Looking Back at 2020
Please enjoy our 2020 Year in Review video showcasing our efforts and how we adapted and persevered through a challenging year. These accomplishments would not have been possible without our dedicated Board of Directors and Council of Advisors, Staff, Volunteers, Donors, Supporters…and especially those for whom we serve!
AARBF Celebrates 50 Years with 50 Stories
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 are selecting fifty of these stories, your stories, to be included in a special 50th Anniversary coffee table book.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we are sharing excerpts of the stories, we have gathered over the last several years, each Monday throughout 2021. We hope that you will be as inspired by these stories as we are!
Find Your Zen with Virtual Yoga
On January 6, AARBF hosted a virtual yoga led by Dr. J, Poindexter and Sunflower. We appreciate our instructors for leading this session and thank our participants for joining us! It is important to practice self-care, especially during trying times, and yoga is a great way to do that. We will be hosting more online yoga sessions in the coming months so please keep an eye out for those announcements. In the meantime, be sure to keep practicing by using the videos available through our Multimedia Resource Library at www.arrbf.org/resources.
Habitot Children’s Museum Features AARBF’s Prevention Programs
Our friends at the Habitot Children’s Museum hosted a Virtual Early Childhood Safety Campaign throughout January. They provided information on several important safety topics geared towards young children. AARBF’s programs were featured on three separate days during the campaign.
The first was a video with Patrick Reyes, San Francisco Firefighter and AARBF Volunteer, who shared a message of kitchen safety and scald prevention. Next up was a reading day with the audiobook of AARBF’s Meet the Johnsons. The last program featured was AARBF’s puppet show, Lucky the Fire Burping Dragon.
To learn more about the Habitot Children’s Museum, please visit: https://www.habitot.org/
To learn more about AARBF’s prevention programs, please visit our website at: https://www.aarbf.org/burn-prevention/
AARBF Virtually Attends the THRIVE Winter Retreat
January 8-10, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation participated in a Young Adult Exchange Program with the B.C. Firefighters Burn Fund in Vancouver, Canada. 2021 marked the 5th year we have been a part of their Thrive Winter Retreat! This year, due to the impact of COVID-19, this program went virtual.
Thrive empowers young adult burn survivors, preparing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to help navigate the demands of adulthood as burn survivors. For many survivors, Thrive is the next step once graduating from Burn Camp and helps with the transition to adulthood. Programming focuses on workshops and exercises on team building, life skills lessons, and connecting with the survivor community.
AARBF was excited to coordinate and send 4 young adults and one staff “virtually” to the retreat. Sessions for this year included: “Thriving as an Empath”, “You & Your Money: Strategies to Lean and Save”, “Neuroplasticity: Choosing a New Path for Positive Change”, “Yoga” and “Hypnosis”. Both the 9th and the 10th closed the day out with “Around the Campfire”, a Sharing Circle which is a safe space for each voice to be heard, respected and valued.
Although we could not be together in-person, AARBF was happy to supply all of our Canadian friends with coffee gift cards! We are excited to see our time together continue as we will have a few of the Thrive participants join us for our Young Adult Summit (YAS) Program, February 19-21.
AARBF’s Annual Board and Staff Retreats Went Virtual
On January 14-15, AARBF staff held a virtual staff retreat. On January 14, they reviewed the activities from last year and discussed the lessons learned from such a challenging year. COVID-19 made its way into the discussion as staff reviewed their continued strategy for adapting to restrictions and plans for when those restrictions are lifted (can we say, hoping to see an in-person Champ Camp!). One of the fun activities for this day included cooking up a Pad Thai Meal Kit for the virtual lunch! On the following day, the main topic of discussion was all of the great plans in the works for our 50th Anniversary. This day also included a virtual visit from the Board and Council who joined staff for a Chocolate Tasting. Yum! It was great to spend this time together and we are looking forward to the day when we can once again sit around the same table.
After enjoying a sweet treat, the Board and Council continued to kick off their retreat by once again joining Staff to learn the Stop, Drop and Roll dance from musical artist and TikTok musical creator Semme!
The Board and Council retreat continued into the 15th, where they reviewed the Strategic Plan and each Committee provided updates of their 2020 accomplishments. A new Board Member, Alison Clark, was installed. Please give a big welcome to Alison! And Russ Charvonia was re-elected for another term as Board President. Congratulations, Russ!
Thank you to our Staff, Board and Council for all of your hard work in 2020 and the great plans you have made for 2021!
Find New Ways to Express Yourself with AARBF
Learning ways to positively express your thoughts and emotions can help you to improve the ability to connect with self and others leading to healthier and happier relationships. Other benefits include increasing resilience, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving confidence, just to name a few!
In January, AARBF’s Daniel Chacon introduced a new monthly virtual program designed to help you learn to express yourself through writing, art and music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sdlETw_ta4
Our first session was focused on writing. We shared how writing can help with healing, and then provided some prompts to write on to help participants get started. Statistics have shown that writing about thoughts and feelings may help some people cope with the stressful or traumatic events. If you missed this session, not to worry, we will be offering writing again in April.
For the month of February, we will be hosting the Art Expression Session. To learn more and to reserve your space online, please visit: https://www.aarbf.org/expression-series/
The American Camp Association Conference went Virtual for 2021
AARBF’s Daniel Chacon attended a 3-day virtual conference with the American Camp Association (ACA). Typically, there would be two conferences in California, one in Southern CA and the other in Northern CA, but the ACA decided to combine these into one for 2021.
AARBF is a regular attendee of this conference where we have an opportunity to network with other camp professionals. This year, Daniel connected virtually with about 100 other participants.
Daniel attended many sessions including: “Trauma Informed Camp Programming”, “Pandemic Informed Communication”, Camping in COVID Times: Effective Health and Wellness Measures”, “Effective Virtual Facilitation”, and “Opening Your Camp in the Time of COVID…You Can Do It”.
Thank you, Daniel for representing AARBF at this annual conference. We are looking forward to you applying the lessons learned to this year’s Champ Camp!
AARBF Joins The Walter Hive Art Camp
AARBF enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with other nonprofits to bring additional value to our burn community. We have joined up with The Walter Hive sending five campers and one staff to their “Threading the Community Through Art” 5-week program. This program is a collaborative art camp project involving five burn camps from across the United States. In total, there are 30 campers attending virtually from eight states. The goal of the program is to teach campers to express themselves through art.
February 7-13: Burn Awareness Week
February 9-12: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), The Virtual Retreat
February 15: All AARBF Offices Closed for President’s Day
February 19-21: Virtual Young Adult Summit
February 28: Champ Camp Counselor Applications Due
March 2: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
March 4: (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.
March 5: Statewide Virtual Ski Trip, registration available at https://forms.gle/kA7bf9TCMDx92AjL6
March 5: Virtual Yoga, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 for more information.
March 7: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
March 9: (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.
March 10: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
March 11: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
March 16: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), 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.
March 18: (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.
March 25: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
March 25: (7:00pm – 8:30pm) Expressive Music, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com.