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Raising Your Kin

Challenges faced by Children Raised by Extended Family Members


The Impact of the Hispanaic Community In the Sacramento Region

TYPE II DIABETES: A Family’s Fight Fact, Fiction and Consequences of a Silent and Deadly Disease

IN THE NAME OF LOVE The Life and Journey of Pastor Alex Vaiz and Ministerios Centro de Alabanza

CONTENTS Larishia Johnson Editor In Chief I had an entirely different opening prepared than what you’re reading now. It was nice, I extended accolades and thanks to the CL team (which I still do, you all are the BEST); it was informative; I made sure you knew all the good details of what’s inside. It was safe, expected and well – ordinary. It wasn’t until my husband asked me what I intended to write about that it hit me – people are expecting more than the ordinary, they want the extraordinary. It surprised me to hear the anticipation in his voice, eager to get a “sneak peak” of what was I was to say next. When God begins elevating and using you in your gifts and talents, don’t just do play it safe, dig deep and tap into the extra --- more than --- ordinary. I believe it please God and blesses people. This month is filled with extraordinary stories about the lives of extraordinary people, just like you. For our cover story, we sit down with Pastor Alex Vaiz of Centro de Alabanza (CDA); it’s a candid discussion of personal victories and challenges within ministry. We also speak honestly about issues affecting the Hispanic community, such as immigration reform, and how CDA is positioned to bring about change. You’ll read about the “Funky Transformation” of Elder Frederick Stewart, founding member with his brother Sylvester, of Sly & The Family Stone. And as always, there’s so much more. I pray you find something to relate to along the way, something that makes you laugh or smile along the way; better still, something that brings you hope along the way. Are you ready for the extraordinary? Let’s go! Live Centered!

Centered Living Team Contributing Editor Pastor P. M. Lovelace, Jr. Editing & Marketing Consultant Russell Nichols Spanish Editor L. Hazel Romero Copy Vicki Mongan, Copy Editor Design Rhonda Boglin, Design Editor Louise Pugh, staff designer Ray James, staff designer Felix Perez, staff designer

Photo Tracey Jacobs, staff photographer Judy Rasberry, staff photographer Writers Thurman “T” Watts, staff writer Teresa Holmes, staff writer Daphne Harris, staff writer Bycha Buxton, staff writer Cheryl Jackson, staff writer Administration Cheryl Jackson – admin. asst.

FEATURES 03 Type II Diabetes; A Family’s Fight 07 Reflections: 20 Year Stories 10 Autism Awareness 10 Books for Your Soul 15 Good Eats THE REDEMPTION CENTER 04 Raising Your Kin? 05 The Funky Transformation of Frederick Stewart

COVER STORY 07 In The Name of Love The Life and Journey of Pastor Alex Vaiz and Ministerios Centro de Alabanza

THE JUSTICE CENTER 09 Power of One Voice THE EMPOWERMENT CENTER 11 Impact of Hispanic Community

TYPE II Diabetes: A family’s fight developing Type 2 diabetes than others, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the elderly. According to the ADA, “In Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cellsin the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.”

The Diagnosis

Our Story Before you decide if you need to read this article, please take a moment to explore some of the realities of this deadly disease. Diabetes, or as many refer to it, “Sugar,” has invaded my other half — my husband, and the results are not pretty. I invite you to come with me into the realities of daily living with a diabetic who did not heed the early warning signs.

Imagine waking up every morning to greet the promise of a day filled with a structured regimen that my husband must follow for his body to function normally. Before he can eat breakfast or grab a cup of coffee, Carl has to prick his finger to test blood levels, inject himself with insulin to adjust the high sugar count, tally the carbohydrates in the food he is about to eat, and then inject himself again with long-term insulin to keep his blood sugar balanced throughout the day. After he logs all the information, he has to take medications for complications that can arise, like high blood pressure, or nausea from Gastroparesis (a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents), and various other ailments. Not only does he do this in the morning, he must repeat it before each meal. My husband has Type 2 diabetes, and we stick to this ritual every day.

What IS Type II Diabetes? According to the

American Diabetes Association (ADA) (www., Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. Of the 23.6 million Americans, only 17.9 million have been diagnosed; the remaining 5.7 million don’t even know they have it. Another 57 million have a condition pre-diabetes, which puts them at serious risk for developing the disease. And some groups have a higher risk for

Carl was first diagnosed in 1997, but we don’t know how long he actually had the disease before doctors discovered it. Carl’s life had been on a downward spiral; he was addicted to on heroin for about 25 years. This allowed the disease to ease its way into his body and create chaos without being detected until it was too late. Thank God, he changed his life and is now on a much different path, but the seeds were planted and the harvest has grown.

The Accident Victims of diabetes not only

have to worry about high blood sugar, but the constant bombardment of too much sugar in the bloodstream eventually effects every other part of their bodies, directly or indirectly. In September 2008, Carl suffered a seizure from a medication he takes for nausea and collapsed on the kitchen floor, breaking his right ankle.

By Cheryl Jackson

Education Is Key Maybe you don’t currently

have this terrible disease and you don’t know anyone suffering from diabetes, so you wonder how this article can affect your life. It’s impor tant to know, for example, that of the 26.5million Americans who have Type 2 Diabetes, African Americans are the most affected. About one in every nine African Americans (11.8 percent), have diabetes Type 2. Hispanics follow with 10.4 percent, and 7.5 percent of Asians and 6.6 percent of Caucasians have Type II Diabetes.

Where to Find Help To learn more about

this disease, I stress that see your doctor early and regularly. Also, the ADA offers a free online riskscreening test at, along with a great deal of good information. Tales of diabetes complications similar to our have been repeated over countless of years. If we understand some of the possible origins and learn about what contributes to the onset of the disease, perhaps we can reduce the numbers of new cases and stop the deadly cycle.

List of resources:

The American Diabetes Association

The American Dietetic Association

Because the diabetes had compromised his system, the doctor was afraid to risk surgery, so she put him in a cast and kept him off his feet. After eight weeks, she told him his ankle was strong enough, but Carl fell in the front yard two months later and fractured the weakened ankle again. Another doctor again tried to strengthen his ankle without surgery, and once again, on our anniversary in July, he again broke the same ankle, this time causing the bone to penetrate the skin. Doctors then had no choice but to perform the surgery this time. After eight weeks in bed, eight weeks in a cast, and six weeks in a boot, he is finally walking again. Although Carl’s condition may seem bad, believe me, it could be much worse. God has truly watched over my husband, and his leg has healed wonderfully. In spite of this, I wonder if we could have avoided some of the suffering we experience now by early detection and intervention.

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Funky By: Thurman “Tee” Watts

Q: Didn’t you have a hand in co-writing those

I first met Elder Frederick Stewart in 2001 at Evangelist Temple, the church he pastors in Vallejo, California. Something drew me to the church that day. I interviewed him shortly after and the audio of our conversation is currently posted at . In that interview, among other things, is Elder Stewart’s description of being raised in the COGIC church and his foray into the world as a founding member, with his brother Sylvester, of Sly & The Family Stone. He describes their ascent to the top of the charts, the worldly glory of playing at the Woodstock Music Festival for a quarter of a million people, and his subsequent descent toward hell and spiritual rebirth. For those familiar with the 60s, the canon of Sly & the Family Stone ushered in the genre of music called funk. Along with James Brown, George Clinton and other acts that followed in the 70s, the Family Stone raised the ante of popular music and its effect is still apparent today. Indeed Freddie (Stewart) Stone’s guitar chops, as a lead and rhythm player, put Bay Area funk on the music map and are revered as essential to the repertoire and development of a funk guitarist. What follows is a recent interview from March, 2010. For more information on Frederick Stewart, visit www.

Q: So what’s going on with your ministry these

days? F.S: The ministry is flourishing. The people I’ve been blessed to shepherd are growing spiritually. I believe they are excited and encouraged despite these difficult times. We are doing quite well.

Q: How long have you been preaching the

Gospel? How has the journey been for you? F.S: I started in preaching in 1986, pastoring in 1994. The journey has been quite different than I thought it would be. It is the most interesting thing I’ve ever done. There’s always something new to learn and experience from believers in Christ. They are incredible.

Q: What is the most difficult challenge you have faced since becoming pastor? F.S: It’s knowing where the lines of demarcation are. How far you can or cannot go.

Q: I know the secular music world still pulls at

you and that you took a stand on that a long time

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songs from the Family Stone catalogue? F.S: I was just there when Sly wrote them. I do know that when you are around good people, some of their goodness falls off on you. To paraphrase Scripture, if you want to be wise, hang around wise people. I like to think that I had something to offer when he hung around me. Also, I had the privilege of interpreting the guitar part the way I saw fit after the basic tracks were laid.

Q: Wrapping it up, Freddie, my guitar playing

ago and have remained firm. Can you talk about that? F.S: At our church, I teach that if there are songs that do not contradict Scripture, then by all means sing them, learn them, love them. I only come against songs that contradict Scripture.

friends would never forgive me if I didn’t ask about your axe. There is a letter from the great George Duke on your Web site that states in part, “I’ve been a fan of your guitar playing and singing since before I picked up the guitar. A piano player as a child, it was your playing on tunes like, ‘You Can Make It If You Try’ and ‘Love City’ that compelled me to pick up guitar. I’ve always wondered if that guitar you played in the 60s a Gibson L4 CES?” So my question to you today, sir, is how would you answer that question and what are you using today? F.S: Wow! He was close. It was a Gibson L5. I loved it. It’s not my favorite, but I loved it nonetheless. Right now I’m playing a Gibson SG, the kind my mother had. I also use an old Washburn that I’ve had modified. It’s more the size of a Gibson Birdland Hollow Body, with a nice sound to it. But the SG fits my fancy right now.

Q: Can you tell us how often you get pulled at by Q: The new CD will drop this summer? the world to perform the old music in the way that you used to do? F.S: I get contacted quite a few times a year about going out and doing a secular gig, or joining other musicians and doing a Family Stone catalogue. I tell people at this point that it’s too late. I’ve been doing praise and worship songs so long, that to go out and do a two hour Family Stone set is almost foreign to me. Just a few weeks ago at a surprise pastor’s appreciation evening service, my niece Lisa encouraged me to play “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” and while I had a great time playing it, it had been so long since I’d played it and sang it at the same time, that I had a problem. In December of 2008, I conducted a praise and worship service at Grace Chapel in Inglewood, California with my sisters Rose and Vet, my niece Lisa and my daughters Kristi and Stacey. We did a rendition of “Thank You” and the whole church got up as if it were time for the rapture! I said to myself who are these folks in this place?

F.S.: Yes.

Q: We hope to revisit you then. Thanks for blessing us with your time. F.S: Bless you and Centered Living as well.

Thurman “Tee” Watts is your CyberSoul man. He’s the Music Director at KPFZ FM 88.1, Lake County Community Radio; check him out at You can also find him at his internet Blues show that broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. PST ; check it out at . In addition Tee is a noted music journalist and writes regularly for,, and www.

Raising Your Kin

By: Teresa Holmes

a measurable reading achievement gap for low-income neighborhood children between 2 and 6 years old who were being raised by a grandparent. Laura Pittman, associate professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University, co-authored a study that analyzed the impact of this phenomenon on adolescents. Although Pittman determined that academic achievement levels were not adversely affected among teens, she observed that children raised by grandparents “had higher rates of externalizing problems,” resulting in delinquency inside and outside of school. There are many stressors that contribute to the challenges faced by children raised by family members other than their biological parents. Incompatible childrearing techniques, limited incomes of retired grandparents and the behavioral problems children may develop are just a few. Grandparents and family members who have stepped up to the challenge of parenting someone who is not their own child should be commended for their commitment and effort. There are several resources that cater to assisting them with relating to the minors for whom they provide care. An example of such support is the Lilliput Kinship program run by Lilliput Children’s Services.

Every day, thousands of grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and aunts are pouring their hearts and souls into raising children whose parents are absent for various reasons. It’s statistically proven that children in such situations face an uphill battle. Here are some statistics regarding this issue: 1. There are more than 4.5 million minors living with a grandparent. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) 2. Of the 4.5 million minors living with a grandparent, 2.4 million children are being raised primarily by a grandparent. This number has been on a steady incline.

Lilliput is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 by William H. Fuser. Fuser’s original goal was to provide foster homes to children in the child-welfare system. His agency began in California’s Central Valley and has expanded significantly throughout Northern California. Lilliput’s Kinship program was established in 2007 to help children living with family members who are not their biological parents. The program offers caregivers assistance with counseling services, childcare, tutoring, recreational opportunities for children, and support groups. A local instantiation of the Lilliput Kinship program is Lilliput Kinections—a support group that convenes at the Fruitridge Community Center at 4000 Fruitridge Road in Sacramento. Caregivers in attendance receive resources regarding legal rights, medical and financial assistance, and more. There are grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and aunts caring for children right here in our area and they need your help. If you or someone you know needs information on obtaining services, volunteering or giving financial support, visit

3. In Illinois, more than 200,000 children live with a grandparent as their primary caregiver. (Illinois Department of Aging) 4. California leads the nation with more than 300,000 minors being raised by a grandparent or other family member.

The challenges encountered by children raised by other families are clearly documented. A recent study published in the Applied Developmental Science journal reported that there was

Born in Madera California, and raised in the Northern bay area , Teresa is an aspiring reporter and dedicated youth advocate Founder of S.O.S Sisters offering support. Teresa enjoys working in the community, works to support foster youth and loves jazz.

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yrs COP’s Founding Members Share Their Memories

CL: How did you come to find yourselves at COP? What events led up to that? Deborah: It was interesting, we had a really good relationship with Pastor. We spent of lot of time outside of church with him; Brian and Pastor were supportive of each other and had a great friendship. Brian and I were a new young couple and we all just connected. Pastor would talk a lot about the vision he had about Center of Praise. As time went on, it was time to move out on the vision, and we were in full support of him. CL: Recall your first worship service at COP --- where was it at? What stood out about the day? Brian: The first service was at the El Rancho Hotel, in Rancho Cordova. I can remember my wife and Portia Stewart were the hostesses and they wore bridesmaid dresses! We had to carry all of our equipment in, nothing was there, so we had drums, and keyboards, and a podium…about 20-30 chairs. We did this for a couple of months. Deborah: Yeah, the very first service was an evening service. Brian: It was like bringing the Church to the hotel! Deborah: Yes! It was a church on the go --- a mobile church. Every time we had a service, we were packin’ it up! Brian: I forget the number of people who attended, but there were only about a handful there. Deborah: The thing I recall most about it is that we were all so excited! We’d had meetings before, but this was a REAL service… And by the way, we only wore those bridesmaids dresses because we wanted to match…it’s all in the presentation! CL: What is your fondest or funniest memory? Brian: We use to have praise and worship conventions…those were nice. We would have Carlton Pearson --- it was just nice. Deborah: For me, there was the time when we went with the Stewarts and Pastor up to Yuba City, to this small church. After the service was over, we were all in the parking lot, just talking about what it was going to be like when the doors of COP actually opened.

Another fond memory I have was around the time when we were at the Power Center. My son was about 7 or 8 at the time and he had a really bad cold and was taking cough medicine. One night while giving him his medicine in the clear plastic measuring cup that came with the cough syrup, my son says, “do this in remembrance of Me…” He took his cough medicine as if it were Communion. Brian: I can also look back in fondness of the fact that we really were like a jacks of all trades at the time. We worked with the youth and a lot of other ministries, it was fun just to have been a help. CL: Where do you see COP in the next 20 years? Deborah: I would like to see more church planting. I mean, I love the fact that people come from all over, to the center of the city to come together, but I think from the perspective of maintaining balance and family life, it would be nice to have to opportunity to have churches locally in some of the areas. I think that the history of COP has always been that whatever we have built, we have outgrown it, so I don’t think there will ever be one building that brings the solution to that. And that’s ok, because I would love for everybody to have some place to go, a COP to go to in their own community. As well as something available on a larger scale in midtown. Again, I think this would help us keep families in perspective. Brian: I would like to see COP working more with the youth to be more involved in the direction the church is moving in the future --being more of a support and mentors to our youth. Deborah: The last thing I would like to leave with CL readers is that I think that a lot of the resource ministries available at COP are extremely underutilized. So, I would encourage people to really take advantage of the resources available at COP; they change lives.

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In The Name of Love

The Life and Journey of Pastor Alex Vaiz and Centro de Alabanza By Larishia Johnson

Growing up as the son of a preacher, he wanted nothing to do with the church. Weary from a rebellious youth Alex Vaiz found himself ready to end his life, but God intervened and called him right from that state. Twenty years later, Pastors Alex and Liz Vaiz preside over Centro de Alabanza, the Spanishspeaking celebration of Center of Praise Ministries, serving a diverse congregation from eight countries. In this exclusive interview with Centered Living Pastor Alex talks about his background and finding balance as a pastor, husband and child of God. CL: Tell us the journey of Alex Vaiz

Vaiz: I grew up in a Christian home,

my dad was a pastor, and I grew up not knowing anything outside of living a life of ministry. I was a true PK (preacher’s kid). I saw the life of my parents as a negative because they didn’t live for

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understanding, I ran away from the call. I didn’t want to be in ministry, and I especially didn’t want to be a pastor. If I was a Christian, okay, but I didn’t want to be in ministry. I had experiences with God, I knew He was real, but I didn’t want to accept Jesus as my Lord. I didn’t want to serve Him. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I rebelled as a teenager, getting into wrong relationships, experimenting with things I shouldn’t have experimented with, but I got tired of it. It was destroying me and everything around me; it wasn’t fun anymore. I knew it was God taking me through the Prodigal Son experience. I came to the point where it was either taking my life, or accepting Christ. When I was right at the moment of thinking about it, that’s when the Lord intervened. That’s when I confessed Him (Jesus) as Lord. I immediately felt my purpose at the age of 17, and that was the call to preach. I embraced it fully. My pulpit was the streets. I didn’t seek

licensing or Bible college. All I wanted to do was share Jesus. That desire has taken me to great places across the country. While traveling, I began to understand that my life was for ministry so I decided to equip myself and went Bible college, studying pastoral ministry. From there it’s history. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s been 20 years of foundation for what’s now and for what’s to come. CL: How do you and your wife, Pastor Liz find balance with maintaining your marriage, family and a ministry?

Vaiz: When you find the answer, please come and let me know (laughs). I’ll tell you this: What characterizes the ministry now, is that I cannot do what I do right now without my family life. I didn’t understand that in the past I had it backwards. I was so in love with ministry; ministry became more important than my family. When it all comes down to it, it’s about family

because churches are made of families. If

you’re not ministering to the family, you’re not ministering to the church. All you’re doing is being religious. When it’s all about relationships, transformation happens. The key thing about family is that even though they know God is first place in your life, they still feel like they’re first place in your life. My wife and I understand that God is first in each of our lives, but yet we make each other feel like we’re first. CL: Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about Centro de Alabanza (CDA) and primarily Spanish-speaking churches. There’s a common misconception that most Spanish speaking churches are made up of Mexican and Mexican-American families when, the reality is, the Hispanic community is extremely diverse. Dispel some of those myths for us.


When you look at the demographics, especially in California, and really throughout the country, you do see mostly Mexican and MexicanAmericans. However, since the 1980s there has been such an influx of Latin countries into the States so that now, Mexicans are not so much the predominant race within the Latin or Hispanic communities. More and more people are coming to the U.S. that are from Central and South America. What characterizes us at CDA is our diversity. We represent eight countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States with the Hispanic Americans. We didn’t go out to the nations, but rather the nations come to us. We’re an international church. CL: What is the vision of CDA and how do you plan to carry that out?


When CDA started God specifically told my wife and I that this church was not only going to reach Hispanics in this region, but that we would prepare people to be sent out to the nations. Our vision is to win souls, disciple t hem, equip them and then send them out to do the work that God has called them to do. We’re not looking to retain people; we’re looking to send people. Our vision lines up so much with Center of Praise (COP) --- that’s why God placed us here. CL: It’s been an observation that, at least regionally, the Hispanic voice has yet to be heard. What are the regional needs of this community and how do you plan to work toward meeting those needs?

Vaiz: Social justice is a big part of what COP and CDA are all about. The greatest needs of the Hispanic community, as I see them, are the need for Hispanics to understand their value in this society; particularly in this region, the need for immigration reform, the need for

spiritual transformation and the need for total family ministry. The Hispanic community needs to first and foremost understand that they are valuable to this city and to this region. They’re not just an extra hand needed to cut the lawn; they’re a valuable people – just as human as everybody else. This is particularly difficult in the Sacramento region. If you go to places like Los Angeles, the Hispanic culture is openly celebrated; we call it Espanidad. It’s not really celebrated here in Sacramento, and when it is, it’s not enough.

for is the Catholic church, but they do not find the same Catholic church. I love “When you read preaching to the Immigrants God’s Word because here in America. you love Him.... It It’s the most amazing thing keeps you grounded, because when balanced and they find Christ, they find home.

Secondly, one of the biggest political issues we’ve faced in the U.S. in the last few years is immigration reform. I don’t like to get too involved with politics, but as a church we’ve been given a voice and a platform that we should take full advantage of. CDA is strategically placed, several blocks away from the State Capitol

Fourth, and lastly, there’s the need within the Hispanic community for the whole family to be serviced. You find manyhomes with parents working multiple jobs with horrible schedules out of necessity, and the children are left to care for themselves. Our challenge is to minister to the entire family unit and CDA really focuses on that. The key for us is family --- if we can minister to the family, we can minister to the church and the community. Many of the Hispanic immigrants come here to the U.S. not because they want to, but because they have to. I never came face to face with the immigrant population as much as I do now in ministering at CDA. That face-to-face interaction lets you see the reality. Seeing life through an immigrant’s eyes is understanding that they have such an uphill climb, and I admire them.


CL: Where do see CDA and yourself in 20 years?


Honestly, I just want to know God more than I do now. I don’t seek Him for ministry. I seek Him because He loved me first. It’s His love that I want to grow in – in knowing it and resembling it. In the next 20 years, I’m also looking at many churches planted, and many people being equipped to be sent out. The Lord has already blessed us with a church plant in Dallas, Texas called Centro de Alabanza, Dallas. CL: At the end of the day, what is it that keeps you centered?

because there is a voice that needs to be heard. Immigration reform is desperately needed and it Vaiz: God’s love --- there’s nothing than can pull has to be done. We don’t want to separate families you away from it --- that and His Word. When my and discriminate. What we want to do is value life, wife and I first met, we maintained a long distance culture and diversity. I understand and respect the relationship; it was difficult because I wanted to laws. I recognize that there is a right way to come see her. But every time her letters would come, into the country and I agree that our borders my heart would beat, and I couldn’t wait God are to be protected from those who aim to open them. I would read that letter specifically told to harm. Yet, we have to deal with my wife and I that this over and over again. It would hold me the immigrants already here and not over for an entire week or two until discriminate, displace and separate church was not only going the next one came in. It was just a to reach Hispanics in this families. These are people who letter, just a paper with words all have worked hard to earn an honest region, but that we would over it. But what made that letter so living and support their families. prepare people to be sent powerful was the person that wrote Third, there is the need for the out to the nations. it, and how much I loved that person. Hispanics to come out of spiritual There is nothing like a love letter from darkness and many times come out from the one you love --- and that you know under the oppression of the Catholic church in loves you back --- it changes your life. When you their country of origin In Latin America, the read God’s Word because you love Him, and you Catholic and Evangelical churches do not partner know He loves you, it changes your life entirely. like they sometimes do here in America. So when It keeps you grounded, balanced and centered. they come to the States the first thing they look

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each individual has an address and that address falls into a district. These district lines determine where your community falls and that plays a part in determining how census funds are allocated and distributed within the country. Listed below are the districts and their representatives. You can get to know these individuals by observing or participating in your county’s board of supervisors public meetings, held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Sacramento County. To obtain more information about what is occurring in your community take a look at your county’s board of supervisors’ web site (see for Sacramento County ). Each resident in a district has a right to know how money is delegated and distributed in the community. Thanks to the Brown Act, representatives are required to make information public and available within 10 days of a request. The Brown Act states, “Meetings of public bodies must be ‘open and public,’ actions may not be secret, and action taken in violation of open meetings laws may be voided.” (§§ 54953(a), 54953(c), 54960.1(d) (see ).


he census can be a powerful tool in starting to use your political voice and its representation. During the week of March 8, 2010, you should have received a letter from the United States Census Bureau (USCB), reminding you to look for and return your census form by April 1, 2010. This article is the first in a series of articles that will help some learn and remind others the power our voice carries and how to exercise it mentally, spiritually and politically. We begin by examining how to identify elected individuals, charged with representing our interests, and how to let our voices be heard. This month our focus is on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. What the Census Means to You California will receive approximately $1,700 per year per person over the next 10 years for every person that returns his or her census form. This money is to be used to: 1) run governments, 2) create and sustain transportation systems, 3) educate children and students in the community, 4) sustain medical health systems, 5) establish senior centers, and 6) support public works, (like fire, police and utilities), facilities and infrastructures (like bridges, and tunnels) within the community. The U.S. government is allocating approximately $400 million annually over the next 10 years for the aforementioned services. As citizens, we have the right to ensure that the funds be used to best serve our community and individual needs. What’s Districting Got to Do with It? The U.S. Constitution states under Article I Section 2 that, “A Representative is designated to each group of 30,000 individuals living in the United States.” This individual takes an oath to represent the welfare of the individuals identified in their district or territory. In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 11 “The Voters FIRST Act,” which placed the responsibility of redrawing the district lines back in the hands of the voters through the newly established Citizens Redistricting Commission ( You may be asking at this point why is this important; why do I care? Well,

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Identify your district based on the cities listed below and take a look at the American FactFinder ( to see what the census data says about your community. The key issues in the news today deal with healthcare and its reform, funds allocated in our educational system and its shortfall, changes in our public transportation services and the potential of developing a high-speed rail system. Tune in next month when we focus on the cities of Elk Grove, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Roseville and Sacramento. We’ll identify representatives and the changes that may occur through the voting process in the June 8, 2010 primary election ( Now that you have returned your census form, take the next step and register to vote before the May 24, 2010 deadline to claim the power of one voice. Sacramento County

District 1 - City of Sacramento (Natomas, North Highlands-Foothill Farms, Rio LindaElverta, South Sacramento Roger Dickinson (916) 874-5485; FAX (916) 874-7593 District 2 - City of Sacramento (South Sacramento) Jimmie Yee (916) 874-5481; FAX (916) 874-7593 District 3 - City of Sacramento (Arden Arcade, Carmichael, North Highlands-Foothill Farms Susan Peters (916) 874-5471; FAX (916) 874-7593 District 4 - Cities of Folsom and Citrus Heights (Antelope, Fair Oaks, Orangevale) Roberta McGlashan (916) 874-5491; FAX (916) 874-7593 District 5 - Cities of Galt, Isleton, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova (Cordova, Consumnes, Delta, South Sacramento, Southeast Area, and Vineyard) Don Nottoli (916) 874-5465; FAX (916) 874-7593

The following information is taken from the Autism Society of America: Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today. In February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of 8 year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys. The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to the Autism Society or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of autism spectrum disorder. Nonetheless, the spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life: • Lack of or delay in spoken language • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects) • Little or no eye contact • Lack of interest in peer relationships • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play • Persistent fixation on parts of objects Why is early intervention so important? Early intervention is defined as services delivered to children from birth to age 3, and research shows that it has a dramatic impact on reducing the symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Studies in early childhood development have shown that the youngest brains are the most flexible. In autism, we see that intensive early intervention yields a tremendous amount of progress in children by the time they enter kindergarten, often reducing the need for intensive supports.

Get Educated; Get Involved There are many ways to get involved in the autism community. The benefits of being involved in the autism community are many—not the least of which is educating yourself about the most appropriate treatments and resources available to help your loved one on the spectrum.

Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story, by Benjamin S. Carson

Not My Boy! A Father, A Son, and One Family’s Journey with Autism by Rodney Peete and Danelle Morton

Taken from the back cover:

Book of The Month

Gifted Hands, by and about Ben Carson, M.D., is the inspiring story of an inner-city kid with poor grades and little motivation, who at age 33, became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Gifted Hands will transplace you into the operating room to witness surgeries that made headlines around the world, and into the private mind of a compassionate, God-fearing physician who lives to help others. Gifted Hands reveals a man with humility, decency, compassion, courage, and sensitivity who serves as a role model for young people (and everyone else) in need of encouragement to attempt the seemingly impossible and to excel in whatever they attempt. Dr. Carson also describes the key role that his highly intelligent though relatively uneducated mother played in his metamorphosis from an unmotivated youngster from the ghetto to one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the world.

Taken from the front flap:

In Not My Boy!, Rodney Peete offers not only a heart rendering, candid look inside his personal journey with his son’s Autism but a first-of-itskind, road map that will that will help families facing similar challenges to move forward. Effectively woven throughout Peete’s moving account of his life with his son R.J. are the powerful voices, insights and dreams of other fathers, high profile figures as well as unsung heroes, who’ve traveled this difficult path. After R.J.’s diagnosis at the age of three Peete moved from a place of anger and denial and joined his wife, Holly, in her efforts to help their son. With determination, love, and understanding, the family worked with R.J. to help him once again engage with the world. Eight years later, R.J. has gone from the son one doctor warned would never say “I love you”, to a thriving, vibrant boy who scored his first soccer goal while his dad cheered from the sidelines.

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n many instances positive headlines are not the prominent ones seen when it comes to Hispanics in the news in America. Perceptions of Hispanics in the United States (U.S.) have long been misconstrued, primarily due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. But misunderstandings about race and culture are nothing new in the U.S. Right or wrong, our thinking as a society, in general, has been to think of people in terms of categories and labels. These categories and labels are many times birthed out of fear and misapprehensions, which are often the direct result of the reluctance many of us have to step

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out of our comfort zone to learn truths about somebody who isn’t like us. It can be an uncomfortable thing, but moving out of the familiar affords powerful opportunities to make lasting positive impact into the lives of many. Take a look at some stories you many not have heard about.

International News: Mexican Telecom Tycoon Named World’s Richest Man After coming in third place last year, Carlos “Slim” Helu, the telecom tycoon from Mexico, has become the world’s richest man, according to Forbes

By Bycha Buxton

magazine. With a net worth of about $53.5 billion through holdings, Slim made his fortune primarily in the telecommunications industry in Mexico and Latin America. He has control over three major telecomcompanies, but also stakes in financial group Inbursa, Bronco Drilling, Independent News & Media, Saks and New York Times Co. After lurking near the top of Forbes’ world’s wealthiest list for years, Slim climbed his way to the top, beating out Bill Gates, and becoming the first Mexican to top the list.

Source: Forbes

understand each other; these experiences don’t occur in a vacuum, they occur in everyday life, through everyday interaction with all everyday people of all walks of life. What if the headline news stories in our own lives began to reach and change the communities in which we live? What if, just maybe, stories of our humanity began to shape and change the types of headlines we see, not only about Hispanics, but about all of us? Yes, there is plenty of bad news in the world today, but here’s a little something to encourage you, there’s also The Good News, and that’s something we all need.

National News: New Voting System Benefits Hispanic Voters in New York Village

elections, cumulative voting systems are not used anywhere else in New York, but are popular in states such as Alabama, Illinois, South Dakota and Texas, according to the article.

Last fall, a federal ordered that Port Chester, N.Y. change its voting system, which for years had been denying Hispanic voting power in the village. The order follows a complaint filed by the U.S. Justice Department in 2006 to force Port Chester to change its at-large elections for trustees. The suit claimed that the system violated the Voting Rights Act by diminishing the voting power of Hispanic citizens in the village. In Port Chester, Hispanics make up nearly half of the population, but no Hispanic has ever been elected trustee or mayor. The new order called for a cumulative voting system to elect its board of trustees, giving each voter in the village up to six votes for the six trustee positions. However, voters can choose to cast all their votes for one candidate or spread them out. Cumulative voting allows groups with smaller numbers to galvanize behind certain candidates, which would give Hispanics a fair shot at a political victory. Mostly used for school board

Source: Associated Press

Regional News: This didn’t make the headlines but was just as impactful. I once attended a Hispanic worship service in Modesto California. I was welcomed with open arms; they even took up an offering for me, treating me as a fellow Christian. I will never forget that experience, it changed my life in ways that I could show you better than I could tell you; we sang hymns, and the pastor ministered in Spanish. I could not understand the language; but I could understand the message and I definitely could feel the presence of the Lord flooding my spirit as my eyes filled with joy and “my cup ran over.” In this instance barriers like language did not stop the spirit of unity from ushering in God’s presence. It’s experiences like these that shape the way we see and

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Good GOOD Eating EATS

Personal Chef Service (916) 402-6726

Lorretta Y. Simmons

Argentinean Grilled Steak

A typical and wonderful recipe From Argentina, Serve the steak with a salad of romaine lettuce, avocado and red onion scattered with cherry tomatoes. Ingredients • 4 New York sirloin steaks, at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and slivered • 2 cloves garlic, slivered • salt and freshly ground pepper • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil Directions 1. Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). 2. Make slits about a quarter-way through in each steak in 7 or 8 places. Stuff a piece of jalapeno and garlic into each slit and season with salt and pepper. 3. Heat oil an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add meat and sear 1 minute per side or until golden. Place in skillet in oven for 6 to 8 minutes for mediumrare. Remove from oven and either serve whole or cut into slices. Serve with Chimchurri Sauce. Chimihurri Sauce You can mince the ingredients by hand or use a food processor, which is faster and easier. There are many variations on this condiment, and it is served with everything from empanadas to grilled steak. 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley 1 clove garlic 2 minced shallots 1 teaspoon minced basil, thyme or oregano, or mixture Salt and pepper to taste Combine all ingredients and let set for at least 2 hours before serving Submitted by Pastor Gabriel Gallego of Centro de Alabanza, Sacramento, CA To share your favorite recipe please email and place the word “recipe” in the subject line. Let us know why it’s your favorite dish; be sure to include your name, city and state we just may feature your submission in one of our issues.


DONT MISS! Centered Living’s BLACK / PINK party

dress in your favorite black or pink and let’s celebrate May 12, 2010 Cathedral Dining Hall





18 WIIW Fellowship











Norah Jones





Corrine Bailey Rae




April 2010






For more information on becoming involved with Centered Living Magazine, or to submit ad requests and story ideas please contact us at: | | 916.441.3305

Fri 2





Legends of Rock, Rhythm & Doo Wop:


4.30.10 Victory– In Victory in PraiseHealth Praise Health Fair/Gospel Concert Fair/Gospel



10 Midori Recital



Schedule of Events

4.10.10 @ 8pm Midori Recital; Sacramento Philharmonic, Sacramento CA

4.15.10 @ 8pm Corrine Bailey Rae

4.16.10 @ 7:30pm Legends of Rock, Rhythm & Doo Wop: Featuring The Platters & The Miracles; The Radisson Hotel, Sacramento CA

4.18.10 @ 5:30 pm WIIW Fellowship

4.21.10 @ 8pm Norah Jones; The Filmore, San Francisco CA

4.30.10 – Victory in Praise Health Fair/Gospel Concert

April Issue  

Volume 1 Number 2