer Center family! We can't do the work we're doing without the kind support of a strong community, so thank you for being a part of ours.

We recently found this great list of Valentine's Day gift ideas focused on mental health, and since all of us can use a little relief from the daily stresses of life, we want to share these good ideas to consider for anyone you care about - on Valentine's Day or just because! We especially love the suggestions for personal messages, quality time, journals/notebooks, a teddy bear and a hug. You can also take a page from our Operation Teddy Bear
program by adding a note to the bear suggesting they give it a hug whenever they feel the need!

Here are some more ideas for ways to make this week sweeter for yourself or others:
How ever you spend Valentine's Day, we hope it's another opportunity to have mindful moments, closely connect with those in your life, and be compassionate with yourself and others.

Sara Myers
savethedateSave the Date! First Annual Heart-to-Heart Gala
...At the Heart of Celebrating Empathy and Kindness

We are excited to announce that we are hosting our first annual Heart-to-Heart Gala on Saturday, June 1 at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles! Mark your calendar for this unique evening of HeARTs and Crafts, featuring dinner, entertainment, live and silent auctions, and moments to celebrate empathy, kindness, compassion and mindfulness. You will also have the opportunity to support the Volunteer Center by taking home a piece of heart, empathy, kindness and/or compassion-themed artwork. Stay tuned for more details!
newfocusDiscussing Our New Focus and Empowering Youth
...At the Heart of Sharing about Screen Time and Mental Health

We had two great opportunities to speak about our new youth mental health focus at venues in Torrance and Long Beach over the last month. President/CEO Sara Myers was interviewed by Hibah Samad on the February 5 episode of Torrance Citi CABLE's NEWSBREAK LIVE, discussing our research, the community's input, how we plan to help families address screen time and social media addiction, and some helpful resources we can all use now. Click here to watch the interview and learn more.

Sara also spoke with seventh- and eighth-graders about the impact of social media and screen time on their mental health at the Young Women's Empowerment Conference in Long Beach. The third-annual, day-long event hosted by Congressman Alan Lowenthal featured women in a range of careers providing career advice, support and guidance to middle-school girls from various parts of Long Beach. Click here to read the Long Beach Post article about the event, including details about the themes discussed in our "Screen Time and Social Media" breakout session.

"If you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away. If you're hurting, try to find that bravery within yourself to go deep and take somebody up in your head with you."
- Lady Gaga, 2019 Grammy Awards

Click here to see our tweet thanking Lady Gaga and the Born This Way Foundation for this message and everything they do to do promote youth mental and kindness.
ffkMore Kind Donations of Food
...At the Heart of Promoting Empathy Within Our Community

Food For Kids February 19

We are so grateful for the loving support our local community continues to pour out for our Food For Kids program!
  • Brownie Troop 6025 from Hermosa View Elementary School coordinated a school-wide food drive during the Great Kindness Challenge. They also brought the nearly 400 pounds of food to our food pantry, where they sorted it, packed 50 bags, and learned how those bags will help other kids their age - a wonderful lesson in empathy!
  • The Canna Causes Foundation hosted their 4th Annual "Food 4 Hope" drive, resulting in a donation of approximately 100 pounds of food!
  • The Dudes' Brewing Company in Torrance hosted a food drive, collecting and donating 60 pounds of food. They also held a special fundraiser during the Super Bowl and donated the proceeds to us!
  • Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach held their quarterly Pop-up Pantry, a one-day collection and packing event, at Ralphs on Hawthorne Blvd. in Redondo Beach. The resulting donation consisted of a whopping 344 already-packed bags, plus an additional 638.5 pounds of food for a total donation of more than 4,650 pounds of food - their largest delivery in more than a year!
  • The youth group at St. James Armenian Apostolic Church in Los Angeles hosted a holiday food drive, collecting and donating more than 200 pounds of food!
You can learn about the latest Food For Kids donations and see other updates when you follow us on FacebookInstagram 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.
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunities
Kevin Heath Quote
Mark Twain said, "The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up," and our friends at Action For Happiness took that to heart when they created Friendly February. Click here for their calendar of ways to promote kindness and connect with others each day this month!

This Sunday is also Random Acts of Kindness Day, which is a great opportunity to find ways to do something nice for someone - or yourself! If you're looking for creative ideas for Sunday or any time, click here for a collection of kindness ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

If you're looking for something to do with younger children, check out this month's Kindness Project from South Bay Mommies and Daddies:  Heart Bookmarks. It even includes prompts to start a conversation about spreading kindness in the community while working on the project!
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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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 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. Click here to learn more about our new Youth Mental Health focus and how we're tackling this critical community need.