One Family’s Journey Out of Homelessness

Sacramento County Media  |  2017-08-15

Jessica Hodges smiles in front of her place of employment. Photo courtesy Sacramento County Media

​​Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - The path to self-s​ufficiency was not an easy or quick road. B​​ut today, Jessica Hodges, her husband, and their three children (ages six, eight and 10) are living the life they dreamed of, thanks to the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, the Mustard Seed School and Mary House​.

Three years ago, their youngest child developed a cough that required two surgeries and resulted in scarred lungs.  Upon discovering that the cause was mold inside the walls, the family moved out of their apartment in a hurry.  This sudden move impacted their credit, which ultimately prevented them from finding permanent housing.  And, because the mold had contaminated all of their belongings—including clothes, photos and furniture—everything had to be abandoned.    

Around the same time, Jessica graduated from Kaplan College but was laid off from her job as a medical assistant for a local doctor.  

Jessica expressed her dismay at her living conditions and at the circular challenges—securing a job without a permanent address was an uphill battle, while finding a home without a job and with damaged credit was nearly impossible.

County Director of the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) Ann Edwards, confirmed the currently rental housing landscape is bleak for struggling families. Low vacancy rates and escalating rents - far above what many residents can afford, make finding housing difficult.

In November, County DHA Social Worker Samantha Sween partnered with Mustard Seed School Director Casey Knittel to stabilize the Hodges and to develop a plan. 

As the children attended the Mustard Seed School, County DHA staff and Mary House staff were assisting the family with services and supplies. 

The group effort paid off a few days before Christmas.  After three long years of sleeping on couches, in hotels and in their van, the Hodges—with only sleeping bags and pillows—finally moved into an apartment where they could start over. 

Much to their surprise, staff from the Mustard Seed School brought gifts for the children, ranging from clothes to iPads.  

“We didn’t have any furniture,” Jessica expressed with a smile, “But it was the most touching Christmas ever because I did not have anything to give them [until these gifts arrived]. They even brought a Christmas tree.” 

In March, bolstered by her degree, Jessica was hired by SMPP Rehab as a Medical Office Specialist. Her husband is attending school to develop new skills while caring for their children.  

Their three children miss their teachers and friends at Mustard Seed School, but are grateful they no longer need the assistance and for the first time in years, the family is doing great.​

Find out more about assistance programs available through the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance.

To apply for medical, food and cash assistance programs online please visit CalWIN.

Source: Sacramento County Media

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Student Exchange Seeks Host Families for School Year

By Sheryl Longsworth  |  2017-08-08

You can host an Exchange Student! Photo courtesy NorthWest Student Exchange

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Responsible parents looking for ways to supplement the educational and personal growth opportunities for their children should consider hosting a teenage exchange student for an academic semester or year.  Children and adults alike, by interacting on a daily basis with a new, international family member, broaden their perspective on the world and discover new facts and ideas.  

NorthWest Student Exchange places international high school students with families all over the country, including here in our community.  Exchange students add a dimension to the family dynamic that cannot be achieved in any other way.  The benefits to the exchange student are perhaps obvious:  honing their English language skills; learning about the educational system in this country; understanding U.S. social, political, and cultural values; establishing international friendships.  Benefits to the hosts are similar:  Not only can host families learn about another culture and its values; they can view the U.S. through another’s eyes, and thereby gain a broader understanding of our own country.

And families do not need to have children at home to host!  Many childless couples, empty nesters, and single-parent families have enjoyed exchange students. NWSE places students from dozens of countries who have varied interests. I will do my best to match a student to your family’s lifestyle and interests.

Those who cannot host can earn financial incentives for referring to us families who do host. While host families are not compensated for hosting, tax deductions may be available. Check with your tax preparer.

NWSE exchange students are closely screened for appropriate motivation, academic and language skills; our students have solid emotional and practical support from NWSE professional partners abroad, and from the students’ natural parents in their own countries.  Our students come with their own spending money and health and accident insurance.  NWSE local Academic Coordinators recruit, screen and orient local host families and provide close support throughout the program.

My family has personally hosted students from France and China and we keep in touch with every student even years later! While they stayed with us, they shared games they play with us and cooked their favorite meals for my family. We also have been invited to stay at their family’s homes when we go to their country. One of our French students even calls me his “American Mom.”

It’s easy to get more information about hosting. Potential hosts can call me, Sheryl Longsworth, Area Coordinator at 916-833-1218 or sheryl6663@yahoo.com; or by contacting NWSE at 877-850-3312 or info@nwse.com.  Or, you can visit the NWSE web page at https://www.nwse.com and click on Host an Exchange Student.  Student placements for the fall must be made before 8/31/17. Spring semester-only placements will be available towards the end of this year.

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Robinson’s Announces National Champions

By Rick Reed  |  2017-08-08

Sacramento’s Black Belt Gold Medalist Phillip El Chemali on the mat in Detroit at the USAT Nationals.  Photo courtesy Robinson’s Taekwondo.

Five National Champions Bring Gold, Silver and Bronze to Sacramento TKD Glory

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - They are outstanding young students in school and their local Taekwondo training ‘dojang’ or gym. In mat competitions with Black Belts from across the USA Sacramento’s Phillip El Chemali was triumphant in winning the Gold Medal at the USAT Nationals in Detroit, MI this July. The win places him on the United States Association of Taekwondo National Team for a second consecutive year!

Elk Grove’s Cassie Berger also won Gold in the USAT Women’s Division, as this CA State Champion won another top honor in the Korean-based martial art. Women’s Bronze came home with Black Belt student Maria Lopez from the world’s largest TKD tournament held in Detroit, MI.  Less than one week later, at the Amateur Athletic Association TKD National competition in Broward Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Maria Lopez fought again, again winning the AAU Bronze Medal this July.  

At this same Florida tournament event Robinson’s Taekwondo Black Belt student Lorenzo Ortega battled thru top national TKD fighters to win the AAU Gold Medal. The Women’s Silver Medal came back to Northern California as North Highland’s Natalie Velasquez stepped up to the podium as winner.

Rarely in history has one American city claimed so many top TKD medals and five US National Champions in its ranks.

Founded in 1975 in Sacramento, Robinson’s Taekwondo has locations throughout the region training athletes of all ages in the world’s most taught martial art – Taekwondo! To find out more visit www.robinsonstkd.com

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California State Fair created memories for the entire community this year. It reached record numbers as the one northern California event where everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy the best of what California has to offer.

"The California State Fair is proud to be recognized as the largest showcase of the rich bounty and diversity of our Golden State," said Rick Pickering, CEO and General Manager of the California State Fair. We celebrated agriculture, livestock, horse racing, unique foods, events, rides, and exhibits...some of which people have never seen before.

Food sales grossed an estimated $8.5 million, and there was an estimated $4.2 million in carnival ride sales grossing over $12.7 million in sales revenue; not including hotel stays and other revenue sources for the Sacramento region.

With it being the Fair's 50th year at Cal Expo, there was a lot to celebrate. New this year was the dedication of "Best of CA: Celebrating Farm Workers' Rich Contributions to Food and Agriculture." There was the return of soccer, with the Sacramento Republic FC playing two games. Sponsored by the Tractor Supply Company, the Junior Livestock Sale of Champions raised $270,344 for youth, which was the highest amount in the past 10 years.

Despite being one of the hottest July's in 10 years, with 8 days of triple-digit weather during the weekends, 636,628 attendees enjoyed the Fair.

Out of the 17 concerts,7 completely sold out for the Gold Circle Reserved Seats. The top three attended concerts were Melissa Etheridge, Brian McKnight, and Trace Adkins.

More than 32,500 racing fans came to the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand for horse racing and special events including the Best of CA Brewfest, Wienerschnitzel Wiener Dog Races, Steampunk at the Races featuring Ave Rose, and the California Cornhole Championships.

Other notable numbers were; 1,488 beers entered into the Commercial Beer Competition; 2,663 wines entered into the Commercial Wine Competition; 19,662 wine slushies were served in the Save Mart Wine Garden

Overall 19,931 competitive entries were at the State Fair and 6,412 total exhibits. 5,992 free rides from Butler Amusement in support of the CA State Fair’s Read to Ride program for local children who turned in 2,996 book reports;

There were 37 corn dogs were eaten by the winner of the Milo’s Corn Dog Eating Contest - Molly Schuyler from Plumas Lake, CA. She defeated competitors that came from as far as Philadelphia to compete.75,000 total corn dogs were consumed at the fair.

9,556 livestock animals were on display; 18,100 Turkey legs were sold; 35,100 Funnel cakes were sold; 11,325 pieces of the fruit were given out through the Save Mart Supermarkets Passport Program at the Kaiser Permanente CA State Fair Farm; 1,963 #50thFairHunt SMUD bags were given out; and 2,060 Dish fireworks were shot into the night sky

Central Valley Towing helped Fair guests with 7 jump starts, 10 unlock cars, 2 tire changes and assisted in shuttling 5,832 people to and from the parking lots to entrances.

Source CA State Fair Media

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Fab 40’s 5K Walk Celebrates Their 10th Year

By Paul Scholl  |  2017-08-07

And they are off! Photo by Paul Scholl

Benefitting Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California 

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - On Saturday, July 29, East Lawn hosted its 10th Annual Fab 40’s 5k Run/Walk benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California. A total of $250,000 in proceeds has been raised over 10 Years.

The Fab 40’s 5K Run/Walk will officially started at 8:30 a.m. inside the 112-year-old historic East Lawn Cemetery. This is the official annual City of Sacramento 5k Championship certified course, The course runs through the Fabulous Forties neighborhood with neighbors lining the streets cheering on the runners and walkers before they reach the finish line back at East Lawn.

Over 1,400 excited participants signed up to enter the race. All ages and athletic abilities entered to help end Alzheimer’s disease, which is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th in California. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of this event, all participants received a commemorative finisher’s medal.

The day included family oriented activities like kids bounce house, balloon animals, face painting, photo booth, music, food, awards ceremony, raffle drawings and much more.

The event was hosted by Alan Fisher, President of East Lawn and Michelle Johnson, Regional Director of the Alzheimer’s Association

A special “Thank You” goes out to Sal Arrigo, who started the event and was the catalyst in building the program that has raised all the funds for research. Sal served as the official race starter.

East Lawn Memorial Park is located at 4300 Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento. For more information about the Fab 40’s 5k Run/Walk visit: http://fab40s5k.org/.

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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) will be holding several free ride days during the month of August to encourage students, seniors and persons with disabilities to try transit.

SacRT is offering free rides on the first day of school to thousands of students who will be heading back into the classroom this month.

“We want to encourage our students to take public transportation to school whenever possible,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “We hope the free ride days will motivate students to try transit and become new riders.”

For seniors and persons with disabilities, in honor of National Senior Citizens Day, on Monday, August 21, SacRT will be offering free rides for seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Mobility is important for everyone in our community, especially seniors and persons with disabilities who may have limited transportation options,” said Andy Morin, SacRT Board Chair and Mayor, City of Folsom. “Free ride days provide a great opportunity to show new riders that SacRT buses and light rail trains are a safe, clean and convenient way to travel.”

Students should use the following schedule to determine their free ride day: Twin Rivers – Tuesday, August 8; Natomas – Wednesday, August 9; Elk Grove – Thursday, August 10; Folsom Cordova – Thursday, August 10; San Juan – Thursday, August 10; Sacramento City – Thursday, August 31.

In order to ride free, students, seniors, and persons with disabilities must present an acceptable ID, as specified in SacRT's adopted Fare Structure, when boarding buses, and have ready to show transit agents when riding trains. For students age 13 or younger, an adult may affirm age in lieu of an ID.

SacRT operates approximately 69 bus routes and 43 miles of light rail throughout Sacramento County, including the cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove. Sacramento buses and light rail trains operate 365 days a year. SacRT's entire bus and light rail system is accessible to the disabled community. ADA services are provided under contract with Paratransit, Inc.

 

Source: SacRT Media

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Taking to the Skies

Source: CCA Media  |  2017-08-05

The Airshow will take to the skies this September Exclusive discounts are available for this patriotic event. Photo courtesy CCA.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) – It is time to get your tickets for the big show! The California Capital Airshow (CCA) will take to the skies on September 9 and 10 at Mather Airport, and tickets are now available.

“The California Capital Airshow is a full-sensory experience,” said Darcy Brewer, executive director of the California Capital Airshow. “We’re excited to bring the Sacramento region two full days of non-stop entertainment and unparalleled access to the world of aeronautics and aviation.”

The California Capital Airshow illuminates a century of American aviation and ingenuity with miles of aircraft, from the spine-tingling civilian and military jet performances including the Patriots Jet team, U.S. Navy F-18 tactical demonstration, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight starring the A-10 Thunderbolt II, world-class aerobatics, barnstorming, warbirds, and more.

In preparation for this massive family-friendly festival, the Airshow has launched a new website, CaliforniaCapitalAirshow.com,  to provide attendees a preview of what to expect both in the air and on the ground.

 “Exploring exciting displays and interactive exhibits as well as pilot meet-and-greets are a great way to start the day,” Brewer explained. “Attendees will want to be on site and ready for the action before noon, when in-air demonstrations and fly-bys begin or all things shiny, fast and loud take to the skies.”

New for 2017 is the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) competition, updated premium venue chalets, a Kid's Stage, and so much more than just what's roaring across the skies.

The Airshow is presented by Sacramento County in partnership with the City of Rancho Cordova. The Airshow runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day

Airshow Insiders will have first dibs on deeply discounted tickets, up to 50 percent off. Anyone can sign up to become an Airshow Insider. Just enter your name and email address on the homepage of CaliforniaCaptitalAirshow.com and receive a link to purchase tickets before the public!

Tickets will be available for all fans on August 1 at noon online or Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce. Prices will increase incrementally until the event on Sept. 9 and 10. Military discounts are also available at the ITT offices at Travis and Beale Air Force Bases.

Established in 2004, the annual California Capital Airshow uses the power and magic of flight to entertain and amaze tens of thousands of attendees every September at historic Mather Airport for one of the largest and most prestigious demonstrations of a century of military and civilian aircraft on display and in the sky. Year round, the California Capital Airshow 501c3 is dedicated to inspiring a life-long passion for STEM learning and innovation, with a variety of youth events, presentations and scholarships that help drive the future of aeronautics and encourage young people to reach for the stars. For more information please visit CaliforniaCapitalAirshow.com

Source: CCA Media

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