Event Volunteers Needed
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation is celebrating 50 Years of Service with many special events and activities. We are looking for volunteers to assist us with two of those events, the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Los Angeles Fire Museum and the 50th Anniversary Central California Celebration at the Wonder Valley Resort. Assistance is needed with planning, check-in, set-up, clean-up and other event day tasks. If you would like to help, please contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 12.
To learn more about all of the events and activities included in the 50th Anniversary celebration, please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/50th-anniversary-events-and-activities/. Time is running out on participation in two of the activities. AARBF’s Got Talent submissions are due by Friday, August 13, 2021, and photo submissions for the Photo Contest are due by Sunday, August 15, 2021!
Pre-Order the 50 Stories Coffee Table Book
For the past 50 years, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation has been a part of thousands of stories within our burn community. This community includes survivors, caregivers, volunteers, and supporters. In celebration of our golden anniversary, we have selected fifty of these stories, your stories, to be included in a special 50th Anniversary Coffee Table Book.
Although we will not be sharing the names of everyone included in the book before its release, as a sneak peek we will reveal two special individuals you will have the opportunity to learn more about – Karen “Smiley” Miller and Morro Fire Chief Steve Knuckles.
Karen “Smiley” Miller volunteered with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation for more than 25 years. Serving on the Board, running events, and volunteering with Champ Camp. She helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and played a role in the creation of many signature programs. At Champ Camp, Karen met her husband, Dave, and together they volunteered for more than 20 years, bringing their daughters along to help. Champ Camp was a creative outlet, her happy place and second “home” with a loving extended family of thousands through the years.
On October 1, 2020, Karen passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. On July 23, 2021, AARBF staff members Jennifer Radics-Johnson and Daniel Chacon were honored to attend her memorial service and have an opportunity to spend time with those who loved her and will always remember the impact Karen had on their lives and the lives of so many others.
Morro Bay Fire Chief Steve Knuckles first started volunteering for AARBF in 1990, when he was a Firefighter with Morro Bay and participated in the Central Coast Burn Relay. Steve continued to become more involved with AARBF, volunteering with Champ Camp, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for ten years, with two years as Board President. As Board President, Steve oversaw the organization’s transition from multiple chapters throughout the state to becoming a single statewide Board. He helped to implement one of the first strategic plans and board retreats and ensured that efforts were being standardized across the state.
On July 31, 2021, Steve Knuckles was celebrated for his years with the fire service, ending this chapter with a much-deserved retirement party! AARBF looks forward to seeing what lies ahead for Steve and appreciate the more than thirty years of volunteer service he has given to AARBF.
To read about the other individuals included in this limited-edition book, you can pre-order your copy today by visiting https://www.aarbf.org/fifty-stories/. Those attending the 50th Anniversary Gala on October 2, 2021, will be able to pick up their copy that evening. Shipping will be available after the Gala.
N.I.C.K. for Fire and Burn Safety’s Reach has Expanded Again
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF), in partnership with Pyramid Educational Consultants, developed the N.I.C.K. (Neurotypical/diverse Independent Communication Kit) for Fire and Burn Safety, to bring fire and burn safety education to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and communication challenges. Last month, we shared the good news about N.I.C.K. being available in Mandarin. This month we are happy to announce N.I.C.K. has also been translated to Japanese! We are excited to see where N.I.C.K. goes next!
To download a copy of this valuable burn prevention resource, please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/burn-prevention/n-i-c-k/.
Meet the New AARBF Interns
The AARBF Internship program has expanded to include six interns. These interns will be working with staff in all three of our regional offices for the next six months. The Central Region will have three interns, the Northern Region will have one intern and the Southern Region will have two interns.
In the Central Region our first intern is a familiar face; however, she has moved from the Survivor Services Intern to be our new Prevention Intern, Pradnya Bergdahl. She was introduced to the AARBF shortly after her burn injury in 2011. Pradnya has enjoyed participating in foundation events as a camper and CIT and is looking forward to being a counselor and intern. She is excited to expand her knowledge on all of the different prevention programs the foundation has to offer and get the hands-on experience of sharing the prevention message along. Pradnya stated, “I am looking forward to working alongside the staff to represent the foundation at different F.I.S.E trainings and S.P.A.R.C presentations.”
Our second intern, Elise Morris, will be taking over Survivor Services. At seventeen years old, Elise is our youngest intern! She is looking forward to her senior year in high school and has taken advantage of some special classes available on campus including, Introduction to Health Careers, Medical Technology and Nurse Assist. Elise stated, “l aspire to be a Registered Nurse, and specifically work in the burn unit because I, myself am a burn survivor.” She has been a part of the foundation for nine years and is excited to have the opportunity to give back as well as pay it forward to other burn survivors.
Our third intern, Megan McKeon, will be based out of the Central Region but as the Development Intern, her responsibilities will be state-wide. Megan was just seven years old when she became involved with the foundation. Her involvement began with Champ Camp, where she started out as a camper. Over the years, she made her way through the programs and became a Counselor in Training, and then a counselor herself in 2021. She has participated in many AARBF events throughout the year, and has also shared her survival story via news media on behalf of AARBF, and The Clovis Dinner and Dance Fundraiser. Megan is also serving on the Young Adult Council with AARBF. Megan is super excited to be able to give back to foundation. Megan stated, “over fourteen years of being involved in camp, and having the foundation give so much to me, I am ready to do what I can to help spread the word about AARBF.” Having the opportunity to work alongside the staff who has made such an impact in her life is something she has always dreamed of doing.
The Northern Region Intern is Lexie Khounphithack. She has been with the foundation since 2016. Lexie is really excited to start her internship and be a part of the organization for the next six months, because she wants to give back her time and all of the hours the staff has spent working towards the events and supporting the survivors. Lexie stated, “I truly cannot wait to be the Northern California Survivor Services Intern and to be working alongside the amazing Scott.”
The Survivor Services Intern for the Southern Region is Arely Grageola. She is a burn survivor that first got in touch with AARBF through Shriners hospital seventeen years ago. Arely has been a part of Champ Camp as a camper and has volunteered for most of the events held throughout the year in Southern California. Arely stated, “I am thrilled to be the new Southern California Survivor Services Intern for the next few months and work alongside Margarita.” She hopes to learn from all the amazing staff and to leave her mark on the foundation similar to how the foundation has been marking her life throughout the years.
Our second Southern Region Intern is Amber Villasenor. She will be assisting with the Prevention programming. Amber has been a volunteer for the foundation for six years. Amber states, “my goal is to think outside the box and bring new creative ideas to the foundation.” She is excited to get started on helping to bring awareness about ways to prevent burns as well as share the amazing programs that AARFB offers to the community.
AARBF Attends NFPA’s Community Risk Reduction Virtual Conference
On July 20, 2021, AARBF’s Jennifer Radics-Johnson and Daniel Chacon attended a virtual conference hosted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on Community Risk Reduction (CRR). The conference included speakers who are professionals and practitioners of CRR initiatives from the United States and Canada.
Sessions for this one-day conference included: Unifying the Community Risk Reduction Profession with NFPA; Driving Community Safety in a Modern World: Equity, Efficiency, and Impact; Amplify Your Fire Prevention Week Initiatives: Goals, Roles, Data, and Drive; Unleash the Power of Influence: Generating Firehouse Excitement for Community Risk Reduction; Transforming Community Insights into Action with CRAIG 1300; Elevating Community Risk Reduction as a 21st Century Tool for Modern Service; Focusing First on Strengths: Leveraging Community Capacity and Partnerships; Drilling Down for Success: Applying a Hyperlocal Approach to Community Risk Reduction; and Work Smarter Not Harder: Aligning Wildfire Mitigation and Community Risk Reduction Efforts.
“Flashback Girl” Author Shares Her Story with AARBF
On July 22, 2021, AARBF hosted Writing Expression with our special guest speaker Dr. Lise Deguire. We had 10 members of our burn community in attendance to listen as Lise shared about her journey of writing her memoir, Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor. She says that “My memoir is all about my journey as a burn survivor. The artistic process itself was healing. It pulled all the pieces together, making sense of things and bringing me peace.”
We are so thankful for her opening up to us and taking us on her journey as an author and a survivor. If you missed her presentation, a recording of the session will be available soon on our website.
This month’s Expression Series session will be Art Expression on Thursday, August 26, 2021. We are excited to have Sadie “Phoenix” Wilcox as our guest instructor demonstrating an art medium that helped her with her healing journey. Registration for this session closes early so we have time to mail out the supplies needed to work along with Sadie! Register today at https://forms.gle/no1ZHny7tM2wdh8P6. Registration closes on Friday, August 13 at 5:00PM.
Register Now for The Getaway Family Camp
In July, AARBF announced the return of The Getaway Family Camp as an in-person experience! This year’s camp will be held September 4-6, 2021, at Camp Oakhurst in Coarsegold, California.
The Getaway Family Camp is a 3-day residential camp for burn survivors of any age and their family/support team, who have been treated in California, or are current residents of California.
Registration is required and due by August 20, 2021. Please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/project/the-getaway/ to complete your registration today.
AARBF Introduced a New Video to the Multimedia Resource Library
In July, AARBF was excited to introduce a new video in the Multimedia Resource Library – Cooking with Cobra! Pete “Cobra” Dern enjoys cooking and cooked for years in the firehouse and he is sharing a simple recipe that all the Firefighters loved. One of the reasons Cobra made this video was to show other burn survivors how to not let physical disabilities limit what they might want to do. He uses adaptive cooking techniques, like a modified cutting board, which allows him to continue something he loves to do!
Click here to watch other videos available in AARBF’s Multimedia Resource Library.
An Easy Way to Support AARBF
If you are looking for a fun way to spend a Friday night and want to support AARBF, attend the Stanford versus Utah football game at Stanford Stadium on November 5, 2021. Click here to purchase your tickets and $10 of each ticket purchased will be donated to AARBF. Remember, you must purchase your tickets through the special link to benefit AARBF!
These are upcoming events and activities. Please check with your regional office for plans on in-person events.
- Art Expression
- Music Expression
- Kayaking – Southern
- The Getaway Family Camp
- Northern California Photo Contest Finale
- 38th Annual Southern California Golf Tournament
- 50th Anniversary Gala
- 50th Anniversary Central California Celebration
For 50th Anniversary activities, please contact Jennifer “Jem” Radics-Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 12
For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19
For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15
For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16
For Fundraising events and activities, please contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 17
August 14: Southern California Kayaking, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 for more information.
August 26: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Art Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 2: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
September 4: (10:00am – 11:00am), Virtual Yoga, register online at https://www.aarbf.org/yoga/
September 4-6: The Getaway Family Camp, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 for more information.
September 6: Labor Day Holiday, all AARBF offices will be closed.
September 7: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.
September 8: Alisa Ann Ruch’s Birthday
September 8: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.
September 9: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
September 12: Northern California Photo Contest Finale, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 17 for more information.
September 12: (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.
September 14: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.
September 16: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
September 18: Regional Beach Adventure, for Central California, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15; for Southern California contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16; for Northern California contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19
September 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
September 23: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Music Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 30: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.