In the theme of giving thanks during November, let’s talk about gratitude.
Back in the early 2000s, Dave and Mary Kemnitz had a problem that needed solving. At their auto repair shop, D & H Enterprises in Concord, California, they were continually faced with disposing of vehicles that their customers did not want any longer. Most donation centers had huge administrative fees and they kept thinking that there must be a better way. Suddenly These abandoned, unwanted cars gave them an idea. As long-standing Rotarians, they knew that many underprivileged families could use these vehicles. When they looked around at the options to donate these vehicles, they were sickened by the huge admin fee the donation centers were taking.
So, they decided to start two initiatives: Cars 2nd Chance in 2008, working with their local Rotary Club’s Foundation and since that was so successful, began developing Cars for Careers for their automotive trade organization, ASCCA’s Educational Foundation, ASCEF in 2009. Rotary donated cars were either repaired and sold directly from their business or sent directly to Copart Auto Auction to be sold. The Cars for Career’s vehicles went straight to the auction, and ASCCA shops from all over the state began directing cars to the project. Through the years, cars have either been repaired and sold to needy families, repaired and donated to needy families, or sent directly to auction. The proceeds changed many lives. When the cars were repaired, they could either be donated to families who needed them or sell the vehicles, and the proceeds would provide money to these two organizations. What a brilliant solution!
We are grateful that Dave and Mary Kemnitz have been tireless in their efforts to accept donated cars and get them operating again over the years. Today, these cars have a second chance at serving those who need them. Additionally, these cars allow automotive repair students the opportunity to get their hands on a vehicle, learn how to repair it, and feel good knowing that their class project is doing good for the community at large. We believe that’s a complete cycle of putting gratitude to work for you.
So now, let’s talk about those folks who want to put their gratitude to work.
Some people feel the need to donate their cars to help others because they are in an excellent financial position. If you have an older car that you are considering donating, you can get a tax deduction for the donation. Here’s how:
- First, you must donate the car to a qualifying charity. Donating it to a family member won’t qualify for a deduction.
- Second, you must itemize deductions on Schedule A. The deduction is generally the sales proceeds from selling the car. There are exceptions if the charity keeps the vehicle for business purposes or donates it to a needy person.
- Third, the deduction cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income. The charity will provide you with a Form 1098-C that will tell you the amount the car was sold.
- Fourth, you must attach Form 8283 to your tax return if claiming a deduction greater than $500.
If you want to put gratitude to work for you, consider donating your vehicle to Cars 2nd Chance. If you’re going to set an excellent example for your family, consider making this a family project, so your children learn the positive benefits of helping others. To demonstrate and show the children in your life about gratitude, donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, or receive food from the Food Bank. To begin, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to email@example.com to donate a car that does not.
For you, we are forever grateful!
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/
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.
I Don’t Know What To Say: How To Show Empathy For Others After A Traumatic Experience
When something bad happens to a friend or family member, it’s often a challenge to find something to say. It can be awkward, but that’s okay too. We want to fall back on common phrases we’ve learned over the years that rarely help anyone to feel better.
“Time heals all wounds.”
“She’s in a better place now.”
“This too shall pass.”
When we use these phrases, it doesn’t help us connect with how the person is actually feeling. It’s not that we do this on purpose, it’s just because it’s what we know and have heard others say to us. When we can use true empathy, we connect to what the other person is feeling. We connect with their pain and are trying to understand how they are feeling.
A better approach is about action rather than words. Listening is a great place to start. People in pain want validation that what they are experiencing is a challenge. Acknowledge their pain and how they are feeling.
“That sounds tough.”
“Wow, that’s terrible.”
“I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.”
“Of course that’s painful.”
You don’t have to totally get it, but whatever you do, don’t diminish their feelings or their experience of what happened. Share your own feelings and don’t afraid to say that you don’t know what to say.
“I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through right now.”
“I wish I could take away your pain.”
“It makes me sad to know this is what you’re dealing with.”
Let them know that you are grateful they chose you to open up to because it shows they trust you. It’s an honor that they did and don’t be afraid to acknowledge that it may have been hard for them to do so. You are establishing yourself as a safe harbor where they can safely be vulnerable.
“Thank you for trusting me enough to share your experience.”
“I’m honored that you shared this with me.”
“Thank you for opening up to me.”
When you show interest, it’s opening the door for connection. Everyone wants that and especially those who are going through challenging times. This is the time to listen to them and let them share with you.
“How are you feeling about everything?”
“What I heard you say is _____. Is that right?”
“What has this been like for you?”
Take time to encourage your friend or family member. Everyone needs encouragement and that’s especially true when going through a rough patch. Don’t try to fix their problems or try to make them look on the bright side. This is a great time to share what you admire about them and remind them that they are loved.
“You are a true warrior.”
“I’m on your side.”
“I’m proud of you.”
Show you care: give hugs, send flowers or handwritten cards, offer to help around the house. These are actions that helps them to feel loved and supported.
“What can I do to help?”
“What do you need?”
“I’m here when you need me.”
It can be difficult to support our loved ones going through hard times, but it can make all the difference to them when we make the effort. The worst of times often lead to isolation, despair, and loneliness. Take time to show your support and that you care. The empathetic approach is much stronger than empty words. We hope this will give you the words and actions you need to help a loved one.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since the Paradise Fire forever changed our community. To some it feels like a lifetime ago, for others as if it was yesterday. It’s difficult to fathom the pain of such destruction and how it has impacted the lives of so many. It’s a ripple effect, with the strongest impact at the center.
We’ve only just begun to recover, knowing that this is an event we will forever carry in our hearts. For some it will remain on shoulders for just as long. The economic impact for some is greater than for others, but regardless, it will leave a scar with us all. We have all felt some level of despair, but there is great hope that shines through. We are a strong community that has rallied together in an effort to move forward and support each through these challenging times.
There are organizations out there with fund for many who apply. PG&E has a Wildfire Assistance Program and is accepting applications until November 15.
The Paradise Rotary Foundation also has grants available to help: https://paradiserotaryfoundation.org/
For the latest recovery news, here are a couple of very helpful websites:
If you want to help out, here’s one of the many ways:
How You Can Help
Rotary Club of Paradise’s Camp Fire Relief Efforts
Donate (by credit card) to the Paradise Rotary Foundation through our GoFundMe campaign. (Note: GoFundMe keeps 3% of your donation.)
Donate (write a check) to:
Paradise Rotary Foundation
45 Jan Court., Suite 170
Chico, CA 95928
The EIN for your tax records is: 26-2754805.
More Information and Forms at ParadiseRotaryFoundation.org.
The Paradise Rotary Club has stepped up from the very beginning in helping this community remain strong. We are “People of Action” and we won’t stop. Our love of Paradise and the people who make it such an amazing place to live fuels our efforts. Here’s to another strong year of recovery!
Gardens, horses, people oh my! What a great combination to instill hope. Giving a hand up and not a hand out helps everyone to connect and grow and find purpose where it may have been lost. Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Diablo in Clayton, CA, Sunshine Buttercup Farms offers people an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment all the while creating a sustainable future.
The garden at Sunshine Buttercup Farms produces delicious fruits and vegetables based on environmentally sound and healthy practices. It’s a one-acre farm that produces wonderful food as well as healthy, positive change in the people who are attracted to come and participate.
What started off as a word-of-mouth organization, quickly shifted to something much more. Sunshine Buttercup Farms continues to build partnerships with other nonprofits that focus on creating positive change in people as well as around the globe. They aren’t like most other nonprofits in that all of the workforce are volunteers. That’s how they can guarantee that your donations go strictly to the people who will benefit the most instead of getting caught at the administrative level.
Sunshine Buttercup Farms was founded in 1986 and is a California based 501(c)(3) whose mission it is to “help others help themselves.” Their original goal was to provide housing, purposeful activity, and mutual care. They now have locations in South American, Europe, Asia, and Africa and thrive through the generosity of donors and volunteers. Learn more about them and what wonderful contributions they are making to our local and global communities at https://www.buttercupfarms.org/. Feel free to give them a call at (925) 672-1474 or (925) 673-0785 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Americans, not only do we love and cherish our vehicles, but we often take them for granted. We are shocked when we walk out our front door one morning and find that our battery died or we somehow got a flat tire during the night. Most of us don’t even like to travel without the convenience of a rental car on the other end. To most of us, a car means freedom.
From the moment we held that precious driver’s licence in our hot little hands, we felt FREE! Freedom from our parents and freedom to roam. We tend to think of driving as a right instead of the privilege that it truly represents. Ultimately, however, driving is how we are able to earn a living and so much more.
How having a reliable car makes life easier:
We can make it to work on time every day.
We can get our kids to school on time every day.
We don’t have to worry about how we can come up with the money to fix our vehicles every day.
We can easily get to the bank, the grocery store, the park, play dates every day.
We don’t have to be on high alert wondering if we are going to make it to where we need to be every day.
The stress, alone, of having to constantly worry about the expense of an unreliable vehicle along with wondering if we will make it home today is enough to bring a person down. When we have a car that we don’t have to worry about, we sleep better at night and are less likely to snap at our children for the small things. Think about a time in your life when you needed your car and in some way or another, it wasn’t there for you. That didn’t feel good, did it?
Everyone needs reliable transportation. It’s a part of life in our world today. Without it, it is difficult to do some of the most basic of daily-living needs. When you consider how difficult life is without a reliable vehicle, you’ll begin to understand what life has been like for many of the Paradise Fires victims as well as many other families in need.
Here’s a brief story about the cars pictured above and how they are making the difference for one local family:
“The Kinsey family acquired its second Cars2ndChance vehicle on April 5, 2019, a 1999 Mustang V6 Coupe. The Kinsey’s first Cars2ndChance vehicle was a 1995 Honda Accord, purchased in 2017 which serves as Emily Kinsey’s daily driver. The Mustang got a spirited shake-down cruise through Marsh Creek Canyon on Saturday April 13th accompanied by the Accord.
Cars2ndChance offers vehicles in good condition for further rehabilitation, restoration, and ultimately use and enjoyment. The Kinseys are looking forward to the fun with their new project Mustang.”
The next time you take your car for granted, think again! Consider donating your used vehicle to help make a positive difference in the lives of a family who needs to be able to get to work, drop their children at school, and do all the things we need to do to survive. Spread the good word!
Clayton Valley Concord Sunrise Rotary Charitable Fund administers Cars2ndChance and Cars 2nd Chance. We are vehicle/car donation programs helping those in need get back on their feet with the renewed ability to get to and from work and other destinations that most of us take for granted. We are a strictly volunteer-based nonprofit and that means that we can make sure that all donations go directly to the recipients in need. We partner with many other nonprofits in the area to be able to provide as much assistance to those in need as possible. Today, we’d love to share about one of those wonderful partners that is doing such great work to also help the survivors of the Paradise Wildfires, California Vocations (http://www.calvoc.org/).
“California Vocations Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing residential and vocational support to developmentally disabled adults. CVI is located in Paradise, CA. Our organization consists of three distinct components: Licensed Residential Care (Arthur Schawlow Center & Dean Manor), Supported Living Services and Day Programs (COVE and SOAR).”
The Supported Living Services Program is designed to help participants live on their own as opposed to a group living situation. Independence is a wonderful thing for all who desire that lifestyle. This program helps with that goal by assisting with:
- Health and medication management
- Personal wellness plan
- Home maintenance
- Meal preparation assistance
- Daily living skills
Their SOAR Day Program focuses on Social, Occupational, Academic, and Recreational activities. They specialize in working with participants struggling with the most difficult behaviors. This is a small group that works helps adults with developmental disabilities become active participants in their own lives. SOAR empowers participants to make good choices and experience more of what life has to offer. They focus on encouraging:
- Social success
- Vocational skills
They also offer employment and business services. They work with clients to give them the skills they need to be successful in the community. Transportation to and from work, job placement, and job skills development are the key components of this program. California Vocations is committed to assisting those with special needs to be the best they can be all the while being contributing members of our local communities, but they can’t do it without your help and the Paradise Wildfires took a huge toll on their resources as well.
California Vocations is still working to help clients and employees who were affected by the Paradise Wildfires. They have only reached $55,000 of $250,000 of funds needed to replace staff, offices, vehicles, and equipment. Please consider assisting them as they work to recover and move forward. They do phenomenal work in our community and are very worthy of all contributions. We are proud to call them one of our partners!
A disaster can strike at any time, are you prepared for one? You might think that you will have time to pack a bag and stuff the trunk if a disaster were to occur, but in reality, panic will set in and you won’t have the time you thought. Whether you have a car full of kids or it’s just you, you should always be prepared for any situation.
You’ll want to make a plan that includes shelter, first aid, food and water, and sanitation. Those are the basics of survival. The first thing to do when preparing for a disaster it’s best to start with deciding on an emergency contact. Make sure everyone knows who it is and how to contact them, this could be a family friend or relative. Your emergency contact should live in a different area so they can provide a safe shelter.
After you’ve picked your emergency contact then the second thing you’ll want to do is create a disaster kit. Your disaster kit should include a first aid kit, a blanket or two, a case of water, flashlight, and food that will last a few days. By preparing this kit you can go through it once a year and replace perishable foods.
Thirdly, for insurance and the records, you should go through your house and document your belongings. This doesn’t mean counting how many pairs of socks you own, the list should contain valuables like your couch or an old antique lamp. It’s best to take photos of the items and write down the serial numbers so you can easily identify what was lost. Go around your yard and driveway too, take pictures of your car, lawn mower, camper, or any other outdoor vehicle. When you are finished you should upload them to a flash drive and store it in your disaster kit.
The fourth thing to do is to map an escape route. It’s best to have a central meeting place like your emergency contacts residence or a delegated spot. Discuss with each other how to get to that place in case some don’t have access to a vehicle or public transportation. Learn how to read a map and map out how to get to safety. It’s best to practice this route with your family at least once a year.
Lastly, do research about where you live and the risks that might happen. If you live in an area that is more prone to flooding or wildfires you can tailor your disaster kit towards that. The more you know the better you can prepare.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires can happen at any moment without a moment’s notice. To prevent you and your family from being injured and unprepared, sit down and make a plan together. Have emergency preparations ready so you can get out of a disaster and into safety as quick and easy as possible.