From the Publisher -Tracy Dietlin
Last Thursday, July 31, CV Weekly announced the winners of our Best of 2014 in 52 categories during our awards dinner. The event took place at Emerald Desert RV Resort with the evening starting off with cocktails and then a delicious dinner generously sponsored by LULU/Acqua Pazza. Caroldean Ross and Craig Michaels were the hostess and host of the evening.
After all the other categories were announced the awards were given out for “Best Charity” with the winner being Desert Aids Project with Barbara Keller there to accept and “Best Animal Charity” went to Loving All Animals with Lindi Biggi accepting. Both charities will be receiving a check for $500.00 this week from CV Weekly with money raised from ticket sales and the raffle.
CV Weekly also decided to honor 2 other charities; SafeHouse of the Desert and The Street Life Project. Accepting for SafeHouse was Birgit Phillips who spoke about stopping Human Trafficking and helping teenagers in need. Christian Jelmberg who runs Street Life Project was also awarded “Humanitarian of the Year” for his tireless efforts to get the homeless of the streets.
Dick Shalhoub, owner of 15 CV McDonald’s was awarded “Philanthropist of the Year” for his selfless charity work and always wanting to fly under the radar with his good deeds. Shalhoub was busy taking on another McDonald’s and regretted not being able to attend but sent his Marketing Manager, Janet Newcomb to accept on his behalf.
Also awarded a “Philanthropist of the Year” award was Suresh Shah who recently started the PGA DUI program with one million dollars of his own money to offer free rides home from bars and restaurants in the attempt to keep people from driving drunk. His generosity showed even more when he offered to give $500.00 to SafeHouse of the Desert and $500.00 to The Street Life Project on behalf of CV Weekly.
Keller, Biggi, Phillips, Jelmberg, Newcomb and Shah, all gave poignant speeches about the charities they represent with their passion and dedication shining through. For me, as Publisher of CV Weekly, this is what this event was all about and what CV Weekly is about on a weekly basis. I was proud and honored to be able to help raise $2000.00 for four charities along with raising awareness about what they stand for. Below you will find a short Mission Statement and info about those four charities. You may not have money to donate but perhaps you can give of your time.
Look for in-depth profiles on Shalhoub, Shah and Jelmberg in CV Weekly’s September 11 issue, where we will feature the Top 25 Most Interesting and Influential Men in the CV.
Selected as among the best AIDS service organizations nationally Desert AIDS Project is proud to be chosen “Best Charity” at CV Weekly’s Best of 2014 Awards
An article in the April 2014 issue of A&U Magazine, dedicated to those who are HIV-affected, called Desert AIDS Project “an oasis in Palm Springs.” The writer remarked on how the 30-year-old agency “has grown into an impressive facility dedicated to addressing the holistic needs of its community, which has an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate twice the national average.”
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer was similarly impressed when she visited the D.A.P. campus later that month, on April 23, to recognize the 25-year community partnership between D.A.P. and the City of Palm Springs, through the city government’s local administration of funds made available by the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Boxer, who was one of the very first U.S. politicians to secure funding for HIV/AIDS treatment in the early 1980s, toured the agency and learned more about D.A.P.’s array of medical and dental care, as well as behavioral health and essential “wraparound” services.
The senator also saw in-house facilities that include a lab for blood work, a pharmacy whose staff specializes in HIV medication therapies, and the Client Community Center. This community center at D.A.P. is a welcoming space, designed to combat HIV stigma and isolation through skills-for-living and back-to-work training, and other educational and social activities. All these programs and services are seamlessly tied together – all under one roof – by case managers for the more than 2,200 clients of D.A.P. As one of its housing options, the Desert AIDS Project campus even includes an 81-unit apartment complex for low-income clients.
David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project, responded to Boxer’s many questions and also told her about what has been happening through the Annette Bloch Cancer Care Center – a million dollar gift in 2012 by its namesake – which enables regular screenings for some kinds of cancers often associated with HIV. Senator Boxer also heard about some of D.A.P.’s other near-horizon plans to open a full STD clinic, undertake clinical trials and research, and more.
Little wonder that, several months earlier, in August 2013, About.com – a top 40 U.S. website attracting more than 86 million users monthly – included Desert AIDS Project in its list of “Top 20 HIV/AIDS Charities. Desert AIDS Project was selected as one of only a small handful of HIV/AIDS charities that met a set of standards, including:
· spending at least 75% of their cash budget on bona fide programs,
· raising $100 from every $15 spent fundraising, and
· operating with complete financial transparency.
The “Top 20” list was assembled for About.com by Dennis Sifris, MD and James Myre. Dr. Sifris is an HIV specialist and Chief Medical Officer of LifeSense Disease Management, an HIV-managed care company based in South Africa, while Mr. Myhre is an American journalist and HIV educator. About.com’s peer-reviewed Health Channel includes over 1,000 topics curated by researchers, physicians, medical writers, and healthcare professionals. It was the recipient of the 2013 Web Health Award, honoring the best digital health resources in the U.S.
On August 22, 2013 – the day Desert AIDS Project began its 30th year of service – CEO David Brinkman said “While we are immensely proud to be recognized in this way, we know that it really does take a global village, with each community in each country fighting the continuing spread of HIV while caring and advocating for those who are already infected. The spirit of those volunteer warriors who started D.A.P. back in 1984 lives on today and we shall continue to honor their commitment every day we serve the community.”
To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, please call 760-323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.
Loving All Animals – “Best Pet Charity”
The founder and President of Loving All Animals, Lindi Biggi, had been involved with the Valley’s animal rescue organizations for many years. She was dismayed by the competition for resources among the various groups, and believed that if everyone worked together, more companion animals would get out of shelters alive and become valued family members in loving homes. Loving All Animals, Inc. was formed as a 501(C)(3) organization in December 2008 to be a catalyst for cooperative efforts that put limited resources to better use. Loving All Animals’ mission is to bring together local and national animal welfare and related organizations to collaborate for the greater benefit of animals.
We advocate for and organize collaborative activities to aid companion animals, including exotic pet birds in need. One priority is finding homes for homeless animals, reducing their suffering, and lowering the high euthanasia rate throughout the Coachella Valley. We actively support spay/neuter procedures and micro-chipping.
Loving All Animals has undertaken major initiatives to benefit a number of public and private animal shelters and rescue groups throughout the region. Our annual two-day Super Pet Adoption Festival, for example, helped 38 area shelters find permanent homes for 233 pets last year. This created space for another 233 pets in their facilities, saving a total of 466 lives.
Since 2008, our annual Adoption Festivals have resulted in a total of 1080 pet adoptions. The sixth annual Super Pet Adoption Festival is scheduled for November 15-16, 2014 at Rancho Mirage Community Park in Rancho Mirage, CA.
Our Mobile Mutts program is another major initiative that not only saves the lives of pets but also enriches the lives of the people involved in this effort. The program operates throughout the year to rescue pets (mostly dogs) from high-kill shelters and the streets and match them with appropriate adopters. The shelters, sanctuaries, and rescue groups in our area are eager collaborators in the Mobile Mutts Program, since we find good homes for the pets in their care at no cost to them. They can use their limited resources to save more animals. We also have a variety of other community partners for this work, including: medical staff and facilities to spay/neuter and provide needed procedures and medications prior to adoption; local retailers and pet boutiques as public venues to showcase rescued animals to potential adopters; and local senior centers that help find foster homes for pets waiting for adoption. We even partner with one city, bringing adoptable dogs to the city council meetings to encourage more adoptions.
Since the Mobile Mutts Program began in late 2010, through 2013, we have found homes for 343 pets through both Loving All Animals and community partnership adoptions. Adoptions have increased each year, from just 6 in 2010, to 99 in 2011, 107 in 2012, and 131 in 2013. We are on track to again increase the number of adoptions in 2014, anticipating that we will receive funding for core needs such as medical costs and other foster care expenses.
If you are interested in becoming a foster, a volunteer or wanting to give a donation, please call 760-834-7000, email email@example.com or check out our website at www.lovingallanimals.org
StreetLife Project – “Recognized Charity”
The StreetLifeProject is a culture built on a foundation of love; a kind of love that transforms people and unites communities for one cause. That’s to go after the broken that are normally disregarded by society, and love them back to life.
Our mission is to provide hope to the hopeless, and inspire life change. We want the homeless to know that they are loved and have value. That no matter what hardship they are going through, life can get better. We want to be the support system they can count on through this difficult time by providing the help they will need to transform their lives. A life filled with hope & guided by faith.
Our Impact // Transforming this valley
Just to give you an idea of our impact, from July 1st to July 15th we have helped fifteen people get off the streets. Out of the fifteen five were children, three were young teens, and one was a drug dealer. We usually average six to twelve every month but our numbers are increasing as we expand our outreaches to more areas around the valley. The StreetLifeProject is making our cities safer and more desirable to those considering relocating here.
Outreach // Food, Prayer, and Life Coaching
We bless 300+ homeless with a hot meal and water every week. We travel from camp to camp and go to places rarely ever seen by the general public. As we get more financial support, and food sponsors, we will continue to expand our reach. Isaiah 58:10 “feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day.
Counseling // Inspiring change
We get to know the homeless on a very personal level allowing us the ability to inspire change through genuine friendships. We evaluate ways to assist them in their transition into working society by customizing a plan that is specific to their needs. Our goal at StreetLifeProject is not just sustainability; it’s providing them the tools and assistance they need to make a permanent life transformation.
Rehab Placement // Getting clean
We direct the homeless with addictions to the rehab centers that will fit their immediate needs. We give instruction on acquiring placement and follow the process through detox and drug/alcohol counseling. Our goal is to have a plan of action upon there completion of the program, and smooth transition into transitional housing.
Transitional Housing // A safe place
It’s important that the homeless have a safe environment while they look for a job, so we assist in finding them a shelter. We network with emergency shelters and track the availability to open beds for immediate placement. We also know of existing life skill programs that some shelters provide that may be a benefit to those we are helping.
Clothing // For job interviews and those in the streets
We provide clothing and supplies to people that are going through the StreetLifeProject program. We also take clothing, blankets, and supplies out to the homeless camps.
Toiletries & Supplies // Making life easier
We provide essential supplies to make life a little easier on the streets. It could be a tarp to protect them from the harsh weather. Trash bags so they can keep their living environment clean. Also items for hygiene, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, combs, toilet paper, shavers etc. We want to provide them with these items so they can feel good about themselves. It’s so important that they feel self- worth so they can see themselves taking the next step.
Haircuts and eye glasses // Getting cleaned up
Looking clean cut is so important for their confidence and job scouting. We have networked with hair stylists that donate their services. We also know of programs for acquiring glasses for the homeless as well, and assist them in this process.
Resume Building and Job Scouting // Inspiring change
It’s impeditive the homeless get a job so they can become self-sufficient. We interview them and assist in putting together a professional resume. Then we work on interview skills making sure they can respond to common interview questions. We then get them suited up and drive them to locations around the valley to drop off resumes. So far we have had a 100% placement with some acquiring two jobs.
Permanent Housing Placement // Almost there
After someone has landed a job and has collected enough paychecks to cover housing expenses, we help find them a permanent residence. For some it’s an apartment and others it may be a room for rent. Once we find a place our team gets together and furnishes it with bed, sofas, tv’s, toiletries, etc. We want them to feel special, and make it a joyous day of celebrating the first day of no longer being homeless.
Church // Bringing the homeless to Church
Every week we travel to the homeless camps to pick up around fifty homeless for church. So many people want to experience Sunday service and it’s amazing the impact faith has on their life transformation. We have seen first-hand how God can heal people from the inside out.
Website // Follow success stories at StreetLifeProject.com
Be inspired by life changing stories of people going through the StreetLifeProject program.
Christian Jelmberg – StreetLifeProject
SafeHouse of the Desert Helping Teens In Crisis In The Inland Empire
Our Emergency Shelter program provides immediate help to youth and families experiencing crisis situations. When families come to us, they’re usually at their wit’s end—parents are frustrated and children don’t know where to turn. Our staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for teens and their families who need help negotiating the often challenging road from childhood to independent adult life.
SafeHouse of the Desert is well equipped to handle runaway, homeless and other youth in crisis. Teens who don’t know where else to go are always welcome at our shelters—all they have to do is show up.
Parents who are interested in early intervention are encouraged to call us to set up a screening for their child. At the screening, they meet with a Marriage and Family Therapist who tells them more about what they can expect to receive from our holistic approach and listens to the struggles they’re having.
Finally, a sense of relief…of hope.
After being admitted to our program, the teen participates in a structured, 21-day program that gives them and their families hope that things CAN get better—trust CAN be rebuilt, lines of communication CAN be reopened. They see a therapist on a daily basis, participate in group therapy with other clients and receive the daily structure and support they need to make a start at resolving the family conflicts they’re having.
We involve parents every step of the way. They attend weekly family counseling sessions and are encouraged to participate in parenting classes both while their child is in the program and after they graduate.
We’re here for families in crisis, every hour of every day.
SafeHouse Riverside * SafeHouse of the Desert
72710 East Lynn Street, Thousand Palms, California
To donate you can go to Safehouseofthedesert.com