MEND Meets Guide Dogs of America


For their latest video, the Greatest MEND Podcast team interview Guide Dogs of America (GDA) trainer Lexie Drefuss, along with her dog-in-training, Venti.

In an event hosted at MEND’s Youth Services center, Lexie explained how guide dogs are trained and how people can participate in the GDA puppy foster program. Lexie was interviewed by GMP reporters Victoria Benitez and Lucia Banuelos. Angelica Benitez served as translator for the event as well as producer of the video, and Daniela Catalan took on the challenge of editing the video and supplying the music. They were ably assisted by new intern Anahi Rosales.

A Video Visit with Lenchita’s

The GMP Team at Lenchita's

Last month the Greatest MEND Podcast team expanded beyond their usual audio podcast into video production. For their video debut, the team filmed a visit with Lenchita’s, a family-run restaurant nestled in the heart of Pacoima.

GMP’s roving reporters of Pacoima consist of Daniela, Angelica, Victoria, and Estuardo, also known as D.A.V.E. They were assisted by cameraman Laz Meiman and producer and mentor Betsy Foldes Meiman. They offer thanks to Norma Benitez for setting up the interview, and to Lenchita’s Alvina and Firenzia for a fun afternoon and wonderful food.

Asking Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) All the Wrong Questions


Earlier this year, the Greatest MEND Podcast team had the opportunity to ask fish killer and author Daniel Handler—aka Lemony Snicket—All the Wrong Questions. Between swimming in the San Francisco Bay and making beet soup, he spoke on the telephone with GMP team members Daniela Catalan, Angie Benitez, Victoria Benitez, and Estuardo Rodas—aka D.A.V.E.

Though Mr. Handler is a wanted man, he found time to discuss cutting off little bits of people’s personalities, bullying versus being bullied, and cryptozoology. He also fielded questions about his many books, including “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “All the Wrong Questions.”

Mr. Handler lives in San Francisco with his 12-year-old son, Otto, who may or may not be a father, and his wife, artist Lisa Brown. Learn more about him on his website, All the Wrong Questions. It’s fun!  Even if you think you know his work already, Google him! Mysterious! Shadowy! Delightful!

Daniela Catalan hosts.

Photo by Michael Huang

Thanksgiving Podcast: Bird Is the Word


In this holiday edition of the Greatest MEND Podcast, the newest member of the GMP team, Estuardo Rodas, tries out his hosting chops! Angie Bee, AKA Benitez the Elder, clues us in as to why the Plymouth settlement succeeded and the Jamestown settlement failed, even though Jamestown had climate on their side. Daniela Catalan reveals the unknown Squanto. Victoria Benitez (“the younger”) may make your tummy rumble in Thanksgiving anticipation. And Estuardo uncovers the Turkey in the Straw.

The GMP team reports to you with an attitude of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Steve Voght.

Podcast: A Visit with Sylvia Lopez and CBS 2 News


This month, Angie Benitez hosts a very special episode of the Greatest Mend Podcast (GMP). Sylvia Lopez retired last April after nearly 30 years as a reporter and anchor for KCAL 9 and CBS 2. She recently took time off from her heavy course load at CSUN, where she is earning a master’s degree in public health (retirement pshaw!), to bring the GMP team to the station to see how how a newcast happens. The whole CBS 2 crew, from the doorman to the director, gave generously of their time and skills.

Thank you, Sylvia! The GMP team hopes to interview you again in your new public health career!