Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union’s Teddy Bears on Patrol Program Delivers 2,100 Toy Bears to Children in Need in 2018

For More than 20 Years, Teddy Bears on Patrol Continues to Bring Joy Over the Holidays.

San Jose, CA, USA — The Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union (http://www.sccfcu.org) is pleased to announce another successful year for its Teddy Bears on Patrol holiday program. This year, Teddy Bears on Patrol was able to bring 2,100 stuffed bears to cheer up needy children.

For more than 20 years, County Federal has sponsored the Teddy Bears on Patrol Program along with local law enforcement agencies, school districts, and organizations such as Santa Clara County Social Services, Parents Helping Parents, and the Rosa Elena Childcare Center (part of Respite & Research for Alzheimer’s Disease). The program was created to bring joy to children suffering from trauma or illness.

“The holiday season is a time of caring and sharing. Giving needy children their own teddy bear to love and comfort is our way of showing we care about our kids,” said Rebecca Reynolds Lytle, President and CEO of County Federal. “This has been a highly successful program over the years and our law enforcement and medical professional partners get just as much joy out of this tradition as we do. There’s nothing that brings more joy and comfort to a child in need than a teddy bear.”

New teddy bears were donated from mid-October to mid-December at County Federal branches. Cash donations were also accepted from County Federal members, as the credit union arranged to have bears purchased on their behalf. This year, County Federal employees held an internal challenge and were able to raise more than $1,000 in two hours to purchase even more teddy bears for the kids.

For more information, visit http://www.sccfcu.org/teddy.

About Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
For more than 68 years Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union has been bettering the lives of county, city, and school employees and affiliated organizations. In addition to maintaining a passionate commitment to provide knowledgeable financial solutions to its members, County Federal also maintains an extensive community outreach program, providing educational support through its scholarship program and dedicating time and resources to a variety of regional non-profit organizations. County Federal offers a comprehensive line of financial products and preferred rates and is committed to empowering, enriching and enhancing members’ financial lives.

For more information, visit http://www.sccfcu.org.

Media Contact:
Marilyn Avalos
Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
408.282.0782
mavalos@sccfcu.org
http://www.sccfcu.org

Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Promotes Montero and David to New Executive Roles

County Federal Names New Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Experience Officer.

San Jose, CA, USA — The Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union (http://www.sccfcu.org) today announced the promotions of Jennifer Montero and Divine David to new executive roles.

Jennifer Montero has been named Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer. Jennifer has been serving as SVP/Organizational Development. She has extensive knowledge in the field of human resources management and specializes in high-growth operations and restructuring. Jennifer previously served on County Federal’s Board of Directors. In her expanded role, she will be responsible for providing strategic leadership in all human resource functions, learning and talent development initiatives, and special programs. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from San Jose State University.

Divine David has been promoted from Senior Vice President/Chief Lending Officer to Senior Vice President/Chief Experience Officer. Divine has a long history in banking, having worked with San Francisco Federal Credit Union, Provident Credit Union, Golden 1 Credit Union, and Bank of the West. In her new role, Divine will be responsible for enhancing the member experience and improving membership services. She holds a Management degree from Golden Gate University.

“Both Jennifer and Divine have been instrumental in helping us maintain the standard of excellence that members expect from County Federal” said Rebecca Reynolds Lytle, President and CEO of County Federal. “Expanding their roles allows us to have an even greater impact on the member experience and help us improve and expand our financial services.”

About Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
For more than 65 years Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union has been helping county, city, and school employees and affiliated organizations with financial services to help them realize their dreams. In addition to maintaining a passionate commitment to provide knowledgeable financial solutions to its members, County Federal also maintains an extensive community outreach program, providing educational support through its scholarship program and dedicating time and resources to a variety of regional non-profit organizations. County Federal offers a comprehensive line of financial products and preferred rates and is committed to empowering, enriching and enhancing members’ financial lives.

For more information, please visit http://www.sccfcu.org.

Media Contact:
Marilyn Avalos
Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
408.282.0782
mavalos@sccfcu.org
http://www.sccfcu.org

Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Sponsors Santa Clara Teacher Recognition Celebration for 23rd Year

County Federal Continues to Partner with the Santa Clara County Office of Education to Honor Teacher Excellence and Commitment.

San Jose, CA, USA — The Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union (http://www.sccfcu.org) is proud to be a sponsor of the Teacher Recognition Celebration organized by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) again this year. This marks the 23rd year that County Federal has partnered with the SCCOE to recognize teachers throughout the county for their educational excellence and commitment to their students, school, and the community.

The 2018 Teacher Recognition Celebration, held October 22, marked nearly 50 years of Santa Clara County honoring educational excellence, making the SCCOE Teacher Recognition Celebration one of the oldest and most prestigious in the state. The Celebration is held every autumn to applaud the outstanding work of teachers from every Santa Clara County school district. This year, 31 educators were honored for their outstanding work, as well as five teachers who received the STEM Teaching Award from event co-sponsor Texas Instruments.

“Educators are the unsung heroes of our community and we are proud to support Teacher Recognition Day as part our commitment to Santa Clara County,” said Rebecca Lytle, President and CEO of County Federal. “We have been serving county, city, and school employees for more than 65 years but we seldom have this type of opportunity to publicly recognize the professionals who work to make our community such a wonderful place to call home.”

The SCCOE created the Teacher Recognition Celebration to increase public awareness of the vital role educators play in helping youth and shaping the community, and to acknowledge the achievement, sacrifice, and training required of today’s teachers. Recognition also helps strengthen ties between students and teachers and promotes greater understanding between generations.

About Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
For more than 65 years Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union has been helping county, city, and school employees and affiliated organizations with financial services to help them realize their dreams. In addition to maintaining a passionate commitment to provide knowledgeable financial solutions to its members, County Federal also maintains an extensive community outreach program, providing educational support through its scholarship program and dedicating time and resources to a variety of regional non-profit organizations. County Federal offers a comprehensive line of financial products and preferred rates and is committed to empowering, enriching and enhancing members’ financial lives.

For more information, please visit http://www.sccfcu.org.

Media Contact:
Marilyn Avalos
Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
408.282.0782
mavalos@sccfcu.org
http://www.sccfcu.org

Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Adds Two New Vice Presidents to Leadership Team

County Federal Adds Senior Staff to Credit Union As Part of Ongoing Commitment To Extend Superior Services to Members.

San Jose, CA, USA — The Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union (http://www.sccfcu.org) today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the addition of two new Vice Presidents:

Carol Presar is the new Vice President of Learning & Talent Development with responsibility for employee training and human resources support. Carol has an extensive background in developing operational policies and procedures, instructional design, and enterprise-wide talent development. She previously worked with 1st Franklin/Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) and holds a degree in Business Administration.

Steven Naylor is the new County Federal Vice President of IT Infrastructure. Steve has two decades of IT experience, including financial systems design and management. He comes to County Federal from Technology Credit Union and holds a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University as well as a Business degree from West Valley Mission College.

“The success of any credit union hinges on the quality of service to its members, and as part of our commitment to our members, we seek out corporate leaders who share our vision and dedication to excellence,” said Rebecca Reynolds Lytle, President and CEO of County Federal. “As our new Vice Presidents, Carol and Steve bring extensive experience and fresh expertise to help County Federal enhance our member services and improve the membership experience. We are delighted to welcome these credit union veterans to the County Federal family.”

About Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
For more than 65 years Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union has been helping county, city, and school employees and affiliated organizations with financial services to help them realize their dreams. In addition to maintaining a passionate commitment to provide knowledgeable financial solutions to its members, County Federal also maintains an extensive community outreach program, providing educational support through its scholarship program and dedicating time and resources to a variety of regional non-profit organizations. County Federal offers a comprehensive line of financial products and preferred rates and is committed to empowering, enriching and enhancing members’ financial lives.

For more information, please visit http://www.sccfcu.org.

Media Contact:
Sandy Roque
Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union
408.282.0722
sroque@sccfcu.org
http://www.sccfcu.org

Volunteer Firefighter Alliance Reaches GuideStar Platinum

Allows Donors to Focus on Progress and Results.

Knoxville, TN, USA — Volunteer Firefighter Alliance (http://www.supportvfa.org) today earned the Platinum GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing metrics that highlight changes Volunteer Firefighter Alliance is making toward its mission, the organization is helping donors move beyond simplistic ways of nonprofit evaluation like overhead ratios.

“In accordance with our long-held belief in being transparent about our work,” said Alan Bohms, Executive Director, “we are excited to convey our organization’s results in a user-friendly and highly visual manner. By updating our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile to the Platinum level, we can now easily share a wealth of up-to-date organizational metrics with our supporters as well as GuideStar’s immense online audience, which includes donors, grantmakers, our peers, and the media.”

To reach the Platinum level, Volunteer Firefighter Alliance added extensive information to its Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, Volunteer Firefighter Alliance has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate Volunteer Firefighter Alliance.

“I encourage you to visit our profile on GuideStar to see what we’re all about,” added Bohms. “We’re thrilled that our GuideStar Platinum Nonprofit Profile and its associated benefits help us better communicate our organization’s exciting initiatives at a global scale.”

Media Contact:
Alan Bohms
Volunteer Firefighter Alliance
423-999-7333
info@supportvfa.org
http://www.supportvfa.org

5 Gyres Partnering with Forward Reality on Groundbreaking VR Project

“The Pacific Garbage Patch, A Seagull’s Perspective” will educate millions on the impact of plastic pollution.

Carlsbad, CA, USA — 5 Gyres is partnering with Forward Reality, as an advisor on a Virtual Reality (VR) project to educate people about the serious issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.

The “Pacific Garbage Patch – A Seagull’s Perspective” is a VR experience, that focuses on the Pacific Garbage Patch and the effects of plastics on marine and bird life. It is a compelling interactive experience that brings this critical issue to people’s attention.

Users will view the Pacific Garbage Patch, its origins and affected regions, from the perspective of a Seagull, with voice over narration that explains the content and issues. By viewing multiple locations (the gyre, Midway Island, plastic factories, fish market) players can understand the origin of this plastic garbage, the impact it has on the world around us and the steps they can take to help solve the problem.

Sherri Cuono, CEO of Forward Reality stated “We’re pleased to have the participation of the 5 Gyres Institute on this important project, their expertise on this issue is invaluable”. She added, “Forward Reality will be launching this experience in museums worldwide as well as making it available to the public on multiple VR platforms.”

“Solving the problem of plastic pollution demands innovation,” said Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, 5 Gyres Executive Director. “We’re honored to share our experience through this exciting new platform to drive awareness and action on this critical issue.”

The “Pacific Garbage Patch – A Seagull’s Perspective” will be released later this year.

ABOUT 5 GYRES
The nonprofit 5 Gyres Institute has been fighting plastic ocean pollution since 2009. Beginning in 2010, 5 Gyres began a series of scientific firsts by researching plastic in all five subtropical gyres, as well as the Great Lakes and Antarctica. In 2014, the organization convened eight scientists around the world to publish the first global estimate of plastic pollution in our ocean: 5.25 trillion particles weighing in at 270,000 tons of “plastic smog” worldwide. 5 Gyres’ paper on plastic microbead pollution in the Great Lakes inspired a two-year collaborative campaign that culminated in a federal ban on microbeads, which President Obama signed into law in 2015. In August, 5 Gyres embarked on its 17th expedition-this time to research microplastics and nanoplastics in the Arctic Circle. More information is at http://www.5gyres.org.

ABOUT FORWARD REALITY
Forward Reality is creating amazing interactive VR experiences that educate, entertain and inspire. Our focus is on VR with a Purpose. Founded by industry pioneers, we are an independent studio dedicated to using VR technology to change the world for the better. Through our combined decades of research and achievements in video game production and 360 video, Forward Reality is creating the next generation of media-rich VR entertainment. More information about Forward Reality can be found at http://www.forwardreality.com.

Contact:
Ginger Goss Mukherjee – ginger@5gyres.org
William Volk – business@forwardreality.com

Dr. Michael K. Obeng to Receive 2017 GUBA Humanitarian Spirit Award on June 3, 2017 UK

Dr. Michael Obeng will be presented with the GUBA Humanitarian Spirit Award on June 3, 2017 in London, England.

Beverly Hills, CA, USA — Top Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon to the Stars – Dr. Michael K. Obeng, is on the move to make changes in global health and the world of reconstructive surgery, will be honored in London, England as he receives the GUBA Humanitarian Spirit Award 2017.

Born into poverty in Ghana, Dr. Obeng persevered over unimaginable obstacles and overcame all odds to arrive at this culmination of professional and personal success. He takes pride in treating each patient like family; his deep compassion and care for his patients is derived from his humble beginnings. Dr. Obeng travels to third world countries to donate his surgical skills through his non-profit, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide, Inc. In addition, Dr. Obeng advocates for the underprivileged in the United States by educating patients on safe breast reconstructive surgery options available after undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Dr. Obeng has garnered prestigious awards including a research grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the coveted, Herman B. Barnett award in Surgery and Anesthesia. He has extensive international publications regarding breast aesthetics, augmentation and reconstruction. When he is not lecturing on plastic surgery, he can be found donating his time with R.E.S.T.O.R.E. and delivering his award-winning motivational speech, Perseverance.

Dr. Michael Obeng will be presented with the GUBA Humanitarian Spirit Award on June 3, 2017 in London, England. On behalf of the GUBA Committee and GUBA Advisory Board, the British High Commission, Ghana, is so excited to select Dr. Obeng for GUBA 2017 Awards recipient for his contribution to the standard of living improvements of the underprivileged, in the developing world, by reconstructing deformities and, also, other provisions through R.E.S.T.O.R.E. missions. GUBA 2017 nominees and recognition.

About GUBA Awards
GUBA (Ghana UK Based Achievement awards) is a non-profit Business & Innovation Awards instituted to celebrate, acknowledge, and support Ghanaian based businesses and individuals in the UK. The GUBA Awards is the first ceremony of its kind to specifically recognize Ghanaian achievement and the only awards to be endorsed by the Ghana High Commission in the UK. It is intended as a platform that “showcases and celebrates excellence and achievement within the British-Ghanaian community as well as the outstanding and valuable services provided to Ghanaians in the UK and Ghana”. More recently, the organizers have sought to also involve the wider African communities as they attempt to gain international attention.

The Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards is an annual awards ceremony based in Britain which recognizes the ‘hugely significant’ contribution that British-Ghanaians make to society. The awards were founded in 2009 by UK-based Ghanaian TV personality Dentaa, with the first awards ceremony taking place in London, England, in October 2010.

About R.E.S.T.O.R.E. (http://www.restoreworldwide.org)
R.E.S.T.O.R.E. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit medical service organization that provides free reconstructive surgery and related medical services to children and adults with disfiguring deformities from birth, accidents and diseases. Many developing countries shun those afflicted with disfiguring deformities and look upon them as outcasts or “freaks”. Often their own families hide them from the general public to spare them from either being ridiculed or physically harmed because of their disfigured appearance. Although there is an overwhelming need for plastic surgery in developing countries, these types of surgeries are not available because there are no personnel trained to provide the necessary surgeries. As part of the organization’s mission they seek to educate and train local physicians in the techniques necessary to perpetuate their initial work to continually benefit more people for years to come.

For more information: Crystal Mello | crystal@mikoplasticsurgery.com | (310) 275-2705 ext. 105

For local interviews in the States/UK or otherwise: Lawrence Phillips | lppreventsentertainment13@gmail.com | (310) 619-8048

Fitting The Description Statement on Call For Formal Investigation of West Hollywood Sheriff Department by Entertainer Wyclef Jean

All of us must be willing to take our stories forward for there to ever be justice.

West Hollywood, CA, USA — Fitting The Description founder and executive director Charles Belk issued the following statement about the detainment and handcuffing of entertainer Wyclef Jean because he was “fitting the description” and his call for a formal investigation into the matter by the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.

“It’s inspiring to hear that Wyclef Jean is calling for a formal investigation. More attention needs to continuously be brought to those incidents like Wyclef’s, because it gives society a chance to possibly disclose the underlying cause. We seem to focus on only those incidents where an apparently innocent Black man ends up dead, and at that point, while you may or may not have some video, you indeed only have one side of the story, because, unfortunately, the other side can’t be told. I was fortunate to be able to tell my side of the story, and to see someone with the celebrity status of Wyclef be willing to take his story forward in search of the truth is what we always should do. All of us, need to take our stories forward. Don’t think that just because you’re not a famous entertainer or a “Hollywood Producer”, that people won’t listen. They WILL listen. Social media is definitely listening, and it has millions of ears! We have to all be willing to get M.A.D., and Make A Difference. I strongly encourage the new commander of the West Hollywood Station, Captain Sergio A. Aloma, and West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister to honor Mr. Jean’s request and launch an investigation immediately.”

On August 22, 2014, Charles Belk was mistakenly identified as an armed bank robber because he fit the description of a tall, bald, Black male. Although Belk was held on the curb in handcuffs for 45 minutes, and then arrested and held under a $100,000 bail for 6 hours, he was later released as innocent. Since his arrest, Charles Belk, a long-time West Hollywood-adjacent resident, launched a nationwide effort, #AutoErase, through the non-profit Fitting The Description, to educate and inform those about the perils of wrongful arrest records, and engage legislation to alleviate the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records. The legislation has been signed into law in four states and is now current legislation in 14 states.

About Fitting The Description
Fitting The Description, a 501.c.3, tax exempt, non-profit organization, was established to help build awareness of wrongful detentions and arrests that occur each day because an individual “fit the description.” The organization helps educate and inform others about the perils of wrongful arrests records, and advocates for alleviating the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records.

Media Contact:
Mark Williams
Fitting The Description Inc.
PO Box 93181
Los Angeles, CA 90093
213-632-6390
mwilliams@fittingthedescription.org
http://www.fittingthedescription.org

Fusion Art to Host “Art for Animals” Juried Art Exhibition for Charity

Fusion Art is pleased to announce that it will host an “Art for Animals” juried art exhibition to support local Coachella Valley animal welfare organizations.

Fusion Art Logo

Palm Springs, CA, USA — Fusion Art is pleased to announce that it will host an “Art for Animals” juried art exhibition to support local Coachella Valley animal welfare organizations.

ART for ANIMALS

The gallery has partnered with SNIP, the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, The Living Desert, Animal Samaritans, and the Humane Society of the Desert to host a charity art exhibition during the month of December 2016. All five organizations are 501(3)(c) nonprofits that are committed to the humane treatment of all animals and the preservation of life through no-kill philosophies.

A juried art competition will be held from July 20th through September 20th. For the competition artists and photographers, worldwide, are encouraged to share their artistic vision of Animals, both domestic and wild. The artwork can include any animals that live on land, in the sea or in the air and can range from realism to surrealism to abstraction.

Twelve winners will be selected and featured in the exhibition, which will be held in the gallery from December 7th through the 31st. An artists’ reception will be held the evening of December 10th between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. In addition, a charity calendar will be produced with each of the twelve winners featured in one month of the calendar. Proceeds from the competition’s entry fees, the gallery’s proceeds from the sale of any artwork in the exhibition and from sale of the charity calendar will be donated equally to the charities.

Founded by Award winning artist, Chris Hoffman, Fusion Art was envisioned and formed out of a passion for art and the artists who create it. The website and Palm Springs gallery promote and connect new, emerging and established artists with collectors and art enthusiasts, while offering the opportunity to participate in art competitions, exhibitions and experiences. Open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4p.m., Fusion Art Gallery is located at 2658 S. Cherokee Way, in the Backstreet Art District.

Artists who are interested in submitting their artwork for consideration should visit Fusion Art’s website for full competition guidelines: http://www.fusionartps.com/art-for-animals-charity-competition. Please direct any questions to Valerie Hoffman at the contact information below.

Media Contact:
Valerie Hoffman
Fusion Art
2658 S. Cherokee Way
Palm Springs, CA 92264
(Mailing Address: PO Box 4236
Palm Springs, CA 92263)
760-832-7568
valerie@fusionartps.com
http://www.fusionartps.com

Dr. Michael K. Obeng will Perform a Miraculous Surgery on Sarjo Trawally, a 4-year-old Girl from Gambia with a Life threatening Facial Cystic Hygroma

From the anointed mind to the gifted hands of Dr. Michael K. Obeng, miracles have come true for many that cannot afford surgeries in third-world countries with poverty beyond understanding.

Sarjo Trawally

Beverly Hills, CA, USA — After careful, strategically planned trips to four countries this summer, Dr. Obeng was touched and moved by 4-year-old Sarjo with her disfigured face. Dr. Obeng has arranged for Sarjo to come to United States where he will do what may seem by millions as impossible. Sarjo arrives in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 11, 2016, which is when her transformation will begin. Dr. Obeng was born with the gift himself, to touch and change lives, faces, bodies etc. of many, with no means whatsoever to handle the cost for these surgeries. Dr. Obeng, through his charity, R.E.S.T.O.R.E., Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts, and donations from the kindhearted, has been able to donate 100% of all services free for all surgeries that he and his select staff performs either on tour or case by case here in Beverly Hills, CA.

Dr. Obeng came to Midwestern State University (MSU) from Ghana. He saw a flyer about the university in a friend’s dorm room and knew it was in Texas, but that was all. While an MSU student, Dr. Obeng laid carpet, worked for Golden Corral, and drove a school bus for the Wichita Falls Independent School District. His bed was one he rescued from someone else’s trash, and he and his roommate alternated sleeping on it and the floor. After his first semester at MSU, he got a job at the Moffett Library and eventually landed a job as a residence assistant that paid his room and board, a big relief for a struggling student.

Dr. Obeng earned his Bachelor of Science from MSU in 1997, graduating cum laude with a major in Chemistry and a double minor in Mathematics & Biology. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch and completed post-graduate work in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch John Sealy Hospitals and The Shriner’s Hospital for Children before accepting a fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Obeng is currently the Director of his own private practice, MiKO Plastic Surgery and MiKO Surgery Center in Beverly Hills, California while also serving on staff at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Obeng is a noted author and lecturer on healthcare disparities around the globe. He has received numerous honors, awards and recognition for his professional achievements including a research grant from the National Institute of Health and the Herman A. Barnett Memorial Award for Excellence in Surgery and Anesthesia. His professional society memberships include the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.

Dr. Obeng recently launched a consulting firm, Global Health Solution, which is aimed to bridge the gap between morbidity and healthy living in developing countries. He believes a “Healthy country is a wealthy country.”

In Ghana, Dr. Obeng saw the pain caused by physical deformities, and the helplessness of those afflicted as they lived with their situation with no money, and too few qualified physicians to have the problem corrected. To resolve this issue, he then formed R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide, Inc. in 2008 (Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts) to help those people and others in need. Since its inception in 2008 R.E.S.T.O.R.E.’s volunteer teams have traveled to 7 countries, including Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico and Nigeria performing over 200 reconstructive surgeries worth over $ 5,000,000 USD and all on a pro-bono basis. Dr. Obeng credits the giving spirit of teachers, advisers, and fellow students during his time at Midwestern State University, The University of Texas and Harvard for instilling in him the need to help others. “I won’t forget where it all started,” he said.

About R.E.S.T.O.R.E.: R.E.S.T.O.R.E. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit medical service organization that provides free reconstructive surgery and related medical services to children and adults with disfiguring deformities from birth, accidents and diseases. Many developing countries shun those afflicted with disfiguring deformities and look upon them as outcasts or “freaks”. Often their own families hide them from the general public to spare them from either being ridiculed or physically harmed because of their disfigured appearance.

Although there is an overwhelming need for plastic surgery in developing countries, these types of surgeries are not available because there are no personnel trained to provide the necessary surgeries. As part of the organizations mission they seek to educate and train local physicians in the techniques necessary to perpetuate their initial work to continually benefit more people for years to come.

“ONE FACE, ONE BREAST, ONE BODY AT A TIME”.

For more information or to help make a difference in Sarjo’s life with your donation
http://www.restoreworldwide.org
http://www.mikoplasticsurgery.com

Media Contact:
Lawrence Phillips (LP)
LP PR Events Entertainment
(310) 619-8048
(310) 275-2701
lppreventsentertainment13@gmail.com

Rhode Island Becomes 4th State To Pass AutoErase Legislation

Pawtucket’s Representative Carlos Tobon’s bill is part of a nationwide effort to reduce the burden placed on innocent individuals wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity.

Fitting The Description Logo

Providence, RI, USA — Rhode Island becomes the fourth state to pass #AutoErase legislation which requires that arrest records are automatically erased of innocent individuals wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity. The bills, HB 7094, and it’s companion bill, SB2421 – “Requires the sealing and destruction of arrest records of persons wrongfully arrested,” were introduced and championed by Rep. Carlos Tobon (D-Pawtucket) and Senator Juan Pichardo (D-Providence), respectively. Rhode Island joins North Carolina, Illinois and Colorado in passing a piece of criminal justice reform legislation that was born out of the wrongful arrest of Hollywood independent producer and entertainment industry executive, Charles Belk in August of 2014. #AutoErase legislation has been signed into law in North Carolina, Illinois and Colorado, and is currently pending legislation Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Innocent people in Rhode Island, as well as throughout the country, are wrongfully charged each year with a felony or misdemeanor crime because the charges were issued as the result of mistaken identity (i.e., misidentification by a witness or law enforcement, confusion on the part of a witness or law enforcement as to the identity of the person who committed the crime, misinformation provided to law enforcement as to the identity of the person who committed the crime, or some other mistake on the part of a witness or law enforcement as to the identity of the person who committed the crime), or because someone else used their information. Because the responsibility to remove a wrongful arrest record falls on the charged individual, he or she is burden with the expenses and time required to handle such a task. If a person does not have the erroneous arrest record removed, it can greatly affect his or her ability in the future to get a job, a loan or certain licenses. The Rhode Island legislation requires that any law enforcement agency, subsequent to the arrest of any person, that determines such person was wrongfully or incorrectly arrested as a result of mistaken identity or any other reason or wrongfully fingerprinted, photographed or otherwise has generated any record of arrest for investigatory purposes and as a result of such wrongful arrest, no charges have been filed in any court of the state, seal all such arrest records and destroy all identifying information and indices of arrest. Notwithstanding a veto by the Governor, the new law will take affect on July 1, 2016.

“If someone is wrongful arrested because law enforcement is doing their job, it’s only fair that their record is cleaned up,” Representative Tobon said. “Getting a faulty arrest record erased currently is a long and costly process and many people are being harmed by simple background checks.”

Charles Belk falsely arrested on August 22, 2014

On August 22, 2014, Charles Belk was mistakenly identified as an armed bank robber because he fit the description of a tall, bald, Black male. He was handcuffed, detained, taken to the police station, booked, denied a phone call, denied being told his charges, denied immediate access to an attorney, jailed for six hours for Armed Bank Robbery and Accessory to Armed Robbery and held under a $100,000 bail. Although he was released later that night and given a Certificate of Detention, which indicated he was only detained and not arrested, an arrest record appeared on the Sheriff’s website and a state legal process had to be followed to get the arrest record sealed and destroyed. Since his arrest, Belk launched a nationwide effort, through the non-profit he founded (fittingthedescription.org) and his #AutoErase Initiative, to educate and inform those about the perils of wrongful arrest records, and engage legislation to alleviate the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records.

“Since the wrongful arrest incident, I have seen the #AutoErase legislation introduced in 14 states, and Rhode Island was one of those state that I had the opportunity to visit on several different occasion, meeting and talking with community leaders and officials, including Providence NAACP President Jim Vincent, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare, and Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King, among many others,” said Charles Belk. “This is an incredible piece of legislation for the good people of the great state of Rhode Island, and I’m truly grateful for the support from the community and the state legislators.”

Fitting The Description, a 501.c.3, tax exempt, non-profit organization, was established to help build awareness of wrongful detentions and arrests that occur each day because an individual “fit the description.” The organization helps educate and inform others about the perils of wrongful arrests records, and advocates for alleviating the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records.

Media Contact:
Mark Williams
Fitting The Description Inc.
PO Box 93181
Los Angeles, CA 90093
213-632-6390
mwilliams@fittingthedescription.org
http://www.fittingthedescription.org

Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm Presents Charitable CSR Based Event “Bowling with a Purpose” in Milwaukee, WI

Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm is creating new ways to business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while giving back to its community at large. Using corporate social responsibility as a means to create positive change.

RLA Logo

Milwaukee, WI, USA — Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm is creating new ways to business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while giving back to its community at large. Using corporate social responsibility as a means to create positive change.

BUILDING BUSINESSES IN MILWAUKEE
Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm located downtown Milwaukee in the 3rd Ward will be hosting its first annual charitable event promoting entrepreneurship and small business growth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the event will take place on July 15th 2016.

Bowling with a Purpose will be held at the Bayshore Mall IPic Theater sponsored by IPic Theater and Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm. In attendance will be leading local small business owners, nonprofit organizers, and corporate leaders; who support the advancement of small businesses, nonprofit awareness, and financial literacy in Milwaukee.

Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm is seeking to collaborate with corporations based in Wisconsin in effort to demonstrate corporate social responsibility– CSR creates innovation, sustainability, and employee and customer engagement. Most importantly, community engagement is a viable solutions to maintain a meaningful relationship with consumers and tackling major social issues.

COMMUNITY BUSINESS GIVE BACK: CSR
Where: IPic Theater & Entertainment at Bayshore Mall
When: July 15th, 2016 Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Contact: Tam Lawrence, TL@RLAssc.com, (866) 611.6341 Ext 101

CORPORATE INVOLVEMENT
Corporate Social Responsibility is more than just donating money or printing double-sided to save trees, it’s about contributing to the health and welfare of society, operating transparently and ethically. More importantly, this way of operating should be embedded in the business, rather an afterthought.

Roth & Lawrence’s signature projects are often developed in partnership with local nonprofits, chambers, and the firm’s corporate clients.

WHAT’S GOING ON?
Nomination(s): small businesses, start-ups, community organizations and nonprofit groups will have an opportunity to submit their need assessment, growth plan, impact statement to be nominated as a GIVEBACK candidate. The giveback candidates will be rewarded with up to 40% of the monies paid by the winning team.

Corporate vs. Small Businesses: build your team of 4 players (pairing) a corporate team will be paired with a small business team– and (assigned) a lane. The winning team will be able to pick one of the three entities select for the giveback a nonprofit, small business, or a startup to donating up to 40% of their registration fee.

REGISTRATION:
Pick 4 Registration: Select 4 individuals to represent your company or organization. Now that you’ve selected your Pick 4 TEAM- visit the online application http://www.RLAssc.com select the [tab] labeled Bowling Event once you’ve completed our online form, you will receive an invoice for $99.00 per person with additional options.

VENDING:
Vending with a Purpose: Is a sure fire solution to gain brand visibility and consumer loyalty. Consumers are more likely to support brands associated with common social issues. Visit http://www.RLAssc.com for more details on how your company can get involved [tab] labeled Bowling Vendor.

REGISTRATION STARTS
Registration starts April 20, 2016 online visit http://www.RLAssc.com

MEDIA PARTNERS
Exposure Magazine: http://www.Exposure-Magazine.com
Urban Wall Street Journal Newspaper
Riverwest Radio: 104.1 FM MKE VIBE every Saturday 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT: https://rothlawrence.appointlet.com

Let’s Build Community Social Responsibility Opportunities?
Ms. Lawrence the founder of Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm is looking for ideal collaborations working to improve the quality of life for those in Milwaukee and its surrounding areas. Creating the experience!

Media Contact:
Tam Lawrence
Roth & Lawrence Public Relations Firm
342 North Water Street Suite 617
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Office: (866) 611-6341 Ext 101
Email: TL@RLAssc.com
Website: http://www.RLAssc.com

Austin Startup Sells Ethically Made Purses and Yoga Bags to Help Light the World

Esperanza Market is an online store selling purses and yoga bags made by hand in Nicaragua. Each bag is made by a small group of artisans, mostly women, who are paid Fair Trade wages, not just minimum wages. For each bag sold, the company donates a solar-powered light to one of the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguan children who live without electricity.

Nicaraguan Children

Austin, TX, USA (March 16, 2016) — Austinite Jennifer Simonson has spent all her vacation time during the past 15 years traveling Latin America experiencing both its colorful culture and the poverty that lies underneath.

Wanting to highlight the cultures and help alleviate some to the poverty, Simonson recently launched the Esperanza Market, a social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of women and children living in Nicaragua’s impoverished communities.

The online marketplace sells purses and yoga bags made by hand in Nicaragua. They work directly with artisans, mostly women, to provide them with regular employment and fair wages. For each bag sold the company donates a solar-powered lamp to students in those communities who live in homes without reliable electricity.

“Esperanza means Hope in Spanish. I wanted to create a website that shares all these amazing handmade bags and purses with my friends in the United States and also raise awareness of some of the problems facing our neighbors to the south,” she said. “I started in Nicaragua because I know the country very well and because it is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, there is a lot of need for help.”

One-third of the Nicaragua’s population lives without reliable electricity. Some of the population lives off the electric grid, while others might have access to electricity, but can’t afford to use it. Families without energy rely on burning candles, wood or kerosene for light, which can be expensive, flammable and can cause poor air quality.

Esperanza Market distributes solar-powered reading lamps to students in efforts to improve education by providing students with light to read and do homework once the sun goes down. They started with Education Plus Nicaragua, a school in the Pantanal barrio outside of Granada. The neighborhood has 13,000 residents, 8,000 are children. There are no paved roads or running water and electricity is very limited. The children of this area are vulnerable for child prostitution, criminal activity and glue sniffing.

Esperanza Market also has a link for those simply wanting to donate solar-powered lamps to children in Nicaragua. Since its launch in November 2015, the Esperanza Market has donated 100 solar-powered lamps.

Esperanza Market is an online store selling purses and yoga bags made by hand in Nicaragua. Each bag is made by a small group of artisans, mostly women, who are paid Fair Trade wages, not just minimum wages. For each bag sold, the company donates a solar-powered light to one of the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguan children who live without electricity.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Simonson
Esperanza Market
512-496-6649
info@esperanzamarket.com
http://www.esperanzamarket.com

KastKing® Spool it Pink Challenge Assists Breast Cancer Fundraiser

Non-profit F.I.S.H. Inc. will receive KastKing® fishing tackle products to encourage donations and raise program awareness.

Eposeidon Logo

Garden City, Long Island, NY (September 23, 2015) — During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, along with KastKing®’s Spool it Pink Challenge, KastKing® will be supporting F.I.S.H. Inc. (Friends In Survival and Hope http://www.friendsinsurvivalandhope.com) founded by Capt. Hallie J. Burnett. F.I.S.H. Inc. is a non-profit 501-c-3 organization based in Pensacola, FL dedicated to helping reduce the impact of cancer related problems for the patient and their loved ones. Eposeidon, Inc. based in Garden City, Long Island, NY is the parent company of KastKing®.

KastKing

F.I.S.H. Inc. operates exclusively for charitable purposes. Specifically, this organization has been formed to support other organizations conducting charitable activities, and to provide relief to the poor, distressed and underprivileged battling cancer.

KastKing Pink Braided Fishing Line

During October 2015, anyone who donates $25 or more to F.I.S.H. Inc. will receive a complimentary spool of KastKing® Pink Braided Fishing Line. Those donors will be entered in a drawing for additional KastKing® fishing tackle products. Limited quantities of the pink braided line will be available on a first come, first served basis.

KastKing®’s Spool it Pink Challenge is about challenging men and women anglers to use pink fishing line as a way to open a discussion with others about the need for early detection for breast cancer.

Members of Team Eposeidon, the company’s angler consultant staff, which has male and female members, will ask the fishing public to “Spool it with Pink” by making a donation to F.I.S.H. Inc.. They will encourage them to challenge others to do the same through social media channels.

“We are looking forward to working with F.I.S.H. Inc. and Capt. Hallie in support of this great effort to help individuals and their families who have been affected by cancer,” says Tom Gahan, marketing director at Eposeidon, Inc. “We are proud to be part of her effort.”

Donations to F.I.S.H. Inc can be made through PayPal or major credits cards on the organization’s website: http://www.friendsinsurvivalandhope.com. Donations to F.I.S.H. Inc. are tax-deductible.

“We are thrilled and flattered to have Eposeidon and their KastKing® brand voluntarily step up to the plate to help F.I.S.H. Inc. raise funds and awareness about our program. Every person, every donation, makes a difference. On behalf of all of those who have been affected by cancer, we are extremely grateful,” says Capt. Hallie Burnett.

About Eposeidon:
Eposeidon (http://www.eposeidon.com) brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing® fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, KastKing® Ecooda Pro Series reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally.

Media Contact:
Tom Gahan
Director of Marketing
Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.
Main Office: 1-855-830-7430
Direct Line: 631-369-0063
tgahan@eposeidon.com
http://www.eposeidon.com

The All Stars Project Inspires Hip-Hop Artist Lecrae

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Two-Time Grammy® Winner Mentors Inner City Youth at National Non-Profit Dedicated to Transforming Lives Through the Developmental Power of Performance.

Hip-Hop Artist, Lecrae

New York, NY, USA (July 14, 2015) — Grammy® Award-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae‘s visit to the 42nd Street headquarters of the All Stars Project last year – to meet and mentor the inner city young people engaged in the organization – turned into so much more than expected. The All Stars Project has released a video of Lecrae’s inspiring visit. Produced by Diane Mayer in partnership with MTV, the video can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/cG5UjPW04N4.

A privately funded national nonprofit organization founded in 1981, the All Stars Project transforms the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. The All Stars Project involves over 10,000 young people every year in its afterschool programs in six cities across the country.

In a conversation facilitated by Antoine Joyce, Senior Program Manager/Development Officer for the All Stars Project Dallas, Lecrae shared that growing up he turned to hip-hop to find purpose, but instead found a lifestyle that included gang life, drugs and alcohol. After turning his own life around, he is now known for his music and outreach to inner-city youth. Lecrae has sold over two million albums, and his latest, Anomaly, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and across several other sales charts as well.

The All Stars youth in attendance then introduced themselves to Lecrae and spoke about their personal experiences and hardships growing up. They shared how life-changing their involvement in the All Stars Project has been, and let Lecrae know that his music supported their choice to be positive and move forward.

Afterward, Lecrae said of his participation, “I was brought out to inspire, but left inspired.”

-Ends-

For more information on All Stars Project, please contact: Erin Vadala, Warner Communications – erin@warnerpr.com or 978-468-3076

For more information on Lecrae, please contact: Edwin Banacia, Schure Media Group – eb@schuremediagroup.com

Or

Kelly Krueger, ‘stache media – kelly.krueger@stachemedia.com

http://www.lecrae.com

http://www.allstars.org

http://www.mayerthreesixty.com

United Way Launches Holiday Gift Drive to Support Bay Area Families and Seniors in Need

LIVE UNITED Holiday Campaign Kicks Off in Time for Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday.

United Way of the Bay Area Logo

San Francisco, CA, USA (November 25, 2014) — United Way of the Bay Area today announced the launch of its LIVE UNITED holiday campaign, including a gift drive for individuals, community organizations and businesses that want to support local families in need. The poverty-fighting organization has also released a toolkit to support gift drive participants, which includes a list of most-needed items, suggestions for getting others involved and instructions for dropping off the gift bags.

“At United Way, we talk a lot about what it means to LIVE UNITED-especially during the holidays. For us, it’s about doing our part to support those in need throughout our community. Volunteering is an easy and fun way to help-and spread holiday cheer,” said Sarah Burton, Director of Volunteer Engagement.

The holiday gift bag drive invites community members to LIVE UNITED by supporting low-income children, families and seniors across the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants are encouraged to get family members and friends involved in the collection of items by requesting houseguests to bring one item each to holiday gatherings. The most-needed items include warm clothing, toys, canned or boxed food, and personal care products. Grocery store gift cards are also immensely helpful to low-income parents and seniors. Donations should be delivered to United Way of the Bay Area’s San Francisco office at 550 Kearny Street, 10th Floor, or Oakland office at 1970 Broadway, Suite 400.

Participants and the general public are also invited to share their stories of how they LIVE UNITED by giving back to the community at http://uwba.org/live-united. Like Zoila, for example, who went from client to staff member at one of United Way’s SparkPoint Centers: “I want people to have the same opportunities as I had. That’s how I LIVE UNITED.”

A recent research brief issued by United Way of the Bay Area revealed that 29 percent of Bay Area households live below self-sufficiency, meaning these individuals cannot afford basic necessities like housing, food and health care. The holiday gift drive is just one of the many ways that United Way combats poverty through giving, advocacy and volunteerism.

Learn more about the holiday gift drive and additional holiday volunteer opportunities at http://uwba.org/volunteer. Read stories about Bay Area residents LIVING UNITED and share your own at http://uwba.org/live-united.

About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs – SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://uwba.org.

Media Contact:
Erica Johnson
415-808-4308
ejohnson@uwba.org

New United Way Report Shows 29% of Bay Area Households Are Struggling to Afford Basic Needs

Some Families Need Four Minimum Wage Workers to Make Ends Meet.

United Way of the Bay Area Logo

San Francisco, CA, USA (October 23, 2014) — Struggling to Make Ends Meet on Minimum Wage, new brief by United Way of the Bay Area, reveals that as of 2012, 29% of Bay Area households were struggling to cover the cost of basic needs. That’s 657,000 households that cannot afford critical needs like housing, food, health care and child care. According to the brief, the post-recession recovery has yet to be felt by many Bay Area households because wages for low-income workers have failed to keep up with the high cost of living.

Since 2008, the overall cost of living has increased by an average of 26% in San Francisco and 24% in Alameda County. Monthly housing expenses for a San Francisco family with two adults and two children cost an average of $1,444 in 2008, but that number jumped to $1,896 in 2014.

Yet average wages increased just 7% for the lowest-paid workers between 2007 and 2012. According to the California Self-Sufficiency Standard, a San Francisco family with two adults and two children would need to earn $79,092 annually to cover the cost of basic needs. That would require four full-time jobs at San Francisco’s hourly minimum of $10.74. In Alameda, the same family would need to earn $72,830 annually to cover the cost of basic needs. At Alameda’s $9 per hour minimum wage, that would also require four full-time jobs.

Because the cost of living in the Bay Area is so much higher than the national average, the Self-Sufficiency Standard is a much more accurate predictor of need than the Federal Poverty Line for California households. The Self-Sufficiency Standard calculates the income needed to cover the true cost of basic needs in the specific county where an individual or family lives.

“It’s unrealistic that parents could work four full-time minimum wage jobs to cover the cost of basic needs for their families,” said Anne Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at United Way of the Bay Area. “United Way of the Bay Area is proud to join a broad coalition of civic leaders in supporting Proposition J in San Francisco and Measure FF in Oakland, which will help more Bay Area households move closer to achieving self-sufficiency.”

Proposition J would phase in a higher minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years and benefit more than 23% of San Francisco’s workforce. Measure FF would increase Oakland’s minimum wage to $12.25 and benefit up to 30% of the city’s workers.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, United Way of the Bay Area supports other key strategies to boost family stability: 1) increase job training to help critical populations acquire the skills needed to attain higher-wage jobs, 2) change policies to reward people for moving off safety net benefits, and 3) boost collaboration among agencies to increase the accessibility of support services.

View the self-sufficiency brief, Struggling to Make Ends Meet on Minimum Wage at uwba.org/research-publications. Data for each of the nine Bay Area counties is available upon request.

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About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs – SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://www.uwba.org.

Media Contact:
Erica Johnson
415-808-4308
ejohnson@uwba.org