We are BC! & We are Bakersfield!

Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, February 18th, Tracy Hall’s wedding day and as I told her, the gods are showering blessings on California and on the new couple.  The rains continue and the Kern River flows again.  What a wonderful time to be in Bakersfield and what a wonderful time to be at BC.

sonya-christian-woman-of-the-year-feb-11-2017A crazy busy and awesome week all at once.  Let me give you are quick sample:

Saturday, Feb 11th: KCHCC Installation and awards night
Sunday, Feb 12th: Conf calls and finished the day with the Grammys
Monday, Feb 13th: Board meeting in the morning then to Sacramento for a dinner meeting.  Here is the link to the article by Harold Pierce, Education Reporter for The Bakersfield Californian, about the Board meeting http://tinyurl.com/zdfmh9p
Tuesday, Feb 14th: Meeting of an Accreditation Committee that I chair.  Heading back on the train which was delayed by 5 hours and put me in Bakersfield late at night.  Not a very happy train ride on Valentine’s Day.
Wednesday, Feb 15th: 7:00 a.m. Community Leaders Breakfast at BC then meetings then the Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting, then meetings, then the Basket ball games happening the same time as the movie night on campus
Thursday, Feb 16th: Valley Poets, Moon over Malcolm

I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Let me start my blog with a call from Jay Tamsi a few weeks ago to let me know that the Kern County Hispanic Chamber Board selected me as Woman of the Year.  How cool is that!  Now you know that the recognition is truly for Bakersfield College…our faculty and staff are everywhere.  Integrated and engaged with the community.

A group of us from BC attended the event that was sold out and it appeared that all of Bakersfield was there.  In addition to folks from BC, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife Lily were there and also John Means from the District Office.  Three of BC’s very own (Corny Rodriguez, Lisa Kent, Olivia Garcia) were inducted to the Hispanic Chamber Board and the Foundation Board.

The Man of the Year was Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista.  Steve gave a very powerful speech in Spanish and English.

Carlos Navarro, outgoing Chair of the Board did a nice job outlining all the accomplishments from the previous year. Adam Alvidrez as incoming Chair of the Board was extremely funny in his remarks…No seriously, the man could take on Jimmy Fallon and win hands down.  Both Adam and Carlos are friends of Bakersfield College.  Thank you!

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We snuck out during salad time to take this picture.  I loved the way Trustee Agbalog supported our new employees at BC!

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Alongside the KCHCC, everyone at BC works collaboratively to elevate student success to new heights and develop a new generation of leaders within our community. The whole evening was a true recognition of the great work undertaken by all staff and faculty involved with all Bakersfield Colleges efforts. Our campus is one without boundaries and our student give our future endless possibilities. We are BC! Todos Somos BC!

Here is a link to a news item http://tinyurl.com/zbruada

 

The Delano Alliance

The monthly Delano Alliance takes place every 1st Tuesday and the most recent gathering brought the Delano community together at BC’s Delano campus. The event features a briefing about current events in the community – everything from elementary and high schools, to local businesses.

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February’s meeting kicked off with an award presentation featuring two BC students, Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez who traveled to Washington, DC last month to celebrate BC’s participation in the White House Healthy Campus Challenge. We were proud to be chosen as one of 60 institutions nationwide, and one of four community colleges in California to formally receive White House Healthy Campus status.  The focus of the project on the BC campus was to target the most under-enrolled demographic in the county, college students and young people aged 14-18. In Kern County, enrollment in private health plans lag 50% behind the State of California in the same demographic and our region struggled with some of the highest incidences of STDs, obesity, obesity related health concerns, and respiratory illnesses. I featured this event in my blog, just a few weeks ago – make sure to check it out here.

 

Pictured here is Richard McCrow, Director of the Delano Campus; Dean Cindy Collier; Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vice President Academic Affairs; Alexa Rivera, BC Student; Vicente Lopez, BC Student; Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Board Member; and Ray Purcell, Student Health and Wellness Center Director

After the event, Alexa Rivera, who visited the White House sent an email to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg saying,

Vice President Gomez-Heitzeberg, Thank you for the kind words. I will make sure to always remember my home, Delano. Because of Bakersfield College, both in Delano and Bakersfield, I have been able to partake in several experiences that have helped me become a better student and most importantly young adult. I will always be grateful for the opportunities Bakersfield College has offered to me. Thank you for the email, and thank you for being an inspirational leader. Because of your hard work and presence at Bakersfield College, students, especially females aspiring to be leaders just like you, have the opportunity to learn from you and admire your leadership.

Delano is an inspirational place; it’s a community bursting with treasures, gems, and stories that can keep us all encouraged to reach new heights. I’m so excited for all the future has in store for our Delano Campus!

The Delano Recorder ran a story on this event.  Here it is

 

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Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caravan Visits BC

hbcu-6Representatives from 23 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) came to Bakersfield College on Monday to offer registration and scholarships to students.

During the event, 66 BC and high school students were admitted to four-year institutions such as Southern A&M University and Tuskegee College, and over $500,000 in scholarships were awarded for students looking to attend HBCUs. The event was hosted by a collaboration between BC Student Success and Equity, Outreach and School Relations, the Office of Student Life and the BC Transfer Center.

 

The HBCU Caravan was one of three transfer events held on Monday. The Transfer Center also hosted an onsite priority admissions drive for BC students who already submitted their paperwork to transfer to Cal State Bakersfield. Prospective transfers got the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an admissions evaluator to review their transcripts.

Over 200 students met with the admissions evaluator, and 181 were admitted to Cal State Bakersfield for Fall 2017.  UCLA Admissions Officer, Tremeal Bradford also hosted an information table on Monday to meet with BC students who might be interested in continuing their education at Westwood. Bradford will remain a permanent UCLA representative on campus. We are so excited to foster a partnership with UCLA! From Renegades to Bruins!

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Monday’s multiple transfer events were a product of BC’s collaborative efforts! Thank you to all who are involved and who helped promote this fantastic event. I loved seeing this Facebook post from NaTesha Kindred Johnson. “T” thank you for all your support of BC and the many many hours you put in for Measure J!

Thank you to KGET for the great event coverage at http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/bc-students-get-encouragement-for-further-education/655596029

 

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African American Community Leaders Breakfast

 

We hosted our annual African American Community Leaders Breakfast on February 15th in the Fireside Room.

This early morning meeting kept an upbeat and proud focus on the many mentors, sponsors, faulty, success stories from students and overall support African American students receive at BC from the ASTEP and AAMP programs.

 

The theme for the gathering was Uncommon Accomplishments require Uncommon Commitment a phrase introduced by Dr. Paula Parks when she presented to the Campaign for College opportunities team that visited BC last week.

Steve Watkin organized the event and opened up the program after everyone had some delicious breakfast and fellowship and then settled with a cup of coffee ready to engage with the program. My job was just to welcome everyone and then bring up Mayor Karen Goh.  The program continued with a data presentation by Dr. Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness.  This is a standard part of our annual event ever since we made a commitment four years ago to put out our student success scorecard openly to the community.   Together we can accomplish the impossible. The data presentation was followed by an amazing panel presentation and ended with the voice of one of our students.  Before we adjourned Steven Watkin recognized Odella Johnson for her 20 years of service.  Now for some specifics and some photos.

Mayor Goh started her remarks with the BC Chant — We are BC! and then she continued with We are Bakersfield! the phrase she introduced at the Fall Opening Day.  Thank you Mayor Goh for adjusting your schedule to spend time with the community gathering at BC.

The ASTEP(African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence) Umoja program and the AAMP(African Amercian Mentor Program), led by Dr. Paula Parks are the main African Amercian programs dedicated to: assisting students through their efforts with coaching, study groups, encouraging students to show the ethic of love to each other, and embracing the culture in order to help them succeed.

Group Feb 15 2017.jpg

In addition, according to our Bakersfield College website, it’s “a program that incorporates drop-in mentoring, resiliency guidance, problem resolution, general (non-academic) assistance, and “real talk”. The students need this type of help and assistance, since many times coming from a complete opposite environment they need to have positive role models and direction in order to help them reach their goals.

 

Dr. Paula Parks started the day by talking about the goal of the ASTEP and AAMP programs. She stated that, “this semester students take development that’s focusing on careers and then along with English 1A, a library class that helps them with their research strategies. So it’s a yearlong curriculum. They hold each other accountable and also have a group chat, so I appreciated that … and everyone is in communication because they don’t want to let each other down or me down or the program down.”

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Chief Lyle Martin, Keith Wolaridge, Fred Prince, Brenda Lewis

The panel members including: Fred Prince from the (KCBCC/Omega Insurance President), Brenda Lewis(Assistant Superintendent of Instruction), Keith Wolaridge(Agency Owner), and Lyle Martin(Bakersfield Police Chief) gave their real life experiences and education goals, as well as a presentation of the BEST program.

The BEST program is dedicated to helping black students with scholarships. According to Brenda Lewis, “the BEST program has been in existence for 25 years and was originally dedicated for graduation rate and college-going rate of African American males and through years have serviced an average of 550 students each year …and when we look at data we have offered over a thousand scholarships to our project BEST grads and have had a 90% graduation rate. “

How does the best program fund these scholarships? A huge part of the support is received from Kern County businesses, individual donations and community partners since “it is privately funded.”

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Chief Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Fred Prince

Chief Lyle Martin attended the Police Academy at BC and talked about how Larry Robinson and Jesse Bradford watched out for him and made a difference.  He called on Steve Watkin and Ishmael Kimbrough to be the Larry Robinson and Lesse Bradford for today’s students.

I believe in learning from your mistakes and issues. We are trying to build bridges between the Bakersfield College community and the Bakersfield Police Department. However, my goal is to remove those two words ‘and the’…Police Department and the community, that means we are not one. We need to be one.”

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Fred Prince talked about being a small business owner, a speaker in our classes, and a mentor to our young people. He shared an absolutely inspirational story about Will Chandler, a student at BC who went on to be the student body president at Morehouse, a HBCU school.

Keith Wolaridge was absolutely inspiring in emphasizing the importance of mentoring programs.  Keith is a mentor to a young man who is in the ASTEP program.  He emphasized the importance of sharing the hardships and failures to young mentees as a way to inspire them to have the courage to work through difficult situations.  Keith has been a friend of the ASTEP program, a friend of Bakersfield College and spent numerous hours helping with Measure J!

Jullian West Emmanuel Limaco Lisa Kent Feb 15 2017.jpg

Julian West, Emmanuel limaco, Lisa Kent

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Karen Goh, Emmanuel Limaco, Sonya Christian

My dear friends, I wish you were there to watch the four panelist having fun, hazing each other while sharing the powerful work they are doing in this community.  It was truly a thing of beauty.  I came into the meeting tired after spending long hours on a train that was woefully delayed from Sacramento the previous night, but after the Breakfast gathering, I was inspired with a renewed commitment that together we can do the impossible.

 

 

At the end of the presentation Julian West introduced our student speaker Emmanuel Limaco. Wow…. what a story.  Emmanuel shared with us his story that was fraught with difficulties.  and here he is now at BC a pre-Engineering student.  Watching him brought me great joy — so articulate, so smart, so caring….. a true Renegade.  We are BC! We are Bakersfield!

We wrapped up the morning with Steve Watkin presenting an award from BC’s African American Initiative team  to Odella Johnson for over 20 plus years of loyal and distinguished service to BC and our students.  I love this picture of Odella and Steve.

Odella Johnson and Steve Watkin Feb 15 2017.jpg

Odella Johnson, Steve Watkin

 

The African American Community Leaders event was a success that brought away happy faces and proud accomplishments for many in attendance.  Thank you to Cara Jackson for the fantastic photos.  Thank you Chef Sabella and the food Services team for the amazing breakfast and plz keep doing the salsa with scrambled eggs.

 

BCSGA and BC Renegamers awarded for raising money for Lauren Small Children’s Hospital

If you have ever been involved in a charity, sometimes it’s hard to be aware of the results of your efforts. You have made a difference, and that difference has made a change but when you cannot see the change that you have impacted, it does not feel as real.

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Along with the CSUB student colleagues Our BCSGA got to see the passion, care, and the changes they helped to make. The Campus Gamers at CSUB, Bakersfield College Student Government Association, and the new BC Renegamers Student organization received their awards on Friday, February 10, for raising funds for the Lauren Small Children’s Hospital which is part of the Children’s Miracle Network. Together, they raised over $35,000 in 2016 of which BCSGA raised $2,121. The hours, commitment, and love shared between the student groups of the two institutions shows how student leadership, service, collaboration, and motivation can help our community for the better. Proud of you guys!

At the luncheon recognition ceremony, 40 Bakersfield businesses and programs come together for a singular cause, to save children’s life, is important in a world where we constantly feel like we are at a divide. “Sometimes all you really need is a, “Thank you” and today we got that in spades. To take the tour and see the hospital, where they tell you what your fundraising has done, reignites your passion to do it again and again, raising more every year. Everything to help save kid’s lives and give them a future.” Said BCSGA Senator Lawrence Salcido who accepted the recognition on half of BCSGA. Edward Webb, president of the Campus Gamers at CSUB, has marked the goal of $60,000 for 2017. To help these organizations meet their 2017 goal, contact the office of student life today.

BC Athletes and Coaches Shine

MensBasketball.jpgCoach Rich Hughes and the Men’s Basketball Team beat West LA college 70-66 last week and clinched their second-straight Western State Conference-South Championship, the first time BC has accomplished back-to-back titles since the WSC was formed in 1981.

And the win reinforces BC’s reputation as “The Kern County All-Stars” as Stockdale grad Tucker Eenigenburg led all scorers with 23 points, and Henry Galinato of Delano played like a much taller man in grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds while blocking five shots!

The two freshmen certainly made their mark on the game, but Coach Hughes was very pleased by his four sophomore holdovers from the last title team.

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“They were one of those groups that wasn’t given a chance to win at the beginning of the season, and they used that as motivation to do something that has never been done before; and no one can say that to but those four guys; Trey Armstrong, Sean LeFlore, Shane Christie, and Arthur Tondin,” Hughes told SID Francis Mayer.

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Sandi Taylor, Zav Dadabhoy

Have I mentioned how supportive the community is of our BC athletes? It’s always great to gather as friends and Renegade fans! Here is a photo from Wednesday’s game with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sandi Taylor, and Zav Dadabhoy.

 Coach Paula Dahl sent an email earlier in the week encouraging everyone to come out. She said,

Every once in a while in our careers we have those amazing moments that you know you have to cherish and recognize you have truly been blessed.  That is this season for me.  I have been able to coach 11 of the most resilient women you will ever meet.  They have bought into team, hard work, sacrificing for each other and trust.  Please come and support them in their final game of the year tomorrow night at 7:00 pm.  I promise you will have fun watching our high tempo style and be inspired watching your BC Women’s Basketball Team.  “Let’s Go Renegades!

Campus Movie Night

The BC campus is always abuzz with activity and during Wednesdays game, there was also a free movie night taking place in Forum 102! Nearly 90 students gathered to watch “Loving” – a movie based on a true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple involved in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Check out the Official Trailer on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33g-ZHBQdNU and don’t miss out on the next free movie night at the BC campus.

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Moon Over Malcolm

Darius Wallace, author and performer of “Moon Over Malcolm,” visited the ASTEP Umoja Community class on Thursday. Wallace performed in the evening theater production, but spent the day in various classrooms. He wondered what Malcolm X might have achieved had he not died at 39 years old. He also talked about how acting is what he is destined to do.

wallace

The evening presentation was a one-man show about Malcolm’s journey from early childhood as Malcolm Little, to his life as Detroit Red, a pimp and street hustler, to his life in prison where he transformed his life with education and Islam, to his life in the Nation of Islam as Malcolm X, to his final transformation after his trip to Mecca as El Hajj El Meek El Shabazz. This show was filled with monologues, song, dance, poetry as well as various characters in Malcolm’s life.

A crowd of over 250 packed the indoor theater and the evening was a great success. Thank you to the BC Commercial Music Ensemble and the BC Chamber Singers for their musical gifts. Prof. Josh Ottum and Prof. Jen Garrett thank you!

BC Food Services provided tasty grits and greens, fried okra, and chicken gumbo for all in attendance.

Darius Wallace stayed afterwards for additional time to engage the audience with questions. His responses were fully thought-provoking and stimulating for the students who asked very tough questions about African-American acceptance and history.  Thank you Darius. What a great experience for our students and the whole BC community.

Valley Poets at BC’s Levan Center

What an exciting night for the poets of Bakersfield too! On Thursday evening in the Levan Center, we celebrated the poets that came from the San Joaquin Valley and received national recognition. Poets of a wide range of notoriety were celebrated including Juan Felipe Herrera, Sherley Anne Williams, and Robert Duncan. They were all different poets from different circumstances and all from the valley.

Don Thompson, the first Poet Laureate of Kern County, hosted the event. Thompson along side other local poets or advocates for the arts performed poems from the nationally recognized poets. These advocates included Catherine Abbey Hodges, Matt Woodman, LisaAnn LoBasso, Annis Cassells, Marit MacArthur, Diana Ramirez, and Portia Choi. Each presented a poem from the acclaimed poets raised here in the valley and also gave brief life synopses as well. Each presenter stated how the poem they chose resonated with their own lives. You could feel the connection they made with their poem by the way they performed their poem and the energy they gave off.

While all performances were notable, Diana Ramirez’s performance of Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem “Half Mexican” stood out from the rest. Juan Felipe Herrera, who will be visiting the Bakersfield College campus to give a guest lecture on the power of poetry in the lives of people and the community, is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States. He is the first Latino to hold this position. If you would like to attend Juan Felipe Herrera’s lecture Surveillance, Violence, Creativity & Compassion, he will be lecturing in the Indoor Theater at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center on March 29th at 7pm.

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Counseling Department Holds Student Success Conference

The Counseling Department held a successful student success conference on Friday February 3 that was attended by approximately 60 students. The conference, “Pathways to Success: How to navigate detours and get back on track” was geared towards assisting students who have found their way onto first time Probation following the Fall semester.

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Students on first time probation are students who may not necessarily have meaningful contact with a counselor for the only requirement to clear their probation status, in order to register, is to complete an online probation workshop.  The online workshop provides students with tips on how to be successful and remedy their situation however it does not provide them the opportunity to ask questions and interact with BC faculty or staff.  We know that student engagement is linked to academic success therefore we created this half day conference to help engage and interact with these students to hopefully prevent them from moving on to second time probation.

The day began with motivational speaker BC Counselor, Jonathan Schultz, who spoke to the students about “Knowing their Why” and identifying their motivation for being at Bakersfield College. Then the students chose from a list of breakout sessions: “Probation does not have to be a permanent detour!” exploring how to get off probation, “Live long and prosper!” a BC Jeopardy game concerning whole health & mental health concepts, “Money Matters!” managing financial budgets to maximize success, and “The time for action is now!” identifying it’s never too late to be successful an interactive time management approach to student success. Student feedback was very positive therefore the Counseling Department plans to make this an annual event.

Campus Training on Title IX

Mandated reporters are required to make a report of suspected abuse when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a minor is a victim of abuse; but, what about if the victim is a student at Bakersfield College?

img_0712Earlier this month, over 60 faculty, administrators, and classified members met in the Leven Center to hear from Attorney Eileen O’Hare-Anderson, partner at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to dialogue about Mandatory Reporting and what our Collective Responsibilities is to our students and the learning environment.

John Giertz, Faculty in Communication, summed up the presentation, “I think first and foremost we have an obligation to help our students every way possible and we need to be aware of what the laws allow us to do but most importantly that we should be working to help our students.  This is extremely important information and I encourage all employees to learn more.”

img_0717This workshop was geared to respond to the questions and comments presented by BC Faculty and Staff regarding mandated reporting and our responsibility of creating a safe and positive learning environment, while maintaining confidentiality for our students and victims. The conversations helped clarify what the role and responsibilities are for an employee at KCCD, when faced with a situation involving Title IX, OCR, Clery Act, Campus SaVE Act, other pressing laws, and the safety of our students.

 

For questions or additional interest, individuals should contact Dena Rhoades in Human Resources, Nicky Damania in Student Life, or Chief Counts in the Department of Public Safety.

 BC Hackathon

The Public Health Renegades Hackathon is a competition to innovate and design public health solutions for our community. Free food, prizes, networking opportunities! This weekend long innovation competition to design and build technology tools that respond to specific community needs related to public health. All majors and areas are welcome.  It is an interdisciplinary competition that will engage students and professionals from various backgrounds in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM fields, local centers of higher education, community and industry partners, and the public. The goal is to increase awareness of public health and use technology tools and collective expertise to address public health issues. Have fun and make a difference locally for your community. To learn more and register for this free event go to www.bcinnovates.com

BC’s LVN Program ranks 7th in the State!

A non-profit organization that provides resources for prospective nurses has ranked Bakersfield College’s LVN program as the 7th best in the state of California.

top-ranked-vn-program-badge-smallThe website Practical Nursing analyzed 127 schools in California offering certification for Licensed Vocational Nurses and ranked the 50 best programs on their website. BC’s LVN program was selected 7th best in the state based on the percentage of students in the program who go on to obtain a vocational nursing license, as well as how well the program “supports students towards licensure and beyond,” according to an email by Practical Nursing president Bryce Hall.

Did you see The Grammy’s?

We are officially in awards season!  I love watching the Grammy’s.  I’m always entertained by the high-production value the show brings and seeing talent celebrated.  During this year’s show I was especially moved by the tributes to Prince, and George Michael.  Now I’m looking forward to the upcoming Oscar’s show!  Here I am watching the Grammy’s and trying to work at the same time 🙂

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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3 thoughts on “We are BC! & We are Bakersfield!

  1. Michael O'Doherty February 18, 2017 at 9:17 am Reply

    Another great read, I appreciate getting to read about all the work being done in Delano.
    Was surprised and pleased that the reps from The historically black colleges came the campus.
    You continue to amaze me.

  2. Jim Young February 18, 2017 at 9:31 am Reply

    Wonderful!!!

  3. DeMantic February 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm Reply

    I was honored to represent Bakersfield College for the Children’s Miracle Network and it definitely reinvigorated my passion for the Extra-Life charity. We are not done yet, not even close. We’ll continue to aim higher and raise more for children’s hospitals. Thank you for sharing a piece of our story.

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