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February 2022 Burn Bulletin

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February 2022 Burn Bulletin

The AARBF Board of Directors Welcomes New Officers and Members

Beginning January 1, 2022, we welcomed Lea Elder as our new Board President! Russ Charvonia has moved to Immediate Past President. Moving to other positions are Rana Stephan as Vice President, and Mike Bradley as Treasurer. Cara Goodman will remain as Secretary. Carolyn Prasad and Alison Clark have remained on the board and have been joined by former Council of Advisors members, Jamie Calnan, Bob Aymar, and Brooke Cappa. To learn more about our amazing Board of Directors and Council of Advisors visit:

Serving on the AARBF Board of Directors is a volunteer position. We appreciate the time, energy and expertise each member brings to our organization. Thank you!

AARBF Launches New Monthly Messaging to Burn Survivors

On January 3, 2022, AARBF launched a new regional monthly email message to our burn survivor community. Included in the email is information about upcoming events and activities specific to their region as well as those available statewide. Being on the list has its privileges. Members of our mailing list get early access to burn survivor events information and have the opportunity to register first!

If you are a burn survivor or family member, contact your Regional Manager or email and provide your name, email address and your region to start receiving the monthly notifications. Outside of California? Not to worry, we have an email for you too!

To see what is included in the monthly email, please visit our website at:

Champ Camp Planning Underway for 2022

The Champ Camp Committee spent the weekend of January 14-16, 2022, making plans for this year’s Champ Camp. This was a hybrid meeting, with some of the Champ Camp program staff meeting in-person at Wonder Valley and others joining via Zoom.

This was a weekend filled with planning, brainstorming, team building and training. We do not want to give away the fun, just know that this year’s Champ Camp will be ANIMATED!

Special thanks to our Program Staff; Apollo, Rocks, Willow, Knuckles, Kamikaze, Tex, Boots, Dazzle, Jack Rabbit, Spaz, Jersey, Dash, and Pookie who work hard each year to ensure the best experience for our campers.

If you are interested in being a Champ Camp Counselor, you will be able to find the application on the AARBF website in the next coming weeks, for all questions or for more information contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 ext. 18 or

AARBF Welcomes Two New Team Members

In January, AARBF welcomed Katie “Popcorn” Szymczak as our new Development Manager and Jeanne “Bonnet” Terwilliger as our new Operations Manager.

Katie holds a bachelors in science degree in Public Health from the University of California, Irvine.  Growing up in a family that has a deep-rooted value of philanthropy, Katie has dedicated her career to service. She brings years of experience in fundraising management and donor relations to the AARBF team. Throughout her career, Katie has raised significant funds to support the homeless population, those affected by cancer, and survivors of domestic violence.

Jeanne has been managing the Foundation’s social media since January 2020. She has gradually taken on more administrative tasks and recently helped with additional coverage while two employees were on an extended leave.  Jeanne grew up in the Inland Empire eventually working for San Bernardino County. After several years, she decided to make a change and went to work in the marketing department of a local community credit union, quickly promoting to the Director of Marketing. As a nonprofit, the credit union encouraged its employees to volunteer and give back to their communities. Through this encouragement, Jeanne found a passion for volunteerism and community nonprofits. Not only has she been a volunteer, including the experience of serving on a board of directors, she also went to work for a nonprofit that she ran from 2013-2016, before becoming a nonprofit consultant. It was through this organization, she first met Jennifer Radics-Johnson and learned about the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Jeanne loved learning about AARBF and all of the wonderful programs and services they provide.

Jeanne said, “I never thought I would be working for this foundation I have so greatly admired!”

We are excited to have Katie and Jeanne on the AARBF Team!

Goal Setting for 2022 and Beyond at AARBF’s Annual Staff and Board Retreats

In January, AARBF staff, and the Board of Directors and Council of Advisors held their annual retreats.

The Staff Retreat was held January 19-21. It began with a review of 2021 before leading into a discussion on 2022 programs, events and activities. Staff focused their time on reviewing our current processes, getting organized and planning for the year. The Board and Council members joined Staff on Wednesday evening for a virtual team building exercise using the Japanese ancient art of Kintsugi.

The Board of Directors and Council of Advisors met January 21-22. The majority of their time was spent discussing the new 3-year Strategic Plan. Formulating the 3-year plan is a large endeavor and we appreciate the time and energy spent on this project by our all-volunteer Board and Council members!

We greatly appreciate our staff, Board and Council of Advisor Members for their active participation in the planning of 2022 and beyond!

AARBF Brings Movement to the Expression Series

We were super excited to kick off the new year with seven guests in attendance for our monthly Expression Series featuring the newest addition – Movement Expression. Our first-ever Movement Expression was a trauma informed yoga session led by Tiffane “Lala” Wheeler. What is a trauma informed yoga session, you ask? It is a guided session where the instructor focuses on the intentionality of the movement and uses positive affirmations to help create a unique yoga experience specially designed for trauma and burn survivors.

Tiffane is no stranger to AARBF. She first became part of the AARBF family as Champ Camp camper and eventually becoming a counselor! We are so proud and thankful for the work she does for the trauma and burn community.

Watch for our next Expression Series session, Art Expression, scheduled for February 24, 2022. McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern will lead us through an activity in the ancient art of Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.  As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

All burn survivors, family members and supporters are welcome to attend this session. Reservations are due by February 11, 2022, so we have time to mail out your kit!

Click here to register.

AARBF Attends the ABA’s National Leadership Conference

On January 31, 2022, Jennifer Radics-Johnson virtually attended the American Burn Association’s (ABA) National Leadership Conference Kick-Off. The ABA Leadership Conference, January 31-February 4, 2022, is an annual event focused on connecting members with their state’s Senators and Representatives to ask them to support legislation and funding for burn research, prevention, and efforts that impact the burn care and patient outcomes. The ABA Leadership Conference takes place just before National Burn Awareness Week which will be held February 6-12, 2022. Watch our social media for burn survivor stories and burn prevention tips during this week!

Ski Season is Here - Join Us!

In January, we opened the registration for two ski trips happening in March! Grab your winter clothing and boots and join us for a fun-filled weekend of snow play and skiing. The Central and Southern Regional Ski Trip is scheduled for March 4-6, 2022 and the Northern Ski Trip is scheduled for March 11-13, 2022. Both trips are open to burn survivors ages 7-17. Follow the links below to learn more about the trip near you and how you can prepare for this weekend activity!

Central and Southern Ski Trip: Registration is due by February 18, 2022.

Northern Ski Trip: Registration is due by February 28, 2022.

Space for both trips is limited – register today!

AARBF Introduces a New Burn Survivor Retreat

AARBF is offering a new retreat exclusively for adult women burn survivors ages 21+. The Women’s Empowerment Weekend is scheduled for March 19-20, 2022. This retreat will be facilitated by Cindy Rutter and Dr. Ruth Rimmer, the creative team behind its conception. We will be focusing on issues specific to women, including topics such as body image and intimacy.

We are so excited to see all of the hard work and planning by Cindy and Dr. Ruth come to fruition. This has been years in the making and we hope that you will join us!

Registration is due by March 4, 2022. Please register today at: Contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at for questions and more information.

Volunteer Opportunties:

Please check with your regional office for more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15

For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16

Upcoming Events:

February 6-12: Burn Awareness Week



March 1: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

March 3: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

March 4-6: Southern California Ski Trip, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 for more information or click here to register.

March 6: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

March 8: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

March 9: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

March 10: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

March 11-13: Northern California Ski Trip, Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 for more information or click here to register.

March 15: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

March 17: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

March 19-20: Women’s Empowerment Weekend, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 for more information or click here to register.

March 24: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

March 24: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Writing Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or

If you missed any of our past Burn Bulletins, please check out our archives.