Westmoreland Meets Its Students’ Learning Challenges

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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

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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”

Local Resident Spearheads Fight Against Cancer as ACS Chairman

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American Cancer Society 2020 Board of Directors chair Jeffrey Kean (center) attends a recent ACS fundraising gala with Tyler Prime and family members Anne, Margaret and Lauren Kean.

Longtime Pasadena resident Jeffrey Kean is perhaps more acutely aware than most that cancer eventually touches virtually everyone, in one form or another. Continue reading “Local Resident Spearheads Fight Against Cancer as ACS Chairman”

It’s a Parade Do-Over for Cancer Survivor, Thanks to Nonprofit

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Foundation for Living Beauty members Anita Mendez and Gayle Michel, with Lt. Carolyn Gordon, helped organize a private parade for six-time cancer survivor Stacy Kimmel (top), who was slated to ride on the City of Hope float in the 2020 Rose Parade, but had to cancel due to illness.

The decorations and flowers from last week’s 131st Rose Parade had disappeared, but Stacy Kimmel could still feel the bands’ echoing drums and cheers from thousands accompanying her as she was led down Colorado Boulevard in her own procession on Monday, perched atop a shiny blue convertible and sporting a sash and crown fit for the Rose Queen. Continue reading “It’s a Parade Do-Over for Cancer Survivor, Thanks to Nonprofit”

Equine Therapy Gives Free Rein So Kids Can Heal

Photo courtesy MACH 1
The equine therapy nonprofit, Move A Child Higher, known as MACH 1, has given children like Chance, 12, the opportunity to ride horses as an invigorating form of physical therapy. Chance rides Will-o with the help of side-walker volunteers Amilia Kung and Tineke Crossland.

For anyone who must use a wheelchair or has limited physical mobility, the feeling of riding a horse might be akin to the experience of flying: Breathtaking, really, is how it’s described, those powerful strides suddenly moving your body by means of a warm and supple force that almost feels your own.
Joy Rittenhouse knew that the moment she felt it, some 40 years ago, she would never let it go. So Rittenhouse, who overcame polio, has dedicated her life’s work ever since to ensuring other children and adults with physical disabilities can catch a bit of that euphoria, too. And the adrenaline rush of riding a steed is just the icing: More and more research shows that horse riding — or equine therapy — is an effective form of physical strengthening of core muscles and balance.
For 24 years, Rittenhouse has provided that opportunity locally through the nonprofit organization she founded, Move A Child Higher, or MACH 1, so that anyone with disabilities can experience the joy of therapeutic horsemanship and a horseback riding program that offers equine-assisted activities. Continue reading “Equine Therapy Gives Free Rein So Kids Can Heal”

Tournament of Roses Preps for New Year’s Parade, Bowl Game

102nd Rose Queen Reflects on Her Reign of Honor

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2020 Tournament of Roses President Laura Farber crowns La Salle College Preparatory senior Camille Kennedy as the 102nd Rose Queen amid much fanfare at the Pasadena Playhouse in October.

It’s hard to believe for 102nd Rose Queen Camille Kennedy, but in less than a week, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, she’ll embark on a trip down Colorado Boulevard with the Royal Court for their greatest show yet at the 131st Rose Parade, waving to nearly 700,000 people and an estimated 65 million television viewers.
For the La Salle College Preparatory senior it’s been a journey: In a little more than two months, she and the six princesses have attended about 130 community and media functions, serving as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community and the Greater Los Angeles area.
“It’s been just a really incredible time, pretty crazy, but really, really great,” Kennedy mused from Tournament House. She’d just finished her semester finals at La Salle that day, and relief washed over her. Now she could focus on the grand finale and enjoying her last moments of the year with court members, with whom she’s grown very close. Continue reading “Tournament of Roses Preps for New Year’s Parade, Bowl Game”

Club 21 Celebrates Abilities, Inclusion of People With Down Syndrome

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Club 21 board President Eric Gray, Molly Litteken, Gabby Murdoch, board member Leslie Caldwell and Executive Director Nancy Litteken joined recently in the nonprofit’s monthly educational meet-up and Christmas fundraiser at Pasadena Covenant Church.

It appeared to be a Christmas party like any other, as Club 21’s recent celebration unfolded in the Pasadena Covenant Church amid festive decorations, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, the serving of hot chocolate and hot dogs, and a celebratory fundraiser offering a wide array of holiday gifts and crafts. Continue reading “Club 21 Celebrates Abilities, Inclusion of People With Down Syndrome”

At 100, Pasadena NAACP Takes Mission Into New Era

Photo by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK  NAACP Pasadena chapter former President Gary Moody (left) joined event co-chairs Juanita West Tillman and Tommy McMullins at the 31st annual Ruby McKnight Williams Awards Dinner in 2016. The branch is celebrating its centennial year.
Photo by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK
NAACP Pasadena chapter former President Gary Moody (left) joined event co-chairs Juanita West Tillman and Tommy McMullins at the 31st annual Ruby McKnight Williams Awards Dinner in 2016. The branch is celebrating its centennial year.

A lot may have changed outwardly in 100 years regarding civil rights for African-Americans and other minorities across the United States, but the NAACP Pasadena Branch is perhaps more acutely aware than anyone of the old adage “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Continue reading “At 100, Pasadena NAACP Takes Mission Into New Era”