- Second District
“This is a terrific day for the children of Los Angeles. The Children’s Defense Fund, an iconic institution locally and nationally, brings on a man of integrity, vision and skill – Alex Johnson.
For many years now, Marian Wright Edelman’s commitment to improving the lives of young people has challenged the entire nation to resolutely refuse to accept the substandard conditions that stultify and stunt the hopes and dreams of our children. By comparison, Alex Johnson, is a relative newcomer to the struggle. But let me say this: he is a worthy partner and excellent choice to become the new executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-California.
Marian could not have put the reins of our state’s Children’s Defense Fund in more capable hands. Through his work with Freedom Schools, the terrific literacy program that has changed so many lives, Alex Johnson has demonstrated not only a clear understanding if the organization’s mission, but also how to innovate and take what is tried and true and move it forward.
I congratulate Alex on this appointment, but I also congratulate the Children’s Defense Fund. They have chosen the right person to lead this iconic organization into a bright new day.”
It’s been three years since Kameron Lyons, 21 of Long Beach has seen a dentist. The Cal State University Long Beach senior says that she has suffered through extreme pain in her mouth for the last three months that prevents her from eating anything cold including her favorite- ice cream.
But on Thursday, thanks to the Care Harbor LA free healthcare clinic, Lyons received two fillings and a teeth cleaning from a dentist free of charge.
“My mouth feels better now,” Lyons said. “I’m grateful and really happy to be here.”
The mounting cost of tuition and books has forced Lyons to spend her limited income on school rather than healthcare.
“It’s nice to know that people care about those of us that don’t have the luxury of going to a dentist,” Lyons continued. “The aura here is positive, the people volunteering are happy to be here and it is all good vibes.”
For four days, hundreds of doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers provide free screenings, treatment, prevention resources and follow-up care to thousands of uninsured, underinsured and at-risk individuals and families inside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. At the clinic, patients also will be able to receive HIV tests, specialty medical care and primary care.
Like Lyons, James Scott, 75 of Los Angeles is thankful for the opportunity to receive free healthcare at the clinic. Scott says that he has stopped driving altogether because of his poor eyesight and that he is looking forward to seeing an optometrist.
“I’m reliant on my right eye and have become a one-eye reader,” Scott said. “I have Medicare but it doesn’t fully cover what I need and I can’t afford to see an optometrist. My license is expired and I need a prescription and glasses so that I can see better and pass the vision exam at the DMV.”
One of the primary goals for the event is not only to provide people with quality, holistic medical care, but to sign up eligible residents for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
“We want to create an event so that the people going through the line this year are not going to have to have to be in line next year,” Don Manelli, president and founder of Care Harbor said. “We are working hard to become obsolete.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose office is one of the sponsors of Care Harbor LA, said that the need for the event is clear, referring to the line of individuals waiting to enter the sports arena to receive medical attention.
“We are proud to provide compassionate and efficient healthcare to thousands of individuals in need of care,” he said. “Care Harbor represents the best of our communities and humanity at its best to help those who are less fortunate.”
Ready to get your jam on? Thanks to Fallen Fruit, an art collaboration by David Burns and Austin Young, anyone and everyone is welcome to make their last jam of the summer at Kenneth Hahn Regional Park this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The only requirement? Bringing some fruit and some friends.
The jams will be made in two stages, preparation and cooking and the activities will be set up on different tables. The only rules for participants? Decide what jam to make and make it with flair by creating unusual flavors such as apple pumpkin jam or quince and pear with lavender — one person in the group should record the ingredients to put on the labels.
Fallen Fruit, an art collaboration originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young, has been hosting fruit-related art events throughout Los Angeles County. Since 2013, Burns and Young have continued the collaborative work including hosting several lemonade stands during the summer.
To RSVP for free parking, please go to fallenfruit.org or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1554659864765939/
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Danielle Kahl, 25, of Los Angeles, says it’s been years since she saw an optometrist. The left arm on her three-year-old prescription eyeglasses is missing, and making do has been difficult. Kahl, who is unemployed, arrived at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena at 5:30 a.m. Sunday with her 23-month-old son, James, to reserve her place at the 6th annual Care Harbor LA free clinic. Kahl, like thousands of other people from throughout Southern California, had lined up to obtain the wristbands that would guarantee them treatment Thursday at one of the nation’s largest events promising free health care to all comers.
From Thursday through Sunday, hundreds of doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers provide screenings, treatment, prevention resources and follow-up care to thousands of uninsured, underinsured and at-risk individuals and families. At the clinic, patients also will be able to receive HIV tests, specialty medical care and primary care.
“I’ve never been to an event like this,” Kahl said. “This is so cool.”
Don Manelli, president and founder of Care Harbor, notes that one goal for the event is not only to provide people with quality, holistic medical care, but to help eligible residents sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
“We want to create an event so that the people going through the line this year are not going to have to have to be in line next year,” Manelli said. “We are working hard to become obsolete.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose office is one of the sponsors of Care Harbor LA, said that the event is a testament to the profound work of volunteers to help those in need.
“Care Harbor is an example of compassion, ingenuity, skills, expertise, time and money, rolled into an annual event to help those who are less fortunate,” he said. “It represents the very best of our communities.”
For Antonio Relnado-Sergio, 52 of Van Nuys, who is homeless, looking down at the green wristband that will admit him into the clinic on Thursday gave him a sense of relief. After losing both of his front teeth, he will finally have to opportunity to see a dentist. Relnado-Sergio says he has been actively seeking work but has been told an unattractive smile is to blame for the lack of follow-up interviews.
“I got it,” said Relnado-Sergio, referring to his wristband. “God bless the organizers of this event. This is amazing.”