Ideal Youth’s Working Concept: Training Teens in Job Skills

Photo courtesy Ideal Youth Ideal Youth students sit in on one of their many job-training sessions, meant to prepare them for the workforce.
Photo courtesy Ideal Youth
Ideal Youth students sit in on one of their many job-training sessions, meant to prepare them for the workforce.

Teenagers out hitting the pavement for their first job are often faced with the same conundrum: no experience, no job.
It’s an uphill battle, and one that students from lower-income families feel twofold — they desperately need extra income to offset personal expenses, yet they don’t have the connections with local business owners to help them clear the hurdle to clinch that first experience.
Ideal Youth set out to rectify that head-scratcher a decade ago, and the nonprofit organization has since tapped into a fountain of formidable youth for local hiring, serving nearly 4,500 students.
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Pasadena 100 Leads Charge on Use of Clean Energy in City

It’s no secret that California has become one of the nation’s leading states in the call to action on climate change, but in Pasadena, a small group has become a behind-the-scenes force for environmental consciousness in a city that also considers itself in the vanguard of efforts to leave a smaller carbon footprint.
Pasadena 100, an advocacy group pushing for Pasadena Water and Power to offer 100% renewable energy by 2035, believes the utility can ease the path by no longer renewing long-term fossil fuel contracts and also factor in the “social cost of carbon” — the total negative impact of fossil-fuel emissions on the planet, environment and health measured in dollars.
And though many praised Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent signing of a clean-energy bill — Senate Bill 100, which requires the state to source carbon-free utilities for electricity by 2045 — Pasadena 100 believes that it’s feasible to move away from “dirty fuel” even sooner. The city also has maintained it supports the idea, within the constraints of keeping costs low and the lights on, while trying to get the public utility’s energy as clean as possible.
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Operation Walk’s Global Work Puts Lives Back in Stride

The moment a physically disabled patient can stand and walk for the first time without pain is one that Dr. Lawrence Dorr never tires of witnessing.
As an international leader in the field of orthopedics, Dorr has sought to give that gift of mobility and hope to as many as possible, including those who otherwise would never be able to afford it, in some of the most remote places of the world. Through Operation Walk, Dorr found the vehicle that would take him around the globe and change lives — not just of those able to walk again, but of everyone who shares in the experience.

Photo courtesy Cohan Zarnoch
Dr. Lawrence Dorr, founder of Operation Walk, visits a patient after surgery in Arusha, Tanzania.

“The smiles that spread across their faces are something you never forget — their whole face just lights up,” said Dorr, who founded the organization in 1994 with just a small medical team to perform free knee and hip replacements. “For a person who goes from being completely dependent on others to having that independence again, it’s an incredibly uplifting thing.”
Now, Operation Walk has performed some 12,000 surgeries across 12 countries and has about 20 chapters across the U.S., and in Canada, Ireland and Greece. Continue reading “Operation Walk’s Global Work Puts Lives Back in Stride”

Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestrates Student Opportunities

Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony Association Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra is expanding programming for Pasadena Unified School District students this year.
Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony Association
Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra is expanding programming for Pasadena Unified School District students this year.

For any young musician who aspires to feel a part of the crashing crescendos of George Gershwin or Ludwig van Beethoven at a famous concert hall, the chances of doing so through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra just got a lot better.
The Pasadena Symphony Association’s PYSO is doubling down on its efforts to reach Pasadena Unified School District music students this school year, with help from a grant from the California Arts Commission. The PSA has broadened its partnership with PUSD, extending the Pasadena Symphony Teaching Artists program to additional school sites by doubling its roster of teachers, providing musical instruction to more than 200 students across the district. The program, launched in 2015 with the goal of offsetting budget cuts and condensed music instruction, offers free, supplemental instruction for grades 4-6 that aims to enhance the district’s music program.
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Innovate Pasadena Leads City’s Tech Cutting Edge

OUTLOOK photo Innovate Pasadena President Beth Kuchar and co-founder and Chairman Mike Giardello share the vision of Pasadena as a technological hub of the San Gabriel Valley.
OUTLOOK photo
Innovate Pasadena President Beth Kuchar and co-founder and Chairman Mike Giardello share the vision of Pasadena as a technological hub of the San Gabriel Valley.

If Innovate Pasadena were a business, it would be a startup company.
With Pasadena the backdrop to some of the nation’s leading science, research and design institutions, such as Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the ArtCenter College of Design, it seems the only fitting description for the nonprofit advocating for the city’s cutting-edge reputation. Continue reading “Innovate Pasadena Leads City’s Tech Cutting Edge”

Clergy Coalition Ministers to Public Needs, Bridges Divides

Clergy Community Coalition President Pastor Kerwin Manning and board member and past-President Pastor Jean Burch have worked to improve the quality of life for their Pasadena neighbors.
Clergy Community Coalition President Pastor Kerwin Manning and board member and past-President Pastor Jean Burch have worked to improve the quality of life for their Pasadena neighbors.

City of Roses, the Clergy Community Coalition wants you to know it’s got your back.
Whether it be for low-income housing, social justice, health or the public schools, the nonprofit organization made up of pastors from more than 30 local churches has worked to bridge the gap between the community, local government and police since 2005. It has formed a tightly-knit group of community partners with other nonprofits, the Police Department, school superintendent, city manager and state legislators. Continue reading “Clergy Coalition Ministers to Public Needs, Bridges Divides”

Campers With Challenges Get Skills to Handle Them

Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK Juliana Frias, head of the creative art department, and camper Mili happily make slime.
Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK
Juliana Frias, head of the creative art department, and camper Mili happily make slime.

For children deemed on the autism spectrum, with learning disabilities, developmental and behavioral difficulties or other vexing challenges, traditional summer camps may often not be an option.
But Professional Child Development Associates’ summer camp provides a fun and supportive environment for these children by ensuring that they have professional supervision and surroundings in which they can start building relationships and personal coping habits for some of the hurdles they face. PCDA, a nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, is a comprehensive group of child development specialists providing year-round services for children and families. Continue reading “Campers With Challenges Get Skills to Handle Them”

Cancer Society Honoree Can Tell Tale of Survival

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi (right), who has battled Stage 4 ovarian cancer, will be honored at the American Cancer Society’s San Gabriel Valley Hope Gala on Aug. 25. She is pictured with event chair Sindee Riboli.
Liz Rusnak Arizmendi (right), who has battled Stage 4 ovarian cancer, will be honored at the American Cancer Society’s San Gabriel Valley Hope Gala on Aug. 25. She is pictured with event chair Sindee Riboli.

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi is a force that not even cancer could overpower.
During her battle against Stage 4 ovarian cancer, Rusnak Arizmendi recalled, trying to trudge 100 feet to the dunes outside her family’s beach house in Ventura County “took everything out of me … to the point where I would have to collapse and sit there crying because I could barely walk.” Now, just 18 months later, she has recovered energetically, regularly jogging five miles along those dunes and working full time again as vice president of public relations at the family business, Rusnak Auto Group.
“I love having a smile on my face. I don’t know how to frown, I really don’t,” Rusnak Arizmendi said. Her positive attitude was a key factor in her vigorous fight against cancer and is now spurring her return to a healthy, cancer-free life. Continue reading “Cancer Society Honoree Can Tell Tale of Survival”

SKILLZ Keeps Summer School Cool, Engaging

Photo courtesy Flintridge Center Students at SKILLZ Summer School earn credit recovery and learn life lessons through the collaborative program organized by the nonprofit organizations Flintridge Center, Stars (formerly known as Lake Avenue Community Foundation) and Day One.
Photo courtesy Flintridge Center
Students at SKILLZ Summer School earn credit recovery and learn life
lessons through the collaborative program organized by the nonprofit organizations Flintridge Center, Stars (formerly known as Lake Avenue Community Foundation) and Day One.

Though summer school often implies relentless hours of absorbing an entire academic year of information in just a few weeks, a collaboration of Pasadena nonprofits has devised an effective mix of credit recovery, fun and life lessons to keep local kids focused and coming back for more. Continue reading “SKILLZ Keeps Summer School Cool, Engaging”

Teens Give Young Patients Rooms for Recovery

Photo courtesy Once Upon a Room A young patient shows off his superhero skills beside Thomas Gonzalez, a Pasadena resident who serves as Junior Room Crew treasurer, during one of the group’s recent room-decorating events.
Photo courtesy Once Upon a Room
A young patient shows off his superhero skills beside Thomas Gonzalez, a Pasadena resident who serves as Junior Room Crew treasurer, during one of the group’s recent room-decorating events.

Jenny Hull gathered 30 energized teens around her in the lobby of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital: “The most important thing today is that we have to be super, super quiet, OK? And really wash your hands as you go in and out.”
And with that, the teens in Junior Room Crew — many of them students at area schools, including St. Francis, Westridge, Mayfield Senior and Flintridge Sacred Heart — went to work transforming 24 hospital rooms from impersonal, cold spaces into personalized, colorful rooms incorporating the interests and tastes of the patients inhabiting them. Continue reading “Teens Give Young Patients Rooms for Recovery”