Recent News

"It's Raining Men"

River Community Covina Counselor Sylvia accompanied the men of our
programs to the Cameron Park Community Center in West Covina for a day of fun and athletic activities. Cameron Community Center programs include a variety of fitness, performing arts, sports, art and specialty classes, youth open game and open gym programs, adult open gym, adult sports, youth sports and other special activities. Our participants played a friendly but very competitive game of 3 on 3 basketball. Staff was truly amazed at the talent witnessed on the court.  Are we seeing a friendly basketball challenge with another willing SMRS program?  ... Right Mid Valley or Omni Center?

Touchstones Summer Events

It’s High School Graduation Time at Touchstones. Our program was happy to celebrate the graduation of two residents as well as the achievement of two more residents who earned their GED. Graduates and peers attended their graduation to receive diplomas, then returned to Touchstones to have a celebratory lunch with friends and family. We are incredibly proud of these young men and all they have accomplished. Two of these residents are now attending a nearby community college.


The Touchstones kids recently spent the day at Irvine Regional Park. After getting some much wanted exercise by kicking a soccer ball around, using the parks swings and slides, they followed that exercise with a leisurely walk on a nature trail. Along the way they got to see lizards, bees, and kept an eye out for snakes. The kids found the hike invigorating and were happy to be out in nature and look forward to their next nature walk.

Thanks to the generosity of the Angels organization, staff was able to take all the Touchstones kids and their families to a fantastic Angels game. Not only did the Touchstones residents get to witness the Angels play an exciting game but also were able to bond and spend a relaxing evening with their family, peers and our supportive staff, which was an experience that many of them would have been unable to experience outside of treatment. It was a wonderful outing, and we look forward to many of the exciting outings that we have planned this summer. Several of the residents had never attended a professional baseball game before and commented what a great time they had with their parents. One resident said “That is the first time in years, I was able to enjoy myself with my dad without us fighting and both sober!”


Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American citizens throughout the United States. 

In observance of Juneteenth, Carol Ivy from Screening & Assessment Dept. put together a small presentation of the history of Juneteenth and provided a traditional dessert of peach cobbler. In addition, Emily R. and Angela M. of River Community Covina and Wellness programs facilitated a fabulous Juneteenth presentation where staff and participants interacted and shared their thoughts related to General Granger's order number 3 which stated: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."


KevinMichael Speaks!

As the United States continues to struggle with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a collaborative approach is key to improving patient outcomes and containing costs, health care providers and policy experts said at a recent conference in Los Angeles. The U.S. currently spends about $300 billion a year on prescription drugs and another $300 billion fixing problems resulting from non-adherence to medication regimens. United Coalition East Prevention Project staff member, KevinMichael Key, has experienced the value of an integrated approach in which physicians, pharmacists and nurses work together to improve patient outcomes and save health care dollars.

Key was the dinner speaker at the event, and he shared a unique perspective with attendees — one that went to the heart of the reason for the conference itself. “I’m not a physician, a pharmacist, a nurse or someone who has to pay for everyone’s health care,” he said. “But I guess I’m the reason you’re here, because I am a patient.” He shared his personal story when his life and health were “really in the toilet” and he had out-of-control diabetes and blood pressure — which had claimed his father’s life at age 44 — and “sky-high” cholesterol. “I felt like I was doomed to die a horrible diabetic death,” he said.

Then he found his way to the JWHC Institute’s Center for Community Health, in downtown LA’s Skid Row, and a team of health care providers — including Steven Chen, associate professor at the USC School of Pharmacy — who “worked with me tirelessly” and “saved my life.” Key explained how Chen met with him regularly, adjusting his medications and dosages until they found the optimal approach. “It’s all about teamwork, and we’re all on the same team,” Key said as he publicly thanked those who partnered on his care. “My very out-of-control life is now in control,” said Key, who is returning the favor to others. “The clinic where I was treated now employs me to help patients with diabetes stick to their medicines, eat right and exercise so they can get in control, too.”


Congratulations to River Covina participants Angela and Kathy who recently celebrated their sobriety birthdays. Angela is celebrating one year and Kathy is celebrating three! Please join us in praising and supporting these wonderful women for their commitment to recovery.

Volunteers at Work !

In May, CCERP staff partnered with Council District 14 and other social service agencies in a Community Clean-Up. Over 200 people swept and cleaned the streets of Boyle Heights, including our very own volunteers of UCEPP and Mariposa women's recovery program. Participants were paired into groups and were provided cleaning supplies along with a map of their designated cleaning area. CCERP and our group of volunteers focused on the front lawn and sidewalk of LAC+USC Medical Center (on Marengo Street) and residential streets (between State and Soto). Volunteers of the clean-up found used condoms, syringes, empty beer cans and countless cigarette butts. Though disturbing to find, the event brought people from various backgrounds together and created a positive atmosphere that we were proud to be a part of.

Skid Row Street Ball League

As the well-known Skid Row 3 on 3 Street Ball League moves through its 2014 season, UCEPP staff and youth leaders are dedicated to utilizing this venue to create a better neighborhood. The league's motto, “it’s more than just a game,” encapsulates our approach to enhancing responsibility, accountability, and community connectedness. The games take place at Gladys Park, and UCEPP staff Charles Porter is one of the League’s Commissioners. Youth leaders Quantrell and Derek have actively participated in league activities, demonstrating their leadership abilities and knowledge of alcohol and other drug prevention. This year’s season began on March 29th, with games scheduled for every other Saturday, running until August. We wish all players and the league's numerous supporters the best of luck during this season! For more information contact Charles at