Leadership Burbank Sharpens Focus to Fit the Times

Photo courtesy Leadership Burbank
Members of Leadership Burbank’s class of 2019 hold placards at graduation. The program’s alumni have included city officials, Burbank Unified School District administrators and local business executives.

Leadership Burbank’s class of 2020 had almost made it to the finish line when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Class members crossed it anyway.

Participants in the local program, which provides leadership training and a behind-the-scenes look at city, nonprofit, school and business organizations, select a project every year to complete before the nine-month course ends in May. The class of 2020 — the most recent group, since the pandemic put the program on hiatus for a year — wanted to perform renovations for BCR: A Place to Grow, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults who have developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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Boys & Girls Club Welcomes Supporters To New Facility

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
State Sen. Anthony Portantino was welcomed to the Boys & Girls Club’s new home by Shanna Warren and Paul Herman.

Back in the mid-1990s, a small group of residents that included former City Councilmember Tim Murphy, the late Elizabeth “Liz” Shapiro and former Mayor Dave Golonski’s late wife Barbara Sykes began discussing the possibility of bringing a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club to Burbank.
In 1995, by virtue of the dedicated work of this group, the city of Burbank provided a shuttered firehouse to serve as the home for the new club.

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At Last, Community Gardens Project Takes Root Today

After more than a decade of discussion and false starts, two empty sites in Burbank are showing early signs of blooming into community gardens, with a nonprofit holding a public planning meeting this morning.

The Los Angeles Community Garden Council is hosting the kickoff event from 9-11 a.m. at 3705 W. Clark Ave. There, council representatives will explain plans for cultivating that site, as well as one at 1141 N. Pass Ave., into community spaces at which residents will be able to rent plots to grow crops, flowers and other plants.

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City Awards Funds for Nonprofits, Homelessness

A line of people stand for the Burbank Temporary Aid Center food bank line
The City Council allocated $28,000 in federal funds to the Burbank Temporary Aid Center and several other local nonprofits this week. BTAC said it plans to use the money to provide rental assistance and bolster its food bank (above). Photo courtesy Burbank Temporary Aid Center

The city of Burbank recently designated more than $1.1 million in federal funds for several local nonprofits along with one of its own departments that is tasked with addressing homelessness.

The federal government provides Community Development Block Grant funds annually to cities, which then distribute the money to organizations serving low-income populations. On Tuesday, the City Council gave those funds to programs and initiatives for next fiscal year, including homeless prevention, health services and after-school activities.

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Physicians’ Sweethearts Scholarship Benefit Brunch

Physicians gathered with their Greater Pasadena Alliance for Medicine (GPAM) sweethearts for a traditional medical student scholarship benefit in early March, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic essentially canceled most gatherings. Sixty turned out to enjoy camaraderie, fine food and a talented guitarist at the annual event hosted by GPAM, an all-volunteer, independent nonprofit organization.
Dr. Paul Gilbert, serving as the emcee, thanked President Halaine Rose and the event team of Joanne and Gordon Sasaki, Vivien Stanley and Bill Foran, Cindy Gilbert, Debra Fallon, Jan Moritz and Faye Eggerding.
Gilbert and Rose presented a segment honoring the memory of neurosurgeon William Caton, who was an ardent champion of GPAM sweethearts partnering with and supporting physicians, the medical family, and health education. Dr. Amy Caton Polverini, the daughter of honoree William and Cathy, and husband Lance were present. Continue reading “Physicians’ Sweethearts Scholarship Benefit Brunch”

Five Acres Announces New Chief Administrative Officer

Kim Warneke

Five Acres, a foster/adoption, residential and community-based mental/behavioral health nonprofit organization, announced Kim Warneke as its chief administrative officer.
Having joined as Five Acres’ director of training and organizational development in January 2019, Warneke was promoted to lead the human resources and training functions responsible for HR operations, including employee relations, talent acquisition, organizational design, leadership development, training compliance and culture development. Continue reading “Five Acres Announces New Chief Administrative Officer”

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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