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Community Spotlight: Mrs. Highland Plus America, Amber Johnson, Helps to Strengthen the County of San Bernardino

For those who are familiar with the pageant world, you may know that the young women who compete and win the crowns are all for giving back and contributing to their communities in major ways. Amber Johnson, Mrs. Highland Plus America, is not only representing her County of San Bernardino, but she also represents all women of color and is a shining example of millennials achieving greatness.

“What inspired me to get involved with the pageant was to help my city,” Johnson explains. “That was the biggest thing for me. It wasn’t really the pageant; it was more about having the platform to represent my city, my county, and to really help [the] community out because I don’t see a lot of people out there helping to build San Bernardino and that is what I wanted to do.”

Johnson just completed the Ronald McDonald Walk For Kids event on Sunday, April 2 which was held in Ontario. She is also an advocate on animal cruelty where she will be doing an animal walk on May 20 to raise awareness around the affects surrounding cruelty against animals. In addition to her youth and animal efforts, she is a regular volunteer at the Helping Hands Food Pantry.

To view more of what Amber Johnson is involved in watch the interview below:

Food for All! PAL Center Hosts First Annual Community Cookout

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The PAL Center hosted its first annual Community Cookout on Saturday, March 18. The day consisted of fellowship among people from backgrounds, great music, and some good down home cooking.

The invitation was extended to community members, students, and staff who assist weekly in the Food Distribution Program.  There were 70 to 80 people who brought family and friends, in addition to students who participated in earning community service hours and work experience. 

The event is the school’s effort to say “Thank You” to the great people who contribute to building a better community. “We believe in working collaboratively with organizations such as the Community Action Partnership, San Bernardino Valley College, and Westside Kinship Support Services who help make our work a success,” Dwaine Radden, Sr., Chief Executive Officer, said.

To date the PAL Center has assisted 40 to 60 families on average with boxes of food and 15 to 20 students, parents, and citizen volunteers with community service opportunities every week. The PAL Center represents the family atmosphere of a village investing in the best interest of the people it serves through education, employment training, and outreach.  This is a great way we can make a positive impact on everyone involved. 

“It’s a win-win” says CEO Dwaine Radden, Sr.  “We recognize there is a large homeless population in this area, and poverty and hunger are two issues we can actually do something about. The PAL Center is proud to address these issues especially when it involves our youth and breaking down those obstacles that would hinder them from getting their education. “

If you would like more information about all that the PAL Center does, please visit www.palcharteracademy.com.

Ronald McDonald House for Charities Assist in Saving Malake McGee’s Life

McGee 1ONTARIO, CA- On January 27, 2001, Malake D. McGee was born at Miller’s Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, California. At birth, he was diagnosed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Meconium Aspiration Syndrome and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension. During the first few hours of birth he was placed on a ventilator that was to help break down the meconium in his lungs. The ventilator wasn’t working so the doctor on duty suggested he be transferred to a Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for a more intense procedure.

Malake was transported to CHLA by helicopter. Upon arrival, he was placed on another type of ventilator for 48 hours. The ventilator was not working so he went through a major procedure called Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. This procedure requires a cannula to be placed in a large vessel in the neck where the blood drains from and returns to the veins. During this time he was heavily sedated. When dad Michael McGee had to sign off for the surgery, the surgeon asked if he had gotten any sleep and he stated “NO” not for three days.

The surgeon told him about the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House (LARMH). When his dad went and spoke with LARMH they had no rooms available. Later on that night when the surgeon saw Michael he asked him if he had gotten a room and he stated “no”. The next day a social worker contacted Michael to introduce herself. Later that day she called him with good news informing him that they had a room available for him and his family at the LARMH.

For two weeks LARMH helped EASE the family’s state of mind while going through this journey by talking to other families with different journeys. LARMH gives you HOPE knowing that the staff, volunteers and other companies are caring, inviting and treats you as if you are a part of their very own. 

By volunteering at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House throughout the year and raising funds for the Walk For Kids, the family feels they are able to give back to an organization that was able to help them during a time when we really needed it. 

You can also give back to the Ronald McDonald House by participating in the Walk For Kids event this Sunday, April 2 at Citizen Banks Arena in Ontario. For more information, please visit www.walkforkids.org.