All In For MEND 2012!
MEND held its popular Casino Night and Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Saturday October 20 this year at the beautiful Galpin Ford Vintage Car Museum; The Collection. In addition to Poker, attendees played Roulette and Craps for a chance to win great prizes. They also enjoyed delicious food and a cash bar.
All proceeds benefit MEND’s vital work to support and empower our neighbors in poverty. MEND reaches more than 38,000 impoverished individuals each month, and utilizes more than 4000 volunteers to implement its services, with less than 6% of revenues going to fundraising and overhead.
Thanks to all who participated this year. To see photos of the event click here:
Head to Toes 2012
August 29, 2012:
At MEND’s annual Head to Toes event at the MEND center, more than 200 third-grade students were provided with new shoes, vision exams, and dental screenings and fluoride treatments. The students were entertained with arts and crafts and exercise activities, and at the end of the event received a new backpack, donated by the Walt Disney Company, and new basic school supplies donated by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.
Women’s Conference: Elegance and Dignity
“CELEBRATING THE ELEGANCE OF WOMEN” was the theme for the second annual MEND Women’s Conference held Saturday, July 28, 2012, at the MEND Center in Pacoima, CA.
MEND’s main lobby area was transformed from the bustling hub that serves thousands of people each month into a large, stylish conference room. As the day began, some one hundred women from all over the San Fernando Valley mingled around linen-draped tables decorated with centerpieces of tulips, daffodils and balloons.
The spark for this conference began with MEND staff several years ago. They saw the need to provide additional support to women beyond the tangible services MEND already offers. As Veronica Soto, manager of the Clothing Center recalled, “I saw the desperation in the eyes of so many women as they came in to get clothing for themselves and their families. Many women were brimming over with the heart-rending stories of their experiences that eventually led them to MEND.”
After breakfast and live music by local musicians Sergio and Xochitl Soto, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Vivian Hartman shared an inspiring message of strength and self-confidence. Her effervescent style was contagious and the group responded enthusiastically.
The workshops that followed dealt with subjects including health, self-esteem, and finance. The highlight of the luncheon was comedian Lisa Alvarado, who had everyone laughing.
A key idea woven through the MEND Women’s Conference was the value of dignity, a critical cornerstone of MEND’s mission. For all those who attended, it was a key ingredient in making the day both inspirational and empowering.
Photo: Keynote speaker Vivian Hartman shares her inspiring story.
MENDing Poverty Conference Examines Job Market
The Fifth Annual MENDing Poverty Conference brought together 180 people on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at MEND headquarters in Pacoima. This year’s theme was Where Are the Jobs?
The focus of the daylong conference was on the vital roles both employment and employment development services play in lifting people out of poverty. In hard economic times, with many supports for poor people tapped out or stretched very thin, efforts to help people find and keep jobs, especially those with decent wages and benefits, are more important than ever.
Morning keynote speaker Alicia Villarreal of the U. S. Department of Labor opened the conference with an overview of Federal programs for employment and training services. As Regional Representative, she spoke for labor secretary Hilda Solis in emphasizing the importance of concentrating national and local efforts on finding good jobs in a tough economy. Many of the current Federal programs are offered here in the Los Angeles region.
The next speaker, Christine Cooper of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, offered local commentary on some of the same themes. She described the current economy in Los Angeles, identifying which industries have job openings now and which will have opportunities in the near future.
Following a break for networking, three workshops convened on the following topics:
- Doing More with Less: Workforce Policy and Current Economic Realities;
- Getting More: Innovative Employment Programs in Southern California;
- Nonprofit Financial Management: Volunteerism: Paths to Employment and Nonprofit Sustainability.
The conference concluded with a keynote speech by United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta. Fresh from receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, Dolores Huerta inspired the audience with her call for action and advocacy, both by individuals and nonprofits. She talked both about the history of the farm labor movement in California and the current challenges faced by poor people in Los Angeles.
MEND and Valley Nonprofit Resources hosted the conference with support sponsors Kaiser Permanente, the California Wellness Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Office of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the Office of Councilmember Richard Alarcon, Pacific Federal, the California Endowment, and Wells Fargo Foundation. A Planning Committee co-chaired by James Garrison of Pacific Federal and Jocelyn Guihama of UCLA Center for Civil Society guided development of the conference.
The Stars Were Out for MEND’s 2012 Oscar Night America Gala
Hollywood wasn’t the only place with a red carpet on Oscar Night®! Last February 26, more than 350 “stars” walked through the doors of Universal’s Globe Theatre to experience the glitz and glamour of MEND’s 2012 Oscar Night® America. Before the start of the real Oscar® show, with big-screen viewing all around, our guests were able to inspect the silent auction items while enjoying wine donated by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Then MEND honored two entertainment industry partners who have supported our agency for many years: Universal Studios’ Discover A Star Foundation and Warner Bros.’ UNIDOS business affinity group.
Once the awards event began, guests were served a wonderful meal provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering. ABC7 weathercaster Danny Romero served as master of ceremonies and helped keep the room buzzing during commercial breaks by starring as the auctioneer for the live-auction segments.
By evening’s end, MEND walked away with Oscar® gold by raising almost $150,000, well over the event’s expected income goal. This success was made possible by MEND’s generous sponsors as well as by ticket sales to local guests and to those who came from as far away as New York, Washington DC, Nebraska, Illinois, San Francisco, and even Australia and Argentina.
Event sponsors included Wal-Mart, Universal Studios Hollywood, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, ABC7, Anheuser-Busch, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Services, Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcon, and the Wells Fargo Foundation. MEND committee co-chairs were Diane Medina, Vice President for Diversity and Community Relations at ABC7, and Lynn Rinker, CRS, GRI, Prudential California Realty.
MEND is grateful to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for choosing our charity to benefit from hosting the Oscar Night America® event in the Los Angeles market and we hope to be back next year.
We hope to see you there!