At the Heart of Helping - March 2019 Update
In This Issue:
letterLetter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Feeling Lucky

Happy St. Patrick_s Day At the Heart of Helping
It's hard to believe that it's already mid-March! As I look ahead at my weekend calendar and see St. Patrick's Day, it's a perfect time to reflect on just how lucky we feel here at the Volunteer Center. We have an amazingly generous community of friends and supporters, and we feel grateful for each and every one of you! Whether it's helping us prepare for Operation Teddy Bear, dropping off Food For Kids donations, supporting our strategic planning process, or making a financial contribution, you continue to come through for us again and again!

We also feel lucky to have recently met with our Youth Input Panel for a second time to collect even more feedback on the reinvention of our Teen Program, set to launch next school year. In addition, we are close to finishing our Parent Education Program, and we hope you will take a few minutes to provide your feedback through an anonymous online survey. We are looking for input from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else closely connected to local youth.

Your responses to this survey will help us focus more precisely on the kind of content you want/need, and how best to deliver that content to you. Click here to complete the survey, and feel free to share it with any of your family and friends in the local community. We will also randomly select one lucky winner from those who submit their email addresses at the end of the survey to win a surprise gift!

Thank you for helping us develop the programs our community needs, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sara Myers

Make sure you're saving the evening of Saturday, June 15 for our first annual Heart-to-Heart Gala - a unique evening of Hearts and Crafts at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. The event celebrates empathy, kindness, compassion and mindfulness, and you don't want to miss it!
southbaywalkSouth Bay Campus Walk for Suicide Prevention
...At the Heart of Walking Together to Support Our Youth

Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk - Saturday_ March 23_ 2019
Join us as we walk together on journey of remembrance, hope and support to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness South Bay Campus Walk on Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., on Torrance High School's Upper Field. The field is located on Plaza Del Amo, south of Carson Street. Parking is available on Plaza Del Amo in the lot next to the field and the larger lot across the street.

In addition to sponsoring the event, Volunteer Center staff members are incredibly honored to join 30 other community members walking with Team Lucas in memory of a South High School student who died by suicide last summer, just weeks prior to our first Youth Panel meeting. The team was created by one of our Youth Panel participants in memory of his best friend.

The walk is hosted by the South Bay Association of School Psychologists and includes remarks by Congressman Ted Lieu, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey, Dr. Mimi Hoang and Howard Baker; a meet-and-greet with therapy dog Tali Zorah; and a Resource Fair. Learn more and register online by Friday, March 22 at noon at You can also register in person at the event between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.
springblingSpring Bling Jewelry & Accessories Sale
...At the Heart of Shopping for a "Beary" Worthy Cause

The members of our Affinity Group invite you to join them for bling, baubles, beads and more at their Spring Bling Jewelry & Accessories Sale on Wednesday, April 10, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., at the Volunteer Center (1230 Cravens Ave., Torrance). Enjoy refreshments while you shop an assortment of chic, trendy, fun, antique and travel treasures, benefitting Operation Teddy Bear!
troop3845Talking About Kindness with Girl Scout Troop 3845
...At the Heart of Thinking Outside the Cookie Box

Girl Scout Troop 3845 talking about kindness

Girl Scout Troop 3845 Hugging Teddy Bears
The kind, compassionate and energetic members of Torrance's Girl Scout Troop 3845 visited us at the beginning of March to present a basket of donated cookies for our food pantry and a generous check following a successful Girl Scout Cookie season. During their visit, we showed the girls how the Volunteer Center helps local elementary school students their age.

First, we introduced the girls to Food For Kids by taking a tour of the pantry and reading a book from our kindness-themed book list ("Maddie's Fridge" by Lois Brandt). Then, we looked at the different items in the Operation Teddy Bear schoolbag and talked about why we provide them to the first graders, followed by a discussion about our feelings and ways we can be kind. We ended on a very empathetic, comforting note as we hugged teddy bears and practiced taking deep breaths. We are so grateful to have such a generous community of youth, and we love when we can have conversations about kindness, compassion and social-emotional wellness!
ffkThe Generous Food Donations Continue
...At the Heart of Continuing to Fill Our Shelves with Love

Food For Kids March 19

We are so grateful to our community members who continue to show such compassion and generosity toward the families we serve through our Food For Kids program!
  • Liam Demko, a 5th grade student at Silver Spur Elementary School in Rolling Hills Estates, wanted promote giving back to the community at his school, so he decided - on his own - to coordinate a school-wide food drive, collecting and donating 423 pounds of food
  • The team at Honeywell Aerospace in Torrance collected and donated 493 pounds of food during Engineers Week
  • Professor Woo Kang from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of America coordinated a food drive with his students, donating 109 pounds of food
  • The Warner-Farah-Smith Family in Torrance donated 338 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.
visionsofunityVisions of Unity Celebrates 20 Years
...At the Heart of Uniting Through Creative Expression

Visions of Unity 2019 Presentation

Students, families and community members gathered at Torrance Memorial's Conference Center earlier this week to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Visions of Unity Contest. Nearly 50 Torrance high school students were honored for their original short stories, essays, poetry, fine art, photography and sculpture celebrating diversity, promoting education and understanding, and cultivating a sense of belonging for the diverse population of Torrance. The award-winning art work was on display during the event, and after the awards were presented, the winning literature submissions were read aloud by the student authors. As Co-Founder and Contest Coordinator Lea Ann King so aptly shared during her remarks, "This is the future of our world. We are listening to them."

The Volunteer Center is proud provide fiscal sponsorship for this event and join the other partners in our community who make this student arts and literature competition possible each year: The Human Relations Forum of Torrance, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Torrance Unified School District, League of Women Voters of Torrance Area, and Palos Verdes Chapter LINKS, Inc. The Visions of Unity Committee also includes three of our Board Members: Jean Adelsman, Lea Ann King and Shirley Starke-Wallace. Learn more in this video produced by Torrance CitiCable and at
weriseWE RISE Poetry Contest
...At the Heart of Addressing Mental Health through Poetry

WE RISE Poetry Contest
The LA County Department of Mental Health is currently accepting creative, original poems that address mental health and wellbeing for the WE RISE Poetry Contest, part of a campaign to transform our mental health care system using art and community building in Los Angeles.

Entries are due May 1. They will be judged on poetic merit by a panel of poets and peers, and honorees will be invited to a WE RISE reception in Downtown Los Angeles. Click here for guidelines and complete details.
featuredFeatured Kindness Opportunities
Toiletry Drive sponsored by the
City of Torrance Social Services Commission

Start spring cleaning early while practicing kindness by gathering new/unused toiletries to donate to the annual Toiletry Drive now through March 19. There are donation bins at select City locations throughout Torrance, and the items will be distributed to four local organizations: Harbor Interfaith, Family Promise of South Bay, 1736 Family Crisis Center and Star Inc. Homes. Visit to learn more about accepted items and drop-off locations.
The Affinity Group
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 |

Like us on Facebook
View on Instagram
Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube
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.