When Pasadena resident Terrence Roberts was growing up in the 1950s in Little Rock, Arkansas, he wasn’t allowed to sit in most restaurants or even enter a good number of them, only able to order food from a side window. The rest of his life, he knew, would be defined by racial segregation; where he could walk, live and work, whether he could go to school or get a bank loan or whom he could marry. Every move would be controlled. Continue reading “Little Rock Nine Alumnus Reflects 60 Years Later”
For anyone out there feeling depressed about the news lately, Rob Floe has a message for you: Do something. Do something good, with people you like.
It seems simple enough, but Floe has set the bar pretty high — solving world hunger, nonetheless. The founder of Partners For Change has created a donor support group for Heifer International, a global nonprofit that has helped thousands in more than 20 countries around the world break out of crushing poverty and hunger by providing them with sustainable farming. Continue reading “Heifer Intl. Donors Give Vietnam Villages Leg Up From Poverty”
For Pasadena-based nonprofit Villa de Vida and families of those with developmental disorders, hope that springs eternal really can come true.
It began as a question posed by a group of concerned parents from La Cañada Flintridge: What would happen to their children with developmental disabilities when they reach adulthood? What would happen when they, the parents, are no longer able to care for them? The group residences the parents had seen, while few and hard to find, were restrictive, solitary or lonely places that just didn’t fit the happy homes they dreamed of for their children.
Now, over the course of some five years, that discussion has turned into the viable nonprofit organization that has secured exclusive negotiating rights to build a 54-unit residential project for adults with developmental disabilities.
It’s taken a combination of luck, perseverance and an unexplained generosity, say two of the group’s founders, Denise Longo and Dr. Edward “Ted” Merchant, who began the nonprofit over neighborhood coffee talks in La Cañada Flintridge.
Continue reading “Villa de Vida Offers Hope, Housing for Disabled”
Even from across the world, grassroots efforts can take hold and make a difference for an epidemic almost too abhorrent to imagine.
Pasadena-based committee members for India’s Set Beautiful Free have learned this, after recently immersing themselves in a world so forsaken they couldn’t believe it to be true until they saw it firsthand. They had heard of the organization that helps rescue impoverished women and girls sold into the sex trade, but before they were ready to commit financially and hours of service, they had to see it to believe it. Continue reading “‘Set Beautiful Free’ Aims to End Human Trafficking Misery”
AbilityFirst has scored a game-changing $12 million donation from AS&F Foundation, enabling it to create an endowment for its Camp Paivika, a fully accessible camp in the San Bernardino Mountains that provides overnight summer camping and programming for children, teens and adults with disabilities. Continue reading “AbilityFirst’s Camp Paivika Treasures $12 Million Donation”
Nothing tastes quite like it does when it’s fresh from the garden.
Parkway Grill and its Gourmet Organic Garden have proven that mantra for nearly three decades, clinching down a loyal Pasadena fan base who count on the seasonal garden delectables to add the robust flair to the restaurant powerhouse’s California cuisine.
A hidden trove of more than 25 kinds of fruit, vegetables and herbs grow adjacent to the restaurant, as manicured rows of cabbages, peppers, chards, kale and tomatoes practically glow under the trestles of the plump passion fruit. The Parkway Grill’s garden was recently a recipient of the Pasadena Beautiful Foundation’s Commercial Design Awards, in conjunction with the Arroyo Chop House, for adding to the enhancement of Pasadena.
“It’s hard to believe, but this was all just an abandoned lot of weeds,” said Parkway Grill co-owner Gregg Smith recently, pausing in front of fragrant peppers. “Now we harvest a ‘backyard to table’ concept; it drives how we cook, using a seasonal, market-driven approach.”
Continue reading “Parkway Grill’s Urban Organic Garden Grows on Fine Diners”
Sylvia Macias and her son, Miguel, struggled since the day the young boy began battling a rare muscle disorder at just 1 year old. Not falling into any known medical condition, the mom fought for her son’s care, battling insurance red tape, countless appointments, misdiagnosis, unhelpful treatments, gaps in health care coverage and Miguel’s ever-changing physical disabilities and needs.
Then she met Convalescent Aid Society. It was the one bright spot during a dark time, she said, recalling the nonprofit as the easiest stop on the healthcare circuit.
“They had us like a ball, bouncing back and forth, seeing so many different specialists, one after another after another without any diagnosis,” the single mom of five recalls. Her nearly adolescent son could no longer squeeze into his childhood wheelchair, which was hurting his brittle bones and fragile frame on a daily basis.
Continue reading “Convalescent Aid Society Gives New Life, Independence”
The other day, children’s librarian AnnMarie Hurtado was driving down Walnut Avenue when she spotted a little girl walking, proudly carrying her reading log, a few blocks away from the library.
“I thought, ‘She’s going to the library to get her prize!’” Hurtado said, warmly recalling the moment. “This is kind of like our summer Christmas; it’s our chance to give away books and get kids excited about coming to the library and excited about reading.”
The Pasadena Public Library’s Kids Summer Reading program has steadily gained elementary-age school readership over the years, but it got a big boost in 2016 when local Realtors initiated a massive book drive for 2nd-graders, giving away more than 1,700 books to Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre public schools. In the inset of each book, there is a sticker with a list of each public library location, phone number and hours, so that families have a go-to reference for more summer reading.
Continue reading “Realtors’ Books Drive Kids’ Summer Reading Success”
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” so read the iconic words etched at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
But during the past week of patriotic parties, one wonders if American poet Emma Lazarus, who penned the sonnet for the country’s beacon of freedom, could have imagined that 134 years later, the nation that is considered the world’s wealthiest also would be home to some 42 million people struggling with hunger, including 13 million children and 5.4 million seniors don’t have enough to eat, according to Feeding America.
Perhaps Lazarus might take heart, however, that in communities across America, nonprofits such as Friends in Deed in Pasadena strive to combat that hunger and give dignity back to the working poor through food pantries.
Located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Los Robles Avenue, the interfaith collaborative Friends in Deed food pantry serves as a little market, allowing clients to shop for the food they like and need, especially fresh produce and proteins such as meat and chicken.
“This place is a real life-saver — I’m super appreciative of these guys,” said Ife Sangode, who was shopping at one of the food pantry’s new Thursday openings. The pantry just expanded its hours to open three times per week from the longstanding two days.
Continue reading “Friends in Deed Food Pantry Feeds Hungry, Gives Dignity”
In another life, East West Bank Chairman and CEO Dominic Ng, an avid fan of rock ‘n’ roll, might have made a living by strumming his guitar in a quaint Pasadena coffee shop.
But thankfully for the city, he instead became a financial guru for East West Bank, transforming the institution from a small savings and loan association with $600 million in assets in 1991 into a full-service commercial bank today with $35.3 billion in assets. He’s been named by Forbes as one of the 25 most notable Chinese Americans and one of the 100 most influential people in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times.
But the arts have never been far from his heart, and as part of encouraging business ties between the U.S. and China, Ng has also made it his mission to bridge the cultural divide between the two countries, shepherding the bank to become a patron of Chinese art, music and culture throughout the region and the United States.
Continue reading “Bank’s Leader Bridges Culture, Finance Across Pacific”