AARBF Remains Open and Continues to Provide Support
Dear AARBF friends and family:
Running a nonprofit is really rewarding, and at times can be really challenging. As a statewide organization that is committed to enhancing the lives of burn survivors and preventing burn injuries, we rely on bringing our community together to advance our mission. The COVID-19 crisis has impacted our fundraising events, our mission to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries through our supportive programs and meaningful interactions, our school-based prevention educational programs and even our day-to-day work as staff.
But thanks to your contributions and ongoing support, even during these uncertain times, AARBF’s programming will continue. We will remain open and offer new virtual programs and meetups. Our organization is technology equipped to continue our work remotely. Our staff have paid sick time and flexibility in their work schedules to continue their work at AARBF, while still being able to tend to their own families and needs.
And while we are a little bit nervous about disruption to our fundraising events as 50% of our revenue is derived from these pancake breakfasts, relays, golf outings and other creative gatherings hosted by fire departments companies and individuals across California, we are putting the safety of everyone first and postponing or moving these events to virtual platforms. We have faith that we will get through this together.
When I met with my Board and Council for an emergency meeting to formalize the path ahead, everyone knew that we were only able to do this because of the generosity of friends like you. Thank you for standing with us. Your gift made it possible for us to continue to support survivors – many of whom have compromised immune systems because of their injuries – at a time when they need us most.
If you are not already, I would encourage you to follow us on Facebook (@alisannruchburnfoundation) and Instagram (@aarbf) to receive the most up to date news on our upcoming events, and any program date changes or program modifications.
We hope that you and your family are doing well. AARBF will be here for you, and all of California, as you have been there for us.
Take care of yourself and know that you are appreciated by the entire AARBF community.
In health and wellness,
Jennifer Radics-Johnson, MBA, CFRE, CVA
Virtually Together – Support for Burn Survivors
AARBF offers online support groups. The online support groups were added to our programs in 2019 to meet the needs of burn survivors who lived too far from our in-person groups. Through Zoom video conferencing, survivors and their supporters are able to connect with each other to share their concerns with people who understand. By using video, it gives the participants that connectivity they would experience in the in-person meetings, a face to the name!
In March, we provided support to 49 burn survivors and 26 supporters through our Online Support groups. In mid-March we successfully modified our in-person support groups to meet online. We will continue to meet virtually together, until it is safe to return to regular meetings. For a list of support groups available, please visit our website or Facebook page, under events.
How to Help Manage Stress and Anxiety
In times of natural disasters or crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic it is particularly important for burn and trauma survivors to manage stress and anxiety. Burn trauma by nature can lead to complex PTSD and this can create or trigger some of these old trauma responses.
Here are some tips to help you during this time:
Reaction versus action. Am I reacting to panic or am I acting out of conscious action? Avoiding panic and fear responses that can trigger flight, fright or freeze effects.
Don’t sit in front of the TV or spend too much time on social media looking at the news. Get facts from scientific sources rather than becoming activated by every alarming news story on the screen.
Take time to take a breath and relax. Spend quality time with people you live with – catch up on loving each other. Talk and listen, with your loved ones.
Catch up on home projects or pick up that book you have been meaning to read. Look at the social distancing time as an opportunity rather than a punishment. Reframing things in your mind can help relax your nervous system.
Start a mindfulness or meditation practice. There are many tutorials and how to videos online. This can be a great time to reflect, heal and reawaken.
Exercise to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system. Online workouts and yoga classes instead of gym are great.
Get outside in nature. You don’t have to stay inside; you are just asked to keep distance between yourself and others. Go for a walk or hike in nature or get the rust off that bike in the garage and go for a ride; this will help change your state of mind.
If your children are home play games with them. Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect and grow in your relationship.
Take advantage of online support groups. There are many opportunities to meet with other burn survivors and family members online and share support. AARBF offers three online support groups monthly. Visit www.aarbf.org for more details.
Engage online therapy if you are in crisis. It is okay to talk about the hard feelings that may be present for you.
We can get through this as a community and if you have the opportunity to be there for others use this time productively. Supporting your local communities is needed more than ever now and a way to give back.
Thank you, James Bosch, LMFT and Cindy Rutter, BSN, AMFT for developing this helpful resource. If you’d like to download a copy for yourself, please visit our website and click on the Resources tab https://www.aarbf.org/resources/.
Safety First – Add Prevention Education to Your Home Schooling
Keeping your child focused on education during this time can be challenging. Many children are having to connect with their teachers online and parents are having to fill in the gaps. But you can give your child a break from their regular school work, while still providing important education.
On the AARBF website you will find a Tip Sheet for Parents and a Burn Prevention Activity Sheet. Using the information from the Tip Sheet, you can engage your child interactively by practicing “Stop, Drop, and Roll”, Get Low and Go, and How to Dial 9-1-1. You can follow up these lessons with the activity sheet which includes coloring and games.
This is also a great time to test your smoke alarms so your child knows what it sounds like. Don’t forget to plan and practice your escape route!
Also available on our website are four ebooks, written by AARBF’s own Jennifer Radics-Johnson, designed with your child in mind. These ebooks are available for free and if you don’t have time to read it to your child, you can play them the audio book at https://flipgrid.com/aarbf.
“Bows for Dough” and “Grow Your ‘Stache” are Back!
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted our fundraising events, our mission to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries through our supportive programs and meaningful interactions, our school-based prevention educational programs and even our day-to-day work as staff. But thanks to your contributions and ongoing support, even during these uncertain times, AARBF’s programming will continue.
AARBF needs your community support! Consider donating, creating or joining a fundraising team today to help raise funds! Click this link to create or join a team today!
It is the 6th anniversary for our annual “Bows for Dough” fundraiser and 11th anniversary for “Grow Your Stache”! This year it will be a bit different for us all. We are heavily supported in this fundraiser by volunteers, community partners and by medical professionals such as; burn unit nurses, physical therapists, doctors. This year it will be harder on them to be able to support AARBF because they are needed more than ever during this pandemic, their mission is to make sure we are safe and cared for.
Are you able to help AARBF and your fellow medical teams out? Help raise funds for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation during our 7-week fundraiser starting April 15th and ending June 3rd. You can sport an AARBF bow or a mustache to spread awareness or choose a more virtual option by updating your profile picture with a bow or mustache. Another option is to use our social media Facebook filter for at least a couple of weeks to continue to help spread awareness without being in public.
Create or join a team and encourage your friends, family, community, camp counselors, medical professionals, new counselor training class and firefighters to participate and donate here online!
Click this link to donate, create or join a team today!
Contact Erika Mendoza, AARBF Resource Development Manager, at (Call) 559-286-0710 x 17 & (text) 559-317-6710 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions and to receive your bow!
Thank you for supporting our mission: to significantly reduce the number of burn injuries through prevention education, and to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries in California.
No Snow Leads to Fun on the Ice
The Southern California ski resort for our annual ski trip didn’t have snow, but we still had fun that weekend! We traded our skis in for skates and spent Saturday, March 7, at the Ice Station in Valencia. Along with having fun on the ice, eight burn survivors and six volunteers enjoyed lunch and a special treat of cookies and hot cocoa generously provided by Ice Station Valencia!
A special thank you to our awesome volunteers, Kim “Shred” Tran, Fabiola “Hamster” Velaport, Jasmin “Rajah” Velaport, Chris “Buc” McKeever, Darren “Zinger” Keller, Stacey “Snoopy” Shames, for all your help in making this the best day on ice!
- April 15 – June 3: Bows for Dough and Grow Your ‘Stache, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more information.
- May 3: Fresno Urban Run, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more information. This event may be subject to change.
- May 3: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
- May 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
- May 6: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
- May 6-12: National Nurses Week
- May 7: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Family and Caregiver Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive log-in information.
- May 12: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 to receive log-in information.
- May 13: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
- May 14: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Modesto Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 to receive log-in information.
- May 19: Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
- May 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
- May 23: The Motorcycle Wind & Fire Chapter 44 Pancake Breakfast, 7:00 – 10:00 AM at the Applebee’s on Friant Rd in Fresno. All proceeds benefit Champ Camp! Contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more information. This event may be subject to change.
- May 25: Memorial Day, AARBF Offices Closed
- May 28: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.