Convalescent Aid Society Gives New Life, Independence

OUTLOOK photo Convalescent Aid Society’s program manager Rex Asucan prepares a wheelchair for one of the group’s 27,000 current clients. Asucan has worked at CAS for 15 years and helps facilitate the daily operations and deliveries of the free, loaned medical equipment.
OUTLOOK photo
Convalescent Aid Society’s program manager Rex Asucan prepares a wheelchair for one of the group’s 27,000 current clients. Asucan has worked at CAS for 15 years and helps facilitate the daily operations and deliveries of the free, loaned medical equipment.

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 barely squeeze into his childhood wheelchair, which was hurting his fragile frame.
Continue reading “Convalescent Aid Society Gives New Life, Independence”

Realtors’ Books Drive Kids’ Summer Reading Success

Photo courtesy Pasadena Unified School District Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek reads at Hamilton Elementary School at last spring’s Realtors Read Across PASadena event.
Photo courtesy Pasadena Unified School District
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek reads at Hamilton Elementary School at last spring’s Realtors Read Across PASadena event.

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”

Friends in Deed Food Pantry Feeds Hungry, Gives Dignity

Photo by Camila Castellanos
Photo by Camila Castellanos

“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”

Bank’s Leader Bridges Culture, Finance Across Pacific

Photo courtesy East West Bank Dominic Ng has served as East West Bank’s chairman and CEO for 25 years, helping it expand to more than 130 locations across the U.S. and China and ranking among the 30 largest banks in the nation.
Photo courtesy East West Bank
Dominic Ng has served as East West Bank’s chairman and CEO for 25 years, helping it expand to more than 130 locations across the U.S. and China and ranking among the 30 largest banks in the nation.

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.
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Pasadena Duo Teaches Retirement Challenges, Joys

Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran
Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran

Life after retirement may seem a distant future filled with leisurely walks, sunsets and golf rounds, but the realization of the golden years also can be a rocky path of uncertain economic stability and feelings of futility, say those who have forged the path previously.
What should be years of joy and tranquility — oftentimes for married couples, in particular — also can morph into depression that comes with loss of purpose, changing roles and fear of change.
Those fears are what brought financial planner Mitchell Kauffman and his wife and partner, Joanne Moran, a clinical psychologist, to work together, creating workshops to help others manage the financial and emotional challenges for a successful retirement. Continue reading “Pasadena Duo Teaches Retirement Challenges, Joys”

NCL Mothers, Daughters Bond Through Community Service

Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto National Charity League’s Pasadena Area Chapter Ticktockers were honored at the group’s 20th annual Installation and Recognition Tea recently, including the Hourglass Award recipients — girls who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours at multiple local nonprofits — including (front row, from left) Mia Pippert, Sarah Smith, Greta Coontz, Rebecca Daley, Sarah Montgomery, Emily Gray, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Meghan Sullivan and Lauren Tapert. Back: Claire Villegas, Harrisan Smyser, Margaret Hornberger, Caroline Nowak, Camille Burton, Emma Dillion, Emeline Tolleson, Catherine Sanchez, Yumi Balthazar, Kristen McCann, Emily Hornberger, Sarah Ryan, Alexandra Lewis, Taryn Kim, Eva Rodriguez and Mary-Katherine Seley. (Not pictured: Elise Desjarlais, Caroline Diehl, Juliana Fong, Riley Frey, Lauren Goedde, Emma Guevara, Eleanor Holdsworth, Madison Jaffrey, Sarah Johnson, Kyla Kikkawa, Kaley Penichet-Khaw, Katie Pieschala, Cameron Smith and Katrina Torrealba.)
Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto
National Charity League’s Pasadena Area Chapter Ticktockers were honored at the group’s 20th annual Installation and Recognition Tea recently, including the Hourglass Award recipients — girls who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours at multiple local nonprofits — including (front row, from left) Mia Pippert, Sarah Smith, Greta Coontz, Rebecca Daley, Sarah Montgomery, Emily Gray, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Meghan Sullivan and Lauren Tapert. Back: Claire Villegas, Harrisan Smyser, Margaret Hornberger, Caroline Nowak, Camille Burton, Emma Dillion, Emeline Tolleson, Catherine Sanchez, Yumi Balthazar, Kristen McCann, Emily Hornberger, Sarah Ryan, Alexandra Lewis, Taryn Kim, Eva Rodriguez and Mary-Katherine Seley. (Not pictured: Elise Desjarlais, Caroline Diehl, Juliana Fong, Riley Frey, Lauren Goedde, Emma Guevara, Eleanor Holdsworth, Madison Jaffrey, Sarah Johnson, Kyla Kikkawa, Kaley Penichet-Khaw, Katie Pieschala, Cameron Smith and Katrina Torrealba.)

They say a daughter is a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.
But before that happens, little girls pass through, as moms know best, what might be called some “trying moments.” Continue reading “NCL Mothers, Daughters Bond Through Community Service”

El Portal Clients, Staff Are All in the Family

Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK Abel Ramirez (right) and his son Armando, who have 22 years of experience providing specialty Yucatan dishes as El Portal restaurant’s co-owners, will celebrate Abel’s 75th birthday on Friday with appetizers, tequila and rum tasting.
Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK
Abel Ramirez (right) and his son Armando, who have 22 years of experience providing specialty Yucatan dishes as El Portal restaurant’s co-owners, will celebrate Abel’s 75th birthday on Friday with appetizers, tequila and rum tasting.

Retirement agrees with El Portal owner and Pasadena mainstay Abel Ramirez. Well, kind of.

The restauranteur has been “practicing retirement” for two years now, but most days, you’ll still find him at the Mexican and Yucatan specialty restaurant.

“I’m still having fun with the businesses,” said Abel who turns 75 this week. “There are still a lot of risks and stresses, but what keeps me sane is that I have fun with it. Everybody should do what they love.” Continue reading “El Portal Clients, Staff Are All in the Family”

Senior Girls Delight, Twirl at Prom Dress Giveaway

OUTLOOK photo Tasha Gist, a 17-year-old senior from Pasadena’s Blair High School, tries on high heels with the help of Dea Wilkerson, a Walter Hoving Home “personal shopper” volunteer, at the Salvation Army’s annual Prom Dress Giveaway.
OUTLOOK photo
Tasha Gist, a 17-year-old senior from Pasadena’s Blair High School, tries on high heels with the help of Dea Wilkerson, a Walter Hoving Home “personal shopper” volunteer, at the Salvation Army’s annual Prom Dress Giveaway.

A fairy godmother waved her wand recently over 60 teenage girls preparing for their spring prom at Pasadena Salvation
Army’s eighth annual Prom Dress Giveaway.
Clad in cut-off jean shorts, sneakers and ponytails, the young women filed in early, the birds still chirping, giggling excitedly among their friends, moms and guardians. Continue reading “Senior Girls Delight, Twirl at Prom Dress Giveaway”

Pasadena Woman to Be Honored at Cancer Support Gala

CaptureLiz Rusnak Arizmendi
CaptureLiz Rusnak Arizmendi

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi is a lot of things to a lot of people.
She is Rusnak Auto Group’s vice president of public relations, philanthropist, athlete, mother extraordinaire, wife and partner to a high school sweetheart, loyal daughter, sister and friend.
Now, she is also a cancer warrior.
It’s not a title the former competitive water skier ever expected to hang from her hat, but one Rusnak Arizmendi embraces like almost everything: Full speed ahead. Continue reading “Pasadena Woman to Be Honored at Cancer Support Gala”

Pasadena Heritage Remains Faithful to Historic Homes

OUTLOOK photo The Pasadena Heritage Board members gathered on Castle Green’s grand staircase at its recent annual meeting. Members include Matthew Berkley (front row, from left), Daniel Estrada, Brian Baker, Lucinda Over, Claire Bogaard and Ethan Lipsig. Back: John Williams, Tom Seifert, Norm Dupon and Jim Hart.
OUTLOOK photo
The Pasadena Heritage Board members gathered on Castle Green’s grand staircase at its recent annual meeting. Members include Matthew Berkley (front row, from left), Daniel Estrada, Brian Baker, Lucinda Over, Claire Bogaard and Ethan Lipsig. Back: John Williams, Tom Seifert, Norm Dupon and Jim Hart.

It’s hard to imagine the city of Pasadena without its rustic brick facades, historic alleyways and tree-lined streets of tucked-in craftsman bungalows, but those details might well have been paved over if it weren’t for Pasadena Heritage fighting passionately to preserve the past for 40 years. Continue reading “Pasadena Heritage Remains Faithful to Historic Homes”