I am proud of the commitment made by California State Employees to build stronger communities not only through your work at the state, but also by your charitable contributions to the Our Promise initiative.
Bari Schlesinger was once unable to pick up items that she dropped on the floor. She once relied on others to open doors. She once feared going places alone.
Thanks to the help of Canine Companions for Independence, Bari no longer strains herself to retrieve dropped items, she doesn’t need to wait for strangers to come along and open doors, and gone are the days of anxiety and doubt. Bari is now a self-assured and independent individual with her wonderful Canine Companions assistance dog, Axel III, provided to her free of charge.
Growing up without many basic resources can be a burden to children who come from impoverished families. This struggle has always been close to my heart since I myself grew up in a single parent household where we struggled to get by on just the basic necessities. When I became an adult I realized that I had the power to do something good that could help make a child’s life a little easier. As an 18 year youth sports coach I realized that I had collected so much baseball gear, and I knew that I could put it to good use.
When John Albarran lost his sight to glaucoma, he quickly figured out how to move forward in his life. By the age of 17, before he had graduated from high school, Albarran was a Guide Dogs of America graduate. He is currently partnered with his fourth dog from the school, a female yellow Labrador Retriever named Julep.
We all like to think that we are safe and secure, but one incident or accident can surprise and shock us. In 1980, my father had a massive stroke, and my mother was instantly transformed into a 24-hour caregiver for a person who had severe speech and mobility issues.
Laurie Heller considers herself a professional “grant maker” – having worked for a variety of public sector agency grant programs.Currently, she works for the California Natural Resources Agency administering grants to improve the environment and help communities prepare for the effects of climate change. A natural extension of her work is an interest in micro-financing.While researching micro-grants as an international development tool, she learned about Heifer International (Heifer) and their innovative approach to sustainable development, which includes taking care of the earth.
Charity is a large part of my life. My family and I have always believed in giving to the less fortunate, helping those in need and caring for every individual with respect, love and dignity. We believe that spending time helping local charities throughout one’s life helps shape everyone involved.The people being helped receive emotional, monetary, and even spiritual support through the hard times, and the helper receives life lessons on how to be a kind, compassionate and understanding person. It helps both parties grow as individuals and brings people together while assi
When he was 2 months old, my son Ken Roberts Jr. had emergency surgery for pyloric stenosis. When he was almost 18 months old he was diagnosed at the U.C. Davis Mind Institute with Autism Spectrum Disorder and then later with a severe hearing loss.
Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work is a campaign that allows employees to give to a variety of charitable organizations that are vitally important to the community. I am a member and in great support of Our Promise because I have had five kidney transplants.
I have worked as an attorney for the State of California my entire professional career, beginning at the Department of Justice, then at the Office of the Inspector General, and currently at the Board of Parole Hearings. But long before that, I spent a year as an exchange student in Argentina at a time when the country was still ruled by a military junta.
“My name is Michael Summers. As a Campaign Liaison for Our Promise (formerly CSECC), I was inspired to wrote a song entitled, “Give From the Heart.” I have been involved with non-profits for over 20 years and thus I know firsthand the important role these organizations play to the vitality of our communities and the critical support Our Promise provides to their continued existence and delivery of critical services. I hope that you are inspirited by the song and find it in your heart to give of your time, talent, and treasures! Thank you for listening.”
I am Ken Roberts Sr., a Lieutenant with the California Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Section; I have been with the Department for over 17 years. When he was 2 months old, my son Ken Roberts Jr. had emergency surgery for pyloric stenosis.
E.J. Fogel is a State Park Heavy Equipment Operator. His daughter, Taryn Fogel, was born in December 2001 with a very rare disease which affects the mitochondria, the power source of her cells. She has mutations in both copies of her genes, a mix between Bjornstadt Syndrome and Gracile Syndrome, which causes nerve deafness, hearing and speech impairment, growth retardation, iron build-up in her liver and much more.
Anita Ahuja, Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board
What a treat to pose with Governor Jerry Brown’s dog, Sutter! We had a wonderful time together. I adore animals which is why providing care and shelter for animals without homes has been a top priority of mine for many years. I contribute regularly to Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary, a no-kill animal rescue group devoted to protecting and improving the lives of homeless and abused animals in the Sacramento area. Their volunteers handle adoptions and many invaluable programs to help animals and pet owners.
As a child and early teen, I volunteered forty hours per week each summer at my local Naval Hospital as a ‘candy striper’ for the American Red Cross. Through my high school years, I spent many hours at a local nursing home listening to stories, laughing and just receiving joy from the residents who didn’t have regular family visitors. I never considered this philanthropy, rather just something I did to pass time, hear living history and receive joy from those around me but as I grew older I gradually stopped volunteering.
Our Promise (formerly CSECC) has made a difference for me and my family. When she was 18 months old, my daughter Olivia was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a neuromuscular disease affecting both the nerves and the muscles. With the help of doctors at Shriners Hospital for Children, she received care and treatment which enabled her to begin walking when she was 3 ½. Olivia continues to receive treatment at Shriners today, all free of charge, thanks to the generous contributions that are made each year to this non-profit organization.
Leena Mendoza, Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
When I was 12 years old, I started my career and passion for volunteering. My father encouraged me to get involved with the community and be proactive to make change. I received scholarships during my senior year in high school because of my academic performance and starting the Key Club through the Kiwanis Club of Woodlake High School. I absolutely love to volunteer and serve my community. I currently serve as a committee member on the Red Heart Ball, for the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of the Valley.
I have made a charitable contribution to Sutter VNA and Hospice of Sonoma County monthly from paychecks almost as long as I have been a State employee. My mother died when I was 18 years old and there really was no one available to support me in own process of grieving. It was many years later that I had the supportive environment that allowed me to fully grieve my loss and move on.
United Way holds a very special place in my heart because it was there for me when I needed it most. About twenty years ago, my daughter Heather was diagnosed with Stage IV Wilms Tumor (kidney cancer). She was three years old at the time and I was terrified for her. Aside from my own feeling of terror, I needed to find a way to explain what was happening to my daughter without terrifying her as well. I had no clue how to tell my daughter about her illness in terms a child would understand.
My name is Arnold Hardy and I am cancer survivor. Unfortunately, cancer has been a factor in my life as well in the life of a few of my relatives. I have been with the California Highway Patrol for 15 years and am currently assigned to Valley Division . In December 2008, my life changed forever. I had experienced Hermturia. This is a medical term that is used when blood is discovered in urine. Immediately I made an appointment with my doctor. After a series of test, I was told that I had kidney cancer. As the father of 3 remarkable children, I knew that I would fight this thing and beat it! Luckily, I was able to have the cancer removed through surgery and was spared the pain of chemotherapy and radiation.
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