After Closing Doors, Noor Offers Free Soup to Seniors

Photo courtesy Noor
Noor staff prepares the distribution of its free, community soup recently. The premier events site is giving away vegetarian, hearty soups every Friday from 3-5 p.m. until it can reopen.

There’s nothing quite like soup for the soul, and during time of quarantine and social isolation, that rings true more than ever, Noor owner Robert Shahnazarian and his wife, Maggie, discovered recently.
The owners of the Pasadena-based premier event and wedding venue were recently faced with the painful task of cancelling all planned celebrations at its site and shutting down operations amid the “Safer at Home” order put in place throughout L.A. County and city of Pasadena. Like many small businesses, Noor had to furlough or lay off some employees until further notice, and that act cut deep.
They still had a large order of food perishables for an upcoming, event-filled weekend — before having to shutter its doors — and Shahnazarian eyed the remainder of his dejected staff, standing idly by. He had heard that seniors in the community, already challenged by isolation, were suffering further from food insecurity and social distancing measures, and not able to find what they needed at the grocers due to the massive hoarding seen the first few weeks of COVID-19 fears.
Continue reading “After Closing Doors, Noor Offers Free Soup to Seniors”

Officials Brace for Possible COVID-19 Spike, Discuss Care Site Options

Photo by Mitch Lehman / Outlook
Pasadena’s Eaton Canyon Nature Center reported sizable crowds after government announcements directed people to stay home because of coronavirus concerns, but reminding them they could get out and walk.
As of Tuesday, local parks and trails remained open, although nearby cities announced closures due to overcrowding.

As occurrences of the coronavirus surged in Los Angeles County and California this week, local officials announced a doubling of Pasadena cases and expectations of a further increase, and said they are seeking alternate care sites should the patient load outpace the availability of beds as the health crisis worsens.
Huntington Hospital and the city are collaborating with local public health departments, as well as other hospitals, to identify possible sites to treat and quarantine patients, much like the county’s arrangement to use the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona should the local health care system become overwhelmed.
Continue reading “Officials Brace for Possible COVID-19 Spike, Discuss Care Site Options”

It’s Armory’s Nature to Mix Arts, Environmental Education

Photo courtesy Armory Center for the Arts
A PUSD 4th-grader studiously creates an image of what she has found along the trail during an Armory Center for the Arts field trip — part of the center’s Children Investigate the Environment program, a flagship partnership that has helped create environmentally conscious residents for 34 years.

On a crisp winter morning, Longfellow Elementary School student Milan Tate extended her hand, palm down, to gently sweep the overgrown buckwheat teasing the trail along the Lower Arroyo Seco as she followed her classmates — a surprisingly silent contingent of 10-year-olds — on a field trip with the Armory Center for the Arts. Continue reading “It’s Armory’s Nature to Mix Arts, Environmental Education”

Humane Society Fosters New Ways to Match People, Pooches

Photo courtesy William Kidston
Dia DuVernet, pictured with her dog Sueshi, joined the Pasadena Humane Society as president/CEO in June and plans to lead the nonprofit, founded in 1903, to the next level in animal welfare.

For families who’ve never taken the plunge, the idea of adopting an unknown shelter dog — with unknown experiences and behaviors — can be so nerve wracking that some simply go the puppy route, believing success will more likely result from raising a canine from scratch.
Well, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA has a new plan for nervous, potential new parents, giving them one more reason to consider adopting a four-legged forever friend from the preeminent animal welfare organization in the San Gabriel Valley and help save one of the thousands of homeless creatures that pass through its doors each year.
And if you’re not prepared to take on the responsibilities of a full-time dog owner, that’s OK, too. There’s still a way to enjoy the company of a furry companion and give a homeless dog a break from the stressful shelter environment.
The new sleepover program, in which volunteers take a dog home for two nights or more, has become a resounding success for families and pooches alike. Continue reading “Humane Society Fosters New Ways to Match People, Pooches”

CEO’s Talents Find Expression at Inner-City Arts School

Inner-City Arts President and CEO Bob Smiland has taken arts education for L.A. public school students to new heights, fundraising about 95% of the school’s $5 million budget.

It might appear to be out of place, the gleaming-white art school nestled in the heart of skid row and its ever-growing population. Nevertheless, Inner-City Arts has been a beacon of light for up to 10,000 children who pass through its wrought-iron gates each year, offering students from urban public schools the chance to explore their potential — and possible careers — through the arts, learning from top-notch professionals along the way. Continue reading “CEO’s Talents Find Expression at Inner-City Arts School”

Las Madrinas Debutantes

Photo courtesy Nick Boswell
Local residents Caroline Finnegan, Kristina Turicchi, Betsy Foker, Caroline Tilton, Ellie Watkins, Michaela Gallo, Chloe Baker, Brooke Snaer and Katrina Pyle were recently honored for their service to the Southern California community and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at the Las Madrinas Ball.

Las Madrinas honored 26 families and their daughters for their service to the Southern California community and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at the Las Madrinas Ball held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during the holiday season. More than 800 guests from the Greater Los Angeles area and beyond gathered to celebrate with the members of Las Madrinas. Continue reading “Las Madrinas Debutantes”

Westmoreland Meets Its Students’ Learning Challenges

Westmoreland Academy Education Director Nicholas Pinto and Shawn Prokopec, managing director of the nonprofit Institute for the Redesign of Learning, are helping to bring cutting-edge technology and a research-based, specialized curriculum to students with autism spectrum disorders.

Scott and Maggie Jurgensen can recall the exact moment they realized that their daughter, Isabella, was in love with her new school, Pasadena’s Westmoreland Academy, owned by the Institute for the Redesign of Learning nonprofit organization. Continue reading “Westmoreland Meets Its Students’ Learning Challenges”

Villa Esperanza Works to Find Jobs for Special-Needs Adults

Villa Esperanza Services program supervisor Perla Moran (left) has helped Danny Chan find new purpose and confidence through his job at the Huntington Library’s noodle house, with support and advocacy from Villa staff and CEO Kelly White.

Before coming to Villa Esperanza Services, Danny Chan didn’t think he could ever work, feel smart or appreciated, or make good friends.
But Chan, 40, has learned this past year that anyone, at any age, can begin a new chapter. Continue reading “Villa Esperanza Works to Find Jobs for Special-Needs Adults”

King, Who Galvanized Playhouse, to Be Honored at March Gala

Brad and Pam KingBy all accounts, Pasadena Playhouse board member Brad King has been an invigorating force for the centenarian institution as it moves forward following a period of financial difficulty.
Between leading the search that ultimately landed Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman and putting up the initial donation that spurred a multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign, King has distinguished himself as a monumental part of the theater’s resurgence, Playhouse officials say. So it seems appropriate that those officials selected him to receive the inaugural Gilmor Brown Award — named for the Playhouse’s founding director — at the theater’s gala in March. Continue reading “King, Who Galvanized Playhouse, to Be Honored at March Gala”

Helping Exploited Teens, Foundation Lives Up to Its Name

Photo courtesy Give-Mentor-Love
The Give-Mentor-Love Foundation is expanding its dedication to help young women recover from sexual and physical abuse through positive mentorship and fun activities. The nonprofit’s board includes (from left) Aline Bakewell, vice president; Julie Dell’Aquila Hernandez, secretary; Donna Pierson, founder and chairwoman; Natalie Friberg, treasurer; and Ginger Umutyan, events director.

For the past nine years, the Give-Mentor-Love Foundation volunteers have filed into the Pasadena Victor Treatment Centers weekly to provide the girls living at the specialized-care facility with a welcome gift or an art class, an experience such as high tea or a life skill like sewing. Continue reading “Helping Exploited Teens, Foundation Lives Up to Its Name”