Stars Guides At-Risk Youth to Shining Success

Stars nonprofit organization seeks to curb high school dropout rates and help students thrive by supporting local, low-income youth with a multitude of supportive services and after-school and summer enrichment programs.
Photo courtesy Stars
Stars nonprofit organization seeks to curb high school dropout rates and help students thrive by supporting local, low-income youth with a multitude of supportive services and after-school and summer enrichment programs.

They say a child can never be loved too much, and the Stars nonprofit organization is out to prove it.
Using the “it takes a village” mantra, Stars has created a community of caring adults to support vulnerable youth and their families in Pasadena, providing tangible tools to help them thrive academically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. Continue reading “Stars Guides At-Risk Youth to Shining Success”

Kidspace Museum Celebrates 40 Years

Kidspace Children’s Museum
Photos by Christian Leonard / OUTLOOK
Anima Murade, 6, experienced firsthand Kidspace Children’s Museum’s recent bubble week, part of the “40 Days of Fun!” program held to celebrate the non-profit’s 40th anniversary.

By Christian Leonard
The Outlook


When Anne McCurdy first took her children to Kidspace about 35 years ago, the Pasadena children’s museum was located in the McKinley School gym. It was a fun experience — McCurdy recalled that her youngsters’ curiosity was piqued by an ant farm — but the museum’s power to fascinate was somewhat affected by its size, a mere 13,500 square feet.
This summer, Anne and daughter Kelly McCurdy returned to Kidspace at an eventful time for the institution that strives to entertain while it educates. Just as Kelly has grown up — she watched her own daughters spend a recent morning in the museum courtyard, chasing bubbles — so, too, has the museum. Continue reading “Kidspace Museum Celebrates 40 Years”

PCDA Helps Nurture Children Who Have Feeding Challenges

By Christian Leonard
The Outlook


Tellis King
Photos by Christian Leonard / OUTLOOK
Though Tellis King’s Down syndrome and dysphagia have resulted in his having trouble drinking thin liquids, he enjoys mixing applesauce and pureed berries to create a more agreeable concoction.

Tellis King, 5, wanted Julie Miller to sing.
She’d already crooned the familiar tune a few minutes earlier, but Miller didn’t protest. Tellis watched as Miller swirled her plastic spoon in the concoction they’d prepared together — pureed strawberries and blueberries with applesauce — and whispered the simple melody:
“Stirring, stirring, stirring the applesauce. Round and round and round and round, now it’s time to eat.”
Miller, of Professional Child Development Associates, lifted her spoon to her mouth, watching Tellis to see if he would emulate her movements. After sticking out his tongue and stirring the mixture some more, he did. Applesauce is a favorite food of his — he asked about it while he and Miller were pureeing the fruits.
And finding the right consistency of such nourishment is a matter of no small impact for a child like Tellis. The little boy, who has Down syndrome, has trouble swallowing liquids, especially thin liquids. Continue reading “PCDA Helps Nurture Children Who Have Feeding Challenges”

Shepherd’s Door Opens a Path to Breaking Domestic Violence’s Grip

Shepherd’s Door
Photo courtesy Shepherd’s Door
Shepherd’s Door has helped thousands of individuals and families affected by domestic violence over the years, with the help of volunteers such as Brenda Sharp, President Tunisia Offray and Executive Director Linda Offray.

She came from a loving and supportive family, but Tunisia Offray was like a lot of teenagers at 16 — shy, some low self-esteem, longing to fit in at high school.
So when Offray became enamored with a popular, charismatic young man, she didn’t recognize when the sweet relationship changed into one of control and manipulation, a form of teenage dating violence that took her nearly four years to escape and left trauma in its wake. Continue reading “Shepherd’s Door Opens a Path to Breaking Domestic Violence’s Grip”

At A Noise Within, Shakespeare Camp Reaches Kids at Early Stage

Students of the recent “Summer With Shakespeare” acting camp
Photo by Christian Leonard / OUTLOOK
Students of the recent “Summer With Shakespeare” acting camp at A Noise Within learned, among other skills, how to move expressively and artfully around the stage.

By Christian Leonard
The Outlook


A star actress. A famous singer. A leading inventor. A noted artist. An important scientist. An outstanding dancer.
Most would be ecstatic to become only one of these. But Molly Morris , 8, said it’s her dream to be all of them. She believes A Noise Within’s “Summer With Shakespeare” acting camp is helping her realize that dream.
“They combined everything I love into games and fun, so I really love this camp and it’s just right for me,” Molly said. Continue reading “At A Noise Within, Shakespeare Camp Reaches Kids at Early Stage”

Local Teenager Launches Fundraiser for School in Need

By Christian Leonard
The Outlook


Adrienne Usher stands with Divine Saviour School Principal Armando Carvalho
Photo courtesy Steve Usher
Adrienne Usher stands with Divine Saviour School Principal Armando Carvalho, whom she met with this summer to discuss launching a $25,000 GoFundMe fundraiser for the school.

When Adrienne Usher, 14, toured Divine Saviour School in Los Angeles earlier this summer, the first thing she noticed was how small it was.
Then she realized how big an impact she could have.
Adrienne, a Pasadena resident and the youngest of her sophomore class at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, knew at the beginning of the summer that she wanted to do something special with her time off. That “something” proved to be a GoFundMe fundraiser, titled “Dollars for Divine,” seeking to collect $25,000 for the private Catholic school by the end of August.
“I thought, ‘I want to give back to my community. That could be a way to do it,’ but once I actually went to the school, I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is definitely what I want to do. I want to help give these kids an opportunity,’” Adrienne said. “It would make my month — or my year.” Continue reading “Local Teenager Launches Fundraiser for School in Need”

Local Women Leaders Take Rose Bowl Stage to Share, Inspire

Aon Global Executive Vice President Lisa Stevens, former Olympian and  Basketball Hall of Fame member Ann Meyers Drysdale, Dr. Lilly Lee and Angela Miller
Photo courtesy Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation
Aon Global Executive Vice President Lisa Stevens, former Olympian and
Basketball Hall of Fame member Ann Meyers Drysdale, Dr. Lilly Lee and Angela Miller volunteered to share experiences and words of wisdom at the Rose Bowl Women’s Empowerment Symposium.

Facing fears, confronting naysayers and seizing opportunities, as well as harboring doubts and insecurities about self-worth and appearance, were just a few of the enlightening and intimate experiences nearly 40 top women industry leaders shared recently with about 100 young female students at the Rose Bowl Women’s Empowerment Symposium. Continue reading “Local Women Leaders Take Rose Bowl Stage to Share, Inspire”

Rose Bowl Dedicates Statue Honoring ‘99 Women’s Soccer Champs

Brandi Chastain
Photo courtesy Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation
U.S. 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team member Brandi Chastain poses with the commemorative statue unveiled last week at the Rose Bowl Stadium, which pays tribute to the “99ers” team and all it did for women’s sports.

It was the kick felt around the world for women’s sports, and now, the momentous occasion of soccer legend Brandi Chastain celebrating the winning goal for the United States’ 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team has been immortalized on the green expanse near the Rose Bowl Stadium entrance with a life-like bronze statue. Continue reading “Rose Bowl Dedicates Statue Honoring ‘99 Women’s Soccer Champs”

Salvation Army, Hoping to Widen Reach, Seeks Expanded Facility

Salvation Army social services assistant Dorothy Outley, Capt. Terry Masango and volunteer Georgia Law
OUTLOOK photo
Salvation Army social services assistant Dorothy Outley, Capt. Terry Masango and volunteer Georgia Law work hard daily to put the food pantry in order. They hope to create a bigger and better operation going forward.

The Pasadena Salvation Army Tabernacle Corps may be just one of the international faith-based organization’s 56 social service agencies throughout Southern California, but to Capt. Terry Masango there is a unique urgency to its local mission.
Masango is betting big on Pasadena, eager to serve the community in which he lives and meet an ever-growing need, one that he has seen explode in the past four years as leader of the local center. He and the agency’s California division are exploring the possibility of expanding the facility’s campus at 960 E. Walnut St. to double the number of families and individuals they serve through food assistance, after-school programs, case management, weekly meals, recovery assistance, homeless services and myriad other social services. Continue reading “Salvation Army, Hoping to Widen Reach, Seeks Expanded Facility”

Pasadena Heritage Director Advances City’s Self-Preservation

resident/CEO Jennifer DeVoll and Executive Director Sue Mossman
Photo by Melissa Kobe / OUTLOOK
Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman (right), who will be honored for 40 years of service on July 13 at Castle Green, is pictured with Pasadena Community Foundation President/CEO Jennifer DeVoll.

It’s hard to imagine a Pasadena without the Colorado Street Bridge, stately City Hall, renowned Greene & Greene homes or the turn-of-the-century, red brick landmark buildings that, united, make up historic Old Town, widely seen as an enviable example of urban revitalization across the nation.
Yet the loss of such assets is nearly what happened back in the 1970s, and many times since, before Pasadena Heritage rose to protect some of the city’s most iconic and idyllic structures, buildings, grassy knolls and everything in between. For 42 years and counting, the nonprofit organization has worked diligently — sometimes loudly and visibly, other times quietly, behind the scenes — to protect the city’s historic resources and strengthen policy to foster preservation, resulting in a beautiful place to live. Continue reading “Pasadena Heritage Director Advances City’s Self-Preservation”