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MARK TWAIN once wrote: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
MY MOTTO IS "EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER."
I WANT TO Explore, Dream and Discover as much as possible in my life here on earth, and I want my Web sites to empower, equip and incite others to do the same.
I WANT TO help folks to find something new and exciting to do and experience. That's why I formed my charitable organization and named it the "Community Action Team"— a name that I feel encompasses all the varied activities and events that I have (and will continue to) organized for the good of our community.
WHAT CAN I DO to help you explore your potential, make a dream come true or discover new frontiers? I hope to hear from you.
THE MAIN PURPOSE of the Community Action Team (CAT) is to promote social well-being among the general public. As a 501c3 nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors, contributions to CAT are tax deductible and are used to help produce quality events within our community that benefit children, animals, and the environment.
C.A.T. IS AN UMBRELLA organization that includes
4Halloween Kids' Costume Contest
4July 4 Kids' Bike Parade
4Haute Dog Poetry Contest
4Interfaith Blessing of the Animals
4$1,000 National Elementary School Spelling Bee
4Nat'l Adult Spelling Bee
4Belmont Shore Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest
4Haute Dogs on the Beach events
4Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade
4Operation Easter Basket
4Operation Santa Paws
45k/10k Long Beach Turkey Trot
4monthly 30-Minute Beach Cleanups
4Beds, Bikes, Bears & Blankets giveaway to those in need
4Clothing giveaways to the underserved
4Bulldog Beauty Contest
4Say, "Cheese" Long Beach 24-hr. digital photo contest
42nd Street Walkers
4Long Beach Giving Project
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to attend the dinner event Sun., Mar. 22, 2015, 6 p.m. at Bay Shore Church in Belmont Shore.
RSVP at least 48 hours in advance to Justin@JustinRudd.com with first and last names and then pay your $10 in cash at the door. You will receive an emailed confirmation.
• This Year's Givers
• Last Year's Photos
2015 Long Beach Giving Project is Mar. 22
ORGANIZERS HAVE IDENTIFIED 13 "Givers" that will be responsible for giving away a portion of about $14,000 the week leading up to Mar. 22, 2015. As with tradition, the individuals will be tasked with the mission to find and help people in Long Beach who have a need. The Givers were contacted only a few days before the week they'll have to give away their money.
NOTE: Those who have been Givers in the past are not eligible to participate again. Givers do NOT have to live in Long Beach, but it sure helps if they live or work in Long Beach. All giving must be done in Long Beach.
g CONTEST INSPIRED BY OPRAH AND IDOL
Rudd's 8th-annual "Long Beach Giving Project" will Give Thousands of Dollars in Goods and Services in about One Week.
IN AN ANNUAL CONTEST INSPIRED BY Oprah's "Big Give" and "Idol Gives Back," Justin Rudd's nonprofit Community Action Team (CAT) gives out $12,000 to $16,000 in goods and services each year. In the 2015 contest, Givers will have about eight days to find and give away $1,000 to those who they think need it most.
The 2015 Giving Project will be the 8th year for this event.
IN A PREVIOUS YEAR of this contest, for example, a Giver bought prom tickets for a student who couldn't afford them; purchased groceries for a family who was hungry; bought bus passes for someone dependent on public transit, and paid the electric bill of a senior citizen who was about to go without power.
The Givers will be challenged to give away all their money by purchasing goods and services. They are not allowed to give cash. While the clock will be counting down, the contestants will go around Long Beach to find ways to make an impact - up to $350 at a time. The contestants are encouraged to use their leadership, creativity and resources to make differences in people's lives.
Then, at a dinner ceremony at Bay Shore Church, 5100 E. The Toledo in Belmont Shore, the Givers will face their panel of judges. In previous years, a small group from the dozens of Long Beach Giving Project alumni served as judges. This year's panel will not be revealed until the event day. The judges and a crowd of about 140 spectators will listen to each Giver's prepared spiel as they explain what they did with the money they were given. The Giver will also face some questions from the judges about their giving. The approx. three-hour event (including a pasta dinner) will culminate with two Givers each winning an extra $500 to give away.
SOME GOODS AND SERVICES that the Givers gave in the past include: college scholarships, tires, shoes, space heaters, laundry services, computers, socks, underwear, rain gear, haircuts, medications, transit passes, gasoline, furniture, groceries, clothing, diapers, high chairs, bedding, swim lessons, acupuncture, childcare, art supplies, instrument rentals, prom and grad night tickets, hygiene items and college counseling. Givers also paid rent, utility bills, phone bills, and gave hotel nights for homeless during recent rains.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?
Funds for the program are made possible, in whole, by the successes of CAT's Long Beach Turkey Trot and the Haute Dog Parades. CAT generally focuses on projects and events for animals, youth, the environment, and learning. Some of the other CAT projects include monthly 30-Minute Beach Cleanups, the Father/Daughter Dance, the Bulldog Beauty Contest, the National Kids Spelling Bee, Long Beach Losers, Operation Easter Basket, the Miss Long Beach and Southern California Cities pageants and the National Adult Spelling Bee.
Will you become a fan on Facebook?
2015 Givers (so far)
Erica Abke is a 25-year-old California native who stays busy managing four jobs as a designer of her own charitable clothing line, freelance consultant for fashion businesses, professional actress, as well as our Miss Long Beach 2015. Erica's purpose in life is to follow daily in God's word to use her talents and skills to give back to the local and global communities. She is an advocate and volunteer for many causes -- mental health and domestic violence awareness are two examples. She believes everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences, and this is the philosophy she applied to giving back the $1,000.
Regina Cash is a Long Beach native and has lived on the same street all but the first three years of her life. She is happily married to Aaron Cash and together they have three beautiful daughters and four rambunctious rescue puppies. Regina has an undergraduate degree in Human Services; a graduate degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding; and is the Director of Professional Programs and Workforce Development at CSULB College of Continuing and Professional Education. Before being crowned Mrs. Long Beach 2015, Regina described herself as a silent servant; quietly volunteering for and being of service to causes that positively impact the lives of people, animals and the community.
Ben Castillo is a 41-year-old community organizer living in north Long Beach. He is passionate about reaching out to people and helping the most unfortunate. Ben is a man of faith, father of six children, and happily married. He represented the labor movement in the past, and is a former pastor of a great movement in north Long Beach with the Free Methodist Church. His current work is aiding undocumented people to become legal residents and helping those that can become citizens. He volunteers with his local councilman and is involved in the city’s best interest for the community.
Dave Clark moved to Long Beach four months ago to begin his new ministry as senior pastor of Bay Shore Church. He's a native Iowan loving the California weather and cultural opportunities. He's very ecumenical and has a reputation for providing positive energy and community betterment wherever he goes.
Kristina Galias is a 24-year-old Long Beach native, graduated from Millikan High and Cal State Long Beach. She is in her first year teaching fifth grade at a low-income Title I school. In her free time, Kristina enjoys giving back to her Long Beach community by volunteering in various projects including 30-Minute Beach Cleanups, the Sock-It-To-‘Em sock drive for the homeless shelters where she collected 130 pairs of socks, the Red High Heel Walk for heart health, and other projects hosted by the Community Action Team.
Shannon James is a lover of God, a wife, and a mother to four beautiful children. Shannon had big dreams as a child to become a veterinarian but had a change in plans when she was offered an application for longshoreman in 1997. A little over a year ago, Shannon felt a strong nudge from God to serve the homeless community in Long Beach which led to her founding Beacon For Him Ministries.
Allison Kripp met Andy 10 years ago. Since then they have been wed, created two beautiful children and are proud owners of The Den Salon in downtown Long Beach. Part of their dream was to give back to the community and help make others smile. Allison is now a dedicated volunteer to the Friends of Lincoln Park, and with the help of so many, they are bringing free family events to Long Beach's oldest park. Their mantra at The Den Salon is "Believe in Yourself," and part of that is believing in the city that they love.
Lisa Leary is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a health educator, and a fitness enthusiast. She moved to Long Beach in 2013, and has fallen head over heels in love with the community. Dr. Lisa is often found working on the sidelines of local runs, helping with youth athletic programs, and volunteering with Long Beach Losers to encourage her neighbors to seek new and creative ways to safely begin their health and wellness journeys. When she is not working with human patients, she turns her attention to her passion for animals, by rehabilitating rescued pit bulls.
Norma Morein relocated to Long Beach from the Pasadena area in 2004, wanting to be near her daughter and grandchildren. A Stanford graduate, she has taught both elementary and high school, served as either president or national marketing director for various businesses in the gift and gourmet industries, owned and operated catering and interior design businesses and a mortgage brokerage. Now semi-retired, she provides care-giving and personal assistant services primarily to seniors in the community. An accomplished singer, she frequently entertains at senior communities across Southern California and won the Community Action Team’s most recent National Anthem Sing-Off.
Jesse Oakes married Megan in 2009, and they've loved Long Beach from the moment they moved with their two dogs from their mutual hometown of Pasadena in May 2014. Jesse is the Family Ministries Pastor at Parkcrest Christian Church, and he has served in ministry for 13 years. Jesse is an alumnus of Loyola High School of Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, with multiple professional publications as a writer and editor. He loves Arsenal FC, likes running, and looks forward to being a swimmer once he overcomes his irrational fear of sharks.
Darlene Shackford: When not in New Hampshire helping family, Darlene enjoys spending time in Long Beach volunteering with the Community Action Team, the America Red Cross, and the Long Beach Veterans Hospital. When she is not working or volunteering, she likes to spend time cooking and baking.
Shelly Stratton is a Southern California native and graduate of Millikan High School. She is currently in search of a new job opportunity and is a graduate of California State University Dominguez Hills. Shelly is a product of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and still stays in touch with many of her "Y" kids. She participates in half marathons and has run Long Beach for the past six years. She really only does it for the "bling".
Ann Wellman is a stay-at-home mother of three, former inner-city high school teacher, and the founder and artistic director of the Long Beach Community Theater. She has lived in Long Beach for just under 10 years and absolutely adores this city. She loves to collaborate, inspire, teach, talk and help-out whenever/wherever she can and is proud to be a CAT volunteer. Having had the opportunity to spread some love around Long Beach, she has realized this is something that anybody can do. She found it’s just a matter of making a plan, setting a deadline, and most importantly, following through.
Rules for the Givers
- Each giver must attend the dinner/presentation on Sunday, Mar. 22, 2015, 6-9 p.m. at Bay Shore Church in Belmont Shore. We encourage givers to bring family and friends to the event for $10/person with an advance reservation.
- You cannot give out cash. You must make purchases and/or pay bills on behalf of people with needs. You and those you might choose to help you will find the needs.
Keep records and receipts of your giving. Receipts MUST be presented at or before the dinner.
- Do not fundraise or supplement above the amount you’re given.
- You cannot ask for discounts or free items/services.
- The giving and purchasing is to be done in Long Beach, as much as possible. Remember, this is the "Long Beach" Giving Project.
- Givers will receive their cash the week leading up to the dinner. Make an appointment with Justin@JustinRudd.com to pick up your cash.
- All gives must be $350 or less, including tax. Do not go over your spending limits.
- There is no limit to the number of gives you can make.
- There must be a minimum of four gives (max. $350 per give).
- Your gives can not benefit you or your family.
- The gives are for/to humans.
- The giving is not for/to organizations or organized groups.
- You are encouraged to spend all of the money.
You will return any unspent cash/change.
- You may involve others (i.e. co-workers, friends, family) in your giving, but you are the Giver. We want you to do the shopping, buying, and giving.
- Make sure to have some diverse “gives.” For example, don't buy/give groceries for each of your gives.
- Make sure to have diverse “purchases.” For example, don’t do all your shopping at Walmart.
- Make sure the audience you are giving to is not all from the same school, agency, family, place of worship, etc. There are opportunities to give all over the city.
- Givers agree to allow their name and giving stories to appear in the media and online. You may choose to only use a recipient’s first name for the media and/or presentations.
- Cash, traveler’s checks, gift cards, etc. cannot be given. Givers must make purchases for goods and/or services.
- Give responsibly and with purpose.
- The actual giving must be completed when the dinner begins. You can start purchasing and giving only after we give you the cash.
- You are encouraged to keep notes about your entire Long Beach Giving Project process to refer to when making your presentation to the judges.
- Each giver is invited to attend a Happy Hour at Justin’s apt. one hour before the dinner ceremony. Do not bring guests to the Happy Hour. RSVP to Justin@JustinRudd.com at least 24 hours in advance.
- Dinner/presentation will last approx. three (3) hours.
- An informal six-minute presentation will be made by each Giver to the judge’s panel and audience, followed by a few questions from the judges.
- You may NOT use photos/video of your giving in your presentation. You are welcome to photograph and/or blog about your experiences as your giving progresses.
- You may not talk to the judges (if you happen to find out who is judging) during the time of the Giving Project, and judges have been instructed not to talk to you (even at the dinner).
- Judging is based on: leadership, accomplishment, creativity, presentation to those in need, and resources to generate the most powerful and sensational way to make real differences to those in the Long Beach area.
- We encourage you to use the Long Beach Giving Project's Facebook page to find out about those in need in Long Beach.
- Each Giver will get four free tickets to the pasta dinner/presentation. E-mail Justin@JustinRudd.com with your four names at least 48 hours before the event.
Others from the general public are welcome. They can RSVP to that mail and then pay their $10 cash at the door.
- PRIZE MONEY: Two of the Givers will be selected to receive $500 each. That prize money is expected to be given away within one month of winning to individuals or to a group/charity/school. Receipts will need to be provided from that giving.
Last Year's Givers
Jacqueline Case has been a member of the Long Beach community for over 16 years. She is a local Real Estate Agent from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and is excited to get to know her new CEO Warren Buffett. Being able to be active in the Long Beach community has been a blessing for Jacqueline. Organizations she is a member of include Long Beach Heritage and LBLG Pride. Volunteering for Community Action Team (CAT) has also been a blessing for her as it has given her the opportunity to meet such amazing people from the community. Jacqueline has been seen performing at the Long Beach Playhouse acting, singing, and dancing. She is a 4th degree black belt in Lima Lama. She loves her partner “May” of seven years very much and just adores her four-legged children.
Terri Genewich is a Long Beach native and stay-at-home mom to four children. Terri has learned to manage on a budget, while having fun and somehow always finding a lesson in each activity to share with her kids. Starting her kids with volunteerism at an early age with Boy Scouts & Brownie/Girl Scouts and later with The Boost Mobile Rock Corps. Terri has also held most all positions in the LBUSD PTA elementary thru high school level, so she gotten to see the real need for social help in so many ways. She and her grown children continue to participate in community volunteer events both on their own and through their jobs.
Ryan Grabill is the lead pastor of Sound House Church that meets at Will Rogers Middle School in the Belmont Shore area. He has had the opportunity to work as a pastor to teenagers for the last 17 years. Ryan and his wife Anna attended school in Seattle, WA, and have worked as pastors in Washington, Michigan, Texas and now California. As they began to pray where God wanted them to plant Sound House it became clear that Long Beach was the place to begin their dream of a community church. They have a passion for people and desire to cultivate positive and loving communities that make a difference.
Cindy Engoy is a wife, mother, and educator. She met her husband in Spain. They later finished university in Kentucky where their oldest son was born. Following graduation they moved to Norway to be near her husband's family. Their second son was born in Norway. They later came back to the States. After moving to Long Beach, she and her husband founded YesWeServe, a nonprofit whose focus is changing the world one child at a time through compassionate care, education, and safe environment. Cindy and Geir regularly travel to Ghana, Mexicali, and India to work with children and also in Long Beach where they have STARTS, an educational enrichment program which served children in an impoverished area.
Erica Kilgore grew up in Riverside and now resides in Long Beach. She is a middle school physical education teacher in Los Angeles and has always had a passion for making a difference in children's lives. She has been a participant in Justin's beach boot camps and has recently begun volunteering. She was a volunteer for this past season's Long Beach Losers weight-loss challenge. She has realized that being a volunteer is great for the soul and for making an impact in others' lives in such an amazing way.
Melanie Neat, 38, was born and raised in the Long Beach area. She has a 15-year-old son named Andrew, and is in love with her best friend Mike. For 10 years she has been teaching Tae Bo Fitness classes. She is a regular volunteer with CAT's Long Beach Losers contest.
Dominic Polubinski comes from Vancouver, Canada. Every month he has a day dedicated to giving. He usually has a 20 dollar limit but sometimes gives more if it makes sense. He writes: "my main goal is to make sure I spend time with strangers and that I flow with any situation to see where it leads. It is quite inspiring and educational, and I find it as a perfect muse for my writing, as I write for children, with the intention of showing how friendly this world is, if we treat it that way. I travel lots and get to meet many new people, it seems giving always leads to some very interesting encounters. The world is magical, and I know when I give, a lot is given to me, most of the time things I wouldn't even know how to ask for, like a smile that will light up an entire city."
Christine Robbins was born and raised in Long Beach, and graduated from Millikan High School and Long Beach State. She now lives in Cypress with her husband Kyle and their two dogs Joey and Riley. Christine works as a marketing manager for Pacifica Hotels, and as a photographer. When she is not working, she spends most of her time volunteering for causes in the Long Beach Area. Some of the organizations she works with: Community Action Team, The Red Shoe Society Long Beach, and the Long Beach Pride Week Committee. In her free time Christine enjoys relaxing at home, roller skating, riding bikes on the beach, and playing with her little brother, Lewis- an English Bulldog. She plans to use the 1,000 on people who help others, individuals who help animals, and adults and children that truly express great need.
Kyle Robbins was born and raised in Cerritos and currently resides in Cypress with his wife and their two dogs. Kyle works as a team manager for Robby Gordon off-road, where he gets to travel the world running every race from the IndyCar series, to the DAKAR rally. When he is not working, Kyle spends his time volunteering for the community Action Team. When he is not traveling, Kyle enjoys relaxing at home or golfing with his dad.
Brina Marie Romero-Montaño was raised in Long Beach. Completing her education at LBUSD, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology from Long Beach State, and an M.A. in Education in Multiculturalism from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Brina recently competed in her first pageant to get over her fear of public speaking and earned the title of Mrs. Long Beach 2014. An almost fluent Spanish speaker, Brina strives to positively improve each life she touches by pushing them to surpass their goals and desires. She selflessly volunteers much of her time mentoring youth and college age students, as well as other various events in the city, including assisting her husband as a Long Beach small business owner.
Vernon Rudd has lived in the Wrigley area of Long Beach for around 30 years. He is semi-retired and owns a small vending machine company. He is a multi marathon runner and usually runs 2 or 3 marathons a year. A portion of his time is spent working with nonprofits with some being connected to, or in some way supporting the sport of running. He is a mentor with Sole Runners -- a Long Beach running club. He is the running coach for the Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation preparing runner/walkers for the Wrigley River Run. He is the coach for Back on My Feet -- the US Vets group here in Long Beach. Back on My Feet transitions folks back into the community through running. He is the fitness coach for the STARTS after-school program where he teaches children how to run.
(bio paragraphs below)
Polly Adams & Rick Loveall
Bill Bedrossian & Jen Bedrossian
Becky Bershtel & Natan Bershtel
Scot Breithaupt & Katie Gaston
Eric Haley & Scott Schlatter
Eric Leocadio & Jewell Faamaligi
Michelle Molina & Evan Kelly
Rachel Oblon & Stephen Grindle
David Perram & Chase Sturges-Andersen
Holly Santos & Rebekah Bennett
Meet the 2013 Givers
Polly Adams is originally from Orem, Utah, where I grew up on a farm, raising and showing quarter horses with my parents and 3 brothers. Travelling and experiencing nature and foreign cultures is one of my greatest passions. In 1991, I began my career in the mortgage business. I soon realized that helping people achieve homeownership is an extremely rewarding experience, and I have been working at it every day for over 20 years. The need for help from those less fortunate, children with illness, and animals without homes, are serious issues to me. I believe in helping, not for the sake of future good karma, or self-gratification, but because I can and I should. Some of my favorite charities are Make a Wish Foundation, Huntsman Cancer Research, and No More Homeless Pets. Teaching children the importance of charity and service has been one of the best ways I have found to make a long-term difference. Having recently moved to Long Beach, I look forward to this opportunity to explore the needs of people in our community, and to give with meaning and purpose.
Bill Bedrossian is the Executive Director of Olive Crest LA, which is a child welfare nonprofit that specializes is foster care, adoption, mental health services, group homes, and family support. Olive Crest has offices in Bellflower and Long Beach within LA County. Bill is an elder at 7th Street Church in Long Beach, and on the Board of Directors for Tumaini International Ministries, which does community support and relative foster care for AIDS orphans in East Africa. Bill is an Adjunct Professor in the USC Graduate School of Social work, where he teaches Public Policy and Management & Finance for Nonprofit Managers. Bill's passion for serving children, families and the community comes from his own family, in which he is the oldest of 12 children, eight of whom have been adopted from the foster care system.
Jen Bedrossian was born and raised in the Long Beach area, and graduated from Valley Christian High School and Long Beach State. Jen speaks fluent Italian, having spent three summers in Italy on archaeological digs, and now works for the Italian American Museum of LA. Jen is extremely generous with her time and resources, volunteering to support Olive Crest and 7th Street Church. Last year, Jen put on an extremely successful event for underprivileged high school girls in Long Beach, where over 200 girls received new or lightly used prom dresses.
Rebekah Bennett is a graduate from Cal State Long Beach. She is married to Tommy Bennett and has two teenage boys, Tanner and Tyler. Her love and care for animals has made her both an employee, and a volunteer at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center for more than eight years. She is responsible for the welfare and care of dozens of dogs. Her passion and career in animal welfare drives her goal of promoting the value of the relationship between a person and a pet. As Mrs. Long Beach 2012, Rebekah was fortunate enough to work with Community Action Team. Some of the organizations she has worked with the Mental Health Village, Saint Mary's Hospital and Long Beach Memorial. Just recently Rebekah and her husband Tommy were one of the couples dancing for Dancing for Our Stars. This event raised almost $400,000 for the new Todd Cancer Pavilion. Rebekah feels so fortunate for the life God has given her, and is is inspired to give back to others.
Natan Bershtel is a math teacher and cross country and track coach at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Natan combines his passion of helping others with his ability to adapt his teaching and coaching to individual learning styles, while always challenging his students and athletes to perform to their highest abilities. During his first years of teaching when he taught middle school, Natan paid "home visits" to all his students so he could get to know them and their families beyond the classroom. Natan always knows all the names of his 200+ students and athletes by the end of the first week of school. He knows their family situations and struggles outside of his classroom and the hobbies and aspirations and obstacles of his athletes beyond their sport. Natan grew up in Long Beach and attended Long Beach Poly himself as well as ran cross country and track there, and is proud to continue representing the "Home of Scholars and Champions." In his free time, Natan enjoys reading, running, spending time with Becky, and being active outdoors.
Becky Bershtel is originally from Fresno but has fallen in love with Long Beach ever since she moved here in 2005 to be with her future husband, Natan. Becky works as a Recreation Therapist at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, a physical rehabilitation hospital, working with adults who have had a stroke. She combines recreation with therapy by having them play sports and games, do art, adapt their hobbies, do aquatic therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, and sailing (at the US Sailing Center here in Long Beach) and go out in the community, among other activities. In her free time, Becky enjoys doing her own art projects, including drawing/painting and baking/decorating, as well as running, reading, being outdoors, spending time with Natan and playing with their two cats, Linus and Lucy.
Scot Breithaupt is the Registration Manager for the Nike Women Running Series. He is originally from Long Beach, grew up in Palm Springs and came back to Long Beach for college, spending the last 10 years here. He spends the majority of his time at company-sponsored events and on the dodgeball court throwing and catching. After completing his degree and running career at CSULB, he went on to run for another year before becoming a teacher and coach. He first came into contact with C.A.T. as a recipient of the Giving Project and slowly joined in on C.A.T. activities including being a smaller Giver over the years. He is someone who is always caring for his fellow people, and trying to get everyone involved in great community activities.
Katie Gaston works as a Software Implementation specialist at in the day and doubles as a community advocate at night. Upon moving to Long Beach six years ago to pursue a degree in communications, Katie quickly fell in love with such the diverse and supportive community and felt a drive to give back. She co-founded and led a variety of local organizations including Rotaract Long Beach and HeadSTRONG - serving the Long Beach local and student communities in promoting positive self-esteem and community service. Over the past two years, Katie has joined in with regular C.A.T. events including monthly 30-Minute Beach Cleanups, the Long Beach Turkey Trot and was a contestant in the 2013 Miss Long Beach Pageant. Service remains at the core of her personal and professional life, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to pay it forward with the Long Beach Giving Project.
Stephen Grindle is a transformational coach and spiritual director at Church Resource Ministries, working with 18-35 year-old leaders in Long Beach, helping them discover, develop and live their spiritual purpose and life's work.
Eric Haley is a 39-year-old aerospace engineer. Born and raised all over Southern California, he has called Long Beach home since 2004. He and his wife have six kids, ages 5 through 21. As a leader in the High School Ministry at Parkcrest Christian Church in Long Beach, one of his goals for the students has been to develop hearts of service for their community. In doing so, he discovered that his own heart for the city grows as he becomes more and more involved, and it is with this desire to see and be a part of change all around the city that he has volunteered to be a Giver. If his team is selected for the $1,000 bonus give, they have decided to give it to Precious Lambs Preschool, a preschool for children of homeless families, in order that they may equip their toddler room with new equipment, including toys, furniture, and educational supplies.
Evan Kelly has lived and worked in Long Beach for 10 years. Graduating from CSULB with a fine Art Degree he began working with the downtown community to identify and create opportunities for emerging artists. This community participation has directly led to his involvement in further community development work, organizing public events, implementing community projects and working with a variety of grassroots organizations, city departments and private business. As an avid cyclist Evan has also become a leader in the growing efforts to build Long Beach into the most bicycle friendly city in the nation. Currently Evan is the Interim Executive Director of Bikeable Communities and continues to work on community development projects throughout Long Beach.
Eric Leocadio is a serial catalyst. He is constantly launching new projects and passing the baton to empowered leaders. His passion in life is building bridges that help people to connect, collaborate, and share resources. He is the founder of the Catalyst Network of Communities and a past co-founder of Kingdom Causes - both are nonprofits in Long Beach that make social impact. He advocates for human rights for sexual minorities. He believes in second chances. He affirms the need for authenticity and empathy in transformative relationships. Eric believes that we are better together than we are apart. As a social entrepreneur, he surrounds himself with other catalysts to find ways of improving community. Some of the other projects he has helped launch and/or shape include the Long Beach Free School, the Long Beach Free Store, Dancing with Long Beach, OutFaith, Center Space: West Long Beach, and Two World Collision. He is currently developing a new social enterprise with his sister.
Rick Loveall has lived in Long Beach for most of his life and attended Millikan High School, Long Beach City College and Long Beach State. He has been in the mortgage industry for 27 years and currently works for Citywide Home Loans as a loan officer. He loves spending time with his wife Lisa and their two dogs, Penelope and Maximus. He enjoys running and is a member of AREC (A Running Experience Club). He has had the opportunity to work with Miller Children’s Hospital and in 2003 started a Toy Drive for Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center. The toy drive helps benefit their Adopt-a-Family program with gifts, toys and donations. In order to do more, last year he started a nonprofit which is called Heartful Hands. Other organizations he loves to be a part of are Habitat for Humanity and Second Chance Boxer Rescue. In his spare time, he loves to DJ and teaches spin class. As the self-appointed Mr. Long Beach, he is an ambassador for his city.
Michelle Molina has been a Long beach resident for over 20 years. She is a youth violence prevention specialist and educator, bringing PeaceBuilders here in 2003. She's the wife of Molina Healthcare CFO, John Molina, and proud mom to super athlete, Giovanni, and Miss Teen Long Beach, Antonia. She also shares her Naples home with two crazy rescue dogs, Ollie and Toby.
A tireless downtown advocate, member of the Downtown Long Beach Business Associates, and proclaimed Long Beach “do-er”, she has recently taken on a new role as a land developer in the North Pine area. Her project, which she shares with her hubbie, encompasses a city block and will transform two culturally significant, but vacant buildings into office space for over 800+ new employees of Molina Healthcare. That project has a predicted community benefit of over $2 billion over the next 10 years.
Rachel Oblon is the missional life pastor at Parkcrest Christian Church overseeing the church's involvement in the city and around the world. She is pursuing her masters in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the reigning Miss Southern California Cities 2013.
Jewell Faamaligi operates from a belief system that your achievements in life are marked by how well you have served others. In her Samoan culture, the concept of Tautua, means to be of service to your family and your community. It is this idea that informs the kinds of work that Jewell has done within the city of Long Beach. Throughout the past decade Jewell has served tirelessly to help implement meaningful projects and programming, for numerous schools and nonprofits, in the capacity of director, manager, organizer, advocate, artist, and mother. She currently works with the Catalyst Network of Communities to create programs that bring the community together to share resources and eliminate waste.
David Perram is the Director of Student Affairs at Westerly School. Although his list of duties and responsibilities seems endless, his primary role is maintaining a positive student culture throughout the campus. David is originally from Buffalo, New York, but has called California home for the past eight years; almost seven of them have been in Long Beach. Aside from spending his days with his Westerly family, David spends much of his time volunteering with C.A.T., Leadership Long Beach, various neighborhood associations and also sits on the Board of Directors at Long Beach Non-Profit Partnership. This project compliments David’s passion for the success of Long Beach and its residents. "I’m not only honored to be a part of this project but also to share in this experience with a dedicated, compassionate and inspiring student. I believe we will both grow from this experience while having the opportunity to positively impact members of the incredible Long Beach community."
Holly Santos has dedicated her life to serving others and making them feel beautiful every day. Using hair as her canvas, she prides herself on using outer beauty to help illuminate the inner beauty in everyone. The belief that when people look beautiful on the outside they feel beautiful on the inside has brought her much success in her business and personal life. Today she spends most her time in Long Beach, with some time in Kansas, owning and operating two salons. She lives in Long Beach with her husband Tony, their two Jack Russells Deuce and Tracer and kitty Radar. She would like to use the $1,400 to provide makeovers for people trying to get back on their feet, still with the belief that if they look gorgeous they feel gorgeous and can put their best self forward.
Scott Schlatter, born and raised in the Long Beach area, has worked for 15 years as a Student Ministries pastor, with nearly 12 of those years being at Parkcrest Christian Church, where he has acted faithfully as the Junior High Minister. His passion for reaching out and serving in his local community has not only encouraged him to regularly participate in many neighborhood projects, such as Serve yhe City and Habitat For Humanity, but has also shaped his family life. In 2009, Scott recognized the desperate need of the children in the LA county foster system and answered the call to become a certified foster parent. Currently, he has adopted his three-year-old son and his two-year-old daughter from foster care and is in the final stages of adopting his third child, a ten-month-old girl. Scott considers it an honor to serve the community of Long Beach and is always excited to find a new avenue that allows him to come alongside new neighbors and friends.
Chase Sturges-Andersen is an eighth-grade student at Westerly school. Her responsibility and adaptability skills are stressed daily at both school and in domestic situations because of her two siblings. Chase was born in Long Beach and has lived in two separate households for the past thirteen years. When Chase is not attending school five days a week in Long Beach, she is one hundred miles away in the high desert watching over a menagerie of farm animals. Chase is very excited to participate the Long Beach Giving Project, and she is extremely excited to benefit those in need. “I am privileged to participate in this project with a teacher who is well-rounded, kindhearted, intelligent and whom I admire. I am thrilled to be a part of this project, and I feel that this experience will change my outlook on what giving truly means.”
Giving Project Alumni
2012 GIVERS (gave away $1,500 each)
2011 GIVERS (gave away $1,000 each)
2010 GIVERS (gave away $1,000 each)
2009 GIVERS (gave away $750 each; see bios below)
2008 GIVERS (gave away $500 each; see bios below)
general public was invited to apply
Approx. 30 $250 Mini Grants Given Out
To make up the second group and round of giving during the 2011 Giving Project, Rudd is asking the general public to submit giving suggestions that would benefit a specific person. You can cannot give cash or gift certificates with the $250 we will give to you. You must purchase something or pay for a service to benefit someone. You can not help yourself with the grant money. Those who know someone in the Long Beach area who deserves a hand up, worth up to $250, are encouraged to email Justin@JustinRudd.com with "Long Beach Giving Project" in the subject line. Include a max. 250-word description of who you would help, how you would help them within 7 days of getting the money, and tell why you would help that person. BE SPECIFIC. Givers must provide receipts within 7 days after receiving the money that proves how the money was spent on the specific request made. Semi-finalists will be emailed late in the day on/by Fri., Mar. 25 and must be able to present their request to the judges' panel on the evening of Sat., Mar. 26. The Long Beach Giving Project expects to award $250 grants to at least 20 finalists so that they can fulfill the need they submitted to the contest.
2012 GIVERS (gave away $1,500 each)
Eliot Freutel was born and raised in Long Beach. He has followed his highest passion, marine science, as an education specialist at the Long Beach Marine Institute. He is greatly rooted in the community through capoeira and participation with various nonprofits such as the Long Beach Hope Project which exists to feed the homeless residents of our city. He lives in Bixby Knolls with his adorable Yorky Joyjoy and his amazing girlfriend Meghan. Eliot has donated time on his company's boat for Camp Justin! and has attended several beach cleanups with live wildlife specimens native to Long Beach which are used to further the understanding of why it is so important to keep our beaches clean.
Marleen Hurtado lives in Hawaiian Gardens and is a full-time college student and single mom of a ten-year-old son. She is part of a volunteering family. She volunteers at the Lakewood Sheriff's Department, Homeless With Dogs and helps throughout the year at most CAT events.
Jennifer Kumiyama is Ms. Wheelchair California 2010; is a singer/actress; and can currently be seen in "Aladdin; A Musical Spectacular" at Disney California Adventure Theme Park. She is the state coordinator of the Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation and loves to travel and surf with the Life Rolls On Foundation. Coming from a family of six children that often struggled to make ends meet, Jennifer is grateful for the opportunity to have given to those in need through the Long Beach Giving Project. Jennifer has supported Community Action Team by singing the National Anthem at the 2010 4th of July Kids Bike Parade and the 2012 Bulldog Beauty Contest. She says she looks forward to serving as a volunteer in many more CAT events to come.
Jeanette Neumann lives in North Long Beach with her husband Brad, and two daughters, Sydney and Jorja. By day, she works at a leading toy company, and at night enjoys the craziness that comes with living in the same house as a fashion diva, a budding comedian, and a talented chef. She is also an active member of St. Luke’s church in downtown Long Beach. Jeanette was introduced to C.A.T. in 2010, and has helped with a wide range of events. Favorites include 30-Minute Beach Cleanups, the Say Cheese Long Beach photo contest, and other events that give kids an opportunity to participate in their community.
Beatriz Nieves works at Millikan High School as a Campus Security Officer. She lives in Long Beach with her two boys and husband Fernando. She is the founder of "Milli-Can,"
a club that consists of both at-risk and role model high school students. She and her Milli-Can members have assisted in Camp Justin!, the Long Beach Turkey Trot and several 30-Minute Beach Cleanups.
Dan Reback is a native Californian, living in Long Beach for the past 10 years, where he and his wife have settled and begun their family. When he is not spending time with his wife and two sons, he can be found riding and racing his bicycle. His experience with the Community Action Team has been through volunteering to help with the Long Beach Losers program, and by donating childrens gifts during the holidays. As someone who has received community support in his own trying times, he is grateful for this opportunity to give back to the community in this unique way.
Israel Rodriquez grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Long Beach 10 years ago. Currently, he is on the board at The Center Long Beach; has continually worked with the Urban Community Outreach Center; and since moving to Belmont Shore has supported the Community Action Team at the 30-Minute Beach Cleanup, Long Beach Losers, the $1,000 Spelling Bee, the Red High Heels Walk, the Miss Long Beach pageant, the Bulldog Beauty Contest, and the Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade.
Traci Shoblom has been inspiring and motivating people to "make their lives a better place to live" since 2000. She's a freelance writer, an executive and personal coach, and an all-around happy person.Traci lives in East Long Beach with two of her three children. You can see them driving around in her PT Cruiser, Penelope. Traci has been volunteering with CAT for two years now, cleaning the beach, feeding the homeless, and any other excuse she can use to stand in the darkness, cold, or pouring rain for a t-shirt. A passionate vegetarian, Traci also enjoys reading and social networking. It makes up for her lack of "real life" friends.
Tamara Trujillo has lived in Long Beach for seven years and is a neighbor of Justin Rudd - which is how she learned about the Community Action Team. Since becoming his neighbor, she has helped with various events (Operation Easter Basket, Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade) and twice run in the Long Beach Turkey Trot. She is a volunteer with Long Beach Felines and has been an English professor at Fullerton College since 1997, where she created the Service Learning Program and participated in The Veteran's History Project; Service and community are at the core of both her professional career and her personal life.
The eleven $1,000 Givers
The 2011 $1,000 Givers
ANDREW KISHMAN works at St Luke's Episcopal Church downtown as a faith-based Americorps volunteer. In his work as Community Outreach Organizer he helps coordinate service programs at St Luke's like Youth Boxing, a College-Bound Support Group, and an affordable housing advocacy movement among other projects. Andrew grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went to college in Iowa. Next year he plans on starting Seminary, and hopes to work part time at a Church or as a Community Organizer. If he were to have an extra $1,000, he says would, “pay for the 5th grader I mentor to go to a summer camp.”
BLAIR COHN was born and raised in Long Beach and has been active in city events for years. He is one of the founders of the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon and helps coordinate other events like the Tour of Long Beach, LB Mardi Gras, and the Veterans Day Parade. In his current position as Executive Director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement District, Blair has created programs such as the Strollers, Supper Club, Literary Society, and has grown the First Fridays event in Bixby Knolls as a way to bring the community together and activate the business district. Blair also has a gorgeous 2 ½ year-old bulldog named Annie. He says, “If I win the $1,000 I would continue to seek out individuals from many walks of life in true need of assistance to help, at least for the short term, bring some sense of happiness or satisfaction.”
ELISA SABES IS a 24 year-old honors graduate from California State University, Long Beach where she majored in Business Finance. For three years Elisa was an Associate at Blair Commercial Real Estate, and just transitioned her career to working with an Executive Search firm headquartered in Long Beach. Since graduating college, Elisa held the title of Miss Long Beach 2010 and has continued her community involvement with the Community Action Team ever since. Last year, Elisa attended approximately 25 C.A.T. events and continues to support the Community Action Team whenever possible. She says, “If I were to win the $1,000, I would continue reaching out to as many lives as possible. Once I began my “gives,” I realized just how many people truly need help in our community. Whether it be a new pair of shoes for a little boy -- or new bedding for a family that is currently sleeping with donation blankets, I would simply continue touching as many lives as possible. The most rewarding aspect of this experience so far has been making a difference in people’s lives. What an amazing experience this has been -- and for it to continue for another month would be an incredible opportunity and blessing.”
ASHLEIGH OLDLAND is the Editor and Web Master at Gazette Newspapers. She covers C.A.T. events frequently for the newspaper and helps out at those events whenever she can. She's a Colorado native who moved to Long Beach less than three years ago and has fallen in love with the city. She says, “If I win the $1,000 I would allocate portions to aid individuals receiving help from nonprofits in Long Beach such as Interval House, The Center Long Beach and the Palliative Care program at Memorial Children's Hospital. I'd like to keep with the theme of the contest and donate goods or services to individuals in need -- I won't write a check and put it in the mail.”
CHRISTINA BECK got involved with C.A.T. to help her son achieve his goal for community service and was surprised and pleased to be asked to participate in the Long Beach Giving Project. She writes, “It has been an interesting opportunity for the whole family and we look forward to helping out at future events. If I win the $1,000 I would spend it how I did the first $1,000: split between Homeless with Dogs, Child Net (helping a
child in a foster care situation) and UniVarsity (college counseling for an underprivileged student).”
DARA SAMSON has been a Long Beach resident for 17 years and small business owner in Long Beach for 12 years. In Long Beach her volunteer work began with the senior program at the Alpert JCC. From making lunches, teaching craft classes, driving seniors to doctors and chaperoning senior trips she found it rewarding when just one senior smiled at the end of the day. When she decided to open her business, Wags to Whiskers Pet Grooming in Long Beach, she became a volunteer with many of the pet charities, rescues and fostering programs in Long Beach. As the Vice President of the Archer Foundation, she worked with Long Beach Park & Rec on an excellent pilot program called Paws on the Park. The Archer Foundation gave many rescues groups a forum for adoptions in a park setting, first at El Dorado Park and then at Recreation Park. She was there as a volunteer at the beginning of Rosie’s Dog Beach, Operation Santa Paws, the Howl’oween & Easter Parades and even the Turkey Trot. She started an annual toy drive for kids through Wags to Whiskers for the Long Beach group “For the Child.” She has fostered cats and dogs, helped get dogs placed, groomed or necessary medical attention. A loving pet owner of Bailey, Teddy, Bella & Cupcake, Dara knows pets will always be part of her life. She says, “If I win $1000 I would probably help some of the same people I already helped. I would like to buy a ton of supplies (groceries, personal hygiene products, blankets, etc.) and set up a table and let people take what they need. The needs from blankets to toilet paper and everything in between are so vast that some have a hard time choosing what they need when offered help.”
ANGI CARELLI moved to Long Beach in 1896 to race sailboats competitively. Angi is from Boulder, CO. She writes: “I'm a Massage Therapist and Organic Skin Care Technician at various gym and spa locations throughout Long Beach. I've been a volunteer for C.A.T.'s Bulldog Beauty Contests, Blessings of the Animals, Miss Long Beach & Southern California Pageants, provided setups for many Howl’oween and Easter parades, as well as a H.E.A.L. volunteer at the SPCALA for over eight years. I spearheaded the re-striping of traffic lanes on Ocean Blvd, between Loma and Redondo, to move traffic away from parked cars; and also had the City install a Pedestrian Safety Zone between traffic lanes, after two pedestrian fatalities had occurred @ Ocean Blvd and Loma. The City and my Councilman came through for me.” She went on to say, “If I win (another) $1000, I would check the weather forecast and see what storms are coming and prepare the homeless accordingly. The clothes needed would be purchased at my local Goodwill Thrift Store to help support that program. I would launder the clothes they were wearing. I would supply fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers via farmer's markets. I would also set up a sun shower/hygiene station for the homeless, which is wheelchair accessible, so they could start with the basics of taking care of themselves (if I had money left over).”
KYM CLOUGHESY is a third generation Long Beach resident. She credits her mom and dad for introducing her to a life of public service and civic responsibility. In the 1970s her parents organized neighborhood clean-ups, graffiti paint outs and other community events. In her personal life she is happily married to her husband Phil and has two grown children who, just like her, are Wilson graduates. Kym works for the Long Beach Police Department as our Community Policing Liaison. She is responsible for community education and assisting residents in addressing “Quality of Life” issues. She has volunteered with the Community Action Team for several years and truly enjoys assisting with Operation Santa Paws and the Bulldog Beauty Contest. She is also a volunteer with Orange County Pit Bull Rescue. In addition to her human children, she is also a proud pet parent to her houseful of dogs. Kym writes: “If I win the $1,000 I would focus the funds to assist those residents of Long Beach who are struggling to find their way and get them to a place where they can have the opportunity to find some shelter or stability.”
DANA TREITLER writes, “Probably more commonly known around Long Beach as DJ Dana T, Dana has participated as DJ for Justin Rudds' annual Father/Daughter Dance since the beginning as well as the Long Beach Pride Festival and Prop 8 Rally for Equal Rights and just about every bar in town. She is the proud owner of Happy Tails to You, a pet care providing and training company. She and her dog Honey were just presented with a Bronze Medal from the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for completing over 250 hours of volunteer service with different organizations helping seniors and children as a therapy dog and handler team.” She continues, “If I was blessed enough to win the $1,000 I would do my best to find the most amazing senior woman I spoke to on the street walking one of my dogs and I would use that gift to pay for a place for her to sleep and stay warm and buy her fresh food and clean clothes for as long as that money would last.”
DR. GREG PERRAULT owns and operates Cats & Dogs Animal Hospital in Long Beach. He is Vice-Chair to the Board for the Long Beach Health & Human Services Commission. He writes a monthly pet article for the Grunion Gazette; is a public speaker to LB residents about animal care; is an advisor to the downtown dog park, and volunteers as the first aid veterinarian for Justin Rudd’s dog events. Greg says, “If I won the $1,000 I would take a classroom of impoverished LBUSD students to the L.A. Zoo. When I was a young child, going to the zoo increased my compassion and curiosity for animals, which was a big influence on me becoming a veterinarian.” Any money left over would go to help the Long Beach Animal Care Services to help with supplies.
ANDREW CAPRA is a composer and arranger originally from San Francisco who has called Long Beach home for the past two years. After graduating from UC Irvine he spent the majority of time on tour and writing music used for film and TV. Recently Andrew has been preparing a new record as well as writing for other artists and arranging orchestral music. When he challenged his girlfriend Monique to try the Miss Long Beach pageant he had little idea that the next year he and his girlfriend, now Miss Long Beach 2011, would be regulars at many C.A.T. events and meet an entirely new circle of friends. He is of the belief that there are needy and hungry in everyone's backyard and has a passion for keeping kids on the road to higher education. He writes, “If I win the $1,000 I plan to help provide materials for after-school programs where teachers have been reaching into their own pockets to keep students inspired and off the street.”
The 2010 $250 Mini Grant Awardees
- Ginger Roels
- Pauline Holub
- Carrie Bockman
- Alison Dizon
- Mike Prado
- Maria Dales
- Ash Blythen
- Larry Herschler
- Donna Bergeron-Birge
- Shelley Reed
- Tobi McKinley
- Laura Scully
- Teresa Nikoletich
- Debi Miller
- Lynda Muenzer
- Christine Frumen
- Marsha Chapman
- Jorge Quintero
- Bobbi Clarke
- Joylyn Souter-Fowler
- Andrean Brown-Jacobs
2009 CONTESTANT BIOS & PHOTOS
click: 2009 recap
2009 WINNERS: Colin MacDiarmid and Kevin Nicholson were each awarded $500 more (see bios below)
4With the original $750, Colin purchased a self-inflating sleeping pad for a homeless pregnant woman. He purchased diapers, bottles and shoes for a single non-working mother of 7, living in a one-bedroom apartment with her aunt. He bought car wash supplies for a family’s fundraiser to pay for a family member’s funeral expenses. He purchased a $4 medical prescription. He purchased dinner for 55 homeless at Project Achieve. He purchased diapers and pjs for a single mother living in a woman’s shelter with a one-month old daughter and for unemployed parents with a preemie born at 23 weeks and in the hospital for four months. He purchased Dr. Seuss books for a Dr. Seuss Belated Birthday party for teen parents and their children. He bought and distributed socks and toilet paper at a homeless drop-in center. Colin purchased hair dye and nails for a woman, who once lived on skid row and in the L.A. River bed, in preparation for upcoming job and apartment interviews. Colin purchased groceries for a low-income senior with mobility and health issues. He provided a tank of gas to a mother of eight, one of whom is a teen parent. And with his $250, Colin purchased a playground play set for a family, and their church, whose son was killed in Iraq.
|EXAMPLE OF A CONTESTANT'S "GIVE"
(L to R: Contestant Lisa Woodruff,
Veronica, baby Sarella & her son Christian)
LISA WOODRUFF WRITES: I contacted the Miller’s Children Hospital to see if any new parents needed some help. A social worker contacted me and told me about Veronica. She is a single mother of a 13-year-old son named Christian. On March 24, she gave birth to a little girl named Sarella. In her 8th month of her pregnancy they found out she had a mass on her spine. When she was born, they discovered a tumor on her head. They removed both masses, but they realized her legs are paralyzed and some of her fingers are partially paralyzed. Veronica brought home the baby last week, with no way to support her as she cannot work right now. She and her children are living with a kind Chinese couple who she met in a laundromat. She needs everything. She has nothing. I asked my friend who speaks Spanish to be my interpreter and she was so moved by her story, she is gathering baby clothes from all her sisters & daughter who had babies last year. She needs special baby formula, diapers, wipes and food. The basics to live on, nothing special. I am moved to tears by the desperation of her need. I bought her those needed things and I also added some basic baby clothes, and a bottle. I then got some rice, beans, bread and juice. When I met her, I found a sweet 13 year old who loves his baby sister & a very confused mother of a disabled newborn. I also found the tiniest, most beautiful baby. I held her, and she just looked at me like she knew me. To see what little they had humbled me. To see the tough road ahead for them worried me. But, to see the love they have for each other encouraged me and gave me hope for them.
2009 Contestant Bios
is the mom of three grown boys. As they were growing up she was lucky enough to participate in all their activities: PTA (Fremont, Lowell, Jefferson and Wilson), soccer, cub scouts, baseball, golf, and basketball. She owns Arbor By The Bay on 2nd St. and previously owned Holly's Hallmark. She's had a presence on 2nd St. for 26 years and lives just a half block from her store.
4With her $750, Lorraine bought flowers which will be placed on a grave for four months, 18 pair of shoes and clothing for 9 children of 4 families, groceries for a family, paid utility bill for another family, purchased a learning system for a learning disabled boy so that he will learn his numbers and letters.
has lived in Long Beach since 1985 and loves this city. She has been involved with many organizations in town, but especially has a heart for anything that involves children. Presently one of the things she loves is her volunteer work in NICU at the hospital as a "cuddler." She single-handedly raised enough money so she and volunteers planted about 500 trees in the Heights area. She had quite a few physical obstacles to overcome in 2008, but she believes we're all in this together "to make life less difficult for each other."
4With his $750, Moses helped pay rent and bought food for a family with three kids and a dad who is medically challenged. For another family he assisted to pay bills, including electric, gas, and phone. He paid for food, phone bills, and utility payments for three additional families. He also helped a mother who is considered a high-risk pregnancy
to get a cell phone with minutes for medical/emergency assistance.
was born in Peru, but has lived in L.A. county and South Bay for most of his life. Moses worked for the health department in L.A. for sixteen years; providing resources, education and services to prevent the spread of STDs. Moses is very involved in his community. Moses is active with Friends Without Barriers; a program that provides services to persons infected with HIV/AIDS. Moses works tirelessly to raise funds and awareness for the organizations that he supports. Moses has volunteered with CAT for the past two years. Moses continues to be involved with AIDS walks, AIDS rides, Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals--to name a few, and other organizations that benefit people, animals and the community as a whole.
4 With his $750, Eddie bought kitchen cookware and cooking utensils for someone who had lost her disability income; bought a cube-case drawer organizer for two little girls that had to move in with their grand-mama after their mom was sent to jail; bought 100 toothbrushes and toothpaste for the homeless on our streets; provided food for the local food bank; sponsored new kids books for a library; designed and purchased key rings for a graduation gift that read ''I Am The Future!' for a counseling program for at-risk high school students.
was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where he grew up as the oldest of 3 brothers and 1 sister. He has called Southern Calif. his home for 12 years. Eddie has worked in the hotel hospitality industry for over 15 years. He has had the pleasure to work for some of the finest hotels in the U.S. including Hilton, St Regis, Four Seasons, and now Hyatt in sales and catering as a Meeting Concierge. He loves to entertain, so it is only fitting that he also works as an Event Services Manager for his good friend's catering company based out of San Clemente. He feels very fortunate to be able to be a part of this Long Beach Giving Project in this current economic climate.
4With her $500, Kate took the shopping list of a woman with MS and bought everything on it as well as laundry detergent, cat litter and soothing body lotion with what was left over; a keyboard and printer ink for a high school senior whose mother is just getting back on her feet, financially; a session with the Geek Squad for laptop memory for a disabled woman who needs the memory for a program for communication with the outside world; a utility bill for a woman who’s just making ends meet; and partial rent on a mobile home space for a gentleman and his family. The man has been out of work and has entered a job-training program. The $250 was an investment for the future: a full nursing wardrobe for an African immigrant who has completed nursing school and who is interning in a senior-care facility. The shoes alone would have been a hardship for her.
was born and grew up in Paterson, New Jersey and educated in the Bronx, Seattle and Los Angeles. She spent 30 years teaching migrant education, developmental reading and English-language development. After 30 years of teaching children of all nationalities, including North American, to communicate and of correcting the spelling and grammar of her colleagues (which gained her lots of love and unending friendship), she discovered that she could get paid for the latter, got her journalism certificate, and is now a copyeditor for three publications. She also co-writes, with Judy Crumpton, the Pet Post for lbpost.com. As to pets, Kate has always loved animals--her two cats, Woodbine and Mildred, godcats Eugene and Winley, and a number of furry little spirits will attest to that. She has involved herself with animal welfare in Irvine and for the past 10 years with Friends of Long Beach Animals. She likes many people, too, and helps with spelling bees, libraries, and whatever fuels her passion and earns her breathing space on the planet. Kate has often lain abed, dreaming of being a fairy godmother to needy people. The Long Beach Giving Project has given her the opportunity to do just that.
Is an AP clerk for a construction company. She enjoys giving of her time to volunteer for different causes. She especially enjoys volunteering her time to Justin's causes and is a lead volunteer at the monthly 30-Minute Beach Cleanups. She is honored to have been given the chance to be a part of the Long Beach Giving Project. She lives alone with her cat Curious George. Other than volunteering her time, she enjoys a good book and baking.
is a Midwest transplant and has lived in Long Beach for 12 years. He often commutes to work in Carson by bike and spends many early mornings running the bike path on the beach. He is very fond of animals, having a cat and two snakes at home, and was a volunteer at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific for three years. He's also been active with the Community Action Team at beach cleanups, dog events and running events.
A Chicago native, Kevin moved alone to Long Beach when he was 19 to pursue his education and a better life. He has lived in Belmont Shore for the past 20 years, and truly values its strong sense of community. Many people in Belmont Shore know him as being the owner of Louis, the tiny 3.5 pound Yorkshire Terrier that follows him along Second St. After graduating from CSULB, Kevin started his own real-estate appraisal and consulting business, and has been doing so for 14 years. However, he may find himself embarking on a new career as he has just applied to CSULB to get a master's degree in school counseling. He is currently being trained as a Life Care Counselor through Rock Harbor Church, and is in on the leadership team for The Long Beach Project, a new Long Beach church plant. His volunteer work has included building houses for the poor in Mexico, Big Brother's of Greater Los Angeles, serving at the Long Beach Rescue Mission, participating in the Beach Cleanup, and the Padua House, a transitional home located in Long Beach for people living with HIV/AIDS, where he organizes activities and promotes a sense of caring and community amongst the residents. Kevin is a strong believer in the importance of community and uses his love of beach volleyball to organize games every Sat. in Belmont Shore to promote unity . . . please join him!
4Lynda's big spend of $250 was spent on a meal of chicken enchiladas, rice, beans, salad, ice tea and brownies which ended up feeding 158 homeless people at the Christian Outreach building on 3rd St.. The rest of the money ($500) bought a Grad Nite ticket for a well-deserving male student at Wilson High, a cell phone for a struggling college student, exercise balls and bands, Easter baskets, and 22 first aid kits for the Senior Citizen Center on Martin Luther King Blvd., new books for the Playroom at Miller’s Childrens Hospital, Peanut butter and jelly and new gameboards for the Marguerite Kiefer Education Center, and a $100 toward the water and gas bill of a couple who were out of work due to an on the job injury and a recent diagnosis of cancer.
A Long Beach native, Lynda believes the "Purpose of life is a Life of Purpose". A career in education has always seemed purposeful. Lynda considers travel one of the best educations but also holds three different teaching credentials and has taught Technology at Kettering Elementary School for the last 11 years and prior to that mostly taught Health, P.E., and or Technology at Wilson High. She even met her amazing husband, Bob, also a teacher, while substitute teaching at his school. Their three active children provided many opportunities for volunteerism, and some of the best moments of Lynda's life. Lynda has also been a fitness instructor for almost 30 years, in the beginning, for cruise lines and for the Belmont Athletic Club since its opening in 1980. In 2003 Lynda represented Long Beach as a Goodwill Ambassador in Yokkaichi, Japan, Long Beach's sister city. She is the biggest fan of the show, Amazing Race, and would do anything to be a participant! She shares Justin's love for the city of Long Beach especially since her mother, Carole White, was the first Miss Long Beach in 1950.
2008 Contestant Bios
is a third generation Long Beach resident raised as the fourth child of Arch and Annemarie Forster. She credits her mom and dad for her giving and caring attitude. They never missed a chance to give of their time, their efforts or their financial blessings; the perfect role model for six children. Her mother is still in Long Beach and still giving. Beth left Long Beach after graduating from Wilson to attend the University of San Francisco. On her 30th birthday she sold everything, exchanged a career for one backpack and set off to experience life far from the privilege she'd enjoyed. She traveled solo for 13 months around the world, favoring developing countries and remote regions to the glitz and glamour of the tourist destinations. She married an Englishman in the 13th month of her travels and had two beautiful daughters. After 12 years in England, she and her children returned home with three suitcases and great uncertainty. As part of the Giving Project Beth celebrates Long Beach and keeps the giving tradition alive in honor of her daughters and her parents, all of whom she credits as her greatest role models.
4With her $500, Lisa purchased groceries, household cleaning supplies, and diapers for a family with an infant son; printer ink for Precious Lamb Preschool, serving homeless/indigent children; paid for spa visits for 10 residents of Alamitos Belmont Rehabilitation Hosp.; made a medical visit co-pay for a Long Beach parole officer who suffered a heart attack and is no longer able to work; helped pay for a transcriber for the Long Beach/Lakewood Hearing Assoc.; gave toiletry products to homeless shelter women.
She is a single mom to a 23-year-old daughter and her 6-year-old Boxer, King-Jake! Although born in Wichita Falls, TX, and raised all over the world, Southern California is considered her home, as she has spent most of her early childhood in West Covina and San Pedro. She is a true believer in living a life of integrity and giving. She thinks this is most likely her genetic coding as her mother is a retired high school teacher, who continues to devote her time to volunteer and community efforts; her father was an executive for the Boy Scouts of America who spent much of his career facilitating and providing scouting opportunities to inner city youth. Thus, community activism for the greater good has always been a part of her life; from food collection for the poor, raising money for AIDS/HIV awareness, breast cancer walk-a-thons, family assistance for displaced Katrina victims and volunteering with charitable organizations, are just to name a few. She has been in healthcare for 27 years and has worked in sales, program development, care planning, education, and business development – and has been a licensed Occupational Therapist for 12 years -- involved in every aspect of patient care.
She is the proud mom of David and Tanya and the loving owner of Truffles, her dog. At an early age, her mom taught her and her twin brother to give back. They were given money to donate to UNICEF at Christmas. That influenced her, and she is proud that both of her children give back. She rented in Long Beach before purchasing 12 1/2 years ago. She has worked in Long Beach at the VA in cardiology research, Long Beach Memorial's Health Promotion Department and the Career Transition Center. To her, it's about wellness and fitness and helping people live a more productive and healthy life-helping people help themselves. Recent volunteer involvement with CAT includes being Long Beach coordinator of Operation Santa Paws the last three years; Operation Easter Basket; Haute Dog Parades; 30-Minute Beach Cleanups; Turkey Trot and Grunion Run races; 4th of July Kids Bike Parade; Father/Daughter Dance. Other volunteer efforts include the 26.2 Club-Long Beach Marathon; Breast Cancer Angels; Jonathan Jacques Children's Cancer Center relay run; Belmont Shore Residents Association board member; Belmont Shore Business Association volunteer; Helped neighbor with Food Finders collection. Past volunteer involvement includes Habitat for Humanity; Holiday dinner on Pine at Mum's; Holiday dinners and toy collections at the Career Transition Center.
4With his $500, Michael served and sponsored a lunch for volunteers, families, and residents of Padua House -- a residential care facility for those with HIV/AIDS; gave a shopping spree to a friend going through chemotherapy that was not fitting into clothes because of a herniation; bought award ribbons for the LB middle school intramural finals; purchased art supplies for 42 children in the LB Arts Council 3rd grade inner city arts program; bought role playing uniforms for Precious Lamb Preschool to help students set goals and build self esteem.
4Michael on Facebook
is an extern chiropractor and exercise physiologist at the Advanced Wellness Center. He is inspired daily seeing individuals in the Long Beach community reach their health and wellness goals and return to the lives and activities they love. Michael has made it his future mission and goal to gather the community with inspired health practitioners to one day make Long Beach the healthiest city in the U.S. He is honored to be a part of the Long Beach Giving Project and has been challenged and inspired by the artistry of Justin Rudd's giving in the community. Michael and his wife Lael are natives of West Virginia and moved to Calif. so that he could shadow with the top holistic practitioners of the alternative medicine professions and fell in love with the coast and the culture. Michael enjoys travel and has volunteered in the Sudan and Jamaica doing service work. He is an avid surfer and has interned at the U.S. Open of Surfing and Boost Mobile Pro, the Super Bowl of U.S. surfing. Whether through the art of painting, giving, loving, drumming, writing, or holistic medicine, Michael loves to live his life as an art piece displayed to his Creator.
is a region business director for a pharmaceutical company, as well as a registered pharmacist by education. He is constantly motivated to do more to improve the lives of those people in Long Beach & Los Angeles that are struggling to live productive lives. Brad not only volunteers and gets involved in community service in Long Beach, but he also assist friends in Los Angeles that regularly go to Skid Row in Downtown LA to prepare and serve food for those less fortunate. He recently started working with a new company which has required that he be in Georgia for two weeks of this contest, however he is still very committed to making an impact in Long Beach through his 'Long Beach Kindness, Pass It On' project. Brad has only lived in Long Beach for four months and has jumped right into helping make Long Beach a better place for all to call home. He recently moved back to California from New Jersey where his job took him for career advancement opportunities. He is originally from Michigan, but earned his pharmacy degree at the University of Oklahoma and has also lived in New Jersey, Georgia and Nebraska. Brad enjoys travel, volunteering, physical fitness, sports and being around friends and family.
4 With her $500, Jennifer bought new walking toys for Phases preschool to help the kids with special needs; bought a tricycle for the kids in the developmental program at Tichenor Orthopedic Clinic; bought school uniforms and under garments for the students at Fremont Elementary School; purchased office supplies and started a fundraising web page for Partners in Parks; helped fund an eBay store for the Historical Society of Long Beach to promote their Miss Universe photo collection. With the remaining $4.77 she started her fundraising page for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and their walk.
4Jennifer on Facebook
has worked for Southern Calif. Gas Company since 2002. As Public Affairs Manager, she is responsible for representing the Gas Company to twelve Orange County cities such as Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Westminster, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Cypress. Jennifer currently serves on a variety of Chamber of Commerce boards including Westminster, Garden Grove, and Costa Mesa. Jennifer also serves on the board for Coastline Community College Foundation. She plays an advisory role on the Asian Business Association of Orange County and the Groundwater Replenishment Program. Prior to coming to the Gas Company, Jennifer garnered city government experience with both the City of Anaheim as well as the City of Pasadena. Jennifer managed public relations efforts for the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau during the $4.2 billion renovation of the Anaheim resort. She also served as Marketing and Communications manager for a small economic development firm that promoted the Alsace region of France. Jennifer earned both her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Communication from San Diego State University where she also taught public speaking. She still teaches communication courses on occasion through Coastline Community College.
Wife mother daughter and friend. Wife to Marc for almost 26 years. Mother to Ian (25) Eric (23) Alex (19) Tessa (18) and Frank (10). She loves her three dogs and cat. She loves being a wife and mother. She is an only child. She talks to her mom every day. She loves people. Her daughter is her hero. She is Director of Marketing for Chick-fil-A. She like quotes, words, Oprah, red and yellow, sunflowers and country music. She likes going to church. She likes Sunday family dinners. She likes to eat breakfast every day and read the newspaper. She likes pictures and always takes a picture when all her kids are together. She likes to read, scrapbook, watch TV, organize, rearrange and collect. She still talks to her friends from elementary school. She likes the duck pond and warm sunny days. She likes to lay in bed on cold, rainy days. She thinks she is funny. She knows she is smart. She has passion. She is a good listener. She has strong opinions and beliefs. She has hope. She has faith. She believes in miracles. She knows anything is possible. She loves deeply. She loves life. She loves God.
is a photographer. His weeks are spent photographing fashion campaigns, shooting high-end weddings and showing his work at art shows. Samuel has traveled much of the world and has focused on creating awareness on AIDS in South Africa. Samuel was a first responder to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and is continually contributing to the community of Long Beach through his "Bodies, Bicycles and Backpacks" -- a monthly "Feed the Homeless" campaign. Another recent photo trip Samuel took was to Havana, Cuba, to explore and experience the mysterious Caribbean country. Helping others with his many resources is a passion that he continually exercises. Samuel believes that we are all called to help our fellow man, and he constantly puts himself in someone else's shoes, trying to identify with the young, the old, the struggling, the poor and hungr. Surviving with little to no money in a third world country has prepared him for life with resources and a heart to serve. SAMUEL'S BLOG & PHOTOS
4Debi paid a utility bill for a struggling single mom; paid for a captioner for the Hearing Loss Assoc.; bought feminine hygiene products for their "Christmas in July" event; she purchased and dontaed Bibles to Precious Lambs preschool for homeless and low income families; had a computer put together for a family in the Christian Outreach in Action women's transitional home so that the mother could further her education.
She is first, and most importantly, proud to be the mother of a 24-year-old daughter, Kelsey and a 23-year-old son, Kyle. She is also lucky to be a grandmother of an eight-month-old grandson, Brody. She is a self-employed consultant specializing in QuickBooks software, bookkeeping, office efficiency, small office and home organizing. She is also a Wedding Director and the Chairman of the Worldwide and Homeland Missions Commission of Bay Shore Community Congregational Church in Long Beach. She believes in living by example, teaching children to think for themselves and be accountable, responsible and caring for others as they would like to be treated themselves. She is energized, moved and grateful to be involved in the Long Beach Giving Project as helping those in need is her passion. It is her motto to make a difference in the lives of others each day, no matter how small. She believes we can change the world one day at a time, one person at a time, and it starts within each of us.
4 With his $500, Ralph paid for an assistant for event organizer Justin Rudd during the April 27 Belmont Shore Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest; he helped a college student pay on a student loan; helped send some Boys & Girls Club kids to summer camp; gave away copies of the DVD "Pay It Forward"; delivered blankets to homeless kids
4Ralph on Facebook
Ralph's Dad always told him, "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but takes you nowhere." Passionate about life and always seeking new experiences, willing to take chances, and not giving up till he succeeds, Ralph set out for his future. Completing graduate studies in Virginia, he moved to Hollywood. He has had the great fortune of working with some of the top directors, producers, and actors in the film industry. Selena, A Civil Action, Cold Mountain, The Interpreter, and Michael Clayton are just a few of the films that taught him the film industry. Mirage Enterprises has served as his home in this business for the last ten years, and Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella are his mentors. His connections in the business led him to Paul Newman and his organization The Hole in the Wall Gang. This charity that is the benefactor of Newman's Own products serves a camp for terminally ill children. It is a life-changing opportunity for him to dedicate his time to assist these inspiring kids in summer activities. He continues to explore, dream and discover in Long Beach with his family -- Justin, Rosie and Riley.
4 With her $500, Amy gave bedding to a family transitioning from a homeless shelter to their own apartment; gave a 2nd grade Brownie a campership to go to two camps this summer; gave Precious Lamb, a homeless/transitional preschool, Christian books, DVDs and CDs; gave a family whose home burned down, dishes, pots & pans, sheets, blankets and other household items; gave a new Brownie troop art supplies and leader books to start their troop.
grew up in Southern California, the eldest of three children, going to the beach, playing soccer and participating in Girl Scouts. She came to Long Beach almost 30 years ago to attend Calif. State University, Long Beach where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications and Interpersonal Relations. She was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority where she served as secretary, social chairman and rush advisor. During college, she worked for the LBUSD as a classroom aide for students with learning disabilities. Her senior year of college she spent a semester attending the University of London, traveling to Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. After college she worked at Neiman Marcus where she met her husband, Marc, and they have been married for 20 years. They live in Belmont Shore with their 8-year-old daughter Lindsey and their wheaten terrier Higgins. Lindsey attends Lowell Elementary where Amy volunteers in her classroom and for the past four years has led her Girl Scout troop. She has worked part time for a dermatologist at St. Mary's Medical Center for almost 20 years....a job she will never leave due to the fact her boss keeps her looking young.
4With her $500, April bought a bus pass for a volunteer at the Long Beach Aquarium; bought baby clothes for a young mother expecting her third child who is living in a home for unwed mothers; purchased a skill saw for Wilson High School's construction class; purchased a reading program for the Long Beach Public Library; bought breakfast for Project Achieve -- the homeless shelter in Long Beach; helped send a 10-year-old autistic girl to summer camp.
a 2nd generation Long Beach native, has resided in the Belmont Shore area for 25 years with her husband, Larry. Every week, April delivers clothing to local charities. She solicits donations of household items for the Long Beach Public Health nurses. April is a dedicated member of the Community Action Team. She is project coordinator of Operation Easter Basket, which provides more than 1,500 baskets to underserved children of Long Beach. April became a member of the Catholic Church in 1996, where she has acted as a youth leader for confirmation candidates and has served meals to the poor of inner-city Los Angeles. For the last 18 years, April, a stay-home mom, has divided her time between her three children at three different schools; Jacqueline at Calif. State University Long Beach, Oliver at Woodrow Wilson High School, and Meredith at Lowell Bayside Academy. Throughout her children's years of education, she has been a helper in the library, the classroom and at every annual carnival. April never misses a chance to cheer her kids on at their wide-ranging activities, from skateboard competitions, theatrical performances, and Girl Scout meetings. When April can get a rare moment to herself, she enjoys collecting beach glass, constructing giant rubber band balls, and traveling on her favorite airline, Express Jet.
emigrated from France and has lived in the U.S. for the last 25 years. She is a nurse RN and a Public Health nurse PHN, and will be graduating with a dual master's degree in May 2009 in Nursing Science and in Public Health (MSN/MPH). She is involved in the City of Long Beach as an intern for a gang prevention and violence reduction program called the Weed and Seed Program. She is also involved with C.A.T. and volunteers for Justin's multiple activities. She is a runner as well and participant in Justin's Sand Challenge classes. She is a volunteer for the American Red Cross as a nurse, and she belongs to the Long Beach Medical Reserve Corps. She enjoys traveling abroad, spending time with her son and follows his basketball dreams. She enjoys reading, running, spending time with friends and helping others. She wants to live her life to the fullest with adventure, honesty, and enthusiasm, while being a leader for her son, and contributing to her family's well being. To be passionate, helping the less fortunate by working in an international setting to alleviate suffering and offer solutions. Give back to her community by being a volunteer and a local leader. To provide a climate of calm, respect, wisdom and change to her family and friends. To leave a legacy of strength and achievements addressed to others in need.
4With his $500, Andy sponsored two Cabrillo High School dancers to attend the Masters of Dance Seminar at Cal State Long Beach; bought new ballet shoes, jazz shoes, and leotards for two very talented dancers at Renaissance High School for the Arts, and gave a dance scholarship for another; replaced a pair of ballet shoes and paid for ballet classes at Long Beach Ballet Arts; bought a new sweat jacket for a dance teacher who recently lost her husband to cancer, in order to remind her how inspirational she is to all of her students; bought a package of mini-DVDs for a dance student from Brazil at CSULB who needed them in order to share her work with her mother who is in the hospital recovering from cancer.
Eclectic, yet serious training has been at the core of Andy Vaca's artistic life since he started playing the violin in the 4th grade. He is currently an Assistant Professor and the Assistant Department Chair of the CSU Long Beach Dance Department where he teaches numerous movement and theory courses. His dance career began in Sacramento with the Jazzworks Dance Company, and took him to L.A. where he earned an M.F.A. in dance from UCLA. Andy assisted Tony Award winner Twyla Tharp, and later danced with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Keith Johnson/Dancers, Bodytalk, and Roman Dance Theatre. Andy's wide range of concert and sports team choreography has been danced by the Nannette Brodie Dance Theater, the L.A. Clipper Girls, the L.A. Laker Girls, the Boston Celtic Dancers, and has been presented at the Dance Under the Stars Festival in Palm Desert. Last fall, Andy choreographed the Thanksgiving Day halftime show for the Detroit Lions featuring the Goo Goo Dolls that was telecast nationally on FOX-TV. Andy has volunteered for a wide array of C.A.T. events since moving to Long Beach in 2002, and is thrilled to be a part of the Long Beach Giving Project.
LISA SACHIKO WOODRUFF
Due to her mother's Japanese heritage, Lisa has her first name as her middle name. It means "girl full of happiness." Lisa is told she smiles a lot. She has always embraced her mixed heritage. She is 44 years old, but feels 15 on the inside. She is an only child. She was born and raised in Long Beach, but spent most of her summers in Japan. She graduated from CSULB with a BA in Speech Communication. She married her hair stylist and then became a hair stylist a couple years later. They own their own hair salon on Main St. in Seal Beach. Their hair styles have been published nationally & internationally. She has been married to her husband Woody for 19 years. They have 2 four year olds, Mochi & Olive. They are pugs. They currently live in Huntington Beach. Her hobbies are photography and anything that has to do with her pugs.
WHAT ELSE DOES C.A.T. DO?
Details about the Community Action Team C.A.T. and their more than 32 annual Long Beach events and projects are at www.JustinRudd.com.
Think of giving not as a duty, but as a privilege.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
5 BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
I AM A FIRM BELIEVER in the collective power of individuals joined in a spirit of goodwill and generous giving to bring about the success of a community.
||XLong Beach Giving Project
by Jessica Selva
Samuel Lippke had known 67-year-old Heather Hamm for less than an hour, but on Wednesday afternoon, he was already helping the woman pick clothes off the racks at Loehmann’s in Long Beach.
After Hamm, who has multiple sclerosis and dementia, switched to a new medication and gained 50 pounds, each day became a battle with her wardrobe.
She needed new clothes, but she didn’t have the money. That’s when Lippke, a 22-year-old freelance photographer, stepped in.
At the cash register, he paid for a blouse, two pairs of pants, two pairs of underwear and a bra. The bill came out to $98.44, just under his $100 limit.
Lippke had just completed his second “give.” He was one of the 15 participants in the Long Beach Giving Project, a community giving contest that started three weeks ago. He had until Saturday night to finish using the rest of his allotted $500.
“That’s going to just help out so much because I just had a terrible time getting dressed in the morning,” Hamm said.
Lippke was competing to be the most effective giver, and he won. Some of his other gives included buying lunches for the homeless and piano lessons fora 9-year-old girl whose brother and grandfather recently passed away.
Altogether, the group of contestants gave out $7,500 in gifts. An additional $1,000 was awarded to Lippke, who will use the money for more for more giving.
The project was yet another community service event put on by one of Long Beach’s most popular community activists—Justin Rudd. The six-foot-one Long Beach resident, originally from Alabama, is the founder and director of a nonprofit organization called the Community Action Team, through which Rudd hosts about 38 annual community events. Last year, LBPost.com recognized Rudd as “2007 Person of the Year.”
This year, the environmentalist and dog enthusiast who lives in the Belmont Shore area, is continuing with his usual projects—monthly beach cleanups, dog parades and beauty contests, national child and adult spelling bees, weight loss contests—and he has added a few new ones as well.
Rudd’s most recent is his giving project. It was a plan inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah’s Big Give,” a reality television show in which contestants compete to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in life-changing ways. On the show, contestants are judged on their giving and eliminated as the episodes progress.
Rudd decided to hold a Big Give of his own. It started after a missed opportunity last summer to audition for the show. He heard that there were going to be auditions in Los Angeles and wanted to try out, but vacation plans interfered. Friends had emailed him, telling him he would be perfect candidate, and he agreed.
“It’s right up my alley, being resourceful, being creative, and I think I’d do really well on the show,” he said.
Rudd watched “Oprah’s Big Give” when it later aired, and as the season approached its ending, he had an idea—why wait for the show to hold its next auditions? Why not create a Big Give of his own?
That was about a month ago. A week after coming up with the idea, Rudd contacted some of his regular volunteers to see who was willing to participate. The contest began on April 20 the day of the finale of “Oprah’s Big Give.”
It ended on Saturday night at Bayshore Community Congressional Church where contestants shared their stories and were judged on their giving decisions by a panel of philanthropists before their family, friends and community volunteers.
The rules were simple. No more than $100 could be spent on one person, family or organization. No more than $100 could be spent in one place or from one vendor. All the giving had to be done in the Long Beach area. And participants could not simply give cash. They had to spend the money on specific needs or goods that would be given directly to recipients. The contestants were judged on their levels of creativity and effectiveness.
At the start of the last week of giving, full-time mother and contestant Beth Barnes obsessed over her gives. She had plans but still had to take some action, and the pressure was building. The next couple of days would be very busy, she said.
But by Thursday, Barnes was at Ability First, a Long Beach care center for disabled children and adults. Completing her third give, Barnes stood in a hallway with her two teenage daughters as she handed a 9-year-old autistic boy a gift bag full of surprises.
The boy, who a facility caregiver said comes from a financially struggling family, received a giant Sponge Bob-shaped pillow, a fuzzy blanket, a Sponge Bob DVD set and a T-shirt. The items were chosen from his wish list.
Some contestants said the most challenging part of the project was the financial limitation, especially since they were not allowed to fundraise or accept donations like contestants on “Oprah’s Big Give.”
“A hundred dollars is great, but it’s not life-changing,” said contestant April Rivas, who is a Long Beach Airport sales agent. “I was trying to really think of things that would keep giving beyond maybe the day they were received.”
Rivas ended up using her funds to partially sponsor a Down syndrome child for summer camp. She also bought a Jigsaw tool for a construction class at Woodrow Wilson High School and groceries for a Catholic church’s homeless meal program.
According to Rudd, the challenge was all part of the project.
“It’s not easy, and I don’t want it to be easy,” he said. “The idea is that it’s diverse—the giving is diverse—and that they don’t go to one person’s house with five people living there and give them all $500 worth of groceries. That would be too simple. I want them to see many areas of giving.”
Rudd said his goal was to create a pattern of giving that extends beyond the event.
“I’d like for this to be the start of a movement—a giving movement,” he said. “And I hope that the contestants and the people that find out about it will begin to give more freely on a day-to-day basis. I don’t want it to happen just once a year.”
Rudd funded the giving project through two of his organization’s charity events, the Long Beach Turkey Trot and Haute Dog Easter Parade.
His decision to do the project came as no surprise to those who know the blue-eyed 38-year-old who speaks in a calm demeanor and a Southern accent.
Rudd is known for his extensive involvement in the community. He was the leading force in opening the Dog Zone, a leash-free area for dogs at the beach in the Belmont Shore area. It is Los Angeles County’s only dog beach, according to the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine Web site.
Rudd approached city leaders and rallied community support to get the beach idea passed. He led a one-year pilot program for daily leash-free dog access starting in 2003. The Dog Zone was finally approved by the city council in 2004.
“There is no one that does what Justin Rudd does,” said City Councilman Gary DeLong, who represents the 3rd District, which includes the Belmont Shore area. “There are a lot of things that you look at and scratch your head and say, ‘I don’t think that’s going to work,’ but he figures out how to make it work and it does.”
Because of his community work, friends and others in the area prodded Rudd to run for City Council in 2006. He entered the race against Councilman DeLong but dropped out a few weeks later, deciding the position would take away too much time from his activities.
“I feel blessed to be able to do what I’m doing, and I like what I’m doing,” Rudd said.
Instead, Rudd is employed by his organization and also works as a personal fitness trainer and a coach for beauty pageant contestants. He distributes a gay and lesbian e-mail newsletter, as well as an e-mail newsletter for dog-owners.
Rudd’s first event was nine years ago—a beach cleanup that he started with a group of his exercise friends after spotting trash on the sand during a run. It grew by word of mouth and advertising on his Web site, and the cleanups have continued since then. Eventually, more events entered the picture and more community members got involved.
Rivas, a giving project contestant who has volunteered with Rudd since his first beach clean-up, said she is amazed at how he draws people into his enthusiasm for the events.
“I always laugh. I say, ‘Justin can make me do anything,’” Rivas said, noting that he got her to compete against him in a cotton-candy eating contest at an event last weekend.
She also said he has certain qualities that make the Long Beach Giving Project and other events successful.
“I think one of the ways Justin is a very powerful leader is that he doesn’t micromanage things. He lets people do what they’re going to do and he has a great faith in them.”
For Rudd, his success comes in knowing when to say yes.
“I think that God just puts ideas in our heads and in our hearts,” Rudd said. “Sometimes, we say, ‘No, I’m not going to do that right now.’ But… when something’s on my heart and it’s heavy, I try to say, “There’s a reason.’”
YOU CAN GIVE NOW
Click the link on the left to enable us to help grant another wish. Whether you give $5 or $500, it will feel good. Additionally, those wishing to help fulfill these local needs with financial or in-kind support may contact Justin@JustinRudd.com.
Donations to the Community Action Team are tax deductible.