March 2022 Report
"Touching Hearts and Opening Minds"
Letter From the President/CEO
On Thursday, March 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first nationally representative survey of high school students during the pandemic which helped illuminate the effects that COVID had on the already fragile state of youth mental health and suicide rates.

Several local meetings that I have attended have further highlighted new statewide and countywide data showing a continued decline in youth mental health during the pandemic.

At the Volunteer Center, we've always focused our programs and volunteers "where care is needed most," so we began to focus on this need back in 2018-2019 when we first learned about the alarming data. At that time your support helped us co-found a Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce for our area, and your donations launched social and emotional wellness programs to meet the needs of teens and families. As our professional partners were finishing the curriculum, COVID struck, so we immediately sharpened our focus on the consequences of social isolation and remote learning. Connect was created to provide a stronger connection with peers, online education, coping skills and self-care for teens and parents. We are now continuing to expand upon the services offered by incorporating our popular service-learning experiences once again.

Everyone plays a role in youth mental wellness. Families, schools, nonprofits, medical facilities, faith-based organizations, and youth clubs all must work together. That is why we are launching our online Youth Wellness Guide. You can read more about it below, and we hope you will review it, save it and share it. We should all know the best ways to help the youth in our lives. Let's start together.

Wishing you continued kindness & empathy,
Heart to Heart Event Tickets On Sale Now!
Tickets to our 2nd Annual Heart to Heart event are on sale now and cost $200 per person, which includes appetizers, food stations, dessert, open bars, dancing, games of chance, and silent and live auction bidding.

The fundraiser will be held Saturday, April 30 at Crafted in San Pedro from 6-10 p.m. The event is themed "Classic California" and will feature the style and cuisine of the Napa wineries, Malibu beaches, and Hollywood glamour. Guests are invited to don "Casual California Chic" outfits for an evening of relaxed fun.

We are so grateful to the local businesses who have donated silent and live auction items! In addition to tickets to ride in the Good Year Blimp, you can also bid on:

  • Sports Tickets (Rams, Kings, Angels, Dodgers)
  • LA Opera Experience
  • Admission to the Pageant of the Masters
  • One of Kind Original Oil Paintings of South Bay Locales
  • Restaurant Giftcards including $500 to Pacific Standard Prime
  • Private Baking Lessons
  • San Francisco Vacation Package including a stay at the Intercontinental San Francisco
  • Baskets of beauty, home and pet products
  • Universal Studios Tickets
  • .... and much, much more!

Thank you to our event sponsors so far including Torrance Refining Company/PBF Energy, Sares Regis, Continental Development, Jean Adelsman, and Congressman Ted Lieu & Torrance School Board Member Betty C. Lieu. The proceeds raised at this event will help serve youth and families in our community right where care is needed most.
Launch of Our New Online Youth Wellness Guide!

We are proud to announce the launch of a new Youth Wellness Guide on our website to help kids and families quickly and easily find resources to assist them with mental health needs.

The guide has some of our favorite incredibly helpful tools that will help all of us better identify when we or someone we know needs help, what to say and do, as well as how best to connect them to resources. The guide features partners that we've discovered throughout our three years working with the Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce.

We recognize that empathy must start with healthy self-care so that we then have the capacity to serve others!
Teen Volunteers Put Their Empathy In Action
When we advertised our March community-wide Empathy in Action Saturday event for youth and families, we never dreamed we would such a wonderful response!

More than 20 athletes from the North High School Football Team showed up and used both their strength and compassion to help us accomplish far more than we expected. Our willing volunteers started the morning learning facts about food insecurity and then formed three teams to sort donations, check food expiration dates, organize our pantry, move boxes of food, and carry hundreds of children's books out of our basement.

Then on Cesar Chavez Day, a group of middle and high school students and parents from Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search, two programs that are part of the Volunteers of America, Los Angeles, joined us for another Empathy in Action event. The youth helped prepare the donated children's books for a distribution event with our Nonprofit Network partners and helped restock our Food For Kids food pantry. Each volunteer walked away with an information card explaining their impact and a space for volunteers to write down ways that they can continue to spread kindness in the future. 

One of the students shared that this was her first time volunteering since the pandemic started. She was surprised at how much she enjoyed her experience and said that it felt good to give back to others. She walked away feeling empowered to continue volunteering!
Journey of Faith Donates 10,643 Meals!
We can't express how grateful we are to our partners at Journey of Faith for hosting regular pop-up pantries. Volunteers from their congregation and beyond donate shelf-stable food items and pack bags full of healthy meals for our Food For Kids program.

This past month their team showed up with a giant truck full of 314 completed bags and stacks and stacks of boxes of extra food donations. During the Spring, our donations get much slower, so this extra boost of care and support is incredibly helpful.
Welcome New Volunteer Cindy Shields!
After the plea in our last eReport for Volunteer Drivers, local community leader Cindy Shields and returning loyal volunteer Dave Sargent stepped up to answer our call.

Cindy will deliver weekly meals to our family partners at Pediatric Therapy Network every Tuesday and Dave will deliver bags to Wilmington every Friday. We love all the joy and commitment our volunteer drivers bring to our Center.

We still need one more Volunteer Driver with a reliable vehicle that can fit 15-20 packed food bags willing to commit to delivering to an elementary school in San Pedro every Wednesday morning.

Contact to apply. 
Featured Kindness Opportunity
The Teen Talk App, one of our featured tools in our Youth Resource Guide is currently looking for teen Volunteer Advisors, ages 13-17 to join their Summer 2022 Training Program.

To become a trained advisor, teens must complete an application and, if selected, participate in an interview. Then, if selected for training, teens will participate in a live, virtual training (on Zoom) with a group of other teens who want to make a difference. Training covers mental health basics, crisis intervention, reflective communication, and self-care.

Training will take place virtually during the weeks of July 11th and July 18th, 2022 from 10 am – 2 pm PT on the following dates: 7/11, 7/12, 7/13, 7/14, 7/15, 7/18, 7/19, 7/20, 7/21, 7/22
Together, We're Mobilizing Our Community!
We took the leap and have increased the number of meals we are providing each week, so we continue to depend on your generous donations to meet our commitment. We always need breakfast items including packets of oatmeal, boxes of cereal, and granola bars. Donations can be dropped off any time between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For after-hour donations, please schedule a time with Jon Phelps: You can also order donations off of our Amazon Wishlist below, just please list your name in the delivery information so we can thank you!
Thank You to Our Loyal Monthly Donors:
Jean Adelsman
Barbazette Family Trust
Pauline Beecroft
Denise & Vince Beggs
Dianne & Hans Bozler
Jacqueline Crowley
Anne & Ray Destabelle
Sue Herbers
The Holt Family
Mildred Jones

Susan Kettel
Ellen Kircher
Sherry Kramer
Cari Lesser
Lisa Lunde
Cheryl Morrow
Sue Munson
Pamela Popovich
Susan Rubio
Fern Ruiz
Steve & Beth Wilson
Maureen Vague & Richard Tovo
Steve Yeager & Samuel Sampson
Thank You to Our Major Corporate and Foundation Grantors:
(Gifts Made in Support of July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022 Programs)
For more than 55 years, we have acted where care is needed most, galvanizing our community and enabling change. By demonstrating the power of empathy and resilience we give people the tools to cope with life’s challenges. By "Touching Hearts and Opening Minds" we create a more kind, connected, and equitable community in which we all can thrive..

To learn more about our programs and impact, visit