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Nominees Needed for 8th Annual Accessibility Advocacy Awards

cf-logo-turningCommunity Foundation announces deadline to recognize outstanding contributions to a more accessible SLO County

The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2008 Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Awards was announced today by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF).  Now in its 8th year, these awards recognize and reward an individual, organization, and business for their exemplary contributions toward the creation of a barrier-free community for people with disabilities in the County during the past year. The nomination form is available online at http://www.sloccf.org under “Grants & Programs” and must be completed and received at P.O. Box 1580, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 or faxed to (805) 543-2346 by March 20, 2009.

“Three categories means there are three separate awards,” explained Janice Fong Wolf, Director of Grants and Programs for the Foundation. “So we’ll be accepting nominees for individuals, organizations, and businesses.  Nominees should be those who have made significant contributions toward breaking down physical, attitudinal, or informational barriers to those with disabilities.”

Last year’s event honored Adaptive Driving Systems, Volunteer Readers for the Disability Resource Center, and individuals Janice Holmes, Robert Bove, and Sam Blakeslee. The award is named after local architect Paul Wolff, who has been tireless in his dedication to serving the accessibility needs of others.
The 8th annual award ceremony will be held on May 2nd, 2009 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande.

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March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rotary de Tolosa’s 4th Annual Festival Internazionale Expected to Thousands in Tight Economy

festival-internazionaleRotary Club raises funds to support local and global communities and benefit local nonprofit organizations

Enjoy an evening of creative expression as Rotary de Tolosa teams up with 211 SLO Hotline, SLO Children’s Museum, LifeWater International, and the YMCA for the fourth annual Festival Internazionale. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, March 21 and will feature the cultural heritage of Brazil, China, Africa, and India. Each nonprofit will be given a country that they will represent, decorating to the theme. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and festivities begin at 5:30pm.

Festival Internazionale offers a unique cultural experience through entertainment including a French Cabaret singer, the Jerome Washington Express, and featuring the “magic, mentalism and comedy” of Rich Ferguson, renowned magician, all while attendees enjoy cuisine from around the world from themed food stations decorated for a specific country. The evening includes both a live and a silent auction, featuring private themed dinners, a wine-tasting and golfing trip to Napa, a week in Molokai and dinners from fine restaurants around the county.

Tickets are $60 and dress is “Black Tie or International Attire.”
For tickets and event information, contact Rick Owens at (805) 215-9009 or Rotary de Tolsoa President Mark Furia at (805) 550-6457.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life-Saving Agency Celebrates 25 Years with New Look and Renewed Energy

ASN_Logo_090308AIDS Support Network launches new logo and website after 25 years of service

In 1984, a patient appeared at General Hospital asking for help.  Not knowing how to help him, the staff sent him to a San Francisco hospital where he died four days later.  He had AIDS.

In the immediate aftermath, a small group of volunteers formed the first AIDS Patient Support Group in San Luis Obispo County.  Twenty-five years later, the AIDS Support Network (ASN) is commemorating this milestone anniversary. Developing from the all-volunteer, grassroots efforts of those first few committed people, ASN has grown into a thriving agency, offering a wide range of vital services:  health and benefits counseling, housing assistance, referrals, a full food pantry, volunteer support, educational speakers, prevention programs and an annual symposium.  The AIDS Support Network remains the only community based nonprofit organization in the county providing support services to residents living with HIV disease and AIDS, their families and friends.

The epidemic that has taken the lives of more than half a million Americans and become a global tragedy of unprecedented proportions is still a serious issue right here on the Central Coast.  Starting with a caseload of less than 30 people in 1984, ASN now serves 185, with 25 new clients enrolled in 2008 alone, many of those newly diagnosed.  On a larger scale, the CDC has estimated that in 2006 (the most current available statistics), another 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV in the U.S. alone, and over 14,000 died of AIDS.  Worldwide, the numbers are staggering – 33.3 million people living with HIV; more than 25 million dead.

In honor of the many accomplishments of the AIDS Support Network, a year-long awareness campaign is planned, underscoring the urgent need for continued work in the areas of prevention, treatment and support.  As a first step, on January 1st, ASN unveiled its new identity and launched an updated, interactive website to make accessing help and information faster and easier.

“Like the ASN itself, the new logo is progressive, yet still reflects elements from the original, as well as the founding principles,” said designer Nick Watts, art director at Verdin Marketing Ink. “The angular heart shape from the original design has been reworked and repeated as the petals of a flower to represent the supporting aspect of a network, and the flower element itself symbolizes caring. The colors we selected are timeless, and will last as long as there’s a cause.”

“We’ve come a long way in 25 years both in terms of what we now know about HIV/AIDS, and in terms of raising community awareness,” said ASN Executive Director Edie Kahn. “But since one out of every four people infected with HIV/AIDS don’t even know they have the disease, there is still much more to be done. The new logo, along with our upgraded website will not only infuse our message with new energy and renewed vigor,” Kahn continued, “but our continuing efforts to raise awareness with these new tools will ensure that people who need help can get it quickly and easily. All the services in the world don’t mean much if people aren’t aware of them and can’t access them readily.”

The ASN strives to strengthen its partnerships in the community; as a United Way Partner Agency, through the Supportive Housing consortium, and as a participant in the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, to name just a few.  In fund-raising events like last year’s 17th annual Walk for Life, businesses, volunteers and community members came together to raise over $73,000 even in a tightening economy.  Longtime ASN volunteer, Jamie Ford, was among them.

Currently working for the Public Health Department as an HIV/AIDS outreach worker, Ford said, “I think this event is about how far we’ve come … it speaks to the longevity of the ASN and to how well we work together as a county.”
“I have been moved on a daily basis by the selflessness, commitment and caring shown by every member of the staff at the ASN – both paid and unpaid.  Though it’s wonderful to be celebrating all we’ve achieved in 25 years, we all look forward to the day when this devastating disease is over and we get to close our doors,” said Stephan Lamb, President of the ASN’s Board of Directors.  “Till then, with the community’s continued generosity, we will continue to serve as many as we can.”
For more information, please call 781-3660 or long on to http://www.asn.org.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Parents of Children with Cancer Invited to Learn How to Speak “Medical-ese”

untitled11Parents of Children with Cancer Invited to Learn How to Speak “Medical-ese”
Jack’s Helping Hand sponsors monthly event to help parents meet parents

On Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m., “Parents Meeting Parents” – a free event for the parents and loved ones of children with cancer – will welcome a guest speaker on the topic “Effective Communication with the Medical Community.” Held every fourth Monday at the Hearst Cancer Resource Center on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo, the group is designed to give parents a forum to answer questions, share ideas, and explore the many challenges associated with parenting children with all types of cancer. The meeting will be facilitated by professional therapist, Susan Updegrove, R.N., M.F.T.
“It’s so important to learn how to ask the right questions,” said Jack’s Helping Hand’s Charitable Administrator, Mary Illingworth. “And then to understand the sometimes complicated answers we get from medical professionals. We are so pleased to be able to offer a way for parents to meet each other, get useful information, and be with others who share their feelings.”
Parents Meeting Parents will meet at 1941 Johnson Avenue, Suite 210A. Childcare is available and refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to 542-6234 by March 20th to reserve your place.
Now in its fourth year of service, Jack’s Helping Hand is a non-profit organization that assists children with illnesses and disabilities, providing special treatments, services, equipment and transportation not provided by other sources, or that exceed family financial capabilities. Visit them online at http://www.jackshelpinghand.org or call them at (805) 547-1914.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment