On October 2-6, 2019, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation sent 32 scholarship “World Burn Congress” Scholarship award recipients, along with all seven AARBF staff, from throughout the state, to the annual conference in Anaheim, CA. There was a great AARBF presence at this year’s conference with AARBF Board President Andrew Mersmann, AARBF Board Members Lea Elder and Cara Goodman, past AARBF Board Members Sadie Wilcox, Jill Sproul, James Bosch and Cindy Rutter, a number of AARBF volunteers like Gidget, Hydra, Shadow, Pine Cone and burn survivors of all ages from throughout California at the conference. AARBF was able to provide information about its programs and services with a vendor booth at the conference and AARBF staff were able to get a lot of great information from sessions on PTSD, Rehearse Your Response, Self-Care, Sexuality and Intimacy, Social Reintegration and more! AARBF’s very own Erika Mendoza facilitated a Spanish-speaking support group, and Daniel Chacon presented on “Support Groups: Creating + Maintaining.” AARBF hosted a dinner for all of the scholarship award recipients, as well as our California community partners. In addition, AARBF hosted its annual “Ice Cream Social” for all California attendees. The Phoenix Society’s “World Burn Congress” is an amazing experience to learn, connect, network and heal. We can’t wait for next year’s conference in Providence, Rhode Island!
Central Coast Fire Chief’s Burn Relay Raises $13,810 for AARBF!
During Fire Prevention week, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) partnered with the fire departments throughout San Luis Obispo County and KSBY for our annual Central Coast Fire Chief’s Burn Relay! On October 10, 2019, AARBF and KSBY started the relay on a North and a South Route to reach as many students at each fire department’s chosen school. Throughout the day, the fire departments along with the KSBY representatives chose three prevention talking points to teach San Luis Obispo County students and fire and burn prevention. The talking points consisted of knowing when to “Stop, Drop and Roll”, How and when to call “911” and setting up a family evacuation plan. Along with the burn prevention education, the fire departments also presented their donation to AARBF to aid in continuing our burn prevention mission. Some of the schools also contributed by filling the boot of a firefighter, teaching the students the importance of philanthropy in their community.
We want to thank the San Luis Obispo County community, fire departments and KSBY for being so engaged with burn prevention education within their community and for supporting AARBF. We would also like to send out a huge thank you to Brian Leathers and his daughter Megan for spearheading the great coordination, time and effort it takes to put this amazing prevention event together. For 2019, the Central Coast Fire Chief’s Relay came to an end at the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s market where a total of $13,810 was donated to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation! Most importantly, we were able to provide burn prevention education to 7,500 students within the county that day!
AARBF Participated in LAC + USC Kidz Health Day
On October 12, 2019, AARBF participated in the Kidz Health Fair at LAC+USC Medical Center. Hundreds of children and families attended the event which included safety education including burn prevention information; photos with Baby shark, Spiderman, Captain America, Groot, Shazam, Elastic Girl, Laker girls, and Rams girls. It was day of safety and fun!
Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Hosts Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser for AARBF
On October 12, 2019, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety hosted its Annual Pancake Breakfast to support the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Hundreds of families attended the event of good food, great information and excellent company! Sunnyvale DPS’ Chief Phan Ngo participated in the activities, meeting with children and families throughout the day. Thank you Sunnyvale for your continued support and commitment to fire and burn safety education!
Menlo Park Firefighters Flip Pancakes for AARBF for the 19th Year
On October 12, 2019, AARBF attended the 19th Annual Menlo Park Pancake Breakfast. Each year Stanford Park Hotel, the Junior League of the Mid-Peninsula, and the Menlo Park Firefighters Association team up to raise money for AARBF. This year the Annual Pancake Breakfast was able to serve 1,120 community members raising more than $11,000 dollars for AARBF! This is an incredible event geared not just toward raising money but also promoting prevention and preparedness in case of a fire. The Menlo Park Firefighters showed off many of their lifesaving skills, demonstrating the Jaws of Life used to rescue people from car crashes, as well as building extractions repelling from their four story tower. This was a special event where the community was able to meet their Menlo Park Fire Fighters and raise money for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Thank you Menlo Park for your continued support of AARBF!
Albany Firefighters Hosts Annual Pancake Breakfast
On October 12, 2019, in celebration of the final day of Fire Prevention Week, the Albany Firefighters hosted its Annual Pancake Breakfast, benefitting the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. This annual event draws in hundreds of families and children for a morning of pancakes and education. AARBF was at the event teaching children and families about fire and burn safety, including what to do if your clothes catch on fire and how to create a home escape plan. Thank you to the Albany Firefighters for continuing to host this event year after year to educate the community and raise funds for AARBF!
AARBF Awarded $10,000 from the Allergan Foundation to Support Burn Survivors
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation is so grateful to be a Community Health Grant Recipient of the Allergan Foundation. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Allergan Foundation, AARBF will be able to continue to provide Holistic Therapeutic Support for Southern California Burn Survivors which includes in-hospital services, support groups, and four annual burn camps plus more than a dozen regional trips, events, and parties that sustain a vibrant burn community. On October 10, 2019, AARBF Board President, Andrew Mersmann and Operation Manager, Jan Share, were able to attend the Allergan Foundation Grant Reception in Costa Mesa, CA. Thank you to The Allergan Foundation for your vote of confidence in our work and for being our partner in our mission to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries!
Habitot Children's Museum ``Lucky the Fire Burping Dragon`` Fire and Burn Safety Puppet Show
In the month of October, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation partnered with Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley, CA to develop and present “Lucky the Fire Burping Dragon,” a fire and burn prevention puppet show for children under the age of five and their caregivers. This puppet show, written by AARBF’s Board President, Andrew Mersmann, follows the mishaps and lessons that Lucky the Dragon learns from his friend Firefighter Dave about fire and burn safety. AARBF sponsored four puppet shows and free admission to Habitot Children’s Museum for children and families that attended. We are so grateful for the partnership that we have with Habitot Children’s Museum and are grateful for the opportunity to educate more families, and younger children, with our fire and burn prevention messages!
Peninsula Firefighters Donate $72,322 to AARBF through the Annual Peninsula Firefighter’s Burn Relay
On October 24, 2019, AARBF visited 15 fire departments along the Bay Area Peninsula, for the 2019 Peninsula Firefighters’ Burn Relay, raising a total of $72,322.00 for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation! From NASA Ames Fire Department in Mofett Field to San Francisco Fire Department, a brigade of fire, police and private vehicles drove through the streets, raising awareness and funds for AARBF. Thank you to the NASA Ames Firefighters, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, Mountain View, Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Foster City, Central County, San Bruno, South San Francisco, North County, Colma and San Francisco firefighters for your generous donations, and for you continued support throughout the year! Special thanks to Tom Shafer, Fire Associated of Santa Clara Valley, Atherton Police Department and Rachel Hall for participating. Also, a huge thanks to the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association for providing a warm and welcoming dinner for the Relay participants; San Francisco Fire Chief Jenine Nicholson for welcoming us to Station 7; the California Highway Patrol for keeping us safe during the Relay, and to our two coordinators Selena Brown from Woodside Fire Department and Steve Besozzi from Central County for making this all happen! We are so grateful for the overwhelming support that we receive from our fire departments throughout the state, even during these trying times for California. These funds will support Californians affected by burn-injuries and educate thousands of Californians on fire and burn prevention.
Burn Survivors Head Out on the Lewis Creek Hiking Trail
On October 26, 2019, six burn survivors and supporters ventured off into a hiking adventure in Oakhurst, CA. They followed the Lewis Creek trail, which led them to an amazing view of the waterfalls flowing downstream. It was a moderate hike but with great weather and even better company. We are hoping to expand our hiking group and keep it going! Hiking is a great family-friendly activity that will keep you active, adventurous to helps create great memories.
A Night with the Kings
One lucky burn survivor and his mom was treated to prime tickets for the October 13, 2019 Los Angeles Kings game, thanks to a special donation made to AARBF. Julian and his mom Elizabeth had a great time at the Kings vs. Golden Knights hockey game, where they sat up front and personal with the ice. It was both of their first times at a hockey game and they really enjoyed it!
AARBF Celebrates National Fire Prevention Week
AARBF celebrated Fire Prevention Week during the week of October 6-12, 2019 with fire prevention social media messages throughout the week and participating in a number of events with local fire departments in our community. This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week was “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape!” Leave saving the world to superheroes and be a hero in your own home instead: remember to make a home escape plan with all members of your household and practice it!
Children & Recovery from Wildfires
In October 2019, California saw almost 160,000 acres burn in wildfires. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency with a number of wildfires burning throughout California, including the Kincaid Fire in Northern California’s Wine County that burned 76,000+ acres, destroyed 79 structures and caused the evacuation of 180,000 people; and the Tick Fire in Los Angeles County, which destroyed at least 22 structures and threatened 10,000 more. Wildfires continued to pop up as wind speeds of 70-80 mph torr throughout California and nearly 1 million Californians were affected by the mandatory statewide power shutdown. What Californians formerly knew as “fire season” has now become a year-round risk.
In addition to the supportive services that AARBF provides to burn survivors, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, in partnership with staff members from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, developed the “Children & Recovery from Wildfires” resource guide to help children and families respond to the psychological impact of wildfires. Copies of the resource guide can be found at: https://www.aarbf.org/resources/wildfires.
Thanks to our partnership with the Change a Life Foundation, a Wildfires Victims and Survivors Relief Fund has been established to provide additional financial assistance for those affected by the wildfires.
If you, or anyone that you know has been burn-injured in the wildfires and is in need of support, call (800) 755-BURN (2876) for more details or visit: www.aarbf.org.
November Hot List!
• Northern California Volunteer Opportunities
- Please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 if you have interest in any of the following:
- Each year, AARBF partners with the San Francisco Fire Department to educate thousands of kids in fire and burn prevention. This program also entails pre- and post- tests to track learning. We need help pairing students’ pre- and post- tests and scanning them so that they can be graded by a computer program and analyzed by a statistician.
- General office administrative tasks such as printing, filing, mailings, data entry, organization, etc.
- Two holiday parties are held in the Northern California Region; East Bay Holiday Party (Berkeley) and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Holiday Party (San Jose). Volunteers are needed for set up, clean up, serving food, etc.
- Please contact Jennifer “Jem” Radics-Johnson at email@example.com 415-495-7223 ext. 12 if you have interest in any of the following:
- Do you enjoy data management, input and/or making calls to our amazing volunteers and community partners? We are in need of a volunteer to assist us in staying up to date with contact information for volunteers, donors, and community partners (such as fire departments).
Central California Volunteer Opportunities
- Please contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-621-4016 if you have interest in volunteering for the following:
- We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events.
- The Central Valley Holiday Party is in need of volunteers to help set-up, clean-up, decorate and more!
Southern California Volunteer Opportunities
- Please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 x16 if you have interest in any of the following:
- We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!
- The Southern California Holiday Party is in need of volunteers to help set-up, clean-up, decorate and more!
- Please contact Jan “Tabby” Share at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 if you have interest in any of the following:
- We have an opportunity to assist as a volunteer in our Pasadena office with administrative duties such as filing.
- December 1: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
- December 3: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- December 4: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- December 7: (11:00am-2:00pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Holiday Party, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- December 7: (11:00am-2:00pm), Central Valley Holiday Party, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at email@example.com or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
- December 8: (11:00am-2:00pm), East Bay Holiday Party, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- December 8: (12:30pm-3:30pm), Southern California Holiday Party, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
- December 10: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
- December 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- December 12: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Modesto Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
- December 14: (6:00pm-10:00pm), Clovis Firefighters Dinner and Dance, contact Jennifer “Jem” Radics-Johnson at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 with any questions.
- December 19: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to RSVP.