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, CA (MPG) - Democrats around the country are pushing a radical plan to take away Americans’ health coverage and force them into a government-run insurance scheme.

They’ve even got a catchy poll-tested name for it: “Medicare for All.”

In the wake of a new report that Medicare double charged nearly half a million seniors, they might want to rethink that branding.

The reality of Democrats’ health care scheme will be more like “Medicaid for All,” complete with long wait times, rationed care and a steady stream of screw-ups from the unaccountable bureaucrats who would oversee patients’ health coverage.

Democrats need to be honest with Californians about why they want to force everyone into a government-run health plan that can’t even take care of its current beneficiaries.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. Measles can be a serious disease. This year has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Of those diagnosed with measles, approximately 10% have required hospitalization. The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been approved in the U.S. for nearly 50 years. It is highly effective and very safe. As a result of its use, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, rubella in 2004, and since 1989, mumps cases have decreased by 99%.

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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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