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CONTENTMENT Health.com

STANISLAUS R E G I O N March/April 2014 | ISSUE 9

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH Keep Your Kids Active This Spring Break HIS LIFVEideo T G TO ality N I e BR OVEeRnted R CAugm s

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WORTH THE WEIGHT In 1983, Never Boring was launched in a garage with $100, a weight bench and a phone. Today, we are the Northern San Joaquin Valley’s largest full service ad agency, with three locations and a staff of 27 creatives with expertise in everything from marketing, graphic and web design, to signage and film. Day after day, client after client, we focus on delivering every service our clients need to grow and succeed. All this is backed up with the kind of customer service and pricing you only get with a local firm. We may not be working from that old weight bench anymore, but trust us, we’re still worth the weight. Shouldn’t your advertising be Never Boring?

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MARCH/APRIL

contents

contentment 34

I CAMP JACK HAZARD

Stanislaus County’s iconic camp celebrates 90 years of fun in the Sierra Nevada.

36

I GRADUATION COACH

PROGRAM United Way’s new program sets sights on graduation for at-risk local kids.

38

I ODYSSEY OF THE MIND

A new academic contest pits kids from K to College against the biggest challenge of their

20

lives: the clock.

health 40

I EQUINE THERAPY

Rosie’s Journey of Hope helps kids using horse-based therapy.

44 I THERAPEUTIC PATHWAYS We talk to the founders of one of the country’s most important treatment centers for autism spectrum disorders.

46 I AREA MOVIE THEATERS

34

62

OFFER FRIENDLY FILMS The State Theatre kicks off a new autism-friendly film series March/April 2014

7


MARY’S PET PROJECT

MARCH/APRIL

for pampered pets & peace of mind Pet & House Sitting Services

contents

fitness

Overnight Stays

50

Dog Walking

I TEENS RUN MODESTO

This Shadow Chase offshoot helps gets kids running in Stanislaus County.

52

I SPRING BREAK FUN IN

STANISLAUS COUNTY Spring Break

Our mission is to

is here, but don’t worry, we’ve got 14 great ways to keep your kids busy.

provide the absolute best care

art & culture

for your pets

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& your home.

I CARVING HER OWN NICHE

Titia Barnett-Gudde has made a life and a living creating sculptural art in her Turlock studio.

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aesthetics

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Hewitt’s charming water tower hideaway.

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I WATER WISE GARDENING

Drought conditions call for careful water use. Here’s what you need to know. ®

food & wine 60

Fasttist Way Tti Ortitir Sticurtity Guartis Natititititititi

I STANISLAUS CULINARY

ARTS ACADEMY In the kitchen

with the Stanislaus County Office of

Asset Protection

Education’s new vocational culinary

Alarm Response

school in Oakdale.

Events

62

I MARCONA ALMONDS

This traditional Spanish nut finds new

Home Security

life in Stanislaus County.

Grand Openings

64

Parking Management

your salad and add flavor to your garden

Private Parties

are edible.

PAYTON NEECE CONTENTMENT Health.com

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R E G I O N March/April 2014 | ISSUE 9

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AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH Keep Your Kids Active This Spring Break IS E TH LIFVideo ING TO ality BR OVEenRted Re CAugm ns

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CONTENTMENT health

I EDIBLE FLOWERS Dress up

with plants that are as beautiful as they

On the Cover:

Quinceaneras

8

I UNIQUE SPACES Inside Robyn

on

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19

I PULSE / of the county

22

I CALENDAR / mydesto.com

28

I PULSE / gift guide

66

I HIDDEN TALENTS


Bring This Magazine To Life! Scan this issue’s cover (and other ads & stories) with your smart phone or tablet device using the free Aurasma app, and watch CONTENTMENT Health come to life!

How It Works: 1. Download Aurasma Search for the free Aurasma app in the app store on your smart phone or tablet. 2. Launch Aurasma Click the Aurasma icon to start the app on your device.

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Stanislaus

CONTENTMENT

Health.com

LAUS STANIS G I O N R E

March/April

9 2014 | ISSUE

AU TI SM ES S AW AR EN MO NT H Kids Active Keep Your Break This Spring

S Eo HI LIFVide G T O lity IN R T Rea BR OVEented CAugm ns

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ru

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MODESTO

I TURLOCK

S I CERE

I RIVE

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Chaplain Program • Dive Team • Explorers Correctional Emergency Response Team K9 Unit Mounted Unit • Deputy Sheriff Honor Guard • STARS Citizen Volunteers Air Support Unit • Bomb Squad •SWAT

For more information on recruitment please call: (209)567-4412 or scsdonline.com

March/April 2014

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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHERS

Spring is here, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to make things happen! Now is the time to organize and clean, the time to plant and the time for growth. Time to get out of the house, explore, and find new treasures throughout our count . It’s time to exercise, seek out new experiences and create new memories with our loved ones—all outdoors! The arrival of spring is the perfect excuse to make changes and start fresh. Because spring always starts early in our area, let’s jump right in! In this issue of CONTENTMENT Health, we’re not only focusing on all the great things Stanislaus County has to offer in the spring, but we also feature our most valuable asset—our kids. Kids are often our greatest source of inspiration and joy; we experience excitement from seeing the wide-eyed wonder in our own children’s eyes. We hope this issue of CONTENTMENT Health helps inspire parents and grandparents alike to discover all the possibilities kids have in our community for recreation, education and growth. Many of us strive to make our area a better place to live. One of the best ways to measure our progress lies in the idea that when our children reach adulthood, they’ll also choose Stanislaus County as the best

place to raise their own families. We look forward to seeing more and more families living, playing and giving back to this community in the years to come. April is Autism Awareness Month, and in honor of this we feature several stories about autism in this issue. Stanislaus County is teeming with innovative specialists that create new opportunities for children with autism in our area. From equine therapy centers to nonprofit organizations, numerous Stanislau County agencies and businesses provide programs specificall geared toward children with autism. It’s one of Stanislaus County’s most valuable resources and worthy of recognition. As always, let us know what you’d like to see in upcoming issues of CONTENTMENT Health. What individuals, organizations, nonprofits and chu ches are making Stanislaus County a better place to live? Why do you make this area your home? We can’t wait to hear from you! Thanks for reading,

David Boring

Julie Orona

10

CONTENTMENT health


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STANISLAUS R E G I O N

Celebrating Healthy Lifestyles Throughout Stanislaus County

PUBLISHERS / EDITORS

David Boring & Julie Orona Never Boring MANAGING EDITOR

Justin Souza

justin@contentmenthealth.com COORDINATOR

Beatriz Cisneros

beatriz@contentmenthealth.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

David Boring

david@contentmenthealth.com ART DIRECTOR

Julie Orona

julie@contentmenthealth.com DESIGN / WEB TEAM

Steve Caballero, Megan Ott, Katie Floyd, Anne Marie Bergthold, Loyd Schutte, Clark Beggs, Gilberto Cisneros SALES REPRESENTATIVES

Warren Groeschel

warren@contentmenthealth.com - 380.9690

“Please allow us to help make your event a memorable one!”

Karen Olsen

karen@contentmenthealth.com - 204.9551

Cameron Boring

cameron@contentmenthealth.com - 765.1568

Jeff

rona

jeff@con entmenthealth.com - 380.0942

Kristin Bowker

kristin@contentmenthealth.com - 423.4940

NOW OPEN LATE!

With Late Night Food Specials! Book your Special Event @ Surla’s please contact 2 0 9 - 5 7 9 - 4 0 4 7 www.surlasrestaurant.com

DISTRIBUTION

Jeff

rona

jeff@con entmenthealth.com SPECIAL CONSULTANT

Tony Zoccoli

San Joaquin Magazine CONTRIBUTORS

Editorial Justin Souza, Dana Koster, Mallory Leone, Jeff ishney, Kimberly Horg, Jacqui D. Sinarle

Friday-Saturday Nights

9pm - 10pm 10pm-Midnight (Bar Only) (Everywhere)

FRIDAYS / SATURDAYS

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CONTENTMENT health

Photography Photos Just So, Studio Warner, Dana Koster, Melissa Cohoon-Neece; M&Co Photography CONTENTMENT Health 1016 14th Street, Modesto, CA 95354 209.526.9136, contentmenthealth.com


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March/April 2014

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CAPTURED!

PROSPECT THEATER Members of Modesto’s Prospect Theatre Company rehearse a new play while construction continues at the Company’s new location on K Street in Modesto. After 13 years on Scenic Drive, the venerable troupe made a move to a more spacious facility this January. 14

CONTENTMENT health


photo by Photos Just So

March/April 2014

15


CAPTURED!

ALMOND BLOSSOMS Almond orchards begin to bloom in Stanislaus County. Amidst drought concerns, farmers worry that low water availability will negatively impact one of the County’s largest crops for years to come. 16

CONTENTMENT health


photo by Photos Just So

March/April 2014

17


18

CONTENTMENT health


PULSE OF THE COUNTY

WALKING IN HER SHOES by Justin Souza It hasn’t even happened yet, and already Haven Women’s Center’s new Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event—slated for the morning of April 26, 2014 in Modesto—is an absolute phenomenon. If you’ve wondered how a nonprofit fundraising event in its very first year has made such a big a splash in the local community, just blame it on the calendar. According to Belinda Rolicheck, Executive Director of Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus, the local nonprofit wanted to get noticed with the first iteration of this annual event, so they enlisted the help of some prominent local leaders. The result has been a smash hit: a pictorial calendar which features a dozen photos in which recognizable local males (including Contentment Health Founder and Publisher David Boring) don red high heels to spread awareness of the charity. “Thus far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rolicheck. “This is such a great opportunity to raise awareness of women’s issues and include men as part of the solution, because they often get left out.” The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events—which have been held nationwide since 2001—take their name from the old adage: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” The events, which have been founded across the nation, ask men to walk a mile in women’s high heeled

shoes to show their support for ending sexualized violence against women, to help spread the word about prevention and remediation strategies and to help them raise money in support of these goals. At the Modesto event, men will pay a small registration fee to walk and are encouraged to collect donations, with the man (and team) who collects the most money in position to earn prizes. Participants are encouraged to bring high heels to wear or can step into a pair of loaners provided by Haven, said Rolicheck. “It’s a playful opportunity to rally support in our community and raise awareness about the causes, effects and remedies for sexual assault and domestic violence.” The event is serving as a major fundraising effort for Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus County. The nonprofit, which has been in the community since 1977, provides services, education, advocacy and support services to women, children and men who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, said Rollicheck. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 26. To register or to find out mo e about the event, visit havenwalkamile.org.

March/April 2014

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P UL SE

OF TH E C O U N TY

IT STARTS WITH

L OV E by Jeff Pishney Founder, Love Modesto

Loving your city and impacting lives through volunteerism is not a new idea. Just the same, these old ideas sparked a revolution here in the Central Valley. That revolution’s name? Love Modesto. For the past five years, Love Modesto has been making a difference in the community by bringing all walks of life and various backgrounds together in a collaborative effort to show compassion to the needy. Love Modesto is a community-wide volunteer day that encourages citizens to volunteer throughout the city to help those who are destitute, disabled, disadvantaged and forgotten. By making it simple for volunteers to participate in various projects, Love Modesto is an opportunity for every citizen to positively change the lives of less fortunate community members. The concept is practical: by handling all the organizational impediments, Love Modesto allows anyone from any walk of life an opportunity to become involved in making a humanitarian effort in the city.

From 2009 to 2013, the events have generated 145,000 volunteer hours in California’s Central Valley alone. At minimum wage, that’s $1,160,000 given to local communities through labor and love!

In The Beginning... Love Modesto started out with two questions and a dream. In 2007, I was simply a local pastor at Big Valley Grace Community Church who was plagued by two questions about the community I love: “Why has Modesto been listed as one of the ‘worst cities in America to live in’” and “If our area churches were to disappear, would anyone even care or notice?” These questions sparked a simple dream: what if we got together and expressed the love that Jesus taught by doing good works in our community? The notion is relatively simple: give three hours of your time, one or two times a year and help improve the life of someone in need. The results have been tremendous. In 2009, the dream became a reality in the first annual Love Modesto event. Over 1,200 excited individuals came out and gave a few hours of their day to accomplish eight community projects. This was a motivated group who shared my dream and was willing to deviate from the norm and make a go of doing something good for our community. Love Modesto has grown every year since then. Today, volunteers have the opportunity to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, offer food to the hungry, befriend elderly convalescent residents, help cancer victims, hand out baked goods to local police, fire, sheriff and EMTs, work with the Humane Society and collect groceries for local food pantries, among many other project choices. In essence, they can choose from countless ways to help the city and the citizens who reside there. Our Love Modesto staff are constantly working to find new and exciting projects that touch on different aspects of our society to add to projects that have flourished since the beginning.

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CONTENTMENT health


Love Modesto Today One of my deepest goals is to help demonstrate to our youth just how important it is to give back to our neighborhoods. I know that teaching this lesson is one of the best ways we can ensure the future of our community. So we’re always focused on providing opportunities for volunteers ranging from the very young to those who are young at heart. Project responsibilities and labor intensity vary, depending on the task at hand, which is why the project list has grown substantially and offers several different choices to the volunteer. The category listings include Encouragement, Manual Labor, Neighborhoods, People in Need and Schools. This variety lets family units or individuals choose an activity that complements their capabilities and targets the group they’d like to help. Projects are listed clearly on the sign up page with a brief description and an icon to determine if the project is family friendly or caters more to adult participation. Since 2009, our volunteer numbers have grown every year to a total of 41,500 volunteers in the last four years. In the last couple years, several surrounding cities (40+ different municipalities) have responded by creating their own ‘Love City’ event in a united force to help show the love in their own communities. Visit loveourcities.org to see if your city is participating! From 2009 to 2013, the events have generated 145,000 volunteer hours in California’s Central Valley alone. At minimum wage, that’s $1,160,000 given to local communities through labor and love!

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The success of the event isn’t measured by the number of volunteers attending, but from the people helped. Even if it’s just for one day, Love Modesto helps bring strangers together in love. And I believe that people helping people truly makes a difference in the world today.

Please visit LoveModesto.com or LoveOurCities.org to find out how you can make a positive change in your community.

Visit us on Facebook for more info! Dickens Victorian Christmas Faire 15th Street, 1st Saturday in December

Two Holiday Markets 16th Street, 2nd & 3rd Saturdays in December

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Our ongoing goal is to encourage more cities across California, the United States and around the world to create a ‘Love Event’ for their area.

Senior & Student Tours Cooking Demonstrations & Recipes

MCFM_CH2013

A Nationwide Phenomenon Love Modesto and Love City events have garnered attention from local, state and national political parties including a letter from President Obama commending the effort of the volunteers and urging them to continue the fight to improve our city streets! Various states such as New York, Oregon, Florida and North Carolina have contacted Love Modesto to learn about getting involved in the hopes of projecting their own event to better the lives of impoverished people. This further extends the reach of new volunteer movements and ignites the prospect of human kindness in our nation.

March/April 2014

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P U L SE

CALENDAR

OF TH E C O U N TY

MARCH 01 SATURDAY Cristina Eustace 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

04

TUESDAY

Tresetti’s Fat Tuesday 5:00 PM - 1:00 AM – Downtown Modesto

07

FRIDAY

24th Annual Hearts and Flowers Luncheon 11:30 AM – Del Rio Country Club Chonda Pierce 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

08

SATURDAY

Home & Garden Show 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM – Community Center, Oakdale

13 & 14 THURSDAY & FRIDAY

Christian Beret’s Breakfast Bonanza 7:00 AM – Parkview Christian Estates

Ice Cream Social, Art Fair & Book Fair 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Grace Lutheran Church

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14 & 16 FRIDAY & SUNDAY 53rd Annual Camellia Cavalcade 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM – E&J Gallo Winery Grounds

14

FRIDAY

Gem, Jewelry and Rock Show 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM – Stanislaus Fairgrounds

08

Dave Bennett 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

15

SATURDAY

LuckyFest 2014 5:00 PM – Modesto Centre Plaza

20th Annual Crabfest 5:30 PM – Howard Training Center

09

Our Town 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

SUNDAY

Home & Garden Show 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM – Community Center, Oakdale

SUNDAY

The Frog Prince 2:00 PM & 4:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

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CONTENTMENT health

27

THURSDAY

Tracy Lawrence & John Anderson 7:30 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

16

SUNDAY

Our Town 2:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

17

MONDAY

21st Annual NRA Dinner Fundraiser 5:00 PM – Assyrian Social Hall

28

FRIDAY

Sensations & Home Grown 3:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

THURSDAY

11 & 12 FRIDAY & SATURDAY

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carol 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

12

29

SATURDAY

Rodeo Parade 2014 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM – F. Street, Oakdale

SATURDAY

Driving Miss Daisy 2:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

SUNDAY

Tribute to Frank Sinatra 2:30 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

APRIL 04 FRIDAY

12 & 14 SATURDAY & SUNDAY Oakdale Rodeo 2014 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM – Oakdale Rodeo Grounds

12

SATURDAY

Wine & Gourmet Food Night 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM – MJC Gymnasium

Classic Live: Led Zeppelin IV 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Art

Pinnocchio 2:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

04 – 06 FRIDAY – SUNDAY

13

05

Civil War Days 2014 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM – Knights Ferry Covered Bridge

SUNDAY

22nd Annual MJC Spring Classic 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM – MJC, ACE Ag Pavilion, West Campus

Boccherini & Bach 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

22

SATURDAY

06

Driving Miss Daisy 7:30 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

Paul Thorn 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts The Pink Floyd Experience 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

SATURDAY

Turlock Holistic Expo 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM – Stanislaus Fairgrounds

Modesto Nuts Home Opener 7:05 PM – John Thurman Field

Modesto Unplugged Music Festival 2014 Multiple times & locations Downtown Modesto 

FRIDAY

05

10

30 Savion Glover Stepz 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

21

09

Mike Super 3:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

Spring into Fitness Fun Run & Stroller Derby 9:00 AM – Smryna Park – Ceres

SATURDAY

Imagination Movers 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

SUNDAY

Modesto Marathon 7:00 AM – Downtown Modesto

Our Town 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

Modesto Food & Wine Inaugural 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Grace Lutheran Church

08 & 09 SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Find the can’t-miss events from Modesto’s active nonprofits, the headliners at our entertainment venues, what’s happening at our world class restaurants and get the lowdown on our amazing local music and art scene. For an updated list of activities, visit Mydesto.com.

SUNDAY

SF Scottish Fiddlers 2:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts The Songs of Irving Berlin 3:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

SATURDAY

Love Modesto 9:00 AM – Downtown Modesto MJC’s 18th Annual Plant Sale 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM – MJC East Campus

14

MONDAY

12th Annual Golf Classic 11:00 AM – Del Rio Country Club


GALLO CENTER FOR THE ARTS

DRIVING MISS DAISY Friday, March 28 & Saturday, March 29

16

WEDNESDAY

Women Fully Clothed 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

19

SATURDAY

24

THURSDAY

DKG Epsilon Nu Chapter “Fun” Raiser Film Night 5:30 PM – State Theater

Eggstravaganza 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Trinity United Presbyterian Church Easter Kidz Blitz 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM – Neighborhood Church

25

FRIDAY

Arbor Day Celebration 10:00 AM – Turlock Cruise & Drive-in 2014 5:00 PM - 10:30- PM Wood Park, Oakdale

19

SATURDAY

Easter Family Fun Day 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM – North Modesto Church of God 25th Annual Earth Day in the Park 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM – Graceada Park Eggstreme Easter Egg Hunt 12:30 PM – The Carpenter’s House

20

SUNDAY

MJC’s Pow Wow 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM – Modesto Junior College East Campus

Elvira Kurt 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

26

SATURDAY

41st Annual Stanislaus Special Olympics Area Game 9:00 AM – Ken Daniel/Special Olympics Field Oakdale Car Show 2014 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Wood Park, Oakdale Robert Irvine Live 8:00 PM – Gallo Center for the Arts

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FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN at the Gallo Center for the Arts

by Justin Souza

Imagination Movers March 8, 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. Back in 2011, the Imagination Movers wowed audiences at two sold out shows at the Gallo Center with high energy dancing, interactive games and some of the catchiest, radio-friendliest songs ever devised by performers. This March, the group is once again jumping straight from their Disney Junior TV series to the stage of the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater for two unforgettable performances. The Imagination Movers are four friends from New Orleans who live by one motto: “Reach high, think big, work hard, have fun!” They’re set to please audiences of all ages with the collection of catchy pop/rock tunes that have already netted them an Emmy award. Tickets start at $10.

The Frog Prince

Mike Super

March 9, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.

March 23, 3 p.m.

This classic tale first penned by the Brothers Grimm tells the story of a childish Princess whose promise to kiss a frog makes for a difficult bargain. This production, suggested for kids from kindergarten through grade 5, brings the familiar story to life with the artful use of puppetry, dance and a whole lot of comedy. Tickets start at $8.

Crowd-favorite magician Mike Super makes another appearance at the Gallo Center this March. Super rose to prominence as the winner of NBC’s magician-reality competition Phenomenon in 2007, and has since solidified himself as an unforgettable performer with down-to-earth style and personality. Mike Super has pioneered a new form of magic, with fans numbering in the millions. Tickets from $12.

Pinocchio (co-production with Modesto Performing Arts) April 12, 2 p.m. In April, the Gallo Center and Modesto Performing Arts Association will partner to produce one of the world’s most enduring children’s stories. This stage version of Pinocchio will stick close to the story first written by Carlo Collodi and will include all the characters you know and love. From the puppet who is brought to life by love, to lonely puppet maker Gepetto and even the Blue Fairy who changes Pinocchio from a puppet to a real boy and helps him learn right from wrong, this version of Pinocchio will not only entertain but leave audiences of all ages with important lessons to consider. Tickets from $8. For tickets and more information, visit galloarts.org or call the Gallo Center box office at 209.338.2100 24

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St. Patrick’s Day Events

St. Patrick’s Day Craft at Oakdale Library

2nd Annual Modesto Food & Wine Grand Tasting Event

MARCH 13, 2014

MARCH 15, 2014

St. Patty’s Day festivities aren’t all about green beer. On Thursday, March 13, the Oakdale Library is devoting its monthly Craft Time to St. Patrick’s Day creations that are perfect for kids as young as 3. This is a free event, just show up to 151 South First Avenue at 3:30 p.m. ready for a crafting good time.

Grace Lutheran Church in Modesto is hosting a night of culinary exploration on March 15, 2014. While not explicitly St. Patty’s Day themed, this event will team a collection of Modesto’s star chefs with their favorite winery or brewery to bring you a unique pairing sure to titillate your tastebuds. The event will feature chefs from Verona’s, Tresetti’s, Concetta, Fuzio’s, Redwood Cafe and more, as well as door prizes, live music and even a cork tossing contest from 7 to 9 p.m.

LuckyFest 2014 MARCH 15, 2014 Downtown Modesto’s annual St. Patrick’s Day bash transforms a swath of 11th Street between K and L into a party location with more than 25 custom St. Patty’s themed pubs built from the ground up for one day only. This event put together by local promoter Chris Ricci plops a four leaf clover on the spirit of Ricci’s popular and long running XFest. It’s an adults-only block party not to be missed. Visit modestoluckyfest.com for tickets.

St. Patrick’s Day Senior Lunch and Dance MARCH 15, 2014 The Hammon Senior Center in Patterson is hosting a St. Patty’s Day celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 15. The event welcomes seniors for a themed lunch followed by a fun dance at the Senior Center at 1033 West Las Palmas Avenue in Patterson. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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P. Wexford’s St. Patty’s Day Bash MARCH 17, 2014 Modesto’s premiere Irish pub is also home to a huge event each St. Patty’s Day that has twice taken home a “Best Small Event” award from Modesto Area Music Association’s annual contest. At 2 p.m. on Monday, March 17, the pub will once again open the doors on its twelve hours St. Patty’s Day Bash. In the past, the event has drawn crowds of more than 3,000 attendees to the pub’s McHenry Avenue location. Tickets are on sale now. Call P. Wexford’s at 209.576.7939 for more information.


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HTC SCORES WITH CRAB FEED

by Justin Souza

Welcome back to crab feed season! If you love crab, early spring is a great time to be in Stanislaus County. This year, Howard Training Center’s (HTC) famous Crab Fest celebrates 20 years of feasting, fundraising and fun on March 7 and 8, 2014. According to Geri Lewis, Events Manager at HTC, this year’s event will kick the venerable fundraiser up a notch. “As usual, we’re having our band, a raffle, a bar and, of course, the crab, but this year we’re also adding a casino room and a table decorating contest where attendees can win some great prizes!” said Lewis. “It’s a great event and we’re looking forward to folks coming and having a good time.” The HTC Crab Fest is an institution in the area. Each year since 1994, the two-day fundraiser serves dinner to nearly 1,000 people, and also serves as a major boon to HTC’s operating budget. “Crab Fest is our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Lewis. “All of the money generated goes back into the 10 different programs that HTC offers.” These programs are essential to the many great things that HTC does for the local community. The nonprofit, which has served the Stanislaus County community for more than 60 years, provides services, opportunities and programs which change and enhance the lives of adults with disabilities. From professional employment training to day programs, transportation to family placement, Crab Fest supports all the programs that HTC offers to its population. For tickets or more information about HTC’s Crab Fest, visit howardtrainingcenter.com. 28

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December 7, 2013

FASHION SPEAKS FOR AUTISM AT THE QUEEN BEAN by Justin Souza On Saturday, December 7, 2013, Modesto’s Queen Bean was transformed for high fashion and a good cause at the Fashion Speaks for Autism Runway Show. The show profiled bowties and dresses designed by area fashion designers Leonel Rojas and Miriam Castillo. The crowd of 150 fashion-loving attendees helped raise money for the nonprofit Autism Speaks Rojas said he wanted to help make a difference by giving back to an organization he and Castillo believed in. “We both have friends and family with children who have autism. Autism Speaks is an organization that we’re really familiar with and we really wanted to help them,” said Rojas. “It had the real vibe of a show you’d see in San Francisco, but on a local level,” added Rojas. “It was exciting to see it come together.” Check out Rojas’ bowties in this issue’s Gift Guide (page 28), and find out more about Autism Speaks by visiting autismspeaks.org. 30

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photos by Bicek Photography

January 26, 2014

BRIDES INVADE CENTRE PLAZA FOR PREMIERE WEDDING FESTIVAL by Justin Souza On January 26, 2014, the International Wedding Festival burst back into Modesto’s Centre Plaza for the 8th year.

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The semi-annual show, which also hosts a twice-yearly event in Fresno, offers brides, grooms and wedding lovers alike an easy way to meet wedding-industry vendors, plan their special days and revel in this year’s wedding styles with a premiere fashion show. Kimberly Vaughan, Producer of the International Wedding Festival, said that the fashion show is one of the central events of the popular show. “It’s amazing. The fashion show is a mixture of hundreds of bridal gowns, wedding party dresses, mother of the bride dresses, flower girl outfits—which always make me cry—and tuxedos. It’s an hour long and just nonstop fun and entertainment.” The International Wedding Festival returns to Modesto on September 14, 2014. For more information on the event, visit internationalweddingfestival.com

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January 31, 2014

21ST ANNUAL BACCHUS & BREW by Justin Souza On January 31, the Modesto Sunrise Rotary Club presented the 21st Annual Bacchus & Brew. This Modesto tradition—a must-attend event for scores of food and libation lovers countywide—collects some of the Central Valley’s best wineries, breweries and local restaurants into the Martin G. Petersen Event Center for an unforgettable night of food, drink and fun. This year’s event featured some of Contentment Health’s favorite local purveyors, including beer samples from Dust Bowl Brewing Company, succulent samples from Joseph Farms Cheese, soft drinks from Noah’s Water and so much more. This annual event is one of Modesto Sunrise Rotary’s largest fundraisers of the year. The funds raised from the event go to help the club fulfill its goals of combating hunger, improving health and sanitation, providing education and job training and promoting. photos by Celise Krick

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March/April 2014

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Camp Jack Hazard Celebrates 90 Years of Wilderness Adventure by Dana Koster

If you grew up in Stanislaus County and you’re between the ages of 6 and 96, chances are you went to Camp Jack

Hazard, or know someone who did. Surrounded by a dense forest of conifer pines and soaring granite cliff faces, deep in the heart of the high Sierra Nevada, the camp has been transporting valley-bound Stanislaus County youth to the magic of the mountains for 90 years. You’d be hard-pressed to find any group as enthusiastic and dedicated to its roots as Camp Jack Hazard alumni. For many area adults, those summers spent in the mountains just outside Dardanelles, California, were transformative. They were days spent hiking in the backcountry with the smell of pine needles thick in the air. They were nights spent sleeping in bunk beds inside small green cabins, where outside—away from the light pollution of the Central Valley—the stars shone so bright and numerous that they crowded the sky. Jason Poisson, Executive Director of Camp Jack Hazard and of the Jack and Buena Foundation, which took over control of the 34

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camp when the YMCA of Stanislaus County closed in 2009, counts himself among those forever changed by his early camp experience. “I started in 1992, and as I walked into the lower area of the camp, I had the sensation of coming home,” Poisson says. “I never left after that. I met my wife there. Everything I’ve done has been because of that place.” Poisson is not alone in his experience. In fact, it seems like everyone you talk to about Camp Jack Hazard has a similar story. Desiree Sylvia, a former camper and assistant counselor who now has three children of her own, echoes this idea of coming home and life-changing experiences. “It infects your heart,” Sylvia says.

“It is a place of pure magic, endless beauty and time stopping grace. I wish I could share this place with the world.” Poisson isn’t sure exactly why Camp Jack Hazard has such a huge effect on people’s lives, but he has some theories. “For many of the youth, it’s the first time away from their parents,” he explains. “It teaches them that they can be self-sufficient. It pushes their limits.”


70s

80s

transport area youth to camping trips in the mountains on the back of a flatbed truck—is due in large part to this spirit of selfsufficiency and community-building. Following in the footsteps of the YMCA, which ran Camp Jack Hazard for 60 years, the Jack and Buena Foundation focuses heavily on character education, teaching its campers the tenets of honesty, “I started in 1992, and as I walked into the respect, caring and responsibility in addition to the obligatory campfires, acoustic guitar lower area of the camp, I had the sensation music and camp songs.

Part of this formula for building confidence involves a three-day backpacking experience in the high Sierra. “Quite literally, the closest you are to camp when you’re out in backcountry is about 6 miles. You can’t just turn around and go back,” Poisson says. “I think that helps people later in life when they interact with things like college and pressure from the business world.”

It has more immediate effects, as well. of coming home,” - Jason Poisson As Executive Director, Poisson often “This is the time in kids’ lives where they’re has parents calling and writing to tell creating their moral center,” says Poisson. “They’re identifying him how different their teens are after their summer at camp, what their character is going to become, so we have to have how much more responsible and grown-up. “Parents come to me organizations that help guide that experience. Otherwise, they’re and say all of a sudden their kid is doing dishes at the end of the going to find that center somewhere they shouldn t.” night, and I’m like, yeah—because she only has to do dishes for four people,” says Poisson, laughing. “It’s not like at camp, where she’s doing dishes for 180 people! When parents realize that, it If you attended Camp Jack Hazard and are interested in joining its really changes their perspective.” alumni association or would like more information on how to sign your children up for a traditional summer camp experience, visit The camp’s astonishing longevity—it was founded in 1924 by www.campjackhazard.com or call (209) 965-7254. Jack Hazard, a local Stanislaus County musician who used to March/April 2014

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GRADUATION COACHES

Help Students Learn to Give 110% by Dana Koster A year and a half ago, United Way of Stanislaus County decided to shake things up. In the past, the charitable organization had focused on funding as many deserving nonprofits as possible, but kept running up against the same questions: what kind of change does United Way really make? Are people’s lives better?

that many programs designed to increase graduation rates tend to center on high school students (because these students are chronologically closest to dropping out, they appear to be most at-risk), or on early education, where a student’s ability or inability to read can influence the rest of their academic career.

“We support all these great agencies, from Hospice to Boy Scouts to The Salvation Army, but that makes our impact difficult to measure,” says Francine DiCiano, President and CEO of United Way of Stanislaus County. “We looked at the trend of our funding. For 48% of programs, we made up less than 10% of their funding. Although we help them, it’s a small drop in the bucket.”

These methods leave out one important piece of the puzzle: middle school students— more specifically seventh graders—who are uniquely vulnerable in a number of ways. “It’s a traumatic transition from 6th grade, where you have a strong connection with one teacher and all these kids you’ve known for years,” Vickery says. “To go from that to six teachers who have so many more students— it’s hard. Parents also back off at that age because their kids are growing up and often don’t want their parents involved as much.”

DiCiano and her team wanted to maximize United Way’s impact within the community. So after an extensive year of research, they decided that they could make a tangible impact by focusing on increasing high school graduation rates. This past fall, they began an initiative dubbed the Graduation Coach Program. “We’ve always funded human services and programs for people in crisis,” says Amy Vickery, Vice President at United Way of Stanislaus County. “But those needs aren’t diminishing over time. The Graduation Coach Program is a proactive, long term solution to some of the biggest issues in our community.” Data overwhelmingly shows that adults with a high school diploma out-earn those without. Because an increase in earning potential means a person is statistically much less likely to rely on public assistance, this can have a direct and long term impact on the overall health of the community. Evidence also shows that crime rates go down when the percentage of high school diplomas go up. The problem the United Way identified is 36

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Estrella Garcia, Vice President of Community Impact and Program Development at United Way, says the Graduation Coach Program has already begun to fill this gap. By identifying at-risk students in three middle schools in Stanislaus County and assigning them each an adult Graduation Coach who will track their progress, the program delivers the individual attention students need to stay on track and ultimately get their diplomas. “The Graduation Coach Program helps provide a support system,” says Garcia. “That’s at least one adult who cares about these kids, who shows encouragement and starts to facilitate that culture of education. It also links them to resources in the county to help them find the tutoring they need to improve academically.” One of the biggest benefits of the program is that it establishes the Graduation Coach as a liaison between home and school life. “Schools aren’t equipped to do home visits,” Vickery says. “Because our Graduation

Coaches are all bilingual, they can go into homes where there might be a language barrier. There wasn’t really anybody doing that in the past—a student would get marked absent or truant, and nobody was really checking in on them.” The Coaches make it a point to call parents about positive changes, too, such as a decrease in tardies. “They don’t want to have a relationship where the students and parents are scared because the school is calling,” says Garcia. “That can make parents hesitant to talk with the school, so we work to get the good news out there, too.” Currently, the Graduation Coach Program works with 120 students, but Vickery says that United Way hopes to increase that number in coming years. “With the opportunity to grow and expand this program, I think we’ll be able to turn things around and really change the economic future for this area.” In short, United Way can confidently say: yes, we do change things. People’s lives are better. To find out how you can www.uwaystan.org and click ADVOCATE or VOLUNTEER.

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CONTENTMENT

Local Kids Embark on

ODYSSEY OF THE MIND by Kimberly Horg

A new problem-solving phenomenon is taking Modesto’s students by storm. Odyssey of the Mind, an innovative educational program which helps to encourage creative problem solving in kids from kindergarten to college, has gone from a college professor’s passion project to a world-wide phenomenon. The competitive program pits students in a competition in which they must dream up, develop and deliver a solution to a long-term problem within one of five categories The mechanics of the program are just as simple as the kids’ solutions are complex: each team (up to seven students in a matching age range) selects one problem from a national list of options that change yearly, are provided a limited budget and must develop their own solution (without any outside help) that is then delivered to a panel of judges under an 8-minute time limit. The problems change annually but the focus on self-sufficient problem solving remains the same. Laura McClenaghan first became involved in Odyssey of the Mind as a teacher in the Clovis Unified School District. The program made such an indelible impression on her that when she began teaching at Fremont Open Plan Elementary School in Modesto she set out to introduce Odyssey to her students. She ultimately started Fremont’s first Odyssey team in 2004

“It seemed to me to be a good fit for a school that has active parent participation and an interest in encouraging students to ‘think outside the box,’ which Odyssey definitely demands,” McClenaghan said 38

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McClenaghan says students at Fremont who are interested in competing first attend an informational meeting to learn about the program and find out what the year’s competition problems will entail. After signing up, each student is assigned to a team appropriate to his or her age range and problem preference. “An 8-minute solution requires that the team solve a highly open-ended problem with specific requirements; write a script; design costumes and props; create a set; and then perform their ‘solution’ for judges within the time limit,” said McClenaghan. Each team must stick to a budget of roughly $125: not much money for projects of such large scope. Teams meet weekly for several months to decide on the solution and develop all the elements. Each year’s competition also includes a section called the Spontaneous Problem. Unlike the long-term problem sections, the Spontaneous Problem is a mystery to the teams until they arrive on competition day. The problem, which can be entirely verbal, entirely hands-on or a combination, must still be solved within a limited time, but teams are scored on collaboration and creativity of their solutions. Teams that score well can advance from competing in the regional level to state competitions and may even ultimately compete against international teams in the world competition.


Children who learn problem solving skills, time management, budgeting and team work take those skills with them through the rest of their educational career and into adulthood.”

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Deena Test became involved in Odyssey of the Mind when it was introduced as an extracurricular option for her children nine years ago. Both of her two children, ages 11 and 16, have been involved in Odyssey.

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“I was not aware of Odyssey of the Mind prior to our school getting involved. But, once I saw what it was all about and the potential it holds for the students, I absolutely wanted to jump in,” Test said. “I am a true believer in hands on, natural consequence learning and this program is exactly that and more.” Test says her favorite part is simply being around to witness the gradual, sometimes-hard-to-see transitions the students make along the way to successful completion of the problem.

According to her, every team that competes develops its own dynamic. Some teams jump in, some stew on ideas, while others need the pressure of time to make decisions and may not finish until the night before the tournament. But no matter how they work, they’re all proud to share their solutions. “Children who learn problem solving skills, time management, budgeting and team work take those skills with them through the rest of their educational career and into adulthood,” Test said. McClenaghan says the program has a positive effect on both the school, as well as the community. For more information, visit www.odysseyofthemind.com.

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She recalls watching with great pleasure while a team of students discussed a set idea. “There were some different ideas that individuals felt strongly about. But rather than getting offended or upset, calm excitement was accompanied with ‘I like that idea,’” she said.

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March/April 2014

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HEALTH

These children

FINDING HOPE IN OAKDALE by Kimberly Horg

have been through so much and the benefits they experience being around the horses has amazing results.”

Even as a young girl, Cathy Calvin found peace and happiness in the company of horses. Her love for the animals started at the age of three, when she would sneak out of her house to visit a horse named Stormy that her landlords owned and kept next door. When she was nine, Cathy’s mom died tragically. For the next six years, her father did his best to raise the young girl and her brother, but when she was only 15, he chose to move to Guam and leave both children behind.

“From there my life spiraled out of control,” Cathy said. “I went through a lot, growing up. To escape the pain, I would ride a horse. The only comfort I had was the time I spent with horses.” At 17, Cathy managed to scrape together enough money to buy her first horse. But it wasn’t until years later, when she had children of her own who happened to volunteer at a local facility with horses, that Cathy experienced an “aha” moment that helped her connect her tough childhood and her love of horses in the form of equine therapy.


Cathy first started Diamond C Therapeutic Riding Academy in Manteca in 1997, and in 2007 reimagined the Facility as Rosie’s Journey of Hope Therapeutic Riding Facility in Oakdale.

Rosie’s Journey of Hope The nonprofit program offers horse-riding-based therapies to children and adults with disabilities, including therapeutic horse riding for children and adults living with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy and other special needs. Foster kids are also included in the program. Children from a wide variety of backgrounds participate in the programs at Rosie’s Journey of Hope. While founding the school, Cathy became a registered nurse and now works as a clinical instructor at the facility. The facility follows the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International guidelines and is facilitated by a PATH certified instructor. According to Cathy, the name Rosies’s Journey of Hope came from a quarterhorse she owned for 18 years who happened to pass away the same year that Cathy opened the facility. “Rosie didn’t act like a horse,” said Cathy. “She was more like a human.” During her lifetime, Rosie helped many children—and Cathy—get through some tough times. Over the last seven years, the facility that bears her name has helped many more. “These children have been through so much and the benefits they experience being around the horses has amazing results,” Cathy said. Kelley Giaramita, R.N, has been on the Board of Directors for Rosie’s Journey of Hope for the past photos by Melissa Cohoon-Neece; M&Co. Photography March/April 2014

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HEALTH

My favorite part is seeing a child with Autism who never smiles, smile again”

18 months. “The horse is so much more than a mere ‘vehicle’ to ride,” she said. “Among so many other things, they are a facilitator of learning.” Last year, Giaramita attended two equine-assisted workshops which helped give her the tools necessary to expand the facility to include a program for healthcare students and professionals. Giaramita says the equine ‘facilitators’ have a sensitive neurological system that gives feedback to the children with body language—and which is always entirely non-judgmental. According to Giaramita, it’s easier to see the parts of oneself through equine eyes than it is to take criticism from another person. The facility is designed to instill hope as participants gain confidence. For Cathy, seeing the results the children and adults receive by participating in the program is the most rewarding aspect. “My favorite part is seeing a child with Autism who never smiles, smile again,” she said. Rosie’s Journey of Hope needs people and groups to assist with funding, as well as volunteers to be sidewalkers who assist during the therapeutic riding sessions. To volunteer or donate, call 209.534.0885 or email rosiesjouneyofhope@yahoo.com.

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Serving & Investing in our Community for over 50 years.


HEALTH

Creating Pathways from Autism to Possibility by Justin Souza

For the parents of children with autism, Modesto’s Therapeutic Pathways may be the most important facility in the world. Since 1996, Therapeutic Pathways has been committed to helping children with autism spectrum disorder reach their potential via therapies founded in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Therapeutic Pathways was founded by Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Psychologist Dr. Jane Howard and Speech Pathologist Coleen Sparkman, who had seen firsthand how devastating untreated autism could be for children. “The need for evidencebased treatment programs for autism was huge,” said Howard. “The possibility was here, and the need was everywhere.” Howard and Sparkman combined the latest research in their respective fields into an ABA-founded approach to the disorder that helps children with autism grow into adults capable of full, independent lives. Today, the

Inside Therapeutic Pathways, children from as young as 13 months to around five years old are accompanied—at least for a portion of their intervention session—by one or more Behavioral Technicians (BTs) trained in the direct implementation of ABA and overseen by Board Certified Clinical Supervisors. These BTs help establish the essential elements of social interaction, from making eye contact to answering questions, that are keys to the observational and social learning that children with autism are often missing, said Howard. “We evaluate treatment outcomes primarily based on direct observation of behavior. What skills are present now, what skills are absent, what behavior problems are interfering with this individual’s ability to be successful in his community. This drives treatment planning decisions.” “It’s not just about what happens here, it’s about extending it out into the world,” said Sparkman. “We measure some of our success by how much these kids are out in the typical community.” In addition to their observation-directed treatments, Howard and Sparkman remain at the forefront of research on the disorder. “In 1979, 1 in 10,000 kids was diagnosed with autism. Today, it’s 1 in 88,” says Sparkman. While incidence of autism has increased during that time, the numbers aren’t quite as dramatic as they seem. As clinical understanding of autism grows, so too does the breadth of children who fall under the spectrum diagnosis. As the understanding of the disorder grows worldwide, Howard and Sparkman say that they’ve become aware of a crisis they dub a coming tsunami. “There’s a demographic

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Number of Children Diagnosed with Autism

two serve as Program Directors and oversee the center’s four locations.

1 in

10,000

1979

1 in

88 2014

bubble of children with autism spectrum disorders who haven’t had access to high quality intervention of sufficient duration and intensity at an early age or simply need more in order to promote their independence and successful integration into the community. These individuals are going to start aging out of schools in the coming years. As a nation, we don’t have the safety net of programs in place to give them supportive job skills, work environments and living spaces,” said Howard. Howard adds that she believes that if these children had had access to intensive treatments like that offered at Therapeutic Pathways, they wouldn’t have needed a lifetime of expensive support. “It’s a case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.” “I’d like to see a future where every family and child has early diagnosis,” says Howard. “When I look five years down the road, I hope there are enough high quality services available and that we’re doing early intervention even earlier. I want these individuals to have a chance to lead full, independent lives.” This is why Therapeutic Pathways means so much to the parents and families of children with autism. Over the last 18 years, the organization has made a true and lasting difference in thousands of lives. And each day, that impact continues to make the world a better place for people with autism.


as a nurse I knew he’d receive the best care at DMC.

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HEALTH

Valley Theaters Make Movies a Reality for Kids With Autism by Justin Souza A trip to the movie theater is an easy pleasure for most, a way to escape from the cares of daily life and be immersed in another world. But for the parents of kids with disabilities, a trip to the movie theater can be transformed from a relaxing getaway to a figurative minefield of challenges, triggers and stress But take heart, there are ways to recapture the cinematic experience in our local community. Since 2007, AMC Theatres has partnered with the Autism Society of America to offer “Sensory Friendly Films” at locations throughout the country, including the theater in Manteca. These events tune the cinematic experience specially to provide a more safe and accepting environment for individuals with autism. At the monthly events, auditorium lights are turned slightly up, sounds are turned slightly down, prohibitions on outside food or drinks are lifted (to allow for special dietary needs) and audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing without fear of being removed from the theater. “Being able to relax and enjoy quality family time without worrying if someone will complain or be disturbed by noise or movement is a wonderful experience,” said a spokesperson for AMC.

SENSORY FRIENDLY FILMS COME TO THE STATE THEATRE Modestans Sarah and Doug Hosner are parents of a 7-year-old with autism who has

enjoyed the monthly events in Manteca. The movie-going experience has been such an inspiration to the Hosners that they have sponsored the first Autism-friendly movie experience with a showing of The Lorax at The State Theatre in Modesto this April. “It’s so wonderful to be able to have sensory friendly films in Modesto,” said Doug Hosner. “This will enable children in the autism spectrum to enjoy movies in a way that is more comfortable for them and their families. We’re happy to support this effort and encourage other families to do so as well.” This showing of The Lorax will be part of The State Theatre’s Youth Education Program, a no-cost program offered to children throughout the region during the school year, said Sue Richardson, Executive Director of the State Theatre. According to Richardson, she and her staff were more than happy to screen a film in a sensory friendly fashion. “After doing some homework, I enlisted the help of Julie Sesser and Danielle Jones from the Stanislaus County Office of Education. We are working closely with Mila Amerine-Dickens, the founder and executive director of the Central Valley Autism Project,” she said. Specially trained staff from the Central Valley Autism Project will be greeting guests and families at the door on the day of the screening, manning the concessions booth and will remain in the auditorium throughout the film to ensure that the children have a positive and enriching experience. “Although this is our first Sensory Friendly screening, we plan to do several more in the coming 2014/2015 school year,” said Richardson, adding that families of children who fall within the autism spectrum are invited to attend the screening of The Lorax at no charge. For more information on “Sensory Friendly Films” at AMC Theatre, visit amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films; to find out more about the State Theatre’s screening, visit thestate.org/youth-ed.

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CONTENTMENT health


speci al adver t i si ng sect i on

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Your Local Medical Experts Stanislaus County has a reputation. Whether they know us as the cowboy capital of the world, the birthplace of American Graffit or as the breadbasket of the nation, people across the world know us. But we also have a secret. This county is home to some of the United States’ most accomplished medical professionals! We’re proud to count world-class physicians and specialists as members of our population. On the following pages, you’ll find a few of these professionals who are completely committed to their work and share a passion for improving the health of the community. From everyone here at Contentment Health, we’re proud to introduce you to your neighborhood medical experts!


MEDICAL PROFILES

speci al adver t i si ng sect i on

Reveal the Work of Art Inside You! Model, not actual patient.

CALVIN LEE, MD, Botox®, Vein Surgery, Acupuncture TAMMY WU, MD, Plastic Surgery

Surgical Artistry 2336 Sylvan Ave. Ste C Modesto, CA 95355 209.551.1888 surgerytoday.com Dr. Tammy Wu, a board certified plastic surgeon, graduate

Calvin Lee, MD

Botox ®, Vein Surgery, Acupuncture

Tammy Wu, MD Plastic Surgery

The arTisT Michelangelo creaTed his aMazing sculpTures by and siMply Taking away wasn’T arT. Latisse Juvederm) and he iseveryThing an author forThaT MedicalSpaMD, a

resource for aesthetic physicians. At Surgical Artistry, we reveal the beautiful work of art inside you through the finest surgical skills top of her Ivy League Medical School, Brown University. She is paired with your personalized goals. currently on the Board of Directors for the Cooperative of American Surgical Artistry at 209.551.1888 to schedule We are Contact a husband-wife surgical team and we can your takeconsultation care of you Physicians based in Los Angeles. with our Board Certified Ivy League Surgeons. together. A decade ago, we chose Modesto, CA to become extremely 2336 Sylvan Ave. #C Modesto, busy surgeons and to offer our personalized style ofLocated medical care. CA 95355 next to the post office. Dr. Calvin Lee is a board certified general surgeon specializing i We turned down surgicalwww.surgerytoday.com opportunities in Kansas, Taipei (Taiwan), Botox, acupuncture, and veins. He is also a graduate of Brown San Diego and Los Angeles. A year after we came to Modesto, Kaiser University Medical School. Dr. Lee, originally from New York City, also believed that Modesto was a great place for medicine. High was accepted to Stanford, Harvard and Yale. He practiced broad volume with diversity is one of the keys to practicing surgery at based general surgery that included trauma at Doctors Medical its highest technical level. We do surgery and talk about it all day Center in Modesto prior to joining Dr. Wu in 2006. As a violinist, long, and we are available via cell phone to our patients. We love he performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall twice, and was Modesto. We are founders of the Gallo Center for the Arts, founding concertmaster of orchestras at Brown and Harvard. He believes that title sponsors for the Surgical Artistry Modesto Symphony Pops the dexterity challenges of playing a musical instrument translates Series and Fat Cat Classics 2006-2009, and founding title sponsors over to surgical skills. He lectures for Allergan (makers of Botox, for the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon.


MEDICAL PROFILES

speci al adver t i si ng sect i on

MODESTO PREGNANCY CENTER 2801 Coffee Rd, Ste A5 Modesto, CA 95355 209.526.1734 www.modestopregnancycenter.com

Since 1988, Modesto Pregnancy Center has been dedicated to saving the lives and protecting the futures of women and men throughout the Modesto area. We are a licensed and state-of-the-art medical clinic that offers complimentary medical services to both men and women. We believe in providing accurate unbiased information on parenting, abstinence, abortion and adoption to ensure that students, singles and parents can make informed decisions about their future. As a non-profit organization, we provide support t affirm and promote the value of human life to our communit through a network of care with the love of Jesus Christ. Our faithful partners share our vision for compassionate community-focused care. They know that their contributions help to bless and change the lives of a wide range of community members every day. Together, our staff and volunteers provide free STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing; help promote abstinence among students and singles; rescue unborn babies by encouraging every mother to choose life, learn how to parent or

TREMAYNE CENTER FOR MEDICINE Dr. Paula Tremayne and Staff Tremayne Center for Medicine 1600 Sunrise Ave. Ste 16 Modesto, CA 95350 tremaynemedicine.com

The Tremayne Center for Medicine is focused on treating you— the whole person—not just a disease or its symptoms. Led by Osteopathic Physician Dr. Paula Tremayne, our practitioners and staff believe in a philosophy of being well and living healthy. We recognize that practicing medicine requires a partnership between the patient and the doctor’s office, and D . Tremayne believes strongly that the best treatment for patients utilizes a comprehensive approach that minimizes potentially harmful procedures, medications and even surgeries.

prepare an adoption plan; and provide healing for post-abortive men and women. We also offer understanding and compassionate one-on-one support to those in a crisis situation. With your help, we can continue to support the essential mission of protecting the lives of people in our community. Visit www.modestopc.org or call our office at 209.526.1734 to find o how you can get involved in the ministry of saving lives.

Our team of providers includes: a nurse practitioner-dietician, chiropractor, physical therapist, neuro-reflexologist, ui-Na massage therapist and even a Yoga instructor. Dr. Tremayne and her staff and providers are motivated to provide you with everything you need to help you heal your body and build and maintain a better lifestyle. With proper treatment and maintenance, your body is capable of self-regulation, self-maintenance and even self-healing; with the right team of providers and resources, you can make your specific health care goals a realit . Schedule your initial appointment with Dr. Tremayne today.


FITNESS

TEENS RUN MODESTO by Kimberly Hory

ShadowChase Running Club member Linda McFadden was running the Los Angeles Marathon about six years

Valderrama ran the half marathon with the students she mentored during the first two years of its inauguration. She says that everyone who has stuck with the program has competed in either the half or full marathon. It is the first year Tiffany McBroom has been a mentor for Teens Run Modesto. She helped out with Girls on the Run in Chico and was motivated to do something similar in her hometown. “It takes a lot of mental hard work to put your mind to this test. I have seen some students really making an effort at trying to reach that goal. It is very rewarding and volunteering to help makes my life more enjoyable,” McBroom said.

ago when she first learned about Students Run L.A Since 1986, the L.A.-based running club and program had helped thousands of Los Angeles’ at-risk students to stay in school and go to college by motivating them to train and compete in the ASICS LA Marathon. Today, the program helps change the lives of over 3,000 high school students every year. According to McFadden, it was like a lightbulb turned on. “We have to do this in Modesto!” she thought. McFadden brought the idea to fellow ShadowChase member Mike Araiza and he and other club members developed the idea into the Teens Run Modesto Program. Teens Run Modesto is a dedicated 26-week training program that focuses on helping students develop skills in goal setting, discipline and personal responsibilities. Araiza says the sole purpose of the program is to help students realize that most things are possible through hard work, determination and belief. If the students can do the ‘impossible’ and finish a 26.2 mile race, then school work and life becomes much less challenging. The students, who are from 15-18 years old (younger students are accepted with some limits on races they can participate in) train for 6 months, typically meeting three times during the week and once on Saturday. The training starts with walking and each student works his or her way up to three or four miles and eventually reaches regular runs of more than 20 miles. Each student in the program has the end goal of participating in the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon which is held annually in March. “My favorite thing about being involved in this program is the look on their faces when they cross the finish line,” Minerva Valderrama, former Teens Run Modesto mentor, said. “They realize what they just accomplished and that is priceless. They carry that accomplishment into their personal lives.” 50

CONTENTMENT health

She adds that it is amazing to see students go from simply walking to actually finishing a whole marathon. In order to help the students develop the endurance necessary to accomplish this, she incorporates extra strengthening workouts after runs in the beginning of training. “They have a love hate relationship with the exercises,” she laughs. CSU Stanislaus Student Teresa Borroel has been part of Teens Run Modesto for three years. She was a participant during her first year and has returned to be a mentor for the two years since. Borroel joined as a senior in high school after a friend told her the program gave out scholarships for running the marathon. She says that at first the training was hard since she was not used to it, but overall it was an amazing experience. The program not only gave her a scholarship, but it provided her the motivation to believe in herself, crucial knowledge about staying healthy and helped her figure out what career to pursue “Soon after joining Teens Run Modesto, I realized I had a great passion for health and exercise,” says Borroel. “The program helped me decide to pursue a Kinesiology degree and to eventually become a physical therapist.” The schools currently participating in the program are Modesto High, Davis High, Downey High, Enochs High, Gregori High, Elliott Continuation High, Beyer High and Prescott Junior High School. Central Valley High School and Cesar Chavez Jr. High in Ceres, as well as Hickman Middle School in Hickman, are also participating. For more information on how you can get involved as a participant or a volunteer, visit teensrunmodesto.org


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FITNESS

It’s Spring Break! ... Now What? by Justin Souza

If you’re a parent of a school-aged kid, school breaks might strike fear into your heart. When your kid has a week (or more) at home, it can be hard to find great activities that can keep you both entertained and moving. We’d like to help. Here are some great options that can keep you and your child entertained during the upcoming Spring Break!

Kid Time Fitness Company I

Stanislaus County

Kid Time Fitness offers recreation classes for children and families at health clubs, community centers, schools, daycares and other facilities throughout the valley. Classes are currently available in Turlock, Modesto, Ceres and Escalon! More info at kidtimefitnesscompan .com.

Funworks I

Modesto

Funworks in Modesto provides a safe, clean, affordable, family centered destination right here in Stanislaus County. From mini golf to go-kart racing, video games to laser tag, there’s lots of fun to be had at Funworks. More information at itsallaboutfunworks.com.

GymStars I

Modesto

GymStars is a Modesto and Stockton based multisport designed expressly for children athletes. Their mission is to quality instruction in a safe, clean and fun environment every participant can meet his or her full potential. More programs at gymstars.com.

Boomers I

facility provide so that info on

Modesto

Big fun doesn’t come at a big price at this amusement park where you can do everything from bumper boats and go-karts to laser tag and miniature golf. More info at boomersparks.com/site/modesto.

Turlock Regional Sports Complex I

Turlock

This 30-acre complex in Turlock includes 14 soccer fields, two softball diamonds, a tot playground and a whole lot more. The complex is bordered on the east and west by two neighborhood parks, which include two sand volleyball courts, playground areas, picnic areas with BBQs, a half-court basketball court and drinking fountains. Stop by the huge facility from sunrise to sunset on Taylor Road at Mountain View in Turlock.

Woodward Reservoir I

Oakdale

Located in Oakdale in the rolling grassy Stanislaus County foothills, Woodward offers vacationers great camping facilities with 115 developed campsites, 40 full hook-up campsites, undeveloped camping areas, marinas, concessions, restrooms, picnic shelters, barbecue pits and picnic tables.

Spring Break Horse Day Camp I

Oakdale

Spring Break Horse Day Camp is a great getaway for older kids. Daily camp activities include caring for the horses and cleaning the stalls, a riding lesson in the covered arena and instruction in horsemanship. In addition to riding, campers learn about the care of horses and participate

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CONTENTMENT health


in tacking and grooming them. A fun horseback riding activity is held in the afternoon, such as a relay game, vaulting, a trail ride or bareback riding. April 14-16 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. $65 per day or all 3 days for $180. More info at shadylawnhorses.com.

SpecOps Live Play I

Oakdale

ARE YOU AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD AND WANT TO SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH OTHERS?

Knights Ferry Recreation Area I

Knights Ferry

Beautiful nature and old time exploration is a short drive away in Knight’s Ferry. Bring kids and pets then walk and climb around on the rocks by the river, make the hike up the big hill or just relax beside the river by the picnic area. After a great day of recreation, stop by the ice cream shop in Knights Ferry for a wonderful treat.

Stonehenge Indoor Climbing Gym I

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877.747.8228

Modesto

Climbing is a unique sport that builds strength, flexibility and balance and is great for the young and the young at heart. Modestobased Stonehenge is a great family friendly place for everyone from the advanced climber to the true beginner. Classes are available. More info at climbstonehenge.com.

Laser Quest I

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SpecOps Live Play combines outdoor laser tag, team sports, recreation and exercise to bring an exciting, new kind of entertainment to the Central Valley. The urban/forest facility includes almost 3 acres of trees, bushes, buildings and bunkers for an absolutely unique outdoor laser tag experience. More info at specopsliveplay.com.

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Modesto

Laser Quest is a family entertainment venue combining the classic games of hide-and-seek and tag with a high-tech twist. This multilevel arena has specialty lighting, swirling fog and energetic music to add to the excitement for up to 32 or more players in each game. More info at laserquest.com.

Kidspace I

Modesto

This new 20,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility is brought to you by The House Modesto. Launch into this rocket and space themed play area that’s sure to please kids from toddler to teen. More info at thehousemodesto.com/kidspace.

Spring into Fitness Fun Run I

Ceres

The Spring into Fitness Fun Run in Ceres on March 29 is a great option for the fitness minded family. Registration begins at 9:00 AM sharp for the 10:00 AM race at Smryna Park. An entry fee of $20 gets you entered in the event and a t-shirt. More info at ci.ceres.ca.us/AnnualEventsCalendar.html

John’s Incredible Pizza I

Smart Call. 524-8886 2100 Standiford Ave. (@ Prescott) Ste. A-3 Modesto, CA 95350

Modesto

Modesto’s indoor play paradise features Bumper Cars, Twister, Frog Hopper, Bowling, Laser Tag, Incredible Express Roller Coaster, Glow Golf and over 100 of the latest games. More info at johnspizza.com.

March/April 2014

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ART & CULTURE

SCULPTOR CARVES OUT HER OWN NICHE IN TURLOCK by Dana Koster

IF YOU SAW TITIA BARNETT-GUDDE’S CORNER-LOT HOME FROM THE OUTSIDE, YOU MIGHT NOT THINK ANYTHING OF IT. The yard is under construction, pathways and grass torn up to reveal hard-packed soil, and one whole side of the house is flanked by rocks that sprawl across the space where a lawn would ordinarily be. Here and there, cacti and succulents sprout up from the rocks, giving visitors the feeling of walking through a desert rather than a Stanislaus County suburb. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that not all of these cacti are organic – several of the larger ones have actually been molded from rich red clay, squat oval creations adorned with spikes and flagella by Barnett-Gudde’s expert hands. Clay, it turns out, that BarnettGudde mixes herself in her backyard art studio and then fires in her own giant kiln. A native of the Netherlands, Barnett-Gudde has shared this Turlock home with her husband, John Barnett, for over 20 years. The pair, both artists, met in Italy when Barnett-Gudde was finishing up her last year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. “He was there for half a year in Italy and I used to carve there in marble every summer,” she says in her lilting accent. “I came to the United States with him when I was 36. It must have been real love,” she adds with a laugh. For over a decade, the pair taught in the arts at California State University, Stanislaus. Though they’ve both retired or moved on to other projects, there’s evidence of this life of art all over their property – metal and clay sculptures nestle amongst a yurt and chicken coop in the large backyard, or sit on pedestals in the brightly-lit living room. The eyes of three African grey parrots seem to follow you when you walk through the sitting room, staring out from the interior of a 3D painting by one of BarnettGudde’s former students.

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Everywhere you look, there’s a splash of vibrant color or a rich texture. Most of this art is inspired by the natural world, evidenced in Barnett’s giant metal castings of tree bark or cracks in the mud, and in Barnett-Gudde’s cactus sculptures, which are a commentary on water conservation. “There are a lot of things in nature that you just don’t see when you’re walking past,” Barnett-Gudde explains as she gestures to a plaster casting on the wall. With its geometric cross-hatch pattern, the piece looks futuristic, almost otherworldly, but in fact it’s a plaster casting her husband John made from a downed palm tree. “You wouldn’t know that there’s all this intricate weaving in a tree.” When it comes to her own work, Barnett-Gudde says she is taken by shape and texture. Her work is often a response to her world, both her physical surroundings and the people and events that dominate that landscape. “When my son was in Iraq, I made things like this,” she says, pointing to a grouping of five small, evocatively-textured oblong clay sculptures that rest in a planter in her backyard. “They’re sarcophagi for our heroes. My idea was to do as many textures as there were people who had died during that time, because that is your fear, of course, when your kid is out there.” Currently, her cactus sculptures are her main artistic focus, a way to channel her frustration over the current drought and what she views as a society-wide mismanagement of water resources. Her work on her yard, transforming it from grass and flowers to stones and desert plants, is an extension of this same impulse. “There have been droughts since I’ve been here in Turlock, really severe ones, but not as bad, I think, as this one that’s coming,” Barnett-Gudde says. “I just want to use nature in a good way. I have a son, he has a little daughter – how much is already spoiled on the earth? We have to leave something.” Barnett-Gudde has shown her artwork in multiple countries and at venues all over the state of California, including the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Her sculptures are currently on display at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.


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ROBYN HEWITT’S GYPSY CHIC TURLOCK APARTMENT by Dana Koster Robyn Hewitt’s apartment is bigger than a gypsy caravan, but not by much. At less than 500 square feet and just two rooms—the space is divided into an upstairs and a downstairs, with no distinct rooms beyond that—Hewitt admits she sometimes has to get creative when it comes to storage. What the apartment lacks in space, though, it makes up for in style. The building itself, which Hewitt found listed on Craigslist two years ago, features rich redwood ceiling beams, a grand, wroughtiron spiral staircase and an upstairs bathed in natural light. Though the owner says it was converted from a two-story garage, Hewitt suspects her apartment may have had a previous life as a water tower.

Inspiration Q & A with Robyn Hewitt How would you describe your style? I like to think I have kind of a vintage style that’s more “gypsy,” but it’s probably actually somewhere between “gypsy” and “Grandma.” I really like floral , which is apparent to anyone who interacts with me, either in my house or with my wardrobe. What are you inspired by? Vintage textiles are really inspirational to me—I have a

The first floor is Hewitt’s living room/office, and hardly anything in the room is purely decorative—in a small space, Hewitt says, everything has to have a function. To keep her musical instruments out of the way, for example, she hangs them on the wall, where they’re both easily accessible and visually interesting. An antique trunk doubles as an end table, cleverly providing storage both inside and on top, and the whole room is ringed in twinkle lights and colorful crepe paper banners to give a punch of color without crowding the floor with furniture or painting the walls.

collection of handmade vintage afghans and blankets.

The only space that’s purely decorative is the staircase, which Hewitt calls her “gallery.” With dozens of carefully-arranged framed photographs, crewelwork art, shadowboxes and paintings (most of which she scavenged from thrift stores or inherited) flanking the stairs on three separate walls, walking to the second floor becomes a visual indulgence.

What was your biggest challenge?

Upstairs is her kitchen/bedroom, separated only by a dresser that Hewitt painted white on one side to create the illusion of room divider. There are windows on all four of the outside walls, and Hewitt’s penchant for vintage, gauzy floral curtains, handmade afghans and retro furniture really do make you feel like you’ve been transported out of the Central Valley— either into a bohemian caravan parked in a deserted meadow, or to the top floor of a Victorian apartment in 1960’s San Francisco. Either way, the effect is enchanting.

I kind of like things that are not perfect. I’d rather have something be interesting than perfect. What do you really love about your home? I love the staircase. I mean, how many places in Turlock have a spiral staircase? And there are windows in every wall upstairs, so I can sleep with them open in the summer and it’s like sleeping outside.

The bedroom and the kitchen are the same room. Realistically, I can’t do things like cook bacon because my entire bedroom will smell like bacon. What’s your best advice for people living in small spaces? Get rid of everything that you do not love before you move in. Sell it, burn it, whatever it takes—you will not magically find more space to store things just to have them. You would be surprised how much larger a space feels when you have less in it.

View the full gallery at contentmenthealth.com

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March/April 2014

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Welcome Spring with WATER WISE Landscaping by Justin Souza

The old adage says that April showers bring May flowers, but what happens when the showers don’t show? In those times, practicing water wise gardening isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a necessity. So we turned to Master Gardener and VP of Civic Affairs for the Modesto Garden Club Cheryl Carmichael to help us break down how to balance the needs of landscape gardens with the on-the-dryground realities of California’s record-breaking drought year. Carmichael’s prescription: don’t reinvent the wheel. “Take a serious look at what you’re doing and evaluate how you can do it better. I think conserving from where you are now will be the key to many levels of solution, from the municipal government to homeowners.” “This should be a time of moderation,” said Carmichael, adding that part of being water wise is also managing expectations. “If you transition to watering once a week, you can maintain the health of your garden and can really reduce your water use, but you have to understand that your garden may not be as lush and green.” Carmichael also laid out a few key precepts that can help anyone be a more water wise gardener:

Don’t rock the boat. Drought resistant plants may be beautiful and water sipping, but that drought resistance only kicks in after they’re established, which means regular, deep watering for at least one year to as long as three years. “If everybody takes out their planting and plants drought resistant gardens, water use will actually go up,” said Carmichael.

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Skip the fertilizer. Fertilizing lawns and gardens every spring might be a tradition, but will actually increase your water needs. Skipping the fertilizer might mean your lawn is a bit less green this summer, but will also reduce your utilization.

Don’t overwater. A large proportion of our local water usage is actually a result of overwatering. Here’s a simple test advised in the City of Modesto’s Water-Wise Gardening Guide: after watering your lawn, take a screwdriver and probe it into the soil. If you can push it 6 inches deep, you have watered enough. If you can’t, your soil is too dry. Once you get the right amount of water on your lawn, wait a few days and try it again. It’s only time to water when the screwdriver can’t go in as deeply. You might be surprised by how long this takes.

Let it breathe. Because of compaction and thatching (that thick base of dead grass that forms in lawns every winter) your yard could be losing a lot of water to evaporation. By aerating and breaking up thatch, you can maximize the amount of water that makes it to the roots of your plants. Check your sprinklers. “It’s essential to do an absolutely thorough check of your sprinkler system at the beginning of spring and then at least once a month through the growing season,” advises Carmichael. “Every single head of the system should be checked for efficienc , clogs, plants that have grown too large for it, chips from the lawnmower and overlap.” For more information on being water wise, call the San Joaquin County Master Gardener program at 209.953.6112, visit sjmastergardeners.ucanr.edu or visit the Modesto Garden Club at modestogardenclub.org.


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March/April 2014

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FOOD & WINE

STANISLAUS CULINARY ARTS ACADEMY by Justin Souza

now work in restaurants and two attend culinary school, including one who is enrolled in the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. As for the students, they recognize that they’re fortunate to have found the school. According to Tyler, a student in Rodriguez’s afternoon class, “It’s not like a regular high school. You have more one-on-one time with the teachers. I feel like the learning experience is better, too. It’s a lot of fun.” Tony, another student, looks at the school as a job opportunity. “I’m going to get my certificate and I’m going to go to JC next year. I’ll be able to find a job easier having this.

Just off Yosemite Avenue in Oakdale lies one of the area’s most innovative educational programs. And one of very few that boasts a full commercial kitchen. The Stanislaus Culinary Arts Institute is part alternative-education facility, part cooking school. The institution offers vocational instruction to more than 60 alternative education kids, as well as students from local high schools and junior colleges. For 18 months now, the Stanislaus Culinary Institute has been providing career education to students as part of the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE). According to Division Director Scott Kuykendall, the Culinary Arts Institute, Turlock’s Stanislaus Military Academy and the new Stanislaus Industrial Technology Institute in Patterson are all part of SCOE’s effort to found vocation-focused institutes that help students gain marketable skills. “It’s not just about the academics,” said Kuykendall. “It’s the job skills, the workforce training. We feel that these are important when you’re trying to graduate successful students.” At the Culinary Arts Institute, students who fall outside of local city school districts—whether because of disciplinary or attendance issues or transfer requests— receive vocational training that can help

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them find employment within county lines SCOE transformed the Oakdale facility from an independent study program where students would meet with teachers two hours per week into a program that students attend for at least four hours per day. Even so, attendance has risen to almost 97%. “We want our programs to be academically rigorous, but also relevant to students. It’s very important to me that there is a handson, skills-based component at all of our schools. With this school, more students in the area are being introduced to culinary arts and hospitality, and are more apt to get employed in that particular industry sector,” said Kuykendall. At the commercial stove in the culinary classroom of the Culinary Institute, instructor Brent Rodriguez leads a group of 15 kids dressed in chef’s whites in the day’s lesson. Rodriguez is head chef and lead instructor. He brings experience in the culinary industry to the job along with years of teaching experience and a passion to make a difference in kids’ lives. Rodriguez admits that initially, he didn’t know whether the program would be a success. “The kids have just been fantastic. They’ve come so far, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. “Nine kids have graduated from Rodriguez’s class so far. Four of these

According to Rodriguez, the kids might come in with a wall up, but under his instruction those walls often come tumbling down over the course of the year. “Years ago, a college professor told me that the kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” said Rodriguez. “I find it even more true at an alternative education school. Because I’ve built up that relationship, they know where I’m coming from even when I have to give them tough love. They know that it’s a learning experience.” Rodriguez’s culinary lessons tie into the lessons his students are learning in the classroom. “If they’re doing history, we’ll spin the globe, stop it somewhere, then they’ll research the area and find a traditional food for that area. They’ll find out what’s so special about it, then they’ll make that food. It gives them a different perspective.” Changing perspectives is what the Stanislaus Culinary Arts Institute is all about. The school is much more than an alternative education facility. It’s a way to create bright futures for students who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks. And that’s the kind of difference that any educational facility can be proud of. To find out more about the Stanislaus Culinary Institute, visit stancoe.org.


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FOOD & WINE

At California Marcona Company,

THE QUEEN OF ALMONDS REIGNS by Dana Koster In spring, it seems you can’t drive ten miles in Stanislaus County without encountering an almond orchard in its pink-and-white blossomed glory. The sight of almond trees in bloom is part of what defines the region. But if you went to the Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market in 2013, you’ve probably seen that there’s a new almond in town, and it goes by the name Marcona. Rounder, shorter and sweeter than traditional almonds, the Marcona almond is hugely popular in Spain. Often referred to as the “Queen of Almonds,” this buttery variety is commonly found in tapas bars, served with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Up until recently, though, it was rare to come across the variety in the United States. If you did get lucky enough to find Marconas, they were almost certainly imported from Europe. Enter the California Marcona Company. Run by husband-and-wife team Aaron Brown and Norik Naraghi, this local business prides itself on controlling its product from start to finish, overseeing the growing, roasting, seasoning, packaging and distribution of its Marcona nuts. Norik’s family has been growing almonds, walnuts and pistachios in the Valley since the early 1960’s, but it wasn’t until five years ago that her father Wendell took notice of the Marcona. “People had tried to copy the Marcona almond before him, but they just roasted and salted California almonds the way the Spanish do,” Brown says. “They tasted good, but they didn’t have that Marcona flavor and texture. So Wendell Naraghi decided to give the real thing a try. He located the correct plants at UC Davis and had them propagated at a local nursery— then, he planted a whopping 30 acres of the trees. “If he’s going to try something, he’s going to go ahead and give it his all,” says Brown. Once the Marcona crops had matured, there was the small matter of deciding what to do with them. Brown says he and Norik originally experimented with roasting the nuts in a commercial facility, but they just weren’t happy with the flavo , so they started tinkering with roasting at home – a step made possible by the California Cottage Food Act, which allows licensed food operators to produce small, controlled quantities at home. “Commercial roasters have to use canola oil or sunflower oil because of the smoke point, but we do it in smaller batches at a lower heat, so we’re able to use pure olive oil,” Brown says. “We utilize only high level ingredients: olive oil, Marcona nuts and a little bit of sea salt. That’s all.” 62

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This focus on high-quality ingredients extends to their newest venture, a single-ingredient almond butter they call Almondipity. Made from a variety of traditional California almonds patented by Naraghi’s grandfather in 1980, Almondipity contains no oil, no salt, no sweeteners—just ground, whole almonds. “A lot of almond butters are made from the leftovers, the stuff that’s not good enough to be sold,” says Naraghi. Using these premium nuts and a special grinding process, Naraghi and Brown are able to produce a naturally sweet, smooth almond butter that’s catching on with health nuts all over the Valley. Proven to lower your bad cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease, almonds have long been considered a superfood. “When I did Get Fit in Modesto, almond butter was on the menu almost every day as one of the snacks,” Naraghi says. “When people at the gym heard we were making our own, everybody started asking for it.” “You can’t open a magazine without seeing almond butter,” Brown adds. “We’re really riding the wave of popularity—hopefully a really large, long wave.” Fans of Marcona almonds and Almondipity can expect to see the products back at the Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market when it reopens in April, or find them on the web at ww .almondipity.com.


Banana,Chocolate Chip & Almond Butter Muffin adapted from www.runningwithspoons.com Makes 9 muffin Easy and deceptively delicious oil-free, dairyfree, flourless muffins made in a blender or food processor—with oats and flaxseed for bonus heart health. Ingredients 1/2 cup Almondipity almond butter 1 ripe banana 1 egg 1/4 cup agave 1/2 cup rolled oats 2 tablespoons flaxsee 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling Preheat oven to 375 degrees and add cupcake liners to 9 cavities of your muffin pan. Place all ingredients except for chocolate chips inside food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into cupcake liners and top each muffin with a few extra chocolate chips, for decorative flai . Bake for 10-12 minutes, until muffins are golden brown along the edges and muffin tops are set. Let muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes before serving.

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There’s nothing like spring in the Central Valley. With the rising temperatures, cool breezes and delicate showers come the sprouting of seedlings and bulbs, the regeneration of last year’s bounty in the garden. But before you pull on your gardening gloves this year, why not try growing something that can add a cascade of color to your plate: edible flowers Adding flowers to a meal is not a new concept. In fact, most herbs produce flowers that taste similar to the leaves and stalks normally harvested for the kitchen, from floral to herbaceous to spicy. And most edible blossoms can be an easy way to add a kick of spice to your plate.

STOP AND

grassy flavor and is best used atop soups, salads or desserts as a garnish and can pack a colorful punch for your plate. DANDELION: The modest yellow

EAT

dandelion can be used from root to bud in teas, tinctures and foods. The dandelion is touted in the holistic health community as a digestive aid, liver and kidney cleanse, inflammation zapper and more. For culinary enthusiasts, the young buds, fried in butter, taste similar to mushrooms. They can also be tossed in salads to add color and numerous health benefits

THE ROSES

LILAC: The lilac is a carefree bush that does well with good drainage, plenty of sun and annual pruning. by Mallory Leone Lemony, pungent and slightly sweet, the lilac is best served as a delicate, light purple and white garnish on desserts and in salads. Lilacs are beautifully candied for a sweet treat or garnish for lilac-infused ice Engage your senses Most edible flowers are packed with nutrients and subtle flavors creams or sorbets. that have been used for centuries in cuisines worldwide. You can Keep toxins away from your food find most of the following flowers at your local farmers market or Now that you’re ready to incorporate some petals onto your plate, specialty grocer or maybe in your own garden! there are some general safety tips to keep in mind. SQUASH BLOSSOM: This slightly sweet flower grows atop the

old, familiar squash. Flowers should be harvested when they’re small and delicate, almost immediately after pollination. These blossoms are traditionally prepared stuffed with ricotta, lightly breaded and fried, or tossed together with pasta.

There’s nothing worse than putting the time, money and energy into a garden only to find a congregation of critters feasting on your bounty. However, you must not use pesticides to deter pests from your edibles. Remember: you will eat what you spray.

ROSE: Roses taste like they smell,

sweet and floral with undertones ranging from musky to minty. Darker variations tend to pack more flavor and usually are used in desserts as an ice cream topping, jelly, ice cream or in baked goods. Roses of all types, colors and sizes are edible; just make sure to remove the bitter white part of the petal before consumption. PANSY: The pansy is a popular edible flower simply because its so aesthetically pleasing. The charming flower has a slightly

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LILAC SORBET 2 cups water ¼ cup sugar or honey ½ cup coarsely chopped lilac floret Heat water in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan and add sugar/honey and flowers. Heat liquid to a boil and stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes then let the mixture cool to room temperature. Add your floral liquid to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Top with candied florets.

Also, be wary of eating flowers picked from a public place; you never know if they may have been treated with harsh chemicals. Your safest bet is to grow the flowers yourself, harvest only the parts you know to be edible and to eat in moderation. Including flowers in your menu is just one more step toward a healthy, more mindful lifestyle, so get creative and enjoy the process, from harvesting to decorating your plate. Growing your own edible flowers is just one more way to remember to stop and smell (and eat!) the roses.


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HIDDEN TALENTS: A LI DA M CK E ON

PEOPLE NORMALLY KNOW ME AS…

Just Alida. I’m a musician who has appeared in Valley’s Got Talent and I’ve been nominated for two Modesto Area Music Awards. BUT WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW IS THAT I…

I play classical piano, head a ukulele band, perform with a steel drum ensemble, sing, write my own music, play on Oakdale High’s varsity water polo team (we’re Division Champs!) and a lot more. And I still find time to attend hig school as a Junior at Oakdale High. I GOT STARTED WITH MY HIDDEN TALENT WHEN…

It all started with the piano lessons that my parents made me take. I went for years before I finally joined band in middl school. I played baritone horn (which I ended up giving up), but I still ended up falling in love with music. AND SOMEDAY I HOPE TO…

I just turned 16, so I’m excited to be getting a car so that my mom won’t have to cart me around to gigs. In a couple of years, I’m going to be going off to college. I’m looking at the Berklee College of Music or the University of Oregon for music or maybe UC Berkeley for one of my other interests like history! PEOPLE CAN SEE MY WORK AT...

I play at a lot of cafes in the area. Deva, Queen Bean, the Hangar BBQ in Merced, Hero’s. The Queen Bean is really wonderful. They’re good people. So nice and they take good care of me. It’s such a welcoming crowd. WANT TO GET STARTED IN MUSIC? JUST START BY…

If you really want to enjoy music, take lessons and really work to understand it. At least learn basic theory and stuff. And then get the confidence to go on stage and perform I know so many people who love music and are great musicians who are too nervous to get up on stage. But once you pass that little bump in the road, it’s much easier. If you have a hidden talent, submit to editor@contentmenthealth.com.

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March/April 2014 // Issue 9