At the Heart of Helping - August 2019 Update
In This Issue:
Back to School Anxiety
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Creating New Habits

It's hard to believe that it is already time to go back to school. While this can be a very exciting time, it can also cause anxiety. Thankfully, there are so many great resources available to help you and your family prepare for and face transitions like this. Here are two of the most recent articles we've seen with tips and advice for dealing with back to school anxiety:
The start of a new school year is also a great time to create new routines and develop new habits. In fact, the Born This Way Foundation is once again encouraging people to join their #BeKind21 Challenge by finding 21 ways to practice kindness each day, since it takes 21 days to build a habit (see more on that below). 

You can also use the start of the school year to find ways to develop other habits, such as gradually reducing your family's screen time, spending more time connecting with friends and family face-to-face, and increasing self-care. To help you with this, we've updated the Helpful Resources on our website with screen time-related resources, in addition to the mental health resources that were already there. Click here to visit that page and learn more.

May we all find moments of calm amidst the busy Fall days ahead!

Sara Myers
socialmediaExploring the Impact of Social Media on Our Lives
...At the Heart of Helping to Navigate a Cyber-landscape

LIKE - A Documentary About the Impact of Social Media on Our Lives

Join us for one of four FREE screenings of "LIKE" - a documentary about the impact of social media on our lives - next Wednesday, August 28 and Thursday, August 29! Presented by the Torrance Unified School District and Torrance Council of PTAs, each screening will also include a panel discussion featuring our very own President/CEO Sara Myers.

No registration or RSVP required. Simply show up to one of the screenings at 10:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. each day at the locations listed below. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 28
North High School Auditorium
3620 W. 182nd Street, Torrance, CA 90504
The Auditorium is next to the parking lot and tennis courts on Yukon Ave., south of 182nd St.

Thursday, August 29
West High School Auditorium
20401 Victor St. Torrance, CA 90503
The Auditorium and parking lots are on Del Amo Blvd. at Victor St.
urbanplatesHelping One Another Over a Delicious Meal
...At the Heart of a Supportive Local Community

Urban Plates Grand Opening in Torrance

We were so glad to see so many familiar faces stop by to help Urban Plates prepare for the Grand Opening of their new Torrance location last week! It was equally wonderful to watch so many people have engaging, screen-free conversations around the table while enjoying their donation-based, pre-opening meals.

We also joined with local community representatives at a ribbon-cutting event as we officially welcomed Urban Plates "to the Boulevard" (to quote Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey!). In addition to Mayor Furey, Torrance City Council Members George Chen, Mike Griffiths and Geoff Rizzo; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce's President and CEO Donna Duperon; and field representatives for both Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi  and Senator Ben Allen welcomed and congratulated the Urban Plates team. We look forward to sharing the total amount raised during the pre-opening festivities in the coming months! (Hint: There might be additional opportunities to help them prepare for more grand openings!)
Food For Kids Donations
Creatively Giving Back
...At the Heart of Paying Kindness Forward

We love to see how creatively our community gives back! Many people now ask for donations in lieu of birthday presents or host Facebook Fundraisers for us and other worthy nonprofits in honor of their special day. Jean Adelsman - one of our dedicated Board Members - shared the backstory on some of her Food For Kids donations, and she encourages you to do something like this too:

"At my stage of life, I really need nothing, so when I first invited my friends to a thing I call kickback dinners, I said, 'Don't bring anything... just yourself!' Of course, they disregarded me and brought lovely hostess gifts. The next time I extended an invitation, I said, 'If you insist on bringing anything, how about non-perishables for Food For Kids?' Now, that was something they could all get behind. Each kickback dinner since has yielded numerous boxes of cereal and cans of all the basics, and now I'm thinking of mentioning this to my Thanksgiving guests!"

Click here to learn more about Food For Kids, including an updated copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List. You can also find items for Food For Kids on our Wish List here. Learn about the latest Food For Kids donations and other updates when you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
dentaldriveThe Operation Teddy Bear Dental Supply Drive
...At the Heart of Promoting Dental Hygiene

Operation Teddy Bear Dental Drive
One of the most coveted items in our Operation Teddy Bear schoolbag is the individually-wrapped toothbrush. While it may be hard for many of us to believe, a majority of the students we serve through this popular program do not have a toothbrush. Some even tell us that they share a toothbrush with other family members.

You can help us get ready for Operation Teddy Bear's 25th year by contributing single, individually-packaged youth or adult toothbrushes and/or travel-sized toothpaste to our Dental Supply Drive, now through September 30! Simply come by our Torrance office (1230 Cravens Ave.) Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to leave your donations in the box in the lobby!

We've also made it easy to support the Dental Supply Drive by adding items to our Wish List. Click here to view our Wish List and add one or more items to your cart. You can choose to have the item(s) shipped directly to us at check out, and if you use AmazonSmile to shop, a percentage of eligible purchases comes to us too! (Click here for complete details on shopping through AmazonSmile.)
kindnesschallengeTake the 21-day Kindness Challenge
...At the Heart of Being Kind to Ourselves and Others

_BeKind21 Challenge
It takes three weeks to build a habit, and what's a better habit to build than practicing kindness?! We hope you'll join us and people from across the country by taking the Born This Way Foundation's #BeKind21 Challenge. It's a great opportunity to find at least one way to express kindness and compassion to ourselves and others each day for 21 days.

You can even spread kindness further by sharing your experiences on social media, which might encourage others to join you. Need an easy way to get started? Click here for a list of ideas from Lady Gaga and the Born This Way Foundation, and click here for ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunity
Our Village in Redondo Beach is looking for youth volunteers!

Teen volunteers (ages 13-18) for groups and events:  The staff at Our Village is happy to sign off on high school or service club volunteer hours for this and the other activities!

PEERSĀ® Program Volunteers (High School Juniors and above): This program is a 14-16 week commitment in Redondo Beach or Long Beach.

Child Mentors/Players (ages 4-12): Mentors or "advanced players" join the play and social skills groups, part of their "Kid 2 Kid" program, which runs for 8 weeks (1 hour per week). Mentors/Players cannot have language delays. They must have strong social and play skills, be able to follow directions, and be open to playing and learning about empathy, friendship and ability awareness.

This is a great opportunity for kids to have fun, meet friends, improve their own self-confidence, and feel good about volunteering their time to help others! Click here for complete details.
The Affinity Group
ActivePDF_ Inc.
Battle Creek Community Foundation
California Water Service
Crail-Johnson Foundation
Griswold _ Griswold Insurance Agency
Herbalife Nutrition Foundation
John Deere Foundation
Keenan _ Associates
Los Angeles Trial Lawyers_ Charities
The Molina Foundation
The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation
The Port of Long Beach
The Port of Los Angeles
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. 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 helping youth, families and the community gradually reduce screen time, while increasing face-to-face connections and self-care.