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Torres Invites Cal Poly Pomona Veteran to State of the Union

WASHINGTON, DC- On Monday, January 29, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA) is attending the State of the Union address with Cal Poly Pomona student veteran Sommarani “Mayra” Chan as her guest. Mayra’s family fled from the Khmer Rouge Genocide in Cambodia and sought protection in a Thailand refugee camp. In 1985, the family resettled in the U.S., where Mayra became a first-generation American.

“It is an honor to have veteran and Cal Poly Pomona graduate student Mayra Chan as my guest to the State of the Union. Mayra’s incredible story and commitment serves as a shining example of the value and strength that immigrants, refugees, and their children bring to our nation,” said Rep. Torres.

“I am grateful to be here.  As a veteran and first-generation college student, to be here representing something greater than myself is truly an honor.  It is a once in a lifetime experience to be able to attend tonight’s State of the Union as a guest of Congresswoman Torres,” said Chan.

From 2006 to 2014, Mayra served in the United States Army Reserve where she did one tour in Afghanistan and a humanitarian mission in Panama in 2009. During her time in Cal Poly Pomona, Mayra has kept busy by focusing her work on serving the student veteran community on campus as a student employee at the Veteran Resource Center. Mayra earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition last year and is currently working on her Master of Science in Agriculture, concentrating her thesis research on combating obesity amongst the veteran community.

Congresswoman Torres’ guest is a personification of the policies she continues to push for in Congress that ensure that the Inland Empire remains a welcoming place for all and that veterans have access to the tools they need to thrive when they return home.         

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Local Barbershops Partner to Recruit Mentors for 200+ Inland Empire Boys

RIVERSIDE, CA- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire is partnering with barbershops across Riverside and San Bernardino counties to recruit volunteers for its one-to-one youth mentoring program. The Shaping Up for the Future campaign runs from February 3 to February 24 and aims to find mentors to serve as positive role models for the more than 200 boys currently on the waitlist.  

On February 3, current mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program will participate in campaign kick-offs at the six participating barbershops, including: Gentlemen’s Barber Club, Thee Latest Barbershop and Good News Barber Shop in Rancho Cucamonga; and Shaves and Fades Barbershop, Expensive Habits Barbershop and The Hair Doctors in Riverside. Each shop is tasked with educating its patrons about the significant impact of youth mentoring. The barbershop that brings in the most potential volunteers will receive the Champion for Change trophy, presented by Big Brothers Big Sisters on February 28.

“As a former professional athlete, it means a lot to me to give back to the community that I grew up in and help young men stay out of trouble,” said Terrell Thomas, a retired NFL Giants player and owner of Thee Latest Barbershop. “You see kids all the time getting in trouble, going to jail and just following the crowd. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a way for these kids to have a better future.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches volunteer mentors one-to-one with youth facing adversity (“Littles”), building friendships that help them overcome challenges such as having an incarcerated parent, exposure to substance abuse, gang violence, human trafficking and growing up in the foster system. The organization supports more than 1,000 children annually in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. As a result, many local youth are becoming the first in their families to earn a high school diploma, go to college and build a career to achieve sustainable independence—creating lasting generational change throughout the Inland Empire. 

“There are hundreds of boys in our community growing up without a positive male role model, so we are excited to have these local businesses be part of our inaugural campaign that will provide them with life-changing friendships,” said Jennifer O’Farrell, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Empire. “The patrons our partner barbershops recruit will be matched with children to help them explore new interests and provide consistent support as they navigate the challenges of growing up.”

Traditional program volunteers must be 18 years or older, sign up to mentor a child for one year and have a vehicle, current driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. For more information about the Shaping Up for the Future recruitment campaign, visit barbershopbigs.org.

This Saturday Come Out and Celebrate Mardi Gras Style at the 3rd Annual Black History Super Expo Celebration

SAN BERNARDINO, CA-  The Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire will be hosting the 3rd Annual Black History Super Expo Celebration on Saturday, February 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Court Street Square located at 349 N. E Street in San Bernardino. The event is FREE to the public.

There will be live entertainment, vendors, great food, a veggie connection pop-up, and a kids’ zone. Free rides to the expo will be provided by OmniTrans. You can pick up bus tokens from the Akoma Unity Center located at 1367 N. California Street in San Bernardino.

For more information, please contact Tammy at (714) 292-0205 or visit www.BCCInlandEmpire.com.