When Rosa first came to Pacific Clinics for help, the young mother was at the lowest point in her life. A victim of domestic violence, she had finally made a terrifying decision: seek safety for herself and her baby boy, and, in doing so, leave financial security and a home behind.
She felt broken and depressed, and while living at a shelter, Rosa feared for her son’s future. When a contentious custody battle ensued, it tested every fiber of her self-worth and drove her to the brink when she temporarily lost her right to live with Jacob. Worse yet, the young boy had been traumatized, exhibiting behavioral and communication issues by the time she got him back. Continue reading “Pacific Clinics’ Head Start Combines Education, Mental Health Services”
She’s been dedicated to volunteerism at Huntington Hospital for 30 years, but Jaynie Studenmund recently saw the hospital through a more personal lens when her husband was admitted there three times in less than a month.
It’s an experience no one hopes to have, and thankfully, husband Woody is on the mend, but it’s given Studenmund a newfound respect for the institution, where she’s been a board member since 1998 and a “lifetime” trustee since 2011.
The experience helped bring home a message she’s long heard: Huntington’s medical staff really does make all the difference.
“An unintended consequence of spending so much time here has been seeing firsthand that our [E.R.] docs and nurses are pretty amazing. Our nurses have a level of dedication, warmth and expertise that is very heartwarming,” she said, noting that the medical staff gave her husband around-the-clock care, passing along vital information amid seamless shift changes. “I’m not an expert or a physician, and when you rely on the hospital to do its job … suddenly this is where rubber meets the road. Continue reading “Board Chair’s Loyalty to Huntington Hospital Is Professional, Personal”
Even bipartisan groups agree that health care is complicated, but a contingent of local students is keeping it simple at a grass-roots level, taking charge of their own care through a peer-to-peer education program at Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley.
Now in its fourth year, the nonprofit organization’s Peer Advocacy Program has reached youth across 16 school districts in the valley, teaching students how to become their own best advocates when it comes to access to reproductive health care. So far, 38 students have completed the program, but those kids have, in turn, touched a host of others at their schools by creating public service announcements and sharing brochures about the broad range of free services available at PPPSGV.
The program is growing quickly, with 25 students — the largest group ever — participating this year. Continue reading “Planned Parenthood Teaches Students to School Peers on Health Advocacy”
Gail Samuel has always loved being part of an orchestra. There was something poetic about all the small parts, each instrument and every chord, coming together and building the swell of the ensemble’s greater, symphonic whole.
But Samuel, an accomplished violinist and the daughter of two public high school music teachers, also knew that becoming a performing artist wasn’t her final goal: “I didn’t like spending that much time alone in a practice room,” the Pasadena resident recalled.
Now, however, in her fourth year as executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Samuel has found her stride in pushing forward the greater whole of one of the world’s premier orchestras. Her tenure at the L.A. Continue reading “Local Resident Instrumental in Advancing Philharmonic’s Diverse Goals”
At Young & Healthy’s recent annual dental clinic for school-age children, Dr. Sunny Fereshteh recognized a poised and confident patient from a few years back.
Three years ago, that same little girl had been terrified of the dentist — so much, in fact, that when Fereshteh turned around to take X-rays, she jumped out of the dental chair and took off.
“She booked it all the way down the street. I couldn’t believe it — we were like, wait, where did she go?” Fereshteh, director of the USC Mobile Dental Clinic, recalled. “Her front teeth needed a lot of work and she was so afraid.”
But this past month, Fereshteh said, that same little girl flashed a big smile, asking the staff to pay special attention to a back tooth. Continue reading “Young & Healthy Dental Clinics Give Kids Reason to Smile”
When 13-year-old David Ledden first came to the school at Villa Esperanza Services last year, he seemed a shell of a boy — withdrawn, guarded, refusing to make eye contact and barely speaking a word.
There were reasons, of course. He’d been homeless a good part of his young life, most recently living out of a truck in a Costco parking lot with his stepfather, rarely able to bathe and used to eating only about four different fast-food items. School attendance had been sporadic over the years. He read at a 1st-grade level.
But when a social worker reached out to Derrick Freeman, indicating the boy in need of help might be his biological son, David’s life took a rare and momentous upward turn. Continue reading “Villa Esperanza Commits Its Long-Term Care to Kids With Disabilities”
Throngs of bustling children arrived at Pasadena’s Police Activities League on a recent Friday after school, but then quickly dispersed, their backpacks lined up in an orderly fashion.
In order to play, they know, the homework has to be done first. It’s a rule any household might have trouble enforcing, but PAL’s police officers and youth advisers make the reward worth the wait. Carrying out a program that has been around for 24 years, they even manage it without eliciting any grumbling.
The kids are required to spend at least 30 minutes in the homework room, with the college-student youth advisers at the ready to help break down math problems or offer an essay prompt. But the advisers, 10 in all, are also there to talk about the day and listen to the kids. Continue reading “Kids Find PAL an After-School Friend to Count On”
Like many children in the foster care system, Tencha Nieves grew up in a lot of different places. She tries to remember them all, but having been in the system since she was 2, it’s hard. There was her grandma’s home, she recalls, then her aunt’s, but four children were a lot and that’s when the siblings were separated. Sometimes Nieves lived with her twin and another brother, but sometimes not. There were individual homes and there were group homes. There was the time when she thought everything was going OK with her foster guardian, but she came home from a barbecue and was told to pack her bag. That one still hurts. But all in all, Nieves, 22, who graduated from Pasadena High School, still has a positive outlook. Continue reading “Hathaway-Sycamores Helps Foster Youth Bloom Into Adulthood”
By most accounts, Bonnie Morrison was on track to live a pretty normal middle-class life in Pasadena. By middle age, she was married and had raised a family, gone back to school, finished her degrees and worked briefly in her field before trying to further her education even more. But a series of events interrupted that trajectory. She and her husband divorced, and Morrison, who had never paid bills before, suddenly struggled to make rent and keep up with details like insurance. She fought back depression. Then, her car collided with a Mack truck in a no-fault accident. She survived the crash but suffered an untreated head injury that heightened her depression and left her feeling isolated and incapacitated. Continue reading “Friends In Deed Hits the Streets to Fight Homelessness”
If there’s anything Fosselman’s Ice Cream Co. has proved in 100 years, it’s that when it comes to ice cream, the purest tried-and-true recipes of yesteryear still hit the sweet spot.
As one of the oldest continually-operating ice cream manufacturers in Southern California and the oldest business in Alhambra, Fosselman’s is celebrating its centennial this year old style — a lot of tradition mixed with a little newness. To kick off the year, the flagship ice cream parlor and production center at 1824 W. Main St. recently underwent a remodel to evoke the days of soda fountain shops, complete with an old-fashioned candy counter stocked with pastel salt water taffy, eye-popping swirled lollipops and jawbreakers almost the size of a child’s face.
And the ice cream? Well, that remains the same. The rich, creamy concoction still is mixed from a base of four simple ingredients, including 16% premium butterfat and a paradigm of pure essences and flavors, just as its founder, Christian Anthony (C.A.) Fosselman, intended all those years ago.
“Go big or go home — if you’re going to indulge, you’ve got to do it right,” said owner John Fosselman. “One of the things we’ve learned over the years is: Know your niche. We’ve always only made our ice cream with premium ingredients.”