Education, Arts & Culture

Free Resources to Maintain a Healthy Life Balance for Families During COVID-19 Crisis

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, LA County resident’s lives have been turned upside down. Since the implementation of “Safer At Home” orders at the state and local levels, we’re all forced to spend more time inside, and time away from our friends and loved ones. In this moment of crisis and high anxiety, it’s more important more than ever to manage one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Using this unprecedented time to create a safe space for self-care as well as keep children preoccupied and active. Here, the County of Los Angeles has prepared the following suggestions and resources to get through the days ahead while maintaining a healthy life balance.

  1. PHYSICAL HEALTH

With children out of school, it is important to provide opportunities for physical fitness. Below is a list of recommendations to keep your family members active.

  • Plan a family workout session every day by accessing YouTube videos to get the heart pumping without leaving your home:
  • Indoors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5if4cjO5nxo
  • Outdoors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDupYmKQAmc
  • Design a game from your normal household chores
  • Go for a short walk or a bike ride in your neighborhood (while maintaining proper social distancing)
  • Many gyms are offering virtual classes for their members; check the gym’s website for more information such as:
  • Stoneview Nature Center (stoneviewnc@parks.lacounty.gov) via Zoom platform video conferencing, providing “Classes with Rosie – Yoga/Body Balance”:
  • Cost is $10 per session
  • Text (323) 864-4424 to receive link and payment instructions
  • Class Schedule is:
  • Wednesdays – 10 am and 6 pm
  • Thursdays – 10 am and 7 pm
  • Friday – 10 am
  • Find an online Yoga for Kids:
  • Yoga with Akili and Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQJaCOwS_B4
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhYtcadR9nw
  • Harry Potter Yoga Session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-BS87NTV5I
  1. MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As humans we are social creatures and being alone or secluded for an extended period of time will take a toll on our mental and emotional health. Therefore, it is very important to utilize coping mechanisms that are available to get through this crisis.

A.) Mental Health Services

In light of communities experiencing unprecedented challenges, this crisis will impact each person’s mental wellbeing differently. This may include; anxiety, uncertainty and even frustration. If there is a need for professional help or additional support, please contact the resources listed below:

B.) Meditation

Meditation is a mental exercise that uses mindfulness techniques to work on attention and awareness with the goal of achieving a calmer state of mind. There are many meditation sessions available on Instagram and YouTube, as well as many instructors are providing group sessions via video conference platforms:

C.) Sound Meditation Therapy

Sound Meditation is the practice of deepening meditation with the use of sound and music for a focused awareness type of meditation utilizing a range of bowls, gongs, bells and other similar devices and instruments, providing overall well-being, bringing balance and relaxation.

  1. LIBRARIES

Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City libraries are an incredible resource for free knowledge. If you do not have access to a membership, links are provided below to join online.

If you are a member of Los Angeles County Library, you have access to various FREE e-books, audiobooks, movies, documentaries and TV shows. If you are not a member, you can obtain a temporary digital library card using the link below:

Online Membership Page: https://colapl.wufoo.com/forms/ztns1cw0q78qml/

A.) E-Books and Audio Books:

  • Enjoy thousands of free eBooks and audiobooks with OverDrive, the most popular online service and check out up to 15 items at a time
  • Download the Libby app, by OverDrive, to easily browse, borrow, place holds, read, and listen
  • Hoopla and RB Digital offer free audiobooks downloads
  • Discover local content from self-published authors on BiblioBoard and never experience a hold, checkout or lending limit

A.) Movies and TV shows:

  • Stream independent, international, classic and documentary films with Kanopy (allows 10 play credits per month)
  • Stream films and TV shows with Hoopla and borrow up to 8 items per month
  • Digitala Film has streaming films available to watch online, including many international titles and classic American cinema
  • Overdrive now offers streaming video, including movies and The Great Courses
  • Freegal allows streaming and downloading over 10 million songs, including Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists, and over 40,000 music videos

C.) Magazines and Newspapers:

  • RBdigital allows checking out digital copies of top magazines like The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Wired
  • Access The New York Times for free with your library card
  • PressReader provides instant access to over 2,000 newspapers from 100 countries in 60 languages, including the Los Angeles Times

D.) Learn Something:

  • Learn a language with Mango Languages or Transparent Language Online
  • LinkedIn Learning is an award-winning online learning site that offers more than 3,000 courses taught by recognized industry experts, and 150,000 video tutorials on business, technical and creative skills
  • Universal Class has over 500 online non-credit Continuing Education Courses
  • Access hundreds of college-level audio and video courses with The Great Courses

E.) Just for Kids:

Below are ten library resources for families to access from home

  • com – Students (and parents!) can get help in math, science, English, social studies, writing, and LAUSD homework packets. Professionally trained and experienced tutors work online with students in grades K-12, 7 days a week, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
  • Tumblebooks – An online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach young children the joys of reading in a format they’ll love. Read and listen to a variety of books in 7 different languages
  • BookFlix – Read, watch and listen to books and book videos! This fun Scholastic website reinforces reading skills for early readers, reluctant readers and English language learners for grades preK-3
  • Storytime Online – Enjoy recorded storytimes featuring Miss Lauren, Miss Ednita, Miss Graciela and many more from around the city to watch at home. We also have a guided storytime so you can create your own version at home
  • Kanopy Kids – Unlimited plays so kids are free to explore enriching, educational and entertaining films and TV series
  • Kids’ e-Books – OverDrive Kids offers a special selection of downloadable e-books, audiobooks, comics, magazines and videos just for young readers
  • ScienceFlix – Combines curriculum-driven, leveled content, interactive features, and intuitive navigation into a single, highly-engaging digital resource for students in grades 4-9 providing hundreds of science topics with great information and videos
  • Kids InfoBits – Resource designed for K-5 students providing age-appropriate magazine & news articles, videos, images, and graphs allowing students to dive into elementary subjects by exploring various categories
  • Britannica School – A three-part digital resource multi-subject encyclopedia providing portals for elementary, middle and high school students; Britannica Escolar offers the resource in Spanish.
  • World Book Kids – Lesson plans incorporate a variety of core curriculum subjects and include discussion questions and an assessment rubric. World Book Kids will help kids do age-appropriate research, designed for grades 1-4

Get Out the Count


Saying coronavirus should not prevent people from being counted, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas urged Los Angeles County residents to participate in the 2020 Census.

“L.A. County leadership and our community partners remain committed to the census and encourage our residents to do the same,” he said. “COVID-19 has demonstrated firsthand how crucial the census is to our ability to react to a national crisis. We must remain steadfast in our efforts in ensuring every member of every household is counted.”

The County of Los Angeles is helping lead the region’s “Get Out The Count” efforts, which are designed to urge residents to take part in the 2020 Census. Unlike other years, this year the census faces a challenge – a worldwide pandemic – which means millions of L.A. County residents are under “Safer at Home” orders and has forced a shift in outreach strategy.

Filling out the census form is simple and fast. Census forms can be completed online at my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here) or by mail if you receive a paper form.

The census influences billions of federal dollars for local hospitals, parks, schools and affordable housing programs in L.A. County. Census data guides significant funding for vital programs including the Title I School Funding, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC, Head Start, and community health centers funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center Program. All of these programs have an impact on the most vulnerable communities, especially in times such as these.

The 2020 Census officially kicked off on March 12, with the U.S. Census Bureau sending letters to all households in the county, inviting residents to participate in the census either online, by mail or by phone.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the nation’s population every 10 years. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how much in federal funding is allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years. Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which creates jobs. Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.

Completing the census is private. Responses are protected by federal law, specifically Title 13 of the United States Code. They cannot be shared with any other government agencies or other entities, including your landlord.

For non-English speaking residents, the L.A. County 2020 Census website offers county-specific information in 16 languages and the U.S 2020 Census website offers general information in 59 languages including in-language guides.

Visit https://census.lacounty.gov/ and https://2020census.gov/ for more information.

In response to the evolving situation around COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended the official deadline to participate in the census. The last day for households to self-respond online, by phone or by mail is August 14.

Natural History Museum to Welcome New Community Hub After COVID-19 Crisis

Rendering of NHM Commons, a new community hub for exploring nature and culture and “front porch” for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County facing Exposition Park. Rendering by Frederick Fisher and Partners courtesy of NHMLAC.

 

Looking to brighter days, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve plans for the museum’s 75,000-square-foot renovation and addition and released $15 million toward the project, which includes a new entrance to the museum.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas at the current Natural History Museum in Exposition Park.

“I am pleased the County is supporting the NHM Commons Project as an enhancement to the Natural History Museum’s role as the cultural anchor for Exposition Park and an important scientific and cultural resource for all Angelenos,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd District. “This project will allow for even greater access to the Museum’s collections and the research of its scientists. I expect to see Angelenos engaging and learning to enjoy the nature and culture that is all around them.”

In addition to the County support, the $60 million NHM Commons project has received $9 million from the State of California and another $15.5 million in commitments from foundations and individuals. Two individual donors stepped up with lead gifts of $5 million each: the Annenberg Foundation to name the Wallis Annenberg Lobby, and the Perlstein Family to name the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center. Additional support was received from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, and three anonymous donors.

Barbara Carrasco’s mural L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective will greet visitors to the free NHM Commons, in the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center.

“While being mindful and intentional about where we now find ourselves with the museum closures, we are grateful to the Board of Supervisors for the capital project funding, as well as to the State of California and our generous donors for allowing us to keep an eye toward the future,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of NHMLAC. “By creating greatly expanded opportunities to inspire wonder and discovery, NHM Commons will enable us to activate our collections, exhibitions, and programs, as we serve our diverse communities in exciting new ways. Bringing more of our behind-the-scenes work into the light and providing more opportunities for the public to connect with our research and vast collections, NHM Commons is the next major step in our vision for the next ten years at both Exposition Park and our La Brea Tar Pits site.”

NHM Commons will provide 53,000 square feet of renovated space and 22,000 square feet of new construction. The work will proceed in tandem, with the vast majority of NHM remaining open to visitors. With the NHM Commons project, the ticketing and concierge experience at NHMLAC will be transformed to provide a personalized orientation to the Museum’s exhibitions, collections, gardens, and experiences.

“The themes of this reimagination of the Natural History Museum’s place in the community are transparency and connection,” declares Frederick Fisher, Founding Director of FF&P. “We are honored to collaborate with one of the cornerstone institutions of our home region towards their goal of enhanced engagement with the community. We plan to open the Museum to Exposition Park and reveal its vast treasures and diverse activities.”

NHMLAC’s newest dinosaur “Gnatalie,” the most complete sauropod skeleton on the West Coast, will be also displayed. Renderings by Frederick Fisher and Partners courtesy of NHMLAC.

The Commons will create vibrant indoor-outdoor gathering spaces, replacing opaque exterior walls with a glass façade to give views into the Museum and its collections from the park. Los Angeles- based landscape architects Mia Lehrer + Associates (Studio-MLA) will increase the visibility and connectivity of NHM to Exposition Park and its community by creating gardens that provide much needed shaded spaces for community use and sustainable planting for a resilient future.

Inside, a new state-of-the-art 400-seat theater and multipurpose space will invite audiences to enjoy the best of live performances, film screenings, and special events. New media capabilities will connect NHMLAC scientists in the field with local and remote audiences, and flexible seating will provide space to host a wide array of innovative and free programs for the neighboring community.

As the County continues to experience the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supervisor added, “We wouldn’t proceed if we did not believe is was prudent to do so.  After all, Los Angeles County is a major regional driver of the state’s creative economy. The County is currently focused on the immediate challenges facing all Angelenos, so when we emerge from this current crisis, it will be more important than ever not to delay having a community hub like this to bring people together with nature and culture.”

 

Protecting Retail Grocery, Drug Store and Food Delivery Workers During COVID-19 Crisis

 

Photo by: Getty Images/ Cavan Images

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to protect retail grocery, drug store and food delivery platform workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn aims to provide workers with the supplies, tools and equipment necessary to protect them and the public they are serving.

“As the necessary precautions to protect our most first responders and health care workers are being put in place across the country, we must not forget or workers in the delivery service industry,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “In these difficult times, a visit to the grocery store makes extraordinarily clear that food and grocery delivery drivers are essential worker and we must do all that we can to protect them. This motion will provide these vital individuals with the fundamental items that will protect their health and well-being.”

Photo by: Getty Images/People Images

Since the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a Local Emergency on March 4th and the Los Angeles County Health Officer issued a revised Safer at Home Order on March 21st, retail grocery and drug stores have remained open to provide essential services while many other brick and mortar stores have temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many people who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, including those aged 65 and older or with underlying health conditions, have turned to food delivery platforms to survive.

“We’re now two weeks into this crisis and we still do not have uniform standards across all grocery stores and pharmacies to protect workers and customers. Grocery workers are essential and they need basic protections no matter where they are working. As the largest county in California, we can lead the way and set the standard for the entire state. We need this level of immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19,” UFCW Local 770 President John Grant said.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion calls for employers to be required to sanitize and stock all bathrooms with necessary supplies, clean stores and shopping carts between uses, require employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes, provide sanitizing stations at the entrance of all stores, provide adequate security to enforce social distancing, establish operating hours to restock, provide access to COVID-19 testing, support employees so that they may address childcare and family needs, and prohibit retaliation for exercising their rights.

“In the middle of this global health emergency our grocery store, delivery, and drug store workers are now front-line responders. Their work is essential to keeping our County running and we need to make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs safely.  Today’s motion ensures employers in these sectors are sufficiently staffed and are able to provide the protective and sanitary equipment employees need to keep themselves and the public healthy,” stated Supervisor Janice Hahn.

For more information regarding education and training on proper food handling, please visit the County’s Department of Public Health at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/

Honoring the late Rev. Joseph Echols Lowery

Statement from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the passing of the Rev. Joseph Echols Lowery

“The Reverend Joseph Echols Lowery helped change the face of America, and I was proud to know him and learn from him over the past four decades.

“As the ‘Dean’ of an era, he helped guide a movement that moved this country to honor the ideals emblazoned in our history books not just as mere words, but as a working reality. May he always be remembered for his steadfast commitment to justice, equality, and peace for all.

“For many of us connected to the civil rights movement, he was a giant. We stood, and continue to stand, on his broad shoulders. As the longest tenured president in the history of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the only organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose ideals have guided the arc of my career, I am grateful for his life as one well-lived and its influence on many.  My work with SCLC began here in Los Angeles when Rev. Lowery became our National President (1977). I owe a great debt to SCLC, its leaders and members — especially the Rev. JM Lawson, Jr., Dr. King’s designated teacher of nonviolence.

“A preacher to his core, whose words uniquely captured the essence of all of our work, Rev. Lowery once said, ‘If you don’t know where you come from, it’s difficult to determine where you are. It’s even more difficult to plan where you are going.’ Words that ring even truer today.

“Avis and I send our love and prayers to his family and his loved ones. Today, we mourn the loss of an American civil rights icon, but let us all continue to carry on with the legacy to which he dedicated his life.

“May he rest in peace and power.”