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When Stress Leads to Suicide

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Two Important Suicide Prevention Forums

Two suicide prevention forums will be presented free of charge by several community agencies this October. The first will be Thursday, October 22nd from 6 pm to 9 pm at the ABC Church, 6225 Atascadero Mall in Atascadero. The second will be held on Tuesday, October 27th from 6 pm to 9 pm at the United Methodist Church, 1515 Fredericks Street in San Luis Obispo.

Every year, 750,000 people attempt suicide in the U.S. and 30,000 of them succeed.  The most recent data shows that in San Luis Obispo County, there are 13.2 suicides per 100,000 people, which is higher than the state as a whole, which has only 9.0 per 100,000.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults.

Addressing this local and national tragedy, multi-award winning San Luis Obispo author Jay Asher, who wrote Thirteen Reasons Why, will be this year’s returning speaker for both events. Updated information about suicide warning signs will be discussed, along with risk factors for veterans, the impact of drugs and alcohol, youth and elder suicide, survivor support groups, and other community resources.

“In these uncertain times, the risks for suicide have increased along with the urgency for frank and open discussion,” said Steve Thayer of Hospice of SLO County. “We are pleased to be offering this event in two locations so that as many people as possible can attend.”

No reservations are needed and the public is encouraged to call Hotline by dialing 211 for information about suicide prevention, survivor support, and more. The event is co-sponsored by NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), the Community Counseling Center, 211 SLO Hotline, Area Agency on Aging, the County Office of Education, San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health, the Veterans Administration and Hospice of San Luis Obispo County.

September 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Children’s Health Initiative Honors Children’s Advocates at Third Annual Celebration

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“Sunset at the Rancho III” will feature BBQ, music and entertainment

Children’s Health Initiative of San Luis Obispo (CHISLO) will host the third annual Champions for Children event, “Sunset at the Ranch III” on Saturday, October 3rd at the Santa Margarita Ranch. The event honors local individuals for their outstanding efforts in awareness and advocacy on behalf of local children.

This year’s award recipients were chosen for their unique leadership, vision and simply, the care for the children and families of our county:

•    James Glinn leads the way in community philanthropy and advocacy for youth. As the busy president of San Luis Sports Therapy with its 17 facilities, James has become the “yes” man when it comes to ensuring that the health needs of our children are met. He has served on SLO County Childhood Obesity Task Force  / SLO-HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Learning). He also supports the Children’s Health Initiative and the San Luis Sports Therapy Community Foundation with his time, his energy, and his financial generosity.  James’ tireless efforts make him a true community Champion for Children and a fine example of how the private sector can advocate for the health of our county’s children.

•    Kaz and Mitzi Ikeda. With two of South County’s baseball fields dedicated to their generous service, the Ikedas have influenced thousands of young athletes. The Ikedas are community leaders who have spent countless hours in the pursuit of excellence both on and off the baseball field. Their family motto is “Always give back to the community, in either time or money.” For Kaz and Mitzi, it has been both. They embody the spirit of devotion and compassion for the next generation of South County baseball players and for all of the children they’ve reached and affected. For their continuing belief in our county’s children’s future, plus their enormous generosity of time and funds, we honor the Ikedas as Champions for Children.

•    Noreen Martin of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum. Martin’s care for the children and families of our county can be readily seen in the success of this well-attended and well- tended museum. Ms. Martin recognized that children’s museums provide educational opportunities where children and parents can interact, cultivating and enriching the soil for lifelong learning. Martin’s perseverance, patience, team-building and deep abiding belief that all children need a place to play, has helped to build one of the state’s best children’s museums. For her steadfast leadership and constant care of our North County children, we honor her as a Champion for Children.

•    Paul and Bridget Ready of Jack’s Helping Hand. During the course of their own son’s illness, the Readys discovered the many unique and unmet needs of children with special challenges due to birth defect, illness, or injury. When Jack died, they established a foundation in his memory that assists with all manner of specialized care, from appointments with specialists to state-of-the-art equipment, therapies, and even prosthetic limbs. Now in its fifth year, Jack’s Helping Hand, Inc. has made a huge difference in the lives of special needs children and their families throughout the county. From a support group to a therapy room; from a birthday club to a toy lending library – and now an entire park is being planned. In gratitude for their strength and courage, and for their dedication to helping children in need at a time of great struggle, we honor Paul and Bridget Ready as Champions for Children.

The “Elegant Western”-themed event will include a barbecue by the Arroyo Grande Optimist Club, plus the Sarsaparilla hay ride and the live music of “Burning James and the Flames.” Tickets are $75 per person and proceeds for the event will be used to provide health coverage for local children.

Join us as we work to ensure that every child in San Luis Obispo County has access to quality health care coverage. To purchase tickets for Champions for Children: Sunset at the Rancho III or for more information, call (805) 540-5177 or visit www.slohealthykids.org.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Credit Unions Grow in Tough Times

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San Luis Obispo Credit Union Launches New Look, New Website

This last month, the 55-year-old San Luis Obispo Credit Union (SLOCU) revealed a brand new look at its 1220 Osos Street address and launched a brand new website. Offering security, loyalty, and opportunity to its members, recently announced figures demonstrate that even in tough economic times, the SLOCU is growing.

In a show of strength and stability during what has been called the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the SLOCU reported a 25% jump in loan applications and a 42% increase in the dollar amount loaned this year compared with last.

“And our checking account program has experienced explosive growth in 2009 compared to last year,” said SLOCU CEO Suzanne Leedale. “We’ve opened 74% more checking accounts this year over last, and the amount on deposit in checking accounts has increased by a whopping 91%. These numbers are significant and show that people recognize the many benefits of membership here.”

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law in 1934, he did so to “promote thrift and to thwart usury.” Since that time, credit unions, which are owned and managed by the membership, have provided strong, safe, cost-effective financial services to their members, and a preferable alternative to the sometimes impersonal, frustrating, and fee-ridden policies of traditional banks.

Because of its non-for profit, cooperative structure, credit unions are exempted from most state and federal taxes, allowing them to have better loan rates and fewer service charges than most banks. As such, credit union may be a desirable choice for those who qualify.

As more and more Californians―and San Luis Obispo County residents―seek out better ways to manage their money, the San Luis Obispo Credit Union’s new face, new website, and new services are right on time.

To find out if you qualify for membership, visit www.slocu.com or call 543-5839.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Verdin Marketing Ink’s very own artist…

Verdin Marketing Ink’s Katy McGrath participated in San Luis Obispo’s annual I Madonnari Festival that was held on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Katy is pictured below working on her piece. This was Katy’s 10th year participating in the festival.

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September 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

San Luis Obispo Community Dons its Mop-tops in Support of the Children’s Museum

CM Color OriginalThe San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum will hold its annual fundraiser, “With a Little Help From Our Friends,” Friday October 2, 2009. All proceeds benefit the Museum’s many current and future programs and events.

Chef Ian McPhee will serve an unforgettable dinner, which will be followed by a wildly exciting auction, and dancing to the tunes of Unfinished Business – all in a Beatles-era theme.

Mike and DD Patrick will also be honored as recipients of the Museum’s 1st Annual “Great Friends of Kids Award,” for their dedication to the children of our community and support of the Children’s Museum.

The Children’s Museum is grateful to all of its event sponsors, including Central Coast Oral Surgery, Heritage Oaks Bank, New Times, First Bank of San Luis Obispo, McPhee’s Grill Avila Beach, iii DESiGN, Jim Adelman representing Au Bon Climat Winery and Qupe Wine Cellars, Verdin Marketing Ink, Cindrich & Company – An Accountancy Corporation, and First Solar.

The adventure begins at 6 p.m. in the big tent at Avila Beach Golf Resort. Beatles-era attire is encouraged.  For more information or to buy tickets, call 545-5874 or log onto www.slocm.org.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grant Applications Now Being Accepted for Growing Together Initiative

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GTI funds help local agencies fight discrimination against local LGBT community

Grant applications are now available to community based organizations looking to strengthen their capacity to support the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered community, to raise general awareness, and to fight discrimination.

The San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF) established the Growing Together Initiative in 2001 in response to continuing reports of the violation of civil rights, discrimination and violence against members of the LGBT community. A Community Individual Survey was developed and distributed first in 2001 and again in 2008 to identify attitudes and prioritize issues.

Survey results indicated the following seven issues in this order: Civil rights advocacy, marriage equality, media accuracy, domestic partner issues, anti-LGBT violence, employment / job discrimination, and housing discrimination.

“We are so pleased by the responses we’ve received from survey participants, and from those who wish to support this important effort,” said Janice Fong Wolf, SLOCCF Director of Grants and Programs. “Local agencies and groups are in place to support the LGBT community, and with help from these grants, they can do much more.”

Grant amounts up to $3,000 are available and the deadline for submitting completed applications is October 15, 2009. Grants from the Growing Together Initiative of up to $1,000 are also available through the Community Action Project grant year-round, awarded to organizations addressing emerging local needs.

For an application form, or for more information, log on to http://www.sloccf.org and click on the Growing Together Initiative link under Featured Programs. Or call 543-2323.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

St. Patrick’s School Offers Well-Rounded Education Even in Today’s Economy

St.Patrick's logoLocal Catholic school continues to offer important curriculum and
extra-curricular opportunities for students

In recent years, educational cutbacks in the public sector have resulted in the canceling of various programs. The current budget crisis now means increasing class sizes, even in the lower grades. St. Patrick’s School in Arroyo Grande offers a well-rounded curriculum for children from preschool through eighth grade, motivating parents to consider Catholic education for their children as the school year progresses, in spite of the current economy.

“We accept new students throughout the first school semester,” says St. Patrick’s Principal Maureen Halderman. “We’ve seen a number of families consider moving their children here over the past couple of years, to take advantage of the classes we are able to offer, and now class size is also a factor in making that decision.” St. Patrick’s employs teacher assistants in kindergarten through grade five, allowing them to keep student-to-teacher ratios low. Also, the junior high classes are departmentalized which enables the school to offer class sizes as low as 15 students.

In looking at the added benefits of a Catholic school education, the school emphasizes strong moral values, which are infused into the daily life of the school. High standards, academic and behavioral, are expected from the students at St. Patrick’s and parental support of programs and standards provide a safe, nurturing learning environment for children.  The school also sees the importance of educating the entire child and enhances the academics at the school with weekly classes in fine arts, music, physical education, and technology classes as well as extra-curricular athletic programs.

St. Patrick’s also has a vibrant community service program in which students participate, even the Kindergartners. Each grade selects four projects for the year and puts their efforts into making a difference for those causes. During the 2009-2010 school year, it is projected that students, teachers and parent volunteers will donate over 500 hours per project serving the community. In the past year, projects ranged from making doggie treat bags and pet beds for Woods Humane Society to assisting with Peoples’ Kitchen, feeding the homeless and participating in a food drive.

St. Patrick’s School was established in 1963, and has graduated 1,840 students in the past 46 years. The students at St. Patrick’s continue to attain success after leaving its doors. Ninety percent of last year’s graduates qualified for advanced placement English classes during their freshman year, with many also qualifying for upper level math classes. Graduates of St. Patrick’s also tend to continue onto higher education after high school graduation. Approximately 97 percent of last year’s high school graduates who attended St. Patrick’s were accepted into four year universities. Halderman attributes the success of their students to their mission: “As a Christ-centered Catholic school, founded by the Sisters of Mercy and inspired by their charism, we are committed to the mission of educating the whole child. In partnership with our families, parishes, and communities, we strive to develop each child’s spiritual, intellectual, physical, and social potential, and thus prepare our students to live as citizens who are morally and globally responsible.”

St. Patrick’s School is located at 900 West Branch St. in Arroyo Grande. Visit them online at http://www.stpatricksschool.net or call (805) 489-1210.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

State Cuts May Lead to Increased Demand for Extracurricular Help

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Nationally Acclaimed Learning Centers Offer Fall Savings and Rate Reductions to Help Struggling Students

As state budget cuts to public schools force officials to hand out pink slips and slash programs, teachers all over the country are feeling added pressure to teach more with less. In many schools, classroom aides have disappeared, classroom size has increased, and the No Child Left Behind mandate continues to put added demands on both regular classroom teachers and resource teachers. Parents of students with academic difficulties may want to seek outside help but feel they can’t afford it. Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, with its highly acclaimed programs and research-based techniques, is now offering parents more affordable choices.

“As schools open their doors all over the country, we are ready to help children succeed,” said Kimberly Linson for Lindamood-Bell. “We want parents to know that while our one-to-one, time-intensive programs are still available, we’ve created a number of alternative service models that will help meet the financial and scheduling needs of families during these current economic challenges.”
Based in California, but with 43 centers in 19 other states (plus England and Australia), Lindamood-Bell has been teaching children and adults to read and comprehend since 1986. Where traditional literacy methods fall-short, Lindamood-Bell’s instruction is based on a theory of cognition, and addresses the global needs of all learners to develop the underlying skills for good reading, spelling, comprehension, and math.

“A diagnostic learning evaluation is required before instruction begins,” said Linson, “so we can be sure that each student will be matched with the most effective approach.  We know that even testing can be a big financial commitment, so we are offering a Fall special that reduces our usual rate by half. So testing that used to cost $645 is now only $295.”

To help make their regular instruction more attainable, Lindamood-Bell is offering a fall special of 20%  off for the first two weeks of instruction that begins before October 5th.  Instruction for small groups of from two to five students with similar learning profiles is also being offered at greatly reduced rates.
Other services include a unique Academic Preparation course, Academic Enrichment, Kindergarten Boost, follow-up instruction, and an afterschool application course called Homework Matters™.

“We believe that every child can succeed in school,” said Linson, “and we want to give parents every chance to help their children make the most of their education.”

For more information, call 1 (800) 233-1819 or the Lindamood-Bell Learning Center nearest you.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment