The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, also known as VITA, offers free tax help to those who make $55,000 or less, to persons with disabilities, and to those with limited English speaking skills and need help in preparing their taxes. Also, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program, also known as T-C-E, offers free tax help for all taxpayers, focusing on those who are 60 years of age and older and have questions about pensions and retirement-related issues. All volunteers for both programs are I-R-S-certified. More information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers.
Orange County Law Enforcement and Fire Dispatch Centers are now equipped with Text-To-9-1-1. This will allow the hearing impaired, speech impaired, or those in an emergency situation who can’t make a phone call reach dispatchers by text message. In 2018, more than a million calls were made to 9-1-1 in Orange County. Eighty percent of those calls came from mobile phones. Remember to always call if you can, and text if you can’t. Here’s more information about Text-to-9-1-1:
-Ensure location services on your mobile phone are turned on and be prepared to provide your location in the text.
-To get started, type “911” in the “to” field of the text message and, in addition to your location, provide the type of emergency services you need (police, fire or medical).
-Use plain text and refrain from abbreviations.
-Dispatchers cannot accept pictures, videos or icons.
-Text-to-9-1-1 cannot be used in a group text.
-If your text does not go through, you should receive a message to make a voice call.
-Calling or texting 9-1-1 when it is not an emergency is a crime punishable by up to a year in County jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
More information can be found at http://newsbuilder.ocgov.com/previews/D5/vol6issue6/pdf/TEXT%20TO%20911%20FACT%20SHEET.pdf
The Irvine Animal Care Center’s Foster Donation Drive takes place from March 1st through March 31st. This is the chance to help support young animals in the center’s Foster Care Program by donating much needed supplies. Animals in the Foster Care Program include kittens, puppies, and baby rabbits, as well as animals recovering from a medical procedure. Items accepted include formula, blankets, kitten nurser bottles, puppy training pads, and toys. The Irvine Animal Care Center aims to make a positive impact on this underage animal population. More information can be found at http://www.cityofirvine.org/irvine-animal-care-center/upcoming-events
March is National Kidney Month. 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease. Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure and being age 60 or older. Kidney disease often has no symptoms, and it can go undetected until very advanced. But a simple urine test can tell you if you have kidney disease. Remember, it's important to get tested because early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease. More information can be found at https://www.kidney.org/
South County Outreach would like your help in gathering canned foods to help feed hungry kids in the upcoming spring and summer months. Have your organization hold a food drive. South County Outreach has volunteer truck drivers that can deliver and pick up collection barrels to help your organization gather food. A food drive can be held during spring break, in the office, or with a community club. Get together with the people who matter most to make a difference in Orange County. More information can be found at http://www.sco-oc.org/donate/food-drive-fridays/.
Family Assistance Ministries offer a Hunger and Homeless Prevention Program in San Clemente. They offer social services every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Family Assistance Office in San Clemente. Social services provided during that time include helping people sign-up for general relief, Medi-Cal, and Cal Fresh. The mission of Family Assistance Ministries is to assist those in need in Orange County with resources for food, shelter, supportive counsel, and aid. More information can be found at www.family-assistance.org.
Cyclists are invited to ride through Los Angeles in support of finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, on Saturday morning, March 23rd, in Pasadena. MS is a disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. “Bike MS Los Angeles 2019” hopes to raise money for MS research, as well as programs and services for people living with MS. One can choose to ride the 30 mile, 55 mile, or 100 mile route. The ride start at 7 am and will start and finish at the Rose Bowl. To sign up go to https://secure.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/CALBikeEvents?pg=entry&fr_id=30145
The Laguna Niguel Senior Games will take place on Saturday, March 30th, and Sunday, March 31st, at various locations in Laguna Niguel. Opening ceremonies take place on Friday, March 29th, at 6 p.m. at Sea Country Senior and Community Center. Registration is open for both Laguna Niguel residents and non-residents from now through March 25th. There will be basketball and soccer tournaments, as well as table tennis and billiards competitions, and much more. Those that are 55 years of age and older are welcome to participate. To register go to https://www.cityoflagunaniguel.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=594
The Woody Allen comedy, “Play It Again, Sam”, will be staged at the non-profit theatrical organization Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano, from March 29th through April 14th. “Play It Again, Sam” tells the tale of the recently divorced film magazine writer, Allen Felix, who tries to restart his romantic life. In the process he falls in love with the wife of his best friend, and gets advice from his idol, Humphrey Bogart, who explains to him how to pursue women. For ticket information go to www.caminorealplayhouse.org
The City of Laguna Niguel will hold its Earth Day Celebration at The Niguel Botanical Preserve, located in Crown Valley Park in Laguna Niguel. This event will take place on April 20th from 8:30 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. Go green and volunteer to work in the soil and clean up the 18-acre preserve. Drinking water and light snacks will be provided. Community and corporate groups are encouraged to participate. Rsvp by April 19th to reserve a spot. More information can be found at https://www.cityoflagunaniguel.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=3512&month=4&year=2019&day=8&calType=0
On Friday, May 3rd, the Laguna Beach Garden Club will host its annual Laguna Beach Gate & Garden Tour, which is a major fundraiser for educational school gardens, local scholarships, and community projects. This year’s walking tour from 9 am till 2 pm will begin and end at Arabella Laguna Historic Cottages, with festivities at Arabella continuing until 4:00. The event will include free refreshments, margaritas and Mexican food for sale, and a raffle with prizes from local artists and businesses. For ticket information, go to www.lagunabeachgardenclub.org/events/gate-garden-tour/
The next City of Mission Viejo Drug Prevention Coalition Meeting will be on Wednesday, March 20th, at 6 p.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in Mission Viejo. Learn how to combat drug abuse in teens with Naloxone, also known as Narcan, which is the drug-reversing agent for opioid overdoses. One will learn when and how to use this drug to save a life, along with what drugs are classified as opioids and the signs and symptoms to look for if your teenager is overdosing. People attending will receive a Naloxone kit. More information can be obtained by contacting Leslie McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Mission Viejo is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish Festival. The festival will take place on the Village Green at Oso Park in Mission Viejo on Saturday, March 16th, from 11 am to 3 pm. There will be a sheep herding demonstration, bungee jumping opportunities, crafts and games, and music by the Irish band Cillian’s Bridge. There will be Irish and not so Irish food for sale, as well as beer and wine. More information can be found at http://mvactivities.com/irish-festival/
In partnership with Assemblyman Tyler Diep and Mayor Tri Ta, come get your taxes prepared for free with the help of Orange County United Way and the Franchise Tax Board.
Sunday, March 10, 2019 11 am – 3pm
Westminster Community Center Parking Lot
8200 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster, CA
One must make $60,000 a year or less in order to qualify. Call for an appointment at 888-434-8248 or visit www.ocfreetaxprep.com for more information. One must schedule an appointment, as walk-ins are not allowed.
The Pet Adoption Center of Orange County will present the 4th Annual South County Pet Expo, taking place at the Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center on Saturday, March 9th, from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be rescue groups with pets to adopt, canine demonstrations, food trucks, music, and free giveaways. There will also be a book signing by W. Bruce Cameron, author of the book and movie “A Dog’s Way Home”, as well as a chance to meet Bella, the canine star of “A Dog’s Way Home”. Admission and parking are free. More information can be found at http://adoptocpets.org/event/2019-south-county-pet-expo/.
Volunteers are needed for the Susan G. Komen “More Than Pink” Walk, taking place on Saturday morning, March 9th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Thanks to more than 100,000 survivors and volunteers, Susan G. Komen® is the world’s largest organization raising funds to end breast cancer. Volunteers are needed for pre-race activities, which include pre-race planning, organization, and marketing. On race day, hundreds are needed to help the event run smoothly. More information can be found at https://komenlacounty.org/komen-race-for-the-cure-volunteer/.
UCLA Health will host the fifth-annual “Healthy Living with Diabetes” Conference and Health Fair on Saturday, March 2nd, from 8 a.m. till noon. This free, half-day program is designed to educate people who have diabetes or are at risk to develop it. A free wellness breakfast will start the day’s activities, which includes free blood pressure screenings, as well as talks by experts that will share the latest in diabetes research, nutrition and diets, medications, and much more. The Conference and Health Fair will be held at The Conference Center at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. https://connect.uclahealth.org/event/healthy-living-with-diabetes-2/?date=2019-03-02
The non-profit Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano will present the play Senior Moments 2: Betta Daze, from March 1st thru the 3rd and March 8th thru the 10th. The play tells the story of the technologically challenged senior Michelle and how she deals with Betta, a super charged computer assistant like Alexa, which starts to receive program updates that make it more human. Showtime for all performances is 7:30 p.m. More information can be found at http://caminorealplayhouse.org/
The annual Oso Fit Community Health Fair and 5-K Fun Run will take place on Saturday, February 23 at the Norman P. Murray Community Center and Village Green in Mission Viejo. The Oso Fit Event promotes health and wellness while raising money for Mission Viejo non-profit organizations, giving back 100 percent of the pre-registration fees to local nonprofits that participants select. The Community Health Fair will showcase more than 60 vendors in the wellness industry, and will feature a quarter and half mile kids walk-run for children of all abilities. If your organization is interested in being a nonprofit in which participants can select to donate their registration fee, or if you would like to register for the event, contact the Mission Viejo Recreation & Community Services Department at 949-470-3061 and visit osofit5k.org for more information about the event.
The Joyful Child Foundation will hold the 2nd Annual Brave Race 5K and Fun Run on Saturday morning, February 23rd, starting and ending at Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo. All proceeds will support The Joyful Child’s Brave Programs for schools and for the community. The Joyful Child Foundation was established in 2002 after the abduction and murder of five-year-old Samantha Runnion. The mission is to prevent crimes against children through programs that educate, empower, and unite families and communities. More information can be found at http://www.cityofalisoviejo.com/featured/brave-race-5k-joyful-child-fun-run/.
The 7th Annual Paws Fur Pink® O-C will take place on Sunday, February 17th, at Irvine Regional Park in Orange. The event offers a 5k Dog-Friendly Run/Walk, a Dawdling Doodle 1 Mile Walk, a Yoga/Doga Session in the park, and a Costume Contest for you and your four-legged BFF. Run, walk, or wag your way to better health while raising funds to beat cancer in both humans and dogs. Registration opens at 7:30 in the morning, with activities happening till 11 am. More information can be found at pawsfurpink.com.
The OC Fair and Event Center's Veterans Museum will celebrate the second anniversary of the Heroes Hall with an Open House, taking place on Saturday, February 16th, from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m. During this Open House, a new exhibit will be presented, titled “Victory from Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience”. As part of the exhibit, visitors will hear the tragic yet inspirational stories of four former POWs who currently live in Orange County. More information can be found at https://ocfair.com/heroes-hall/events/.
The City of Dana Point will be holding the first Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup of the year. This clean-up, titled “St. Valentine’s Day Love Your Beach Cleanup”, will be held on February 16th from 9:00 am till noon at Doheny State Beach. All are invited to “love” Doheny Beach back to good health after sustaining damage from the runoff from winter rains. Those that plan to participate should meet at the Doheny Beach Lifeguard Headquarters, next to the mouth of San Juan Creek. Bring along working gloves. More information can be found at https://www.dohenystatebeach.org/event-items/st-valentines-day-love-your-beach-cleanup/.
The City of Mission Viejo will hold a free workshop for those considering moving a loved one into an assisted living or a skilled nursing facility. This workshop, called “Information on Planning for Long-Term Care”, will be held at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo, on Tuesday, February 12th, from 1:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon. An expert Elder Law Attorney will provide information on estate planning, durable powers of attorney for healthcare and finance, conservatorship, and more. More information can be found at https://cityofmissionviejo.org/events/legal-and-financial-workshop
The City of San Clemente is sponsoring a Document Shredding Event on Saturday, February 9th. One can bring up to ten bags or boxes of papers per vehicle to shred. This event will be held at San Clemente’s Maintenance Yard, located at 390 Avenida Pico. People are welcome from 8 am till noon. More information can be found at http://www.san-clemente.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/6171/2689?backlist=%2frecreation-community%2fspecial-events
February is American Heart Month, a time to remind all to focus on their hearts, and encourage all to get their families, friends, and communities involved. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death, with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 80 percent. More information can be found at http://newsroom.heart.org/events/february-is-american-heart-month-6669831
The West Los Angeles-based Wags and Walks Adoption Center will hold its first year anniversary party on Sunday, January 27th, from noon to 4 pm. This event will offer dog adoptions, food treats, giveaways, and information on how you can volunteer for this organization. Wags and Walks’ mission is to break the stigma that rescue dogs are damaged goods and to help decrease the number of dogs euthanized in L.A. shelters. Wags and walks saved over 1,100 dogs last year. Wags and Walks Adoption Center is located at 2236 Federal Avenue in Los Angeles. More information can be found at http://www.wagsandwalks.org/.
The City of Mission Viejo, in partnership with the organization Safe Moves, will hold a “Safe Moves Bike Rodeo” on Saturday, January 26th, at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo. This bike fair from 9 a.m. to noon includes interactive booths, activities, and the chance to provide input on Mission Viejo’s Bikeway Master Plan during a special community meeting. The city is developing the Bikeway Master Plan to improve the cycling experience and encourage more people to enjoy riding their bicycles in Mission Viejo. People are welcome to bring one’s bicycle and helmet to this event. More information can be found at https://cityofmissionviejo.org/events/bikeway-master-plan-community-meeting-and-family-fun-bike-fair.
The 2019 Orange County Academic Decathlon is the annual academic competition for teams of public and private high school students. They compete in the subjects of language, science, math, art, speech, and much more. The decathlon engages and challenge students of all academic abilities and achievement levels. This competition relies heavily on community members volunteering their time, professionalism, and care to serve as interview or speech judges, as well as serving as test or super quiz proctors, all in support of 500+ students. Volunteers should be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate. Volunteer Judges are needed on January 26th at Tustin High School, and Volunteer Test Proctors are needed on February 2nd at Westminster High School. To volunteer, contact Kristin Rigby at 714-966-4435 or email@example.com . Additional information can be found at http://www.ocde.us/Decathlon/Pages/default.aspx
Jazz 88-5 wants you to know that the Orange County based organization Think Together needs volunteers to help children beat the odds of achieving success while being in a disadvantaged community. Students who participate in think together programs receive the tools they need to succeed in school as they prepare for college and career. Volunteers are needed to assist at program sites, tutor students, or read aloud to young children. Volunteers may also coach sports or provide career mentorship. More information can be found at https://www.thinktogether.org/volunteer
The Orange County based organization “Kid Healthy” offers Parent Advocacy and Wellness Training Workshops to help create programs that can address health and wellness issues for school children and families in the disadvantaged areas of Southern California. There’s group training in parent advocacy, volunteerism, wellness committee formation, nutrition, and physical activity. These trainings are designed for parents, school site parent educators, and community liaisons. More information on how to help can be found at http://mykidhealthy.org/.
Make-A-Wish is in need of volunteers to be wish granters to help create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Wish granters work in pairs to meet with the children and their families, assist the child with helping choose his or her one true wish, and help plan and execute the child’s wish. The next volunteer information session will be on January 23rd from 6 to 7 pm at the Make-A-Wish Orange County Wish Office in Irvine. More information can be found at http://ocie.wish.org/news-and-events/calendar-of-events/2019/2019-volunteer-info-sessions/jan-23-oc-info-session
The organization OneOC will be sponsoring the 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Community members can make their “day off” a “day on” with a Day of Service. Join other community members to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through meaningful service. This year OneOC will be partnering with many local agencies, offering volunteer opportunities that address critical community issues. Individuals, families, groups and organizations can participate in this national initiative in collaboration with the HandsOn Network. To volunteer, visit https://www.oneoc.org/volunteers/days-of-service/mlk-jr-day-of-service
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards. All dog owners are invited to nominate their heroic hound in seven categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Pet owners and animal lovers are also invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers for the Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards. The nomination period ends on February 28th. The finalists will be honored at the Hero Dog Awards Event, to be held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on October 5th. More information about the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org
If you know someone that you consider a local hero with extraordinary courage that saved a life, helped a neighbor in need, or made a difference in the community, the American Red Cross Serving Orange County asks you to nominate them for the 4th Annual Orange County Heroes Luncheon.
The Heroes Luncheon will be held on Friday, May 3, 2019, at Hotel Irvine.
The American Red Cross Serving Orange County is accepting nominations in the following categories:
Animal Welfare Hero: Presented to an animal that has protected a human or another animal in a time of need, to a person who has rescued an animal from a traumatic situation, to an animal that is making a difference to impact someone’s life, or to an individual that cares for animals.
Community Hero: Presented to a person that has demonstrated outstanding heroism, skill, commitment or resourcefulness in attempt to save one or more lives by utilizing skills aligned with those taught in American Red Cross programs such as CPR/AED/First Aid or other health and preparedness training.
Corporate Hero: A business or organization that has contributed significantly to the American Red Cross mission and/or made a positive impact in our community.
First Responder Hero: Presented to a professional or volunteer serving as a law enforcement official, firefighter, first responder or responder in the medical or healthcare field. This award is presented to a person or persons who has exhibited heroism in their response to an emergency, on or off-duty, through acts of courage or selflessness.
Gift of Life Hero: An individual or group that supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross through blood or platelet donations or inspiring others to give blood or platelets.
Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Presented to a member of the armed forces (active or retired, commissioned or non-commissioned) whose heroic action(s) demonstrated exceptional courage or improved the welfare of the military community. This award may be presented posthumously and may also be awarded to ROTC members or civilians/organizations that have made a significant impact on the military community.
Water Rescue Hero: Presented to a lifeguard, first responder or ordinary citizen whose quick-thinking actions prevented a serious water-related injury or drowning.
Youth Hero (age 18 or younger): Presented to a youth in the community who has demonstrated courage, initiative and/or compassion in the spirit of the American Red Cross in service to another individual or the welfare of the region.
Nominations from the public are due by Friday, February 15th. More information can be found at https://www.redcross.org/local/california/desert-to-the-sea/about-us/news-and-events/events/orange-county-heroes.html.
The educational program CREER will have a fund raiser on January 12th at the San Juan Hills Golf Club Bar and Restaurant in San Juan Capistrano. This fundraiser will feature singer Slim Man and his band, a silent auction, and more. Those at CREER hope to raise enough money to fund 6 summer school class rooms for 6 weeks. CREER’s mission is to mentor, educate and inspire hundreds of disadvantaged kids and help them reach their potential for success. More information can be found at https://creeroc.org/
Many make a new year’s resolution to eat healthier and visit the gym. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America wants to stress that taking care of your brain is a new year’s resolution everyone should make and keep as well, because taking care of mental health is as important as physical health. Be proactive with your brain health in 2019. Get a memory screening. Visit the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s website at www.alzfdn.org or call 866-232-8484 for more information about memory screenings.
Schools on Wheels is looking for volunteers to tutor one-on-one with children who are living in shelters, motels, cars, group foster homes, and on the streets in Southern California. Volunteer tutors come from all backgrounds and professions, with the goal to reach out to teach, mentor, and assist these homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Introductory training sessions for 2019 begin in Southern California starting January 7th. More information is available at https://www.schoolonwheels.org/
If you like posing on a stage and can stand still for 90 seconds, you could volunteer and pose in live works of art in the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. Open casting calls for next year’s show, “The Time Machine”, will take place at the Irvine Bowl at the following times: Friday, January 4th, and Saturday, January 5th, from 7 to 9 pm, and Sunday, January 6th, from 2 to 5 pm. More information can be found at https://www.foapom.com/support/opportunities/volunteer/
This holiday season, help is urgently needed to support thousands of homebound seniors and other seniors in need that live in South Orange County. Since 1975, Age Well Senior Services has been providing critical services, resources, and programs to seniors. Donations are needed to help continue to fund projects that include delivering meals, in-home care, and transportation services. Volunteers are also needed to help out. More information can be found at https://agewellseniorservices.org/
The non-profit group, Musical Theatre Orange County, will present its musical production called “Journey To Christmas”, taking the stage from December 13th through December 22nd, at the Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYUSD) Performing Arts Center in Placentia. All proceeds from the show will benefit Musical Theatre Orange County’s efforts to produce family oriented musical theatre that gives young people from the local community a chance to learn and perform in a professional theatre environment. More information can be found at mtoc.org.