Chris Abernathy (River Community Wellness staff member) recently graduated from the Los Angeles County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. In Chris’s own words “Remember, be prepared for any type of natural or domestic disaster. Water is more important than food. The rule is -- keep one gallon a day per person for three days. “
The Touchstones residents traveled to Costa Mesa to celebrate Nowruz - or Iranian New Year. The word 'Nowruz' (pronounced no-rues) means a new beginning. We watched several short films and enjoyed beautiful dancers celebrating their culture. One of our residents called our outing exhilarating (we love that description)! "I learned so much about a culture and its people that I didn't know before. Iranians are a giving, loving, and kind hearted people. It was a joy to get to know them a little bit better."
Many of the residents are anxious to help in the kitchen, and can move on after their stay with Touchstones with very marketable culinary skills.
Recently, the ladies at Mariposa participated in the renovation of our front yard. All residents shared that they had an unforgettable therapeutic experience, bonding and working together. Some shared that restoring the garden was symbolic and it is a representation of how their lives have changed for the better.
March and Vigil
On Saturday Feb. 22nd our UCEPP Coalition led a March and Vigil throughout the Skid Row community. The March and Vigil was done to commemorate Black History Month so, while we carried photos of African-American sheroes/heroes and Martyrs, our ranks were filled with supporters from all races. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time. Big shout-outs to all the residents and supporters who joined in the community cleansing/sage burning procession, led by Christopher Mack from JWCH Center for Community Health. Heart of Compassion Ministries BBQ’d hotdogs and fed well over 300 people, then assisted two separate Korean groups who were drawn to our entertainment scene in Gladys Park.
The beauty of our event, which would not have been as successful as it was without the multitude of multi-ethnic contributions from all the Coalition members and supporters, was the Spiritual oneness of all the participants. UCEPP sends our thanks to: Pastor Cue and The Church Without Walls; The Skid Row Playaz Drum Troupe; My Friends House Foundation; Jennifer and the USC Smoking Cessation students; The Alex Market; Amity Foundation; and The Los Angeles Poverty Department.
Cultural Awareness Luncheon
In February, the Screening and Assessment Department hosted a cultural awareness luncheon for the main office. The luncheon featured a variety of ethnic foods, including collard greens, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, bbq ribs and the best peach cobbler in town! Malavika cooked homemade Jolof (African rice) which received fantastic reviews. Andrew and Carol decorated the main office conference room with African Art work, sculptures and musical instruments. Discussion during the luncheon revolved around the origins of “soul food”, African American historical figures, and an enjoyable and unique twist to the game of Bingo. DJ Michael Sivey provided music inspired by African American tradition. A great time was had by all.
Yet another recent graduate from High School at Touchstones!
D.S. recently graduated from High School at Touchstones. After 11 months of hard work and life changing practice, D.S. accepted his diploma from the Principal of Richland High School, and then shared his special day with his family and peers. D.S. also completed the program at the same time and moved back in with his mom. We are very proud of D.S. and look forward to his return as a mentor and active alumni.
The Touchstones kids ventured to the Fowler Museum at UCLA
The Touchstones kids went to the Fowler Museum on the UCLA campus. The kids really enjoyed the different exhibits and were awed at how old some of the objects were. We watched a video on an African village and how the people are not allowed to copy each others' art from village to village. The kids really thought that was interesting. We stopped for our picnic lunch and everyone enjoyed sharing the crust from their sandwiches with a flock of seagulls that was hovering nearby.