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Celebrating landmark legislation for autism

On Sunday October 9, Gov. Jerry Brown signed historic legislation requiring health insurers to cover behavioral health treatments for children with autism and serious developmental disorders. The Autism Insurance Mandate Bill (SB 946), authored by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and co-sponsored by the Special Needs Network, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, provides families with the relief they have sought and thousands of children with hope for the future.

Autism is the fastest-growing childhood disease in America. A recent study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal confirms that one in every 91 American children, including one in every 58 boys born today will be diagnosed with autism. In California alone, two children are diagnosed every hour. This complex neurological disorder is taking its toll on school districts, communities and families across the nation.

Buoyed by the governor’s action earlier in the day, excitement was in the air at the organization’s Sixth Annual Evening Under the Stars Gala Sunday evening. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Special Needs Network President Areva Martin, Steinberg, and other guests, at the California Science Center, where they celebrated the passage of the landmark legislation.

The Special Needs Network, is the only nonprofit organization in South Los Angeles providing free resources, and services to special needs families. This year’s event was themed “Awareness, Access, and Advocacy” and in addition to the passing of SB 946, it honored a host of figures who have made an impact in the autism community. They included: Dr. David Carlisle, the newly elected President of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, producers of Dear John, the Twilight series, and the new ABC show Revenge; and Dr. Tumani Leatherwood and Dr. Jose Cervantes, directors of the first Kaiser Permanente medical office in South Los Angeles. A special Local Hero Award was presented to Steinberg, who has been a tremendous champion of the autism community.

The evening also included the premiere of the CBS-produced documentary Camp JPAC: the feature, chronicling Special Needs Network’s free summer camp catered to children from undeserved communities as well as typically-developing friends and siblings.

As part of its larger mission, the network serves as a link between underserved communities and mainstream developmental disability organizations and governmental institutions, which often fail to address issues specific to these communities.

For additional information Special Needs Network, log on to www.specialneedsnetwork.org or you can find out more on Facebook www.facebook.com/snnla and Twitter www.twitter.com/specialneedsla.

Grand Opening of the new Martin Luther King Center for Public Health

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was joined by representatives from the Department of Public Health, numerous elected officials, and members of the South Los Angeles community to celebrate the grand opening of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health (formerly the South Health Center).


The public health center’s completion marks a major milestone in the first phase of a $400-million investment to transform the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center into a national center of excellence for health care delivery, urban health promotion, research and teaching, health workforce development, and economic development.

Part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Wellness Community, the new 31,000-square-foot facility will provide immunizations and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and contagious diseases.

MLK Village Fact Sheet
MLK Village Fact Sheet (Spanish)
MLK Program Final
MLK Info Sheet

KPCC 89.3 Radio Broadcast



ABC 7 Eyewitness News TV Broadcast

Event Photos

BRAVO Awards

Do you know a teacher or school that uses the arts to inspire learning? The Music Center’s Bravo Awards wants to acknowledge these champions for arts education in Los Angeles County schools. Nominate a teacher or school today by filling out an on-line nomination form here: http://www.musiccenter.org/education/bravo_applying.html.  The nomination may be from any ONE of the four categories:

  • General Education Teacher
  • Arts Specialists Teacher
  • Overall School
  • School Program

The Deadline for Nominations is October 15, 2011

Once an educator has been nominated, applying is easy! All nominees will be contacted and must submit a one-page questionnaire, a letter of intent (one-page maximum) and a principal’s letter of support (one-page maximum). Application, letter of intent and the letter of support are due October 21, 2011. Twenty-five nominees will be chosen to work together in four workshops to build the community and develop leadership skills. The peer review process will give educators the opportunity to reflect upon their teaching practice, create professional portfolios, and receive feedback from a peer coach. They will also be able to visit peer classrooms and review members’ portfolios to decide who will receive a Bravo award. All 25 participants will receive a cash stipend and be honored at the March 1, 2012 ceremony celebrating community, leadership and excellence in arts education. The ceremony will take place at the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall where the top educators in the four categories will receive special recognition.

For more information please visit: http://musiccenter.org/education/bravo.html


Jefferson Elementary School Parent Group takes a trip on the Lennox shuttle.

This new service links the residents to various key areas of the community. The shuttle is provided to assist residents who may not have a car or just want to take advantage of an inexpensive way to navigate the community. Parents issued public appreciation to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas for another great benefit to the Lennox community.

Fare: .25 cents

Free: Seniors (60 years and older). Persons with disabilities, and Children under 5

Accepted Passes: Metro and EZ Passes

Bus Operation:
7am – 6pm Monday to Friday
9am – 6pm Saturday

The Shuttle is air conditioned and wheelchair accessible.

For additional information contact:

Maria Cerdas
Deputy to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
2nd District

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas joins Korean American Dental Association’s call for CareNow Los Angeles Free Medical Clinic volunteers

[pullquote_right] “The leadership shown by Korean American dentists is inspirtational,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined the Korean American Dental Association Friday to call for volunteers at the upcoming CareNow Los Angeles free medical clinic, and to notify the Korean American community of the availability of free care.

CareNow Los Angeles will take place October 20 to October 23 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Uninsured patients can receive free medical, dental and vision care from volunteer caregivers.

To receive treatment, individuals must go to the Sports Arena at 1p.m. on October 17 to obtain an admission wristband. At last year’s event, 7,000 people received treatment.  “The leadership shown by Korean American dentists is inspirtational. I hope others are able to volunteer not only as health care providers but also as translators and assistants. I also hope Korean Americans in need will come to CareNow for treatment,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.