Western Justice Breaks Barriers Teaching Conflict Resolution

Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK Western Justice Center Executive Director Judge Judith Chirlin is dedicated to programs teaching children conflict resolution to reduce bullying and anti-bias behavior.
Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK
Western Justice Center Executive Director Judge Judith Chirlin is dedicated to programs teaching children conflict resolution to reduce bullying and anti-bias behavior.

One of the first lessons Western Justice Center teaches is that with conflict, there is opportunity — a chance to break barriers, appreciate differences and raise awareness.
The nonprofit’s mission is to build a more civil, peaceful society by promoting differences and understanding in culture, race and class through creative programs that build skills in conflict resolution. And one of the best places to begin building, WJC has found, is from the ground up: in the schools.
“You can never eliminate conflict because conflict is a part of human nature, but teaching people how to manage and deal with conflict is essential to reaching peaceful resolution, whether it is in the courts, in schools or in the community,” said WJC Executive Director Judge Judith Chirlin.
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Royals Court Elizabeth House as Charity of Choice

Photo courtesy Janna Gould Rose Princess Sydney Pickering passes out candy canes to children at Elizabeth House’s recent alumni Christmas party.
Photo courtesy Janna Gould
Rose Princess Sydney Pickering passes out candy canes to children at Elizabeth House’s recent alumni Christmas party.

They may come from different walks of life, but the young women at Elizabeth House and the Tournament of Roses 2018 Royal Court have bonded recently in unexpected ways, eager to ask questions, learn from each other or just have a good giggle.
In its quest to realize this year’s theme of “making a difference” the Royal Court has begun a new tradition — selecting its own charity of choice. The court unanimously voted for Elizabeth House, a nonprofit that provides housing and support services for at-risk or homeless women who are pregnant.
“It was a group decision, but Elizabeth House was definitely the clear winner,” said Princess Lauren Buehner of Arcadia High School. “Once we all found out the mission of the charity and the incredible work they’ve been doing, everyone was on board.”
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Local Doctor Sends Healing Hearts Medical Care to Tijuana

Photo courtesy John Chaides Dr. John Rodarte attends to one of many babies he sees during the Healing Hearts Across Borders’ medical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
Photo courtesy John Chaides
Dr. John Rodarte attends to one of many babies he sees during the Healing Hearts Across Borders’ medical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.

When a pharmaceutical representative casually asked Pasadena pediatrician Dr. John Rodarte if he had any leftover medicine to donate to a clinic in Mexico, Rodarte pretty much stopped in his tracks: “Tell me more.”
Anyone who knows the Huntington Hospital’s department of pediatrics chair knows that meant Rodarte would be riding shotgun on the very next medical mission to Tijuana, Mexico. He had to see for himself the work being done by the late Dr. Kevin Lake, a Pasadena pulmonologist and founder of an informal group providing medical care just across the border in one of the poorest neighborhoods built around a former landfill, called simply “El Dumpe.” 
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‘Pups With a Purpose’ Need Holiday Foster Homes

Photo by Dan Vang / OUTLOOK Pasadena resident Gwen Whitson and her foster puppy, Serenity, have been a team since the yellow Labrador was just 7 weeks old. She’ll return Serenity to the Guide Dogs of America when she’s full-grown and ready to begin her guide dog training at the GDA’s Sylmar facility.
Photo by Dan Vang / OUTLOOK
Pasadena resident Gwen Whitson and her foster puppy, Serenity, have been a team since the
yellow Labrador was just 7 weeks old. She’ll return Serenity to the Guide Dogs of America when she’s full-grown and ready to begin her guide dog training at the GDA’s Sylmar facility.

With the holidays around the corner, Guide Dogs of America is urging Pasadena area residents to scratch an itch — the puppy itch, that is.
The nonprofit, which provides guide dogs to blind and visually impaired people across the U.S. and Canada free of charge, has several litters of puppies that will need to be placed with foster families through December and early January.
Foster families will raise the 8-week-old puppy for 18 months, socializing it as much as possible, and then return it to the Guide Dogs of America headquarters in Sylmar, where it will continue its education for six months to become a highly trained guide dog. At the end of its graduation, it will be placed with its new owner.
“If you ever dreamt of a puppy for Christmas, now is your chance to realize that dream while doing something meaningful for another person,” said Stephanie Colman, GDA’s puppy program coordinator, noting that they hope to place 60 guide dogs this year.
Fostering puppy owner and Pasadena resident Gwen Whitson said she highly recommends the experience.
Whitson adopted her yellow Labrador, Serenity, last December, and has since been on a running, nonstop puppy-training marathon. In her short life, Serenity has visited the Hollywood Bowl, a Dodgers game, Sunday church and countless other places. With a constant wagging tail and urge to smooch whatever her snout sniffs, Serenity’s silky blond coat and calm amber eyes have filled the puppy void in the Whitson’s lives.
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