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Career Information Day For Workability Students Set For March 1

REDLANDS – The 15th annual Career Information Day, hosted by the Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program (CRY-ROP), will be held on March 7.

The event will feature exhibits and presentations for workability students. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CRY-ROP office at 1214 Indiana Court in Redlands.

The event is co-sponsored by the East Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Transition Partnership Project, the California Department of Rehabilitation and Workability and the following educational agencies: Colton Joint Unified School District, Redlands Unified, Rialto Unified, Rim of the World Unified, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified and San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

The event is not open to the public; only to students in the participating programs.

About 30 local participating employers have committed to attend the event. They represent occupations from childcare services to youth recreation, as well as clerical, medical, restaurant, retail and warehouse occupations.

There will be drawings for prizes donated by employers, as well as a student/employer lunch.

For more information on the event, contact Helen Junker at the East Valley SELPA Transition Partnership Project at (909) 252-4514.

With Black Community Awareness of Obamacare Benefits Falling Short of Expectations

McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

California advocates and consumers urge renewed effort and focus

By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

Last May, Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace,  announced the awarding of $37 million in grants that would flow to a total of nearly 300 organizations, all working to conduct outreach and develop tailored education plans about affordable health care coverage available through the state exchange.

Targeting a total of 9 million Californians, 32 grants were said to be focused on African-American outreach, compared to 37 targeting Latinos. Twenty-seven grants were focused on Caucasian outreach and education, with 20 aimed at the Asian-Pacific Islander community.

These efforts are widely perceived to have been in good faith. But with so few African-Americans enrolled in Obamacare benefits through the state exchange questions linger about the effectiveness of the outreach. As of last month, only about 11,000 blacks were on the Covered California rolls, representing about 3.1 percent of enrollees, despite numbering seven percent of the state’s total population..

“We definitely need to increase the outreach to African-Americans,” said Karen D. Lincoln, a professor of social work at the University of Southern California and founder of the organization Advocates for African-American Elders. “I think the fact that the primary method of enrollment is via the Internet, there is a large segment of our population who cannot enroll. Now, among the general population of African-Americans, there is certainly more use of social media, but access can be a problem.

Advocates are now stepping in to help boost the effectiveness of the outreach. For example, The California Endowment, in partnership with DHCS, has launched a $23 million statewide effort to boost Medi-Cal enrollment in 36 counties across the state.

Considering the numbers, those efforts appear to be worthwhile. According to Covered California, as of 2013 there were 8.5 million Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal. Thanks to Obamacare, up to two million more residents of are expected to be eligible this year, with a significant percentage of those potential enrolleesbelieved to be African-American.

Thomas Duncan, CEO of Trusted Health Plan, a Washington D.C.-based managed healthcare organization, argues that African-Americans are poised to be among the chief benefactors of the healthcare law. In an article entitled “African-Americans will benefit greatly from Obamacare,” published February 6 in the International Business Times, Duncan wrote that a disproportionate percentage of blacks will become newly eligible for health coverage.

“Prior to the Affordable Care Act, our nation’s healthcare system was discriminatory to both lower- and middle-wage workers,” he wrote. “But now, Obamacare opens the door to preventive, primary, and strategic specialty care for millions of African-Americans and others.”

“Black people, we need that,” said Joseph Thomas, a 31-year-old Woodland Hills resident. He estimates that the Covered California plan he recently obtained online with his domestic partner would save their household about $1,200 per year. “[It’s important because] we don’t seem to go to the doctor as regularly as we should, but we always seem to have health issues and die earlier.”

To find out where you or a loved one can enroll in person go to www.coveredca.com and click on find local help.

Next week: In African-American communities statewide, churches remain the de facto town square. How are black faith organizations stepping up to encourage enrollment in affordable healthcare?

Check the Flex of Top Fitness Professional: Diana Hex

Diana Hex

Diana Hex

LOS ANGELES, CA- As we close out Black History Month and jump into Woman’s History Month in March, we would love to introduce our readers to professional dancer and celebrity trainer, Diana Hex, who not only is breaking barriers in the aerobics arena but is also a full time mom who exemplifies why we celebrate “Women’s History Month”.

Hex is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but grew up in Los Angeles. Dancing has always been embedded in her genes. Her mother was a professional dancer, so she has taken on the torch and followed in her footsteps. As she evolved into the world of dance, Diana started teaching Hip-Hop and Cardio Sculpt at the Madonna Grimes Dance/Fitness Theater in West Los Angeles when she was asked to join an aerobics class. At first it was tiring, but the more that she became involved in it, she started to fall in love with it; and her fitness journey in competitions began.

“I really just broadened my whole world,” she stated.

This year is off to a running start for the fitness coach. She recently participated in The Fit Expo, which was held in Los Angeles, where she participated as a model for Promera Sports. As one of the company’s newest ambassadors, she handed out products and motivated participation in contests and poster signings by IFBB bodybuilder Fred “Biggie” Smalls and IFBB bikini model Ana Delia De Iturrondo. The event set the bar for more opportunities resulting in an invitation to participate in The Arnold Sports Festival and Fitness Weekend, which kicks off on February 28 in Ohio.

In addition to the expo events, the former LA Clipper’s cheer leader’s primary goal for this year is to get back into competitions. She will be participating in “Ms Fitness Inland Empire” on April 5 in Corona, and “Miss Fitness Hollywood” on June 28. It has been over five years since she was involved in a competition. The last one was in 2009 where she won fourth place in the “Miss Fitness” competition.

“I want to get back into it. I’m very excited and confident. I feel that I am in the best shape of my life”, Ms. Hex said.

Other plans for the year include participation in the LA Marathon for the first time; choreographing and assisting as the associate producer of an exercise video that is designed to motivate others to have fun while getting in shape; she will also be finishing her book entitled, Diana Hex: 30 Day Success Journal, which will showcase her passion for dance and helping others reach their goals; and she will be continuing to teach her Zumba classes throughout the week.

Overall, Diana Hex wants to assist others in completing their journey to become better within themselves on a healthier scale. Many of us start an exercise regiment and stick to it for a few days, but then we fall off. For starters, the sought after coach has provided three easy steps to help in accomplishing your goals, which is to create a fitness collage of the things that inspire you that you can look back at and reflect on; next is to find a role model that can help get you on the right track; and lastly, create a 3-by-3 month plan of your goals, write them down and hang them up somewhere.

For more tips or to take a Zumba class, please visit www.dianahexfitness.com. She is accepting new choreography and training clients and would be glad to assist you in getting back on the right track.