Monday, June 28, 2010

Salsa Dance Fundraising

Here is some photos of last weeks fundraising efforts. Thanks to everyone for their support. If you have not voted please do so at 
Dancing with Our Community Stars Dance Contest & Charity Fundraiser

Jammy and Jason of JN Designs of Oxnard show their support.

Here is a picture of Ethel and Anna, at the Long Beach Cafe.

On right, Young Yoon, of Yen Sushi and Sake Bar in Long Beach, shows her support.

Long Beach Cafe owner; Nick Stanitsas takes a minute to show support along with my good friend, Ethel Daniels of Long Beach.

The crew at Fatburger in Ventura show their support.

Jeanne Benitez, my good friend and Development Director at Food Share, Inc. of Ventura County. It was Jeanne and CEO Bonnie Weigel that connected me with the Salsa Dance opportunity. Big thank you to Food Share.

Louis, Craig and Fred at Dunn-Edwards Paint in Oxnard.

Sharyn, Kathy and Zoila good firiends at my favorite place to eat in Long Beach; The Long Beach Cafe. The team at the Long Beach Cafe has been very supportive during the campaign.

Rebecca, Haley and Toni of Salon Elite in Ventura have been incredible in supporting Aspiranet and especially the Salsa Dance campaign.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

View Our New Video Featuring Foster & Adoptive Parents

Everyday people stepping up to make a difference in the world - that's what Aspiranet's "Heroes" message is all about.

Everyday at Aspiranet we hear heartwarming stories about love and connection, support and community from our families.  Aspiranet is there 24/7 to provide strength and knowledge to the parents who provide loving homes to children who need it.

We are looking for loving families to care for these children, youth and teens. The need is great for foster and adoptive families who can give guidance, care and nurture to them - someone to help these special kids see their inner hero --- someone like Krista.

Krista and her husband knew there were many children in our communities that needed a loving home.  Krista felt that she and her family could provide that. They have fostered many local children, and enjoy helping to bring out their inner heroes.  Krista met Henry over a year ago.  Henry had lived in 7 or 8 different homes and had feelings of not belonging. However, Krista and her family found that Henry was a budding drummer and piano player and have brought out the inner hero of Henry as he has grown to feel that he is talented and worthy of love.

Krista says that Aspiranet's 24/7 support has been instrumental in helping her to work with each of the children that have come into their care. She says that they "couldn't have done it" without Aspiranet's support! We couldn't have done it without you Krista!  Help us bring out the inner hero in a child by becoming a foster or adoptive parent!

Thank you.
Call 1-877-380-HERO

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Water Safety

Here are some tips for Foster Parents but I'm sure that anyone who goes to the beach or pool this summer could benefit from reading these safety guidelines.

Supervision Requirements
  • Adult supervision is required at all times when foster children are swimming or near any body of water (lake, stream, hot tub, bathtub, water slides, etc.)
  • The adult supervising the foster children swimming must know how to swim, have current water safety training and First Aid/CPR.
  • Foster children should never be left alone near a body of water, even for a moment.
  • Children who know how to swim or who have had swimming lessons are not “drown proof”; adult supervision is always required.
  • All children must be taught water safety rules and Foster Parents are expected to strongly enforce them.
  • Air filled toys and swimming aids (wings) can give a false sense of safety, and are not a substitute for close supervision.
  • Close adult supervision is required when children are using inflatable water “slides”; as water accumulated at the base can pose a drowning threat, in addition to the risk of injury.  Inflatable water slides must be deflated after each use.
Pool Specific Water Safety
  • For Foster Families who have a pool, rescue equipment ( life preserver and/or shepherd’s hook), and a phone should always be near the pool in the event of an emergency.
  • Remove toys from in and around the pool when it is not in use.  Toys can attract young children to the pool.
  • Never prop open the gate to the fence surrounding the pool; always secure gate after use to prevent children from entering without an adult.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.  Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the pool area.
  • If a temporary inflatable swimming pool is being used, it must be drained after each use, unless it is fenced.
Water Activities
  • Foster children should always use a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (life jacket) when boating, fishing, or playing in a river or stream or when at risk for falling into a body of water (such as near a river bank).
  • Foster Parents must know the depth of water and any underwater safety hazards, prior to a foster child jumping or diving into the water.  Foster children should enter the water the first time feet first.
Water Safety for Infants-5 years
  • For young children, (5 & under) the Foster Parents providing supervision should be within arm’s length of the child. In order words, “Reach Supervision” should be used when young children are around any type of water including but not limited to; bathtubs, pools, wading pools, hot tubs, toilets, buckets, lakes, streams, wells, irrigation/drainage ditches or other standing water
  • Infant bath seats or supporting rings are not a substitute for adult supervision.
Health Related Water Safety
  • For children with seizure disorders or other related health conditions, close adult supervision is required when children are taking a bath or swimming.  For situations when a child cannot be supervised directly by an adult such as due to privacy issues, showers are recommended over baths.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Foster Fathers: Making a Difference

by Marina R. Hernandez, Family Developer, Aspiranet-Bakersfield

On Father’s Day, we celebrate and honor those men who have played or are playing a significant role in our up-bringing. Fatherhood is more than just paternity, it is a role that one takes on, and with it comes the responsibility to care for and nurture a child or children. In honor of Father’s Day, Aspiranet, a leading fost-adopt program in Kern County, would like to acknowledge and thank all foster and adoptive dads who are fulfilling their fatherhood role by sharing their love, parenting skills, and support with the many needy children in our community.

Fatherhood takes effort and is a worthwhile and significant role that may often appear unappreciated. Yet, day in and day out, our foster and adoptive dads care and provide for their children to ensure a better life for them. Although paternity plays no role in the relationship, these fathers take on the responsibility courageously, recognizing that every child deserves a loving family and a place to call home.

One dad in particular has gone above and beyond the “fatherhood call of duty.” Tim Popplewell has been a dad with Aspiranet for the past 10 years and has worked with over nine children. Tim and his wife Julie, through their roles as foster parents, have helped two youths emancipate from the foster care system, and have become legal guardians to four of their children.

According to Tim, his motivation to continue on this meaningful journey is simple: “These kids are family, and it’s not that tough to become attached and keep going when you think of them that way.” As in any home, there are definitely challenges. However, Tim believes that the rewards of being a foster dad are well worth any challenge that comes his way. In fact, he states the most rewarding part of parenting children is, “when they identify you as dad, they respond to you as a dad, and want to be part of [your] family.”

Fatherhood is defined by Tim as, “raising kids to be successful and decent human beings, and when they leave this house, they are able to stand on their own two feet.”

Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care in Ventura County

Learn about becoming a foster parent to at-risk youth ages 12-17 in Ventura through Aspiranet's Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care.

Click here to view more information about MTFC on the Aspiranet Foster Care website.

Click here to view the flyer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oxnard Foster Teen Transitional Home Opening Featured

Aspiranet is renting a two-story house in a quiet Oxnard neighborhood as part of its new Transitional Housing Placement Program for foster care teens.

KEYT-3 TV, an ABC affiliate based in Santa Barbara, was at the Oxnard THPP home on Monday to film Kris Bennett and Robin Cruz-Bradley.

The news segment ran at 6pm on Monday evening and is almost 2 minutes in length. View video of the news coverage click here.

The THPP home was also featured in the Ventura County Star on Monday. Click here to read the article.


Mouse Squad featured in San Jose Mercury News

The San Jose Mercury News reporter Mike Cassidy recently featured MOUSE Squad of California! The story follows several students and details how the program enables students to learn not only computer repair but also build life skills.

MOUSE Squad provides youth access to technology education and training necessary to be successful in today's information society while assisting schools to realize a vision for 21st century teaching and learning.

Carla Haakma, principal at Los Arboles Elementary School in San Jose stated:

"I think the best thing about the Mouse Squad is what it's done for the kids's built a lot of confidence. It really does a lot for their self-esteem."

Click here to read the full story.

The Mouse Squad kids Kevin Ly,11, and Mehta B. Singh12, work on a computer board... ( Josie Lepe )

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wendy's Frosty Weekend - Help a Child in Foster Care

Here is an easy way to help out children in foster care who are waiting for the love of adoptive families. This weekend Wendy's will donate 50¢ to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption every time you spread the word though social media like Twitter, Facebook and email!

For every tweet with #TreatItFwd Wendy's donates 50¢
Log in to twitter, then click on the link below!

They have a pretty awesome Facebook application that allows you to send a virtual frosty to your friends which is another 50¢

Create a Free e-Card at for another cool 50¢

And 50¢ when you check in with FourSquare at any Wendy's on June 19-20. While there you may as well get a frosty or our favorite, the chili! ;)

Benefiting the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
It's easy and fun. Please take a moment to help out, it wont cost you anything and it will make a difference in the life of a child! There are more than 123,000 children in the US waiting for adoption!

More information about Dave Thomas

Dave's Way

Dave Thomas: Honesty Pays (Awesome Values in Famous Lives)

Art Chaparro to dance for Aspiranet at Oxnard Salsa Festival

The 17th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival will take place on July 24-25, 2010 from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm daily. Plaza Park is the place for a two-day celebration of everything salsa – the food, the music, and the dance. You can taste it, you can dance it, and you can even take it home!

Dancing with Our Community Stars - Dance Contest and Charity Fundraiser
In this salsa-twist on the hit TV show, six area celebs – three men and three women – are paired up with six of the region's best salsa dance instructors. They have six weeks of rehearsal time to prepare for the showdown on Sunday July 25, at 1:00 p.m. at the Oxnard Salsa Festival.

Art Chaparro is Dancing for Aspiranet
Art Chaparro is Dancing for Aspiranet Art Chaparro, Development Director for Aspiranet, works with 21 district offices throughout California. His primary effort is to develop strong relationships between their offices and local community business and community leaders. Through fundraising events and by working with community volunteers, Aspiranet is able to generate "gap funding” needed to enhance programs which are focused on helping children and families. Art is a 2nd generation Oxnard resident, but currently resides in Long Beach with his wife, Traci. They have one son, David.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism

Just posted 10 photos to facebook from Saturdays Autism Speaks walk.

Team Aspiranet helped raise money and awareness for the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism. The Autism Speaks walk a thon had 3500 people in attendance and was an inspirational day. Aspiranet also helped kids with autism take a break in our sensory booth that included sensory-related activities like a dark tunnel, bub...bles, play doh and the most popular with kids (and the staff), a pool filled with balls of all shapes and sizes, bubble wrap and batting for sitting and relaxing. The pool of balls allowed the kids to take a break from overstimluation of the crowds and was appreciated by parents as their kids were able to calm down then move on with their day in peace.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Save the Date! Feet for Families Fun Run/Walk

Save the Date!

Feet for Families

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Almaden Lake Park, San Jose, 5K - 1Mi. Runs

Family Friendly Activities * Arts & Crafts * Music * Nutritional Snacks

Benefiting Children with Developmental Disabilities, MOUSE Squad, CA Student Tech and Foster Families

Registration begins July 1, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Foundation Newsletter Features THP+ Youth

Claribell entered Fresno’s foster care system at the age of eleven (11). Without the support of her divorced husband, Clare’s mother was simply unable to provide adequate care for her three sons and three daughters. Clare was one of the fortunate ones. After a number of temporary placements, she was sent to live with the Kennedy family in Clovis where she has resided for the past five years. She fondly refers to them as “my grandparents.”

Claribell doesn’t want to forget what she’s been through in life, but she isn’t going to let anything hold her back either.
Following her graduation from high school in 2008, Claribell attended Fresno City College for three semesters but took this past semester off to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Sensing that she would greatly benefit from the mentoring that the BEN-E-LECT FOUNDATION provides young adults with Clare’s background, she was referred to us in December, 2009, by Donna Her, a caring case worker at Aspiranet, one of the area’s largest Foster Family Agencies. Because of her positive attitude, delightful personality, and engaging smile, Clare quickly gained the enthusiastic endorsement of the foundation’s Board of Directors.
To read the full story click here.

The mission of the BEN-E-LECT FOUNDATION is to serve as a catalyst for under-mentored young adults,helping them realize their full potential by equipping them with the tools they need to build a future filled with promise and fulfillment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Student Tech Support Leadership Programs for Schools



Does your school or agency have:

  • 5 - 25 students interested in learning about technology?
  • Computers or laptops with Internet access?
  • An instructor or faculty advisor interested in teaching about technology?
  • An administrator supportive of students assisting teachers with technology problems?
  • Funding?

MOUSE Squad, in its 11th year of operation, enables upper elementary, middle and high school students to learn information technology (IT), problem solving, communication and leadership skills while providing a service to their schools. It can be an after-school program or an in-school elective.


MOUSE Squad of California (MSCA),, Student Tech Leadership program now has 75 schools reaching over 1,000 students in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, East Bay, Sacramento, Central Valley, and Southern California.


The core elements of the nonprofit MSCA program include:
  • Online curriculum with computer, software, troubleshooting and problem solving modules;
  • Hands-on activities and service learning projects;
  • Student-run help desk with paper and/or online ticket management systems;
  • Volunteers to assist with curriculum, help desk, mentoring; internships for high school youth.


MSCA is a program of Aspiranet, a non-profit organization that provides after-school, youth development, community technology programs and children and family services in California. MSCA is in partnership with MOUSE (Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools & Education),, a New York City-based nonprofit.

Contact Jan Half, Program Director, MOUSE Squad of California (MSCA), 408-712-5912