Spattered in beige-colored paint flecks, Kay Oghoghorie livens up a dull wooden barn for horses that are rescued, rehabilitated and adopted out to new owners. Instead of spending spring break sunning on a tropical beach somewhere, 45 Sacramento State students participated in Alternative Break, a college program designed to help students get involved in different community non-profits during their week off. "It's great to see there are students who want to go out in the community and use their time productively," says Oghoghorie, a student assistant at Sac State's Community Engagement Center who coordinated the program. The 23-year-old senior spent last week working at a community garden for Soil Born Farms; cleaning donated items at the Sacramento Habitat For Humanity ReStore; putting together food packages for Meals on Wheels by ACC; helping maintain 200 trees for the Sacramento Tree Foundation; and painting a barn at the All About Equine Animal Rescue. "It's been a busy week," she says. "I love it."
March 30, 2014
March 24, 2014
Surrounded by a pack of teenaged mountain bikers, Mark Ferry maneuvers around jagged rocks and dusty hills on the Folsom Lake recreational trails. The 44-year-old real estate broker volunteers much of his free time coaching riders from six high-school mountain biking teams in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties. All the teams practice together four days a week, grouped with other riders of similar speed abilities. They thrive on the spirit of competition, he says, which has been one reason for their high rate of success at league races. He started his first team five years ago at Oak Ridge High School and now along with a posse of assistant coaches, trains over 50 bikers on six area high school teams. Three years ago he started the non-profit organization Cycling Development. "They're all growing in their skill and ability levels," he says, "and the best thing about it is, they're all having a blast."
Visit www.cyclingdev.com for more information.
March 15, 2014
It's 6 a.m. roll call at the William J. Kinney Police Facility on Marysville Boulevard and 87-year-old Lucy Palmer sits quietly, trying her best to keep a low profile. But that doesn't stop Sgt. Paul Freeman from giving her a little "shout out" during his briefing and thanking her for her 18 years of volunteer work for the Sacramento Police Department. In 2007, she was inducted into the Sacramento Police Officers Association as an honorary member. "She is an inspiration to me," says Officer John Tennis, at left below, as the two sit down and talk like old friends. Lucy works diligently on the staffing roster, keeping track of which officers are on light duty or temporarily transferred to other units. She handles duties that have not yet been automated, like stuffing envelopes for mass mailings and reviewing documents to be distributed. In the past, she has worked on projects for crime statistics and reviewed cold cases. North Area commander Capt. James Maccoun says Lucy is "a model of resiliency and work ethic to us all."
March 9, 2014
With a hand drill and color samples on the counter between them, Michael Schleitweiler and Erin Cowles bounce decorating ideas off of each other. Cowles is a volunteer case manager with Next Move's Home at Last program, which provides the permanent supportive housing complex where Schleitweiler has become a resident. Before he found a place with Home at Last - which is for homeless, disabled people age 55 and older - Schleitweiler says he lived in a van for three years and worried where he'd find food and a place to shower. "Now my biggest concern is how I'm going to arrange my pictures on the wall," he says. Cowles came to the area from North Carolina a year ago and became part of the program through the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network. Working 40 hours a week, she checks in often with the 13 residents at the complex, addressing their issues and connecting them with resources in the community. "A lot of folks have been homeless for a significant period before coming here," she says. "That can be a really difficult transition for people."
March 8, 2014
Karen Parsegian approaches a class of fourth-graders at Bannon Creek Elementary School with her white cane outstretched. Blind since 2002, she asks 10-year-old Christopher Hall if she can feel what he looks like and touches his puffy black hair. "It's curly like mine," she exclaims and everyone laughs. Helping kids look past a disability and find common ground is the goal of A Touch of Understanding, a local nonprofit bringing disability awareness to 6,000 area school kids each year. Speakers like Parsegian share insights of the challenges associated with their disabilities while students get first-hand experience of what it's like to be disabled. They do activities like listening to a recording of how a person with autism may hear the world, driving around in wheelchairs, writing in Braille and using mobility canes. "I help kids see with a whole new set of eyes," says Parsegian. "I get them to see with their hearts."