Cars 2nd Chance & Rotary Partner Highlight

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to ravage the world, there’s one particular population that is unable to stay completely safe: prisoners and inmates throughout California’s criminal justice system. Thankfully, there are amazing organizations like the California Re-Entry Program, that are working to assist people incarcerated in California prisons, even during this pandemic! Keep reading to learn more about the important work these social justice warriors are fighting to do.

The California Re-Entry Program’s mission is to assist people incarcerated within the California prison system to a successful reentry into society. They do this by providing education, as well as connecting them to resources before their release, to help reduce recidivism rates. Recidivism is the tendency of those incarcerated to commit new offenses and wind back up incarcerated. As recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated people are particularly high in California, the California Re-Entry Program works with those incarcerated to get them fully integrated back into society in a number of ways.
The California Re-Entry Program team assists in developing parole plans, solid relapse prevention plans, and social skills among their clients. They also hold weekly life-skills workshops, coordinate clients’ reentry needs with their California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation counselor, and assist in obtaining services in the communities of reentry. The Re-Entry team also helps to promote public support for reentry programs by advocating publicly for reentry reforms and providing a model for reentry programs that could be replicated in all California prisons.

The California Re-Entry Program is made up of a dedicated team of volunteers from all around the San Francisco Bay Area. This team visits, advises, and counsels men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison on a monthly basis. They provide drop-in assistance on-site, including county resource guides, financial aid applications and information, as well as GED program info, and information on employment opportunities.
They also provide long-term case management for clients who need long-term planning assistance with employment, education, medical needs, substance abuse treatment, and housing. In addition, the Re-Entry team helps with special needs assistance, providing parole clothing, workshops, and training to both clients and volunteers, to ensure new resources and the most accurate and quality information is what their clients receive.

If you or someone you know wants to get involved with this fantastic organization dedicated to assisting people incarcerated within California, you can do so here. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in learning more about the California Re-Entry Program and the amazing work they do for their clients. For more information about the California Re-Entry Program , check out their website: https://www.ca-reentry.org/

Teaching Our Children About Gratitude

We do our best to teach our kids how to be good people, but sometimes as adults, we come off as cynical. We don’t realize, but our words and ways of thinking have a drastic impact on our kids, especially during difficult times like the world is experiencing these days. It’s easy to complain and whine about the current state of affairs, but in doing so, we can get stuck in that type of mentality. To help your kids learn and benefit more from the attitude of gratitude, you can help them to look at their situations from a point of appreciation rather than from a deficit. Here are some easy ways to help foster that attitude of gratitude at home:

Always say please and thank you.

This is a simple way to start working on the attitude of gratitude. By making it a habit to always say please or thank you, you teach your kids about mutual respect and common decency. This will help them later on in life, as they can then express their gratitude more freely, and help them form stronger bonds in the rest of their relationships.

 Send out thank you cards.

Though an old-fashioned gesture, having your child send out thank you cards after a birthday party or a playdate will help them to see the value in taking the time out of their day to convey their gratitude to others. You can make it fun by letting them create or pick out the thank you cards, and have them write a little note on each one. They’ll carry this practice into adulthood, and will encourage them to appreciate their relationships that much more when they take the time to put it into action.

 Practice sharing things you’re grateful for as a family.

Dinnertime is a great way to practice the attitude of gratitude. If you already pray as a family, take the time to have each person say what they’re thankful for. And for those who don’t pray, you can still have a family talk about what things you’re grateful for from the day.

 Everyone likes compliments, so verbalizing when you like someone’s new haircut or when they’ve done something worth noting is a win-win! Not only are you helping to brighten someone’s day, but you’re showing your kids that it’s okay to let others know when you appreciate them.

 Always try to mention the positive in the situation.

There are always bad days, but it’s best not to get bogged down when you have them. A simple way to teach your kids to stay positive is to look at the silver lining in every situation. For example, if you’ve had a bad day at work, instead of continuing to complain about it after you’ve vented, take a second and step back. You’re home now, and the day is over. Now you can relax and let the worry and stress from the day melt away! Showing your kids that it’s okay to vent and then turn the situation around into a positive will help further entrench the attitude of gratitude in their minds in normal day-to-day interactions. 

 

If you’d like to really show the children in your life about gratitude, we have an idea for you!  Donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster. To begin, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. 

 

For more information about how the donated cars we receive help provide food for the hungry, check out our respective websites: https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://www.clunkers4charity.org/

 

When we give of ourselves, it doesn’t matter how old we are. We can all learn a thing or two about living a life of gratitude.

Contra Costa County Historical Society

Contra Costa is one of the many long-standing counties in the Bay Area, with a wide and varied history worthy of protecting and propagating to the fullest. Charged with the care and keeping of Contra Costa County’s History Center, the Contra Costa County Historical Society takes its mission to heart. Its collection of records and artifacts catalog the rich history of the region. This dedicated organization takes pride in preserving, protecting, and providing public access to the documents and heritage of Contra Costa County. 

 

With various available research, photo, and essay databases, Contra Costa County’s selection of historical materials is vast. It nods to a long and storied history of the county’s beginnings, and the people, events, and historical places and things that make this county unique. You can even buy a variety of gently used books through their bookstore. Many of them have their own unique and personal history. 

 

In addition to its many records and resources, Contra Costa County’s Historical Society also posts the CCCHS Quarterly Newsletter. Its goal is to spread knowledge about the regional history of Contra Costa County and California. In doing this, the newsletter aims to focus not on famous people, places, and events, but to highlight ordinary people within the county and how they went about living their lives.

 

If you or someone you know wants to become a member of this fantastic organization dedicated to preserving Contra Costa’s history, you can do so here. Whether you join as an Individual, Couple, Sponsor, or Patron, your membership is appreciated and welcome. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in learning more about Contra Costa’s history. For more information about the Contra Costa County Historical Society, check out their website: https://cocohistory.org/index.html

Volunteering is a Great Antidepressant

While everyone gets down once in a while, depression in the age of COVID-19 is another beast entirely. With shelter-in-place orders and families sequestered at home, finding ways to feel connected to others and your community can seem almost impossible. Thankfully, volunteering is a great way to help combat these feelings while helping to impact your communities.

Service to others can be one of the most potent forms of self-care available. Volunteering can improve mental health while contributing to society. By helping people form connections over shared causes, we can feel less isolated, which may help ease the strain on those with depression.

While we make those connections, we also change the way we think. By meeting new people and collaborating on a common goal, we begin to see the world from different perspectives. Another great part about volunteering is that many volunteering activities are outdoors and active in nature. By getting outside and being active in the environment, even with social distancing requirements, we improve our moods and get much-needed fresh air and sunlight. Volunteering with animals may also have similar effects.

Of course, some volunteering activities will be unavailable until shelter-in-place restrictions ease, but now’s the time to get active! Check out your local volunteering websites and see if you can even do remote volunteering. There are all sorts of volunteering activities you can engage in right now at all comfort levels. Whether you volunteer for a local political campaign by phone banking or help deliver food and groceries to the elderly in your community, do some research and get to it! It’s the best form of self-care when you can help yourself while helping your community.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://www.clunkers4charity.org/.

What Goes Into an Emergency Preparedness Kit

While you may be at a loss of how to spend your time right now during the COVID-19 crisis, you may as well start prepping for when we can finally go back out and enjoy the summer! Though travel may not be appealing to some due to the current climate, there’s no time like the present to start getting your car ready to road trip. Read on to find out just what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit!

The things you should include in your emergency preparedness kit can be broken down into three categories: car repair items, safety/medical items, and miscellaneous items.

Car Repair Items:
In the case of a vehicle emergency like a flat tire, you’ll want to make sure you have an inflated spare tire, a wheel wrench, and a tripod jack. If you don’t know how to change a tire, never fear! Most car owner manuals include these directions and long with pictures of how to do so. But it’s always a great skill to learn, so practice, practice, practice. You’ll also need jumper cables, a tool kit, reflective triangles, and potentially a reflective vest so other drivers can see you on the road.

Safety/Medical Items:
First and foremost, you’ll want to pack a fully stocked first aid kit that includes any frequently needed medications you or your family take (like insulin or blood thinners). There should also be a supply of non-perishable foods like nuts or protein bars along with drinking water. These should be checked every six months and replaced when expired.

Miscellaneous Items:
As for miscellaneous items, you may wish to include a flashlight with extra batteries, a compass, a car charger for your cell phone, a fire extinguisher, duct tape, and a rain poncho. Depending on the time of year and where you’re going, you may want to include warm clothes, a blanket, a small shovel, and cat litter for traction.

While this is just an essential list to get started, feel free to add anything else you might need!

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://www.clunkers4charity.org/.

Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center

Today’s children are tomorrow’s trailblazers, and innovators, and leaders, which makes their education and well-being of vital importance to the continued success of our society. Since 1983, the educational and speech-language therapists at Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center (formerly known as the Oakland Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center) have provided free services to pre-school to high school-aged kids and adolescents. Dedicated to supporting and assisting California’s children, they have invested time, resources, and care into our community’s youth that has improved thousands of children’s lives over the years.

 

Originally a philanthropy of the Scottish Rite, which is associated with the Freemasons, the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center is one of the 170 Rite Care Centers across the United States. Located at Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, this organization is a non-profit language and learning center passionate about its childhood language services, scholarships, and other charitable programs. This leading non-profit offers both neuroplasticity-based and reading interventions to children throughout California, as well as traditional speech and language therapy. 

 

With a team dedicated to childhood excellence and growth, the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center’s overarching mission is to help California children develop their full academic potential. They do this by supporting student and professional education and training for the treatment and prevention of childhood language disorders. With services like Interactive Metronome, Fast ForWord, The Listening Program, and traditional speech and language therapy, kids work with educators to improve their speech and language as well as the development of behavioral, social, and motor skills. 

 

If you or someone you know would like to apply for services at the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center, you can learn more about their eligibility criteria and application process here. Additionally, if you would like to donate to this fantastic organization making a difference in so many children’s lives, you can do so here. Your generous donation will help to purchase intervention licenses, assessment and therapy materials, and help to provide these much-needed services to kids in the community. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in applying or donating, and for more information about the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center, check out their website: https://www.oaklandspeech.org/.

 

What’s Happened Since the Paradise Fires

California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire, the Camp Fire, sped through the Sierra Nevada foothills in November of 2018, leaving a path of fiery destruction in its wake. With 153,336 acres burned, 18,804 structures destroyed, and 85 lives lost from start to finish, the world could only watch as the deadly fires ravaged Northern California. To the residents of Paradise, California, though, that loss cannot be quantified. They lost not only homes, stores, schools, and jobs; they lost their entire town. What was once considered one of Northern California’s most beautiful towns surrounded by wildlife and nature, was burned away in a matter of days.
Just about a year and a half has passed since this tragedy occurred, and while Butte County has rallied around the Paradise community, there are still countless reminders of what has been lost. While the Camp Fire has left a deep scar on Paradise that can still be seen in its charred trees and burnt out buildings, residents are working hard to rebuild. Almost all the debris from the fire has been cleared from Paradise, which at one time roughly 26,000 people called home. The combined amount of what has been removed so far is about equivalent to a total of four Golden Gate Bridges.

While many had to move away from Paradise immediately after the fires, about 4,000 residents have come back just over a year and a half from when the fires first began. Many of these 4,000 people now live in recreational vehicles like trailers and RV’s, but the spirit of Paradise is slowly coming back. The fire spared around 1,400 homes, and so far, the city has permitted that some new homes that are fit for occupancy. Some businesses on the main street through Paradise, Skyway Road, have even reopened their doors. Large signs loudly proclaim that life still exists in the small but proud Northern California mountain town, and people are starting to trickle back to Paradise little by little.

There are still issues to face, such as potable water concerns for certain businesses and residences. There are also obvious difficulties associated with rebuilding a town from the ground up, but for those who chose to remain or plan to come back, the challenge isn’t insurmountable. While it may not reach its previous 26,000-person population anytime soon, Paradise is slowly coming back, stronger and more resilient than ever. Time heals all wounds, and in just a year and a half since the Camp Fires, Paradise has shown just how strong the soul of the town truly is. While the old Paradise may be lost, a new Paradise is slowly on its way.
If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, and cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/.

Preparing for Disaster

With all the wildfires and natural disasters underfoot, now is the time to make a safety plan and share it with your friends and family. It is essential to know what hazards your home and community are susceptible to.

Here is a list to help you and your loved ones prepare before a time of crisis strikes:

Inventory Your Household
Do a walkthrough of every room in your home and write down what items you have. If you have the cloud, perhaps you can scan upload a copy just in case one that is in your notebook, desk, or safe gets lost or destroyed. The last thing you need when coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster is to have your insurance questioning about what you had and need to replace. Another good reason to have an inventory list is to evaluate your insurance policy.

Double-Check Your Insurance Policies
Are you underinsured? Boy, that would be a bummer not to have enough coverage to replace your home and items if disaster strikes. You want to be sure the total you are insured for is enough for that just-in-case.

Create a Disaster Plan
First, you will want to start by having a safe place to meet. Think up a place or home that will serve as your meet-up location, just in case you become separated from your family. Talk to your friends and family. It’s essential that your friends and family know what to do in case of an emergency, and you are unable to return to your home.

Plan Ways To Communicate
Have you thought up ways that you will communicate with each other in an emergency situation? How will you contact each other, or find each other after separating? Talk with your family and about a place to find one another during an emergency.

Evacuation Planning
During a crisis, there is often no time for talking and planning, so you will want to plan. Does each member of your family have copies of your emergency contacts? You want to make a list of contacts and give it to each member of your family.

Practice your Safety Plan
Does everyone in your family know how to turn off the power, water, and gas to your home? How about first-aid and CPR? Now is an excellent time to meet your neighbors, when a natural disaster strikes, your community is who you will be surrounded by. You will want to know who they are. What is up high that can come down and cause injury, it is an excellent time to secure these items to prevent unnecessary injuries. Is your fire extinguisher handy? It is a good idea to check both your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms twice yearly.

Talk With Emergency Services
Knowing what your community plan, evacuation routes, and emergency shelters are located will help keep you, your family and neighbors safe. The authorities are an excellent resource to talk about what types of emergencies to plan for.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, and cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/.

Partner Highlight — Automotive Service Councils Educational Foundation ASCEF

When it comes to good work around California, it doesn’t take much to realize that the Automotive Service Councils Educational Foundation (ASCEF) is doing its fair share and then some. For decades now, the push has been strong to send ALL children to college. Our culture values academic success and presented the picture of a successful America steeped in white-collar workers. It was long believed that kids with high trade/mechanical knowledge and skills were somehow less than those with high academic skills. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

As we head into a new decade, it is blatantly obvious just how much we missed the boat on that one belief. Newer research has revealed the inherent flaws with standardized testing and considering academic intelligence as the true measure of a person’s aptitude, ability, and potential success in life. Not only are other forms of intelligence equally as important, they are necessary to our very survival. Imagine if we had NO: farmers, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc? Our entire way of life would be eradicated.

We are shorthanded in every skilled-trade imaginable thanks to this extended line of thinking over the past decades. It’s harder to find a qualified mechanic than a good doctor. When we find one, we’re afraid to move because of how hard it was to find the one we have now. Auto repair shops are struggling to find qualified staff because of the shortage around the country for skilled, trained auto mechanics/technicians. We need qualified mechanics!

The ASCEF not only recognizes this dilemma, but they are working hard to correct the issue knowing that it won’t happen overnight. They encourage highschool students to explore auto repair as a possible career and even offer scholarships to help cover the cost of their education.

If you would like to apply for a scholarship, you have until March 31 for this year’s application period. If you would like to donate to the cause, this organization is always accepting donations! Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in either applying or donating or anyone who might like to know the good work that’s being done in our local community. For more information about the ASCEF and their scholarship process, check out their website: https://www.ascca.com/education/asc-educational-foundation.

How Helping Others Improves Your Health

When you take the time to help other people through volunteering or donating money, it not only helps them, it makes the world a better place, but it also improves your overall health and wellbeing. Research has indicated that when you give, it increases your happiness along with your health. 

Increase your lifespan: When you help others, it’s been shown that it increases life expectancy. How? Studies have shown that when you volunteer at a therapeutic horseback riding facility for at-risk youth or serve food at a homeless shelter, it increases your ability to manage stress, decrease depression, and increase your overall satisfaction with life. Volunteerism helps alleviate loneliness. All of those factors increase lifespan. 

Paying it forward: When you do something kind, it makes other people want to do something kind. This can then ripple through your community making it a better place to live. Just think of how it makes you feel when someone has performed a random act of kindness that affected you. 

3. Helping others adds to our own happiness:  

Scientists have discovered that when we give back, we receive a neurochemical sense of reward. Sociologists conducted research following more than 2,000 people over 5 years. They concluded that when a person volunteered at least 5.8 hours a month, they were far more likely to report themselves as being very happy. 

  1. Reduction in chronic pain: 

When someone with chronic pain volunteers to help others with chronic pain, they often experience a reduction in their own symptoms. 

  1. Lowers blood pressure:

A study showed that when participants volunteered for at least 200 hours a year, their risk of hypertension decreased by 40%! It is believed that this is due to the decreasing of loneliness and the stress that comes with being lonely. 

  1. Has a positive impact on teens:

When teens volunteer, not only do they get better grades, but they feel better about themselves. Regardless of age, when we help others it makes us feel good. 

  1. Increases life satisfaction:

When we volunteer, it gives us a sense of purpose. When we have a sense of purpose, we feel better about ourselves. We see a decrease in depression and a reduction in stress. 

There are so many reasons to get involved in our communities that it can be difficult to see how it might positively affect our own wellbeing. What are you passionate about? At-risk youth? Veterans? The elderly? Animals? There is always a place to volunteer your time, money, and energy. Look for something that you connect with and feels good. You can’t go wrong when you help others!