At the Heart of Helping - June 2019 Update
In This Issue:
Letter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of  Celebrating Kindness

My heart is filled with so much gratitude right now. I am grateful that so many of you joined us at our  Heart to Heart Gala two weeks ago to celebrate kindness and empathy, and to formally launch our Youth Mental Health programs. I am grateful for all the financial and in-kind donations, well wishes, support and input throughout the entire process leading up to the recent celebration.  I am grateful to Luke Antaky, William Brandt and Jason Reid for sharing their heart-tugging personal experiences (find video links below). I am grateful to our team of staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the evening such a success. 

I am especially grateful to the members of our Board of Directors for their dedication to the event, our organization and our future. 
Extra special thanks to our three amazing Gala Committee Chairs - JoAnn Angeli, Dianne Bozler and Brenda Williams - each of whom devoted so much time, energy and creativity to ensure the event went beautifully and exceeded our goal - which it did. We are thrilled to report that, thanks to everyone's generosity, we netted more than $65,000 to fund our new Youth Mental Health programs!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has supported us along this journey so far, and continues to join us "at the heart of helping!"

Sara Myers
galaAn Evening of Heartwarming Moments
...At the Heart of Supporting Our Future

Heart to Heart Gala - A Celebration of Kindness _ Empathy

Nearly 200 members of the community joined us for an evening celebrating kindness, empathy, compassion and mindfulness at our Heart to Heart Gala on Saturday, June 15. As guests arrived to the expansive space inside CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles, we invited them to take their chances on the silent auction and other games, giving them the opportunity to go home with a variety of fun-filled items, experiences, trips, bottles of wine, and baskets filled with something for everyone - all supporting our new Youth Mental Health programs. Guests could also celebrate the evening's theme - and share it widely - by taking a photo at the "Kindness & Empathy Photo Booth," learn more about our programs, and see the display of recent honors from the City of Torrance, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and Congressman Ted Lieu.

As everyone took their seats for dinner, current Board Chair Lynne Neuman and incoming Board Chair Brenda Williams welcomed guests and invited them to join in a meaningful moment and enjoy the feeling of being unplugged, centered and connected. They also publicly honored the five local high school graduates selected to receive Durfee Family Scholarships (see more below) and thanked the event's major sponsors. President/CEO Sara Myers took the podium to talk about the organization's history and future, as she described the planned programs that will help youth, families and the community look up from devices, reconnect, and practice more kindness toward themselves and others, followed by local teens Luke Antaky and William Brandt sharing their thoughts on the new teen program.

Heart to Heart Gala Auction _ 52-Card Draw
Auctioneer John Kunkle hosted a lively and exciting live auction featuring five exciting packages and a bidding war for a Havana Nights-themed party in a private home. Then, you could hear a pin drop as Jason Reid shared how he lost his son to suicide in March 2018, one week after he turned 14. Jason spoke about his passionate vision to end teen suicide by the year 2030, and his support for the Volunteer Center's work and new programs. Community members were also encouraged to pledge their support for our new programs, which many did quite generously. Finally, Dr. Vernon Williams revealed that Steve and Khryste Griswold won the popular 52-Card Draw prize - a trip to San Diego - before we invited all the guests to the dance floor.

The Heart to Heart Gala was generously sponsored by Torrance Refining Company; ActivePDF, Inc.; California Water Service; Chevron; Griswold & Griswold Insurance Agency; Torrance Memorial; Continental Development Corporation; The South Bay Bar Association; Torrance Community Credit Union; The Hans and Dianne Bozler Trust; Steven A. Kovary, CPA and Company; and the Friends & Family of Sara Myers. Click here for complete details, including a list of auction donors, wine donors and additional supporters.

 Click here or on the images below for videos of the evening's remarks.

Heart to Heart Gala Overview
Heart to Heart Gala Teen Testimonial
Heart to Heart Gala Parent Testimonial
durfeeFive Durfee Family Scholarships Awarded
...At the Heart of Honoring Dedication, Service & Resilience

Durfee Scholarship Recipients
Every year, the Volunteer Center awards Durfee Family Scholarships to local high school seniors to assist them with the cost of classes, books and materials during their first year of college. The scholarship fund was established in 1988 thanks to a generous endowment gift made by the late Ev Durfee, who was a longtime supporter and member of the Volunteer Center's Board of Directors.

After reviewing applications from dozens of dedicated, deserving and resilient college-bound students, the following five students were selected to receive $1,000 Durfee Scholarships in recognition of their commitment to their academic endeavors, while dedicating time to serving their communities. Each recipient also maintained a positive attitude while overcoming adversity. We were proud to honor each of them at the Heart to Heart Gala, and we wish all them success as they embrace their bright futures ahead!
  • Jazmin Cuevas is graduating from Phineas Banning High School. She will attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where she plans to study sociology and become a teacher.
  • Karla Diego is graduating from Hawthorne High School. She will attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where she plans to study English.
  • Erika Morales is graduating from North Torrance High School. She will attend California State University, Fullerton, where she plans to study nursing science.
  • Janilka Nettle-Salazar is graduating from San Pedro High School. She will attend California State University, Long Beach, where she plans to study biology as a pre-med student.
  • Julianna Pelayo is graduating from Leuzinger High School. She will attend California State University, Long Beach, where she plans to study environmental engineering.
kindnessawardNominate Someone for a Kinecta Kindness Award!
...At the Heart of Honoring Acts of Goodwill

Our friends at Kinecta are recognizing kindness in our community with Kinecta Kindness Awards. Click here to nominate someone for their acts of kindness, service and goodwill, and if they win, Kinecta will donate $250 to the nonprofit of their choice! Kinecta Kindness Awards will be selected and announced weekly on their Facebook page.
ffkContinued Compassion and Generosity
...At the Heart of Families Helping Families

Food For Kids June 2019

We are grateful to the members of our community who celebrate kindness and empathy with us by donating shelf-stable food to 
Food For Kids program!
  • The Finance Division of American Honda Motor Co. hosted their annual food drive, collecting and donating more than 400 pounds of food again this year.
  • Manuel Jimenez and his students from Banning High School collected and donated 380 pounds of food.
  • The families of Girl Scout Troop 71213 in Rancho Palos Verdes donated more than 50 pounds of food, and during their visit, the young scouts also learned how their kindness supports other kids their age, further developing their sense of empathy and compassion.
  • Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach hosted their quarterly Pop-up Pantry, resulting in a donation with 330 already-packed bags, plus nearly 400 pounds of additional food, for a total donation of more than 3,500 pounds of food.
  • Norma Lyon of Torrance donated 137 pounds of food.
  • The Pentecostal Missionary Church in Gardena donated more than 70 pounds of food.
  • Communities across the country joined the United States Postal Service to Stamp Out Hunger on Saturday, May 12, and our local Torrance Post Office delivered 1,068 pounds of the food donated to us for Food For Kids.
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!
Mental Health Tip
6 reasons to go on a walk

Click here to learn how to make any walk a more mindful and meaningful experience .
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunities
Volunteer at Didi Hirsch's Alive & Running
5K Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention
Sunday, September 29, 6:00 - 10:30 a.m.
West 88th St & La Tijera Blvd, just north of LAX

They need volunteers to do important tasks and provide encouragement for walkers and runners. Assignments include helping with registration, refreshments and hydration, chip and bib pickup, t-shirt distribution and more.

As a volunteer, you will join caring people, their families and friends who have teamed up to commemorate lives cut short, raise awareness and continue on a path towards healing. All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and continental breakfast!

Click here for more information and to fill out a Volunteer Application.
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, 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.