At the Heart of Helping - July 2018 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Taking Gentle Steps to Improve Mental Health

As the calendar changed over to July, it brought with it our new fiscal year. We are finishing up the research and data gathering phase of our new focus on the mental health crisis affecting our local youth, and we are pivoting to the program development phase. I am so grateful to everyone who made a donation to our Spring campaign - your gift will impact our ability to move forward with this important project and you will be the first to hear news and updates about our work. If you haven't yet had a chance to make a donation and still want to be among the first to know about our progress, you can join our growing list of donors with contribution to the campaign here.

Image by Freepik
During our research, we've learned how our constant dependence and addiction to screen time is affecting our ability to stay present and connected with each other - for both adults and youth alike. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month and it's the perfect opportunity to start taking gentle steps towards improving our mental health. Recently, I've started leaving my phone behind when I take walks at lunch or when I eat dinner with friends. At first it causes some panicky "what if..." feelings, but then I ultimately feel so much more freedom and enjoy being more present in the given moment. Perhaps you will find similar benefits by trying one of the suggestions below:

  • While enjoying a meal with your family or friends, keep your cell phone out of sight and even turn it on silent to avoid being distracted.
  • If you need to take a call, excuse yourself calmly with an apology and move at least 10 feet away from other people, including doors and windows if possible, so you avoid being disruptive to others.
  • Try leaving your phone in the car when you go to movies, concerts or games, if possible.
  • Many of us lived during a time when we didn't have cell phones to turn to when we needed a distraction from long waits or awkward social situations. Turn the clock back and pretend your phone isn't there - use it as an opportunity to connect with others around you!
Sara Myers
kidsforkidsKids For Kids' Unique, Artistic & Creative Success
...At the Heart of Affinity Group's Creative Support of Local Kids

On a Sunday afternoon during the recent heat wave, a cool breeze ran through the back yard of Dr. Michele and Paula Del Vicario. Guests mingled on the lawn, enjoying music by Palos Verdes High School students, as a small army of colorful goats were on parade for all to enjoy. It was the perfect afternoon to celebrate the success of the Affinity Group's unique fundraiser, Kids For Kids , raising more than $20,000 for Operation Teddy Bear!

This project was the brilliant idea of co-chair Sharon Ryan, who headed up the endeavor with her daughter and co-chair, Jennifer Ryan Marshall. We are so thankful for their hard work in coordinating all the details of the project, including the 23 painted or otherwise artistically-created resin goat statues, each one a masterpiece completely unique and different from the next.

Our immense gratitude goes to our friends and neighbors at Destination: Art and the Torrance Artists' Guild for spearheading the goat-art process for a majority of the "kids!" David Wolfram, president of both groups, worked hard to help Sharon and Jennifer recruit many of the artists from their participating members and coordinate related details. We encourage you to visit Destination: Art - a nonprofit gallery in Downtown Torrance - and discover all the wonderful local talent they feature on a regular basis!

A big thank you to the members of the Affinity Group committee - Dianne Bozler, Virginia Butler, Anne Destabelle, Francine Gamble, De De Hicks, Joyce Kochanowski, Jacky Mason and Cherri Olson - who helped Sharon and Jennifer line up the program's sponsors and attended to all the details for this culminating reception with live and silent auctions. The live auction featured five of the "kid" creations, a stay at Terranea Resort, and a child's rocking chair hand-painted by one of the artists, while the silent auction featured more unique artwork. Special thanks to Dave Diestal, a friend of the Affinity Group, who served as auctioneer complete with witty repartee.

The afternoon featured remarks by the Volunteer Center's President/CEO Sara Myers and the Affinity Group's President, De De Hicks. Both spoke about the impact of Operation Teddy Bear, and De De also thanked the afternoon's hosts, Dr. Michele and Paula Del Vicario, along with everyone else who made the fundraiser a success.

We encourage you to visit to see all 23 "kids" and learn about the artists who created them. The website also acknowledges the fundraiser's generous sponsors and everyone who made this fundraiser a success!
escaperoomLast Chance to Solve the Mortuary Mystery
...At the Heart of a New Record for our Escape Room Fundraiser

We have a new record for our Escape Room and there are ONLY 2 WEEKENDS LEFT to try to beat their time...

Gather your team of 6, book your session, and see if you can become the new record-holder before we close on Saturday, July 28! Don't wait much longer - space is limited and advanced purchase is required. 

Have a larger group? You can book multiple slots and reserve our Community Room for the perfect team-building activity! Click here to learn more, including an extensive list of frequently asked questions.

A New Record for South Bay Escape Room_ Mortuary Mystery_
ffkProviding Food For Kids On Summer Break
...At the Heart of Feeding Families Year-Round

Bags distributed through Food For Kids
During the school year, we help children and their families at nine partner schools by providing them with bags of food to take home over the weekend. The students we serve receive breakfast and lunch through the Free and Reduced Meal Program during the school day, and then our Food For Kids program helps them with meals on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, summertime creates a bigger challenge for the students who no longer have access to school-based programs.
Luckily, many of our fellow agencies provide a Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that ensures that these same students continue to receive meals at SFSP sites when school is not in session. We recently met with one of these agencies, SBCC Thrive LA in Wilmington, and found they were a terrific match that would allow us to help fill this need by once again offering our support to a local SFSP program during the summer. We have partnered with them to provide 60 bags each week over seven weeks, benefitting the students participating in the SBCC's summer tutoring program. These students range from Kindergarten to 8th grade, representing schools in Torrance, San Pedro and Wilmington.
We need you to help us continue to feed students and families in need this summer!  Click here to learn more about how you can support Food For Kids through food donations and/or food drives, and to download a copy of our Non-Perishable Food Shopping List.
archboldHonoring Long Beach's Rich Archbold
...At the Heart of Celebrating a Volunteer and Community Champion

_Happy 80th Birthday_ Rich Archbold_
To celebrate their former managing/executive editor and current public editor's 80th birthday, the Long Beach Press Telegram "hijacked" Rich Archbold's weekly column to celebrate all the good he has done for Long Beach, from serving as a long-time volunteer at community events to maintaining connections with members of the community over his 40 years with the paper.

From Long Beach's Mayor Robert Garcia to Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, community leaders came out in droves to honor him. Our own President/CEO Sara Myers celebrated the beloved octogenarian by saying, "I love the inherent curiosity that Rich has about people. It's the reporter in him - he wants to know how you are, how the community is doing and why things are happening. His genuine interest in others makes him both passionate and strategic about the causes he volunteers for."
voloppsVolunteer Opportunities Available 24/7!
- Featured Volunteer Opportunity -

Learn more about becoming Banning Museum volunteer!

Volunteer Orientation / Get to Know Us Receptions
Friday, August 24 - or - Saturday, August 25
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

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 South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach recognizes the valuable role volunteers play in our society and has been "at the heart of helping" for more than 50 years. We recruit and refer volunteers to more than 400 nonprofit organizations in our service area, as well as for our own signature programs, Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids. Potential volunteers can contact us to obtain information and connect with just the right service experience, fulfilling our mission of "mobilizing people and resources to deliver creative solutions to community needs." Visit to learn more.