May 31, 2013
I Care: An advocate for seniors

LS OMBUDSMAN 2.jpg Ann King conveys her sincerity with a warm touch as a resident at a skilled nursing facility in Carmichael expresses her concerns. As a volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman with the Ombudsman Services of Northern California, King is the voice for the elderly who cannot speak for themselves due to fear, stroke or dementia.
Her soft-spoken words turn into fierce action when investigating reports of elder abuse or neglect at nearly 40 facilities under her watch. She makes sure residents are safe and properly cared for; have meaningful activities and nutritious food.
"It is the hardest volunteer job I have ever done but it is by far the most rewarding," says King. "When you see that you can really do something and have an effect and make something happen to improve people's lives, it just makes it all worth it at the end of the day. Absolutely."


May 25, 2013
I Care: Helping wounded veterans

I CARE VETERAN RUN 2.jpgCourtney Hvostal stands by the flag used to welcome war veterans home. Her bright green eyes have never seen battle but spending months at her brother, Army Sgt. Adam Keys' bedside, makes her feel like she has. Of six soldiers in his vehicle, only he survived the blast from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in July 2010. He underwent three amputations. Inspired by her brother, Courtney in 2011 started the Memorial Day "Aerojet Wounded Veteran Run," 3K, 5K and 10K runs along the Folsom Parkway Trails, benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fallen Warriors Memorial Organization. "I'm grateful that I'm able to give back to those who have served us," Hvostal said. "They've sacrificed a lot for us and if there's something I can do to make their lives easier, then I should."


May 18, 2013
I Care: A voice for kids at the Courage House

LS I ICARE JONES3.jpgSixteen-year-old Jordyn Jones barely breaks a sweat as she works in the garden with residents of Courage House, a home for young victims of sex trafficking supported by the Christian-based nonprofit Courage Worldwide. The girls joke around and Jordyn fits right in, but her life couldn't be more separate. Many of the girls living there are runaways from abusive families. Jones comes from a loving family with deep Christian roots.
She and her family have been volunteering at Courage House for three years. They recently opened their home to a resident who turned 18, past the home's age limit.
Last year, Jones spent two weeks volunteering at Courage House in Tanzania. "I know God has called me to be a voice for kids," she said. "My heart is with kids and the issue of sex trafficking breaks my heart."


May 11, 2013
I Care: Providing spiritual care

LS SPIRITUAL CARE1.jpgThe fragrance of fresh flowers fills the air in the meditation center as nurses arrive to have their hands blessed by Rev. Arthur Lillicropp, an Episcopal priest. As manager of Spiritual Care Services at Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, he comforts the sick and dying, counsels grieving families, and reassures staff.
Lillicropp has also been on the other side of the hospital bed. In 1990, he had corneal transplant surgery after living in blindness for seven years. He said he lost hope when told his body was rejecting the transplant, but a woman he thought was a nurse came to him, held his hand and said God was with him.
"That was the conduit through which God's compassion came into my heart ... ," he said, "and I said, 'I want to do this.' I want to sit at someone's bedside and say, 'God has your heart, it's going to be OK.'


May 3, 2013
I Care: A passion for service

20130312_AOC_ICareFifer1_368w.jpgIt's 7:00 am and a laughing group of fifth and sixth graders is boisterously learning how to fly handmade helicopters. Retired Navy helicopter pilot Lou Fifer is at the helm, teaching the children properties of flight in a before-school Aerospace Connections in Education class funded by the Civil Air Patrol. Fifer, who dedicates himself to service in many areas, leads an extensive program of 100 volunteer tutors at Thomas Edison Language Institute, a Title 1 school. Each day he gives his undivided attention to struggling students, and one by one they begin to grow, knowing that they are valued. He is both strict and kind, sometimes wearing his flight suit to class as inspiration.
"This is a passion with me," Fifer says. "I have five successful children and I demand excellence. I like seeing the kids mature and get the concepts."