January 2021 Burn Bulletin

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January 2021 Burn Bulletin

The Annual Clovis Dinner & Dance Went Virtual

Each year, the Clovis Dinner & Dance raises funds for AARBF. Past years have seen this donation reach $100,000. But like many events in 2020, this one looked very different.

Although we did not enjoy our usual dinner or dancing, we did get the excitement of a week-long virtual silent auction leading up to a virtual live auction hosted by the amazing Stefani Booroojian of KSEE24 on Friday, December 4th. Stefani’s positive personality helped make this event even more special!

We’d like to thank Clovis Fire Captain, Chris “Rocks” Bridger and burn survivor Christian Pine for sharing their stories and passion for AARBF throughout the live event.

We greatly appreciate all of our supporters, who provided fabulous items for our auction, and our wonderful donors who helped keep the spirit of this event during a challenging time! We did not reach the goal of years past, but we were excited to raise $28,025 to support our many programs and events such as Champ Camp!

The First Firefighters Pull-up Challenge Exceeds its Goal

For the past 15 years, the Mountain View Firefighters have held an annual Pancake Breakfast benefitting AARBF’s burn survivor and prevention programs. Current restrictions prevented hosting the breakfast, but they still wanted to support AARBF and instead created a Virtual Pull-up Challenge!

Through the Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts, they got the word out about this challenge. Donors pledged a set amount per pull-up and the teams were required to record the pull-ups and submit their videos on Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

All of their efforts and collaboration paid off when they didn’t just exceed their goal of $4,000 but more than doubled it with a grand total of $11,060!

A special thank you to Mountain View Firefighter Chris “Cheez-it” Houston who took this idea, presented it to his team and was able to push it forth with the team effort of the department.

We are grateful for everyone who participated and supported their efforts and to Mountain View Firefighter Random Acts for continuing to be such an amazing and important community partner to AARBF by supporting our mission day after day!

AARBF’s Annual Holiday Parties Went Virtual in December

In a year full of firsts, we ended it with our first ever Virtual Holiday Party on Friday, December 11, with more than 360 burn survivors and their families! Although very different, it was so much fun for everyone to be able to share the holiday spirit with families they normally would not have seen with our usual regional parties.

Our party was only an hour long but it was jam packed with so much holiday fun! During our party, we had a visit from Santa, an ugly holiday sweater contest, a special performance from some of our amazing volunteers and some holiday trivia. In addition to our online programming, each family that registered received a special gift from AARBF, including a hand written note, an AARBF ornament, and gift cards for the whole family!

If you feel the urge to sing one (or two) more holiday songs before having to wait for the season to come back around, view these fun videos!

Jingle Bell Rock: https://youtu.be/i34pykbRG0U

Frosty the Snowman: https://youtu.be/5kWCU_R7VW0

AARBF Helps Make the Holidays Brighter for Burn Survivor Families

Like many people across the nation, members within our burn survivor community experienced economic hardships due to the pandemic. In true AARBF fashion, guided by our mission of enhancing the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries in California, we jumped into action. In response to these hardships, AARBF created the Holiday Relief Fund. Our goal was to spread a little holiday cheer to our families, whether that was assistance with food or gifts! The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation knows that these have been hard times, and that asking for help is never easy. AARBF is committed to supporting our survivors and their families. We had 61 families apply for the Holiday Relief Fund. In addition to giving out gift cards, we were able to give toys to 11 families in Northern California, 6 families in Central California, and 12 families in Southern California.

One burn survivor’s mother wrote, “Thank you so much for the Target card. We received it and bought some surprise gifts for the kids. We appreciate you. Bless you all.”  Another wrote, “I was able to see my kids’ faces light up.”

We were also able to provide help with a couple of special requests – a new bike and an air mattress!

A special thank you to our donors, volunteers and staff for making the 2020 holiday season one to remember for more than just a pandemic!

AARBF Remains Committed to Our Burn Survivor Community

If you are a follower of our social media, you know we love to share inspiring stories from all of the world! But the stories we are inspired by the most are those we create with our local burn survivor community. It is with this passion for our mission that we adapted and changed during 2020 to ensure our doors remained open and we continued to meet the needs of those we serve.

In December, AARBF’s Executive Director, Jennifer Radics-Johnson, put together a short message to share with you the successes and challenges of 2020 and what we are looking forward to accomplishing in 2021! https://youtu.be/4SomDOfbna4

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation is Certified Civil™

We are pleased to announce that the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) has been awarded the esteemed Certified Civil™ designation! This designation is sponsored and approved by the Worldwide Civility Council’s review board of notable civic and business leaders dedicated to civility and civil discourse in all sectors of society.  By committing to and adhering to the Certified Civil™ guidelines and proudly displaying the Certified Civil™ logo, AARBF joins a growing community that views civility as both a way to conduct business and foster and support positive change in the world.

Certified Civil™ is a new initiative with bold objectives. This well-earned designation, in this current social and political climate, demonstrates a commitment to support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world community.  An organization earning the Certified Civil™ designation is on the forefront of what the Worldwide Civility Council and similar civility organizations and enterprises envision as a more civil and just world. To learn more, please visit www.CertifiedCivil.org.

Resolve to Stay on Track with Your Goals in 2021

What is your new year’s resolution? If your goals include looking to get fit, improve your nutrition, or better manage your anxiety – AARBF’s Multimedia Resource Library can help get you started!

The Multimedia Resource Library has videos created by burn survivors, volunteers and staff. We have a variety of topics to meet your needs at https://www.aarbf.org/resources/!

If you do not find a video to help you achieve your goal, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at mdern@aarbf.org and let her know what we’re missing. You may find your goal as a new video in our library!

50 Years 50 Stories

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. In celebration of this anniversary, we are working on putting together a commemorative coffee table book that will include 50 stories….YOUR stories! These will be stories from burn survivors, volunteers, firefighters, nurses, educators, donors, family members, friends…everyone who has made AARBF what it is today!

You can submit your story here: https://forms.gle/8eawGBfnt6aKULzSA

Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible in your responses. We will try our best to capture the essence of you in this book!

If your story is selected for our 50th Anniversary Coffee Table Book, you will be asked to participate in a professional photo shoot scheduled for March/April 2021. More details to come.


Feel free to contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson, Executive Director, at jradics@aarbf.org or (818)848-0223 ext. 12 with any questions or concerns.

Please note: Space is limited in the book, and unfortunately not all stories will be featured. Your story may be used for AARBF’s website, social media pages, newsletters and other public and promotional documents and media.

Your Amazon Order Can Benefit AARBF

Did you know that Amazon has a giving back program called AmazonSmile? It’s no cost to you, but by shopping through AmazonSmile, your eligible purchases can earn 0.5% towards the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. AmazonSmile has the same prices, vast selection and online convenience you’re already enjoying with the added bonus of supporting AARBF! It can be used with both personal and business accounts.

Remember – you must use the AmazonSmile link when placing your orders for AARBF to benefit. Sign up today at https://smile.amazon.com/. Even if you don’t use Amazon, your employer may. You can check with your worksite ordering manager and if they do use Amazon ask them to switch to AmazonSmile and select AARBF!

Upcoming Events:

January 18: All AARBF Offices Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 28: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Expressive Writing, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org.

February 2: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

February 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Family and Caregiver Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

February 7: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at mrodriguez@aarbf.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

February 7-13: Burn Awareness Week

February 9: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at mdern@aarbf.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

February 10: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

February 9-12: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), The Virtual Retreat

February 11: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

February 15: All AARBF Offices Closed for President’s Day

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

February 18: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

February 19-21: Virtual Young Adult Summit

February 25: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

February 25: (7:00pm – 8:30pm) Expressive Art, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org.

February 28: Champ Camp Counselor Applications Due

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

Just a reminder to go to www.aarbf.org; click on Upcoming Events, for the latest AARBF events and activities that need your support.