Mental Health Awareness at White Rock Community

By Cady Nagy-Chow, Cordova Recreation & Park District  |  2019-08-29

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - This month Cordova Recreation & Park District (CRPD) added a significant item of remembrance and meaning to White Rock Community Park: a memorial bench dedicated to Calvin James Augusta who passed away in August of 2018. A leading wide receiver for the Cordova High School Lancers and varsity basketball national scoring leader, Calvin’s impact on his community went beyond athletics. He was friends with everyone, smart, charismatic and vital to the Mentees at Cordova High program (M.A.C.H).

Calvin’s mother Sharea Thomas reached out to the District in May to propose this memorial bench project to honor Calvin’s life. When he passed away, Sharea said she cremated her son, not knowing how important it would be for the community to have a place to sit and talk to him. When the community asked for a space to be with him, she began working with CRPD’s Park Planning & Development team to provide this safe space for the community to grieve.

In June, at the Regular Meeting for CRPD’s Board of Directors, over 40 community members including Calvin’s family, friends and mentors, flooded the Council Chambers to express their need for this bench, reflecting a fierce commitment to their mission to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention.

Sharea was the first to step up to the podium, showcasing her son’s role in his community. “He passed away by means of suicide August 14th, 2018, four days before his 18th birthday,” Sharea said. “He was a pillar to his community, a pillar to his friends and a pillar to his school, a Cordova High alumnus, a two-sport athlete… He did everything for everybody, and he was everything to everybody,” Sharea said. “This bench will be so much more than a bench. It will be a safe place for the community to grieve and a place of awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. This bench will speak volumes beyond providing counselors, suicide hotlines and other resources,” Sharea said.

Director of the M.A.C.H. program, Conrade Mayer, brought a group of young men to the podium to speak on what Calvin meant to them. During this process, he mentioned these boys would be an ally to the District, especially White Rock Community Park, the home of Calvin’s memorial bench. “The bench will be sparkling clean, the area will remain clear of trash, and nothing will be allowed to happen to it because these boys won’t allow it,” Conrade said.

M.A.C.H., a mentoring program for at risk and underperforming high school students in Rancho Cordova, strives to empower youth to make choices that enable students to maximize their potential. These young men and women focus on academic improvement and community service, including mentoring younger students, clean-up days, volunteering and more. Many of the boys who spoke are, or were, part of this program and grew up with Calvin as a brotherly figure.

“He was a great listener… caring and always the first person to check up on you, even if you didn’t know him well,” one of the boys named Miguel said.

“He was something special. He always brought that good vibe, great energy that nobody else has,” another named Jamie said.

“[White Rock Community Park] is a park where we all live, the kids play on it, it feels like our park. There are good people here, and we raised the money for this bench. We want to show how much Calvin meant to us and have a place for them to heal,” Donna Brown said.

“We want that bench to represent a safe place to express emotions. Everyone has sadness and experiences loss of some kind,” Constance Goins, Calvin’s aunt and Sutter Health psychiatric department employee, said.

All members of the Board shared moving sentiments and approved the bench placement without hesitation.

Aug. 18, over 200 members of the Cordova community united to support, recognize, and honor Calvin and his family during a Celebration of Life at White Rock Community Park on what would have been Calvin’s 19th birthday. To honor him and celebrate the addition of the memorial bench, CRPD donated White Rock Community Park’s event space for the celebration, which included a 3 v. 3 basketball tournament on the basketball courts Calvin loved.

T-shirts and necklaces with photos of Calvin were made for the event and worn to signify unification and commitment to spreading awareness. Promise Taylor, Calvin’s former girlfriend, felt this event truly connected the community, and encouraged them to heal together. “Promise would like to do an event like this every year or every milestone birthday to gather the community in support, but also to keep awareness at the forefront,” Nikki Taylor, Promise’s mother, said.

T-shirts and necklaces with photos of Calvin were made for the event and worn to signify unification and commitment to spreading awareness. Promise Taylor, Calvin’s former girlfriend, felt this event truly connected the community, and encouraged them to heal together. “Promise would like to do an event like this every year or every milestone birthday to gather the community in support, but also to keep awareness at the forefront,” Nikki Taylor, Promise’s mother, said.

Terence Lee, a basketball mentor to Calvin and community member, attended the event to support Calvin’s family and loved ones. “I was really touched that the plaque reflected who Calvin was, his faith and how much he will be missed,” Terry said. “The gathering was also moving because I work with the River City Christian Church’s basketball league and a lot of Calvin’s friends who were there have played in the league. It was a reunion of sorts, and it was so nice to see these kids who have grown up together remember Calvin and show the impact he had on them,” Terry said.

Other attendees also said there was a feeling of togetherness. “That would have been the part Calvin would’ve loved the most, it’s the part of Calvin I loved the most – his encouragement and inspiration and ability to bring everyone together,” Terry said.

CRPD Board Member Brian Danzl, a campus monitor and sports coach at Cordova High School during Calvin’s schooling, expressed Calvin’s leadership similar to Terry. “Calvin was that kid who had the other students’ ear,” Brian said. “He was that leader you could go to and say ‘hey Calvin, I’m going to give you the opportunity to go talk to this kid before I do and set them up for success,’ and he always seemed to have his head on his shoulders, was responsible and respectful, especially to adults,” Brian said.

Traits like this demonstrate why Calvin’s dedication to the community was gifted back to him by his church basketball league. “Calvin played in River City Christian Church’s spring basketball program for over five years. His basketball legacy and personality impacted the league so much that the league has established the Calvin Augusta Award for a player(s) who reflect Calvin's encouraging and inspiring persona during the season,” Terry said.

To learn more about Mental Health Resources at Cordova High School, contact a counselor or view the FCUSD community resource guide.

To learn more about the M.A.C.H. program, visit their website, Facebook page or contact Conrade Mayer: conrademayer@gmail.com.

 

 

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - A Sacramento woman is currently in the hospital in a semi-comatose state after using a Pond’s-labeled skin cream tainted with methylmercury. This is the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the United States. The woman obtained the skin cream through an informal network that imported the cream from Mexico. This type of cream is used by consumers as a skin lightener and to remove spots and wrinkles. The mercury was not added by the Pond’s manufacturer, but by a third party after purchase.

Sacramento County Public Health urges the community to immediately stop using similar skin creams imported from Mexico due to the risk of contamination with methylmercury,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. “Methylmercury is extremely dangerous to adults and children.” 

Sacramento County Public Health is working closely with the California Department of Public Health to test similar creams in the Sacramento-area for methylmercury. Methylmercury can enter the nervous system and can cause severe illness among household contacts, especially in pregnant and breastfeeding women and children. Signs and symptoms include the following:

Difficulty concentrating, memory loss; Nervousness, irritability, anxiety; Depression, insomnia; Headaches; Weight loss, fatigue; Tremors, numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or around the lips

Children with prolonged exposure may show these symptoms: Pink hands and feet; Skin flaking; Excessive saliva or thirst, gum disease; Irritability, poor appetite; Poor muscle tone, leg cramps; High blood pressure, and a rash.

In California, over the last nine years, there have been over 60 poisonings linked to foreign brand, unlabeled, and/or homemade skin creams that contained the less toxic form of mercury, mercurous chloride or calomel.

For those who use imported skin creams from Mexico:

Stop using them immediately; Put the cream in a closed Ziploc bag and bring to your doctor; Go to the doctor and get tested for mercury in your blood and urine; Contact CDPH at (510) 981-4354 or AskEHIB@cdph.ca.gov. For free medical advice in English or other languages, call California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

 

For more information or to view a list of skin creams that have been tested and confirmed to have mercury, visit the Department of Health Services website.

 

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - At the end of the 2018-2019 school year we provided information on the Health Education Framework that had recently been released by the California Department of Education, which included an outline of the differences between the California Healthy Youth Act, the Health Framework, and our curriculum. We also sent out a district-wide survey so we could better learn what questions and concerns our families had, surrounding sexual education.

In an effort to continue a two-way conversation on this subject, we would like to invite you to attend any one of the Health Education Parent Forums taking place at our elementary schools in the upcoming weeks.

At the Parent Forum you will learn about the current 5th grade curriculum Always Changing and Growing Up, have an opportunity to see one of the videos, Always Changing – Co-ed, that is shown to fifth graders, and share your feedback with us in a guided activity. This feedback will be used to recommend a curriculum to the Board of Education. If new curriculum is recommended, and upon Board approval, it would take effect in the 2020-21 school year. 

To preview the curriculum we are using for fifth grade sexual ed instruction, please visit the site: Always Changing and Growing Up

To view the video we will be showing at the Parent Forums, please visit this link: Always Changing – Co-ed

Our parents are our partners in education, and we invite you to reach out with any questions. Please also visit our website often for information and updates. www.fcusd.org/healthframework

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Mental Health Awareness at White Rock Community

By Cady Nagy-Chow, Cordova Recreation & Park District  |  2019-08-29

The Augusta family at the dedicated bench. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - This month Cordova Recreation & Park District (CRPD) added a significant item of remembrance and meaning to White Rock Community Park: a memorial bench dedicated to Calvin James Augusta who passed away in August of 2018. A leading wide receiver for the Cordova High School Lancers and varsity basketball national scoring leader, Calvin’s impact on his community went beyond athletics. He was friends with everyone, smart, charismatic and vital to the Mentees at Cordova High program (M.A.C.H).

Calvin’s mother Sharea Thomas reached out to the District in May to propose this memorial bench project to honor Calvin’s life. When he passed away, Sharea said she cremated her son, not knowing how important it would be for the community to have a place to sit and talk to him. When the community asked for a space to be with him, she began working with CRPD’s Park Planning & Development team to provide this safe space for the community to grieve.

In June, at the Regular Meeting for CRPD’s Board of Directors, over 40 community members including Calvin’s family, friends and mentors, flooded the Council Chambers to express their need for this bench, reflecting a fierce commitment to their mission to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention.

Sharea was the first to step up to the podium, showcasing her son’s role in his community. “He passed away by means of suicide August 14th, 2018, four days before his 18th birthday,” Sharea said. “He was a pillar to his community, a pillar to his friends and a pillar to his school, a Cordova High alumnus, a two-sport athlete… He did everything for everybody, and he was everything to everybody,” Sharea said. “This bench will be so much more than a bench. It will be a safe place for the community to grieve and a place of awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. This bench will speak volumes beyond providing counselors, suicide hotlines and other resources,” Sharea said.

Director of the M.A.C.H. program, Conrade Mayer, brought a group of young men to the podium to speak on what Calvin meant to them. During this process, he mentioned these boys would be an ally to the District, especially White Rock Community Park, the home of Calvin’s memorial bench. “The bench will be sparkling clean, the area will remain clear of trash, and nothing will be allowed to happen to it because these boys won’t allow it,” Conrade said.

M.A.C.H., a mentoring program for at risk and underperforming high school students in Rancho Cordova, strives to empower youth to make choices that enable students to maximize their potential. These young men and women focus on academic improvement and community service, including mentoring younger students, clean-up days, volunteering and more. Many of the boys who spoke are, or were, part of this program and grew up with Calvin as a brotherly figure.

“He was a great listener… caring and always the first person to check up on you, even if you didn’t know him well,” one of the boys named Miguel said.

“He was something special. He always brought that good vibe, great energy that nobody else has,” another named Jamie said.

“[White Rock Community Park] is a park where we all live, the kids play on it, it feels like our park. There are good people here, and we raised the money for this bench. We want to show how much Calvin meant to us and have a place for them to heal,” Donna Brown said.

“We want that bench to represent a safe place to express emotions. Everyone has sadness and experiences loss of some kind,” Constance Goins, Calvin’s aunt and Sutter Health psychiatric department employee, said.

All members of the Board shared moving sentiments and approved the bench placement without hesitation.

Aug. 18, over 200 members of the Cordova community united to support, recognize, and honor Calvin and his family during a Celebration of Life at White Rock Community Park on what would have been Calvin’s 19th birthday. To honor him and celebrate the addition of the memorial bench, CRPD donated White Rock Community Park’s event space for the celebration, which included a 3 v. 3 basketball tournament on the basketball courts Calvin loved.

T-shirts and necklaces with photos of Calvin were made for the event and worn to signify unification and commitment to spreading awareness. Promise Taylor, Calvin’s former girlfriend, felt this event truly connected the community, and encouraged them to heal together. “Promise would like to do an event like this every year or every milestone birthday to gather the community in support, but also to keep awareness at the forefront,” Nikki Taylor, Promise’s mother, said.

T-shirts and necklaces with photos of Calvin were made for the event and worn to signify unification and commitment to spreading awareness. Promise Taylor, Calvin’s former girlfriend, felt this event truly connected the community, and encouraged them to heal together. “Promise would like to do an event like this every year or every milestone birthday to gather the community in support, but also to keep awareness at the forefront,” Nikki Taylor, Promise’s mother, said.

Terence Lee, a basketball mentor to Calvin and community member, attended the event to support Calvin’s family and loved ones. “I was really touched that the plaque reflected who Calvin was, his faith and how much he will be missed,” Terry said. “The gathering was also moving because I work with the River City Christian Church’s basketball league and a lot of Calvin’s friends who were there have played in the league. It was a reunion of sorts, and it was so nice to see these kids who have grown up together remember Calvin and show the impact he had on them,” Terry said.

Other attendees also said there was a feeling of togetherness. “That would have been the part Calvin would’ve loved the most, it’s the part of Calvin I loved the most – his encouragement and inspiration and ability to bring everyone together,” Terry said.

CRPD Board Member Brian Danzl, a campus monitor and sports coach at Cordova High School during Calvin’s schooling, expressed Calvin’s leadership similar to Terry. “Calvin was that kid who had the other students’ ear,” Brian said. “He was that leader you could go to and say ‘hey Calvin, I’m going to give you the opportunity to go talk to this kid before I do and set them up for success,’ and he always seemed to have his head on his shoulders, was responsible and respectful, especially to adults,” Brian said.

Traits like this demonstrate why Calvin’s dedication to the community was gifted back to him by his church basketball league. “Calvin played in River City Christian Church’s spring basketball program for over five years. His basketball legacy and personality impacted the league so much that the league has established the Calvin Augusta Award for a player(s) who reflect Calvin's encouraging and inspiring persona during the season,” Terry said.

To learn more about Mental Health Resources at Cordova High School, contact a counselor or view the FCUSD community resource guide.

To learn more about the M.A.C.H. program, visit their website, Facebook page or contact Conrade Mayer: conrademayer@gmail.com.

 

 

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - VSP Global® announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire San Antonio, Texas-based Visionworks, subject to completion of regulatory approval. With a footprint of more than 700 stores in nearly 40 states, the Visionworks acquisition will be the single largest VSP network investment in the company's 65-year history.

“This transaction is highly complementary to our business and marks a significant leap forward in continuing to fulfill our vision to provide access to affordable, high-quality eye care and eyewear to more people,” said Michael Guyette, President and CEO of VSP Global. “With expanded nationwide access, we'll provide our clients and members with an option for a more substantial, consistent and sustainable retail experience, further enhanced by the professional care of VSP network doctors.”

“We are aligned with VSP's values and our shared commitment to help people see,” said Visionworks CEO, Pete Bridgman.” Grounded in our passion to deliver affordable quality eye care in a simple way, and strengthened by our new partnership with VSP, we will focus on advancing patient care and accessibility.”

“The Visionworks acquisition, once closed, will position VSP to meet expectations of our clients and to grow membership,” said Gordon Jennings, O.D., VSP Global Board Chair. “Together, we will be able to provide greater access for our members.”

The transaction will close as soon as the necessary regulatory approvals are obtained.

VSP Global is a doctor-governed company that exists to create value for members and opportunities for VSP network doctors. Our industry-leading businesses include VSP® Vision Care, the only national not-for-profit vision benefits company, which provides access to eye care for nearly 90 million members through a network of over 40,000 doctors worldwide; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest designers, manufacturers and distributors of high-quality eyewear and sunwear; VSP Optics, industry leaders in ophthalmic technology and lab services, providing custom lens solutions for the vision and lifestyle needs of patients; Eyefinity®, the industry leader in practice management and electronic health record software; VSP Retail, which focuses on increasing access to eye care and eyewear through multiple channels, and VSP® Ventures, which offers care-focused, customized choices for doctors looking to transition their practice.


 

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Costumed Relay Race and Open House Raises Awareness about Lung Health

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-07-11

The Super Girls team hopes to win the relay race.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Students from the Rancho Cordova campus of San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) hosted a Costumed 5K Ventilator Relay Race, Open House, and BBQ on June 28. The campus (located at 11000 Olson Dr., #100, Rancho Cordova) offers accelerated healthcare career training in respiratory therapy and surgical technology.

Six teams (five respiratory therapy cohorts and one surgical technology cohort) chose their themes, decorated Mark 7 Ventilators from their labs, and attached the ventilators to various non-motorized wheeled carts. Members of each team dressed in costumes matching their themes (Zombie Hospital, Disney’s Up, Hawaii, Coachella, Super Girls, and Toy Story 4) and took turns pushing their entries around the campus parking lot — racing toward the finish line while a crowd of onlookers cheered them on.

The students set up booths with food and activities, and gave out raffle prizes. Last year they donated the raffle proceeds to the Folsom Cordova Community Partnership, and this year the proceeds will go into a fund for their practice exams.

Campus president Jeff Rutherford said they’ve been hosting the event since 2011: “We wanted to create a little bit of camaraderie and open it up to the community to come out and see exactly what it is we do here. It’s a fun event for the students.”

Surgical technology program director Josephine Williams Cody said the purpose of the event is to educate people about lung health and to create “community awareness of the multitude of lung diseases affecting our community.”

The open house portion of the event helped “to bring awareness to not only what a respiratory therapist does and how we facilitate lung health, but to bring awareness to the community on how we can improve lung health by not smoking/vaping, and limiting exposure to harmful behaviors that compromise lung health,” said Williams Cody. “[And] we are proud to introduce our newest program — surgical technology — to the community and continue the tradition of excellence in education to that program.”

Respiratory therapists (RTs) and surgical technologists (STs) have vital roles in the healthcare field. RTs evaluate, treat, and manage patients with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders. STs are responsible for maintaining sterile instruments, equipment, and areas for surgical procedures — in addition to assisting surgeons with patient care.

If you are interested in starting a career in surgical technology or respiratory therapy, visit www.sjvc.edu/campuses/northern-california/rancho-cordova.

 

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Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County is pleased to announce that funding for two proposed permanent supportive housing developments for persons experiencing homelessness has been awarded by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The No Place Like Home (NPLH) program funding, totaling nearly $13 million in new money for Sacramento, will provide permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and who are living with a serious mental illness.  

Sacramento County’s successful applications in the State’s first competitive funding round were the result of a collaborative effort with the development sponsors, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and the cities where the developments are located. 

The two new housing facilities, Sunrise Pointe and Capitol Park Hotel, will result in 180 new housing units for persons experiencing homelessness, 87 of which will be dedicated for persons that also have a serious mental health illness and need services (designated NPLH units). Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services has committed to providing mental health treatment services to the designated NPLH units for a minimum of 20 years. “This is a priority for Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services. Investing in permanent, stable housing is critical for our consumers’ recovery,” said Ryan Quist, Ph.D., Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director. 

Sunrise Pointe is a new construction project located at 7424 Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights and consists of 47 one- two- and three-bedroom units. Of these, 22 will be designated NPLH units. All units will serve families and individuals experiencing homelessness.  The site will be developed and operated by Jamboree Housing and  Hope Cooperative (aka TLCS, Inc.)  respectively. 

“We are grateful for No Place Like Home funding to support this important project in the Citrus Heights community,” said Erin Johansen, Hope Cooperative executive director. “Sunrise Pointe is a collaboration between Hope Cooperative and Jamboree Housing that will provide 47-units of much-needed permanent, stable housing for individuals and families in need. Hope Cooperative will provide on-site Residential Service Coordinators who will work closely with residents in accessing a variety of resources including job training, budgeting and other needed services, as well as an on-site property manager. This project will help people live successfully in the community and is an essential step in ending the cycle of homelessness in the Sacramento region.”

“Jamboree has a long, rich history of effectively utilizing new state resources in order to create more affordable and supportive housing,” said Laura Archuleta, President and CEO of Jamboree Housing Corporation. “We are thrilled to have successfully partnered with Sacramento County and Hope Cooperative in securing more than $3 million from the new No Place Like Home program for the development of Sunrise Pointe. This funding will be instrumental in addressing the region’s affordable and supportive housing needs, and will positively transform and strengthen the Citrus Heights community for years to come.”

Capitol Park Hotel is a rehabilitation project located at 1125 9th Street in downtown Sacramento. This development will be an acquisition and rehabilitation of a historic building and will include 134 units for households experiencing homelessness. Of these, 65 will be designated NPLH units. The site will be developed and operated by Mercy Housing California (MHC). 

“We are thrilled with the huge step the proposed permeant supportive housing at Capitol Park Hotel has taken this week with the award from HCD,” said Stephen Daues, Regional Director of Mercy Housing California. “We have a lot of work remaining, but this provides the momentum needed to secure the remaining funding.” 

MHC is also the lead developer on another emerging project in Sacramento County, the remodeling and repurposing of the Courtyard Inn off Watt Avenue in North Highlands. They are transforming the once problem property into 92 new affordable housing units, including 14 workforce housing units and 78 permanent supportive housing units for special needs individuals and families. Of these, 15 units will be dedicated to people living with a serious mental illness and the Division of Behavioral Health Services has committed to providing mental health treatment services for a minimum of 20 years. The complete transformation of this highly visible site at the gateway to North Highlands will have an immediate and lasting improvement in the quality of life in the community.

“The Courtyard Inn transformation is well underway and only delayed by one month after enduring the heavy spring rains and the many surprises that come with striping the building down to the studs.” Daues says, “The rebuilding stage is now underway and handing over keys to the new apartment homes for 92 formerly homeless households is well within sight.” 

For more information about what the County is doing to address homelessness, visit the “Responding to Homelessness” website. ​

Source: Sacramento County Media

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