Harbor-UCLA Hosts Disaster Preparedness Fair

National Preparedness Event

Elvia Elizabeth Figueroa has lived through many earthquakes in her native Honduras. But as she recently visited Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance with her 8-year-old granddaughter Angie, she realized that she was not prepared for the next big one.

Figueroa, who lives in Hawthorne, took advantage of the Harbor-UCLA Disaster Preparedness Fair to learn the simple steps she can take to plan for the worst.
“Angie was reminding me that we have flashlights but we don’t have batteries,” she said. “I am going to go home and get prepared.”

The Harbor-UCLA Disaster Preparedness Fair, part of a month-long series of events to help residents prepare for emergencies, was hosted by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“Being prepared is important business,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “It’s hard to know how to be safe unless we take preventive measures.”

More than a dozen county departments and emergency response experts were on hand to give residents emergency training, CPR training and even to answer questions about filing insurance claims in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Other participants included Office of Emergency Management Director Jeff Reeb, Harbor-UCLA Administrator Delvecchio Finley, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services Director Cynthia Banks.

Banks noted that the county’s senior centers were important hubs for residents to learn what to do in an emergency—especially learning how to text.

“When an emergency strikes, it is likely going to be hard to get through phone lines,” said Banks, noting that several senior centers around the Second District will be giving classes on texting. “Seniors need to know how to text so that they can get in touch with their family.”

Jeff Reeb, from the office of emergency management, said residents need to remember only four basic precautions:

1. Store enough water for three weeks
2. Store extra batteries for flashlights
3. Share contact lists with friends and families
4. Keep a phone charger at work, home and car.

As part of Los Angeles County’s Disaster Preparedness month, the county is hosting a variety of events to help residents get ready and educated about what to do.
For more information on events please click here.

National Voter Registration Day in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk Dean Logan

On September 23, citizens across the United States will celebrate National Voter Registration Day. Throughout the country, volunteers will help tens of thousands of voters to register. In Los Angeles, California State University, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California among others will participate.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors asked the Registrar-Recorder to ensure that all citizens of Los Angeles County have an opportunity to register and vote. Representatives from five community organizations were recognized for their contributions to voter registration including Anjuli Kronheim Kats from Bend the Arc, Leila Pederson from Common Cause, Neda Bolourchi from League of Women Voters, Jodi Epstein from USC, and Chris Lee from Korean American Coalition.

“Voting is one of the most simple yet powerful acts for social change in our society, but too few citizens take full advantage of this hard-won right,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

In Los Angeles County, an estimated 1.2 million eligible citizens of voting age have not yet registered to vote. Nationally, six million Americans did not vote in the 2008 presidential election because they missed the registration deadline or did not know how to register. The National Voter Registration Act was passed in 1993 to increase the political participation of historically unrepresented people, and section 7 requires that public offices provide public assistance with voter registration. In 2012, National Voter Registration Day was first recognized.

“We must make every effort to encourage and assist citizens to register and vote to close the registration gap,” the Supervisor said.

In preparation for the November election, the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder/county clerk has launched a new voter-friendly website. The new site is easier to navigate on mobile devices and desktop computers. The deadline to register for the November 4 election is October 20.

Register to vote or check your voter status today at www.lavote.net.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas & Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk Dean Logan recognize community leaders.

Falcons to Go on National Television

For years now, Keith and Karen Johnson, founders of the Falcons Youth and Family Service Organization, have been working at the grassroots level to help children become responsible men and women. To that end, their football program has evolved to make sure the players and the cheerleaders are well rounded individuals who value education. The kids they mentor live in low income neighborhoods in South Los Angeles and struggle to find good role models who achieve success in life.

On Thursday, September 18, the Johnson’s efforts will be highlighted nationally when they make their debut on the Rachael Ray Show, a syndicated talk show. Tune in at 1 p.m. on KABC to watch the Johnsons describe their award winning program, which uses football as a means to develop strong character, positive values, personal responsibility, social responsibility and academic excellence for young people.

Many graduates of the program have gone on to achieve success, including Former Falcons Men in Training Participant Caylin Moore, who is a junior at Marist College in New York after receiving the Children’s Defense Fund Award $10,000 Beat the Odds Scholarship when he graduated in 2011 from Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles.

“We hope we will inspire others to broaden their scope of work with the youth they serve,” said Keith Johnson. “Now the nation can see the good services we are providing youth in South Los Angeles and what is possible when the private and public sector join forces to create positive change within the community.”

The Falcons Youth and Family Service Organization, serves an area where only 53 percent of residents have a high school education and nearly 40 percent of the children in the area live in poverty and are being raised by their grandparents.

Some of the programs offered by the Falcons organization include a school monitoring program, a mobile homework trailer where participants do their homework and receive tutoring before football practice and a coach/mentor program that pairs kids up with a positive role model.

“The Falcons organization is an example of what dedicated individuals can do to improve their community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a strong supporter of the organization. “This is an exciting time for them. Now the nation can see the value of their valuable program.”

Alex Johnson named Executive Director for Children’s Defense Fund California

IMG_1270“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.”

Care Harbor LA Offers Free Healthcare to Thousands


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.”