Archive for the ‘Community’ Category
Effort began following near death experience and vision
By Allen Payton
Four years ago, Debra Brown was given a vision.
“On September 17, 2010, a year to the date after I got out of the hospital from a near death experience, I had a vision that I was to start a restoration facility for victims of human trafficking,” she said. “I really didn’t know about human trafficking, and was completely unaware of its existence in our country. I did see the movie ‘Taken’ a year or so before but I thought it was a Hollywood thing and in another part of the world.”
“I was in my hot tub. Sentences started downloading in my head and it was a trip,” Brown stated. “’You will facilitate the opening of a safe house for victims of human trafficking in Contra Costa County’ were the first, exact words. The sentences continued. ‘Many people will come to help you’ and then ‘Many people will come to know Me through this’ and ‘You did not meet your husband by accident.” Then the next words were ‘I will provide the funding.’
Then a detailed floor plan of the facility was imprinted in her mind. She got out of the hot tub and went in the house and immediately began drawing the floor plan. Since then, an architect has drawn up the preliminary plans from what Debra drew.
It wasn’t the first time she had a supernatural experience.
“I had an out of body experience when I almost died and I was begging Jesus to take me,” Brown said. “I was looking down and saw the nurses and doctors around my bed, but was wondering why no one could hear me. In that instant I was back in my body and they were ambu-bagging me, giving me oxygen.”
“I didn’t tell anyone, right away,” she added. “Then I started feeling depressed that Jesus didn’t take me home to Heaven to be with him. Then I thought why would I want to go, I have a good life, a great family, a great job.”
Then she shared her experience with a Christian friend, who told her “He didn’t take you because He has a plan for you, a purpose for your life.”
Up until that time, Debra called herself a “holiday Christian” only attending church two times a year, Christmas and Easter. She started attending church and Bible study.
Now she knows what that plan is and she began working on it right away.
“We formed our non-profit, Pillars of Hope, and held our first board meeting within a month of the vision,” she added.
Since then Brown and the organization have been raising funds to build the safe house, which they hope will be the first of many and will locate it in Contra Costa County, as God told her to do.
They also spent the first year getting educated on the subject, including attending what’s known as a Freedom Summit, which is held every other year. The next one will be in May of 2015.
Surprisingly, the need is great in our county. It’s everywhere and in every state in this country. The Bay Area is in the top 10 areas for human trafficking in the country, according to the FBI.
“Unfortunately Antioch is seeing an increase in sex trafficking and parents need to be aware of the dangers out there to our kids” she stated. “Traffickers can make $250,000 to $300,000 per girl per year so nationwide there has been an immense increase in gang involvement. Unlike drugs, victims can be sold over and over.”
They have already helped and guided some victims to resources and look forward to being able to house them and really provide the restorative care that they all so desperately need. The organization regularly holds trainings to get awareness to the public and also to get their volunteers the necessary training to be able to work with the victims once their safe house opens.
About half of the trafficking victims are used for sex and the other are used for labor, including being forced to work in restaurants, nail salons, agriculture and as domestic servants to name a few.
Many of the labor victims are Hispanic and Asian. Shockingly, 72% of the identified sex trafficking victims are American citizens or legal residents, and many of them are teenage girls, but some are boys. The average age of entrance into sex trafficking in our county is 14, nationwide it’s 12.
But, the average age of rescue in Contra Costa is 17 ½ year old, which means the biggest need for restorative care for 17 and up.
They have a private investigator on the Pillars of Hope advisory board, who has helped rescue some girls who were victims. Earlier this year there was a Brentwood girl who went missing and was found in Oakland, being trafficked for sex.
There was another recent case of an Antioch girl who was abducted and later found in Stockton being trafficked for sex out of a hotel.
Former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman, Manny Soliz, Jr. is their financial planner and his wife Mary will soon be joining the board.
So far the organization has raised about $60,000 and are now pursuing grants, as they have a budget of $1 million to buy the house and provide the staffing. That’s just for the first phase.
“There’s nothing quite like this, that we’re doing, in the country,” Debra said enthusiastically. “Nothing of this magnitude. It’s going to be great.”
The first phase will be for (girls and) young women age 17 ½ and up, with counseling for trauma, specialized programs to help with the whole mental, physical and spiritual healing process, as well as job training and life skills. Future plans include a heavily-armed facility for at-risk girls and a facility for children under age 18.
The need is so great, as there are only a couple of specialized facilities in Northern California with so few beds. Some of the rescued victims are put in Foster care or group homes, but without restoration they end up running away and return to the street and back into “the life,” as it’s called, Brown added.
The next fundraiser for Pillars of Hope will be a crab feed on February 28, 2015 at the Pittsburg Senior Center. Pittsburg’s vice mayor, Sal Evola, and his team of crab masters, will be cooking again this year. To buy tickets or support the effort, call (925) 457-3977 or visit their website at www.pillarsofhope.us.
By Allen Payton
Antioch residents joined together to celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual program in his honor, on Monday.
Held at Antioch High School’s Beede Auditorium, the event was started by the late Antioch Councilman Reggie Moore and this year featured a first-ever awarding of a scholarship in his honor and memory. Moore was the first African-American elected to the Antioch City Council. This year’s recipient was Claryssa Wilson.
The program, led by Master and Mistress of Ceremonies Caleb Harper and Claryssa Wilson, Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha welcomed all in attendance, followed by the invocation by Pastor Chris Williams of the new Church at Antioch. Velma Wilson then led in the singing of Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the Negro National Anthem followed by the presentation of colors by Antioch Boy Scouts Troop 153 and the singing of the National Anthem by Deer Valley High’s Divine Voices.
Mayor Wade Harper introduced the elected officials in the audience, who then shared their thoughts for the day.
The program continued with some musical and dance entertainment from Pray for the Children Chrous, Stepper Girlz and Antioch High’s Delta Rhythm Boys.
The young men from G.R.I.O.T. – Greatness Rediscovered In Our Time – then took the stage and recited their affirmation in unison.
Mayor Harper then introduced the keynote speaker for the day, former Oakland Raider Akili Calhoun, followed by a brief video about him.
Calhoun, who wore numbers 90 and 95, was a defensive tackle from 1992 to 1996, shared mostly about his life after football.
“I wanted to leave a legacy for my son. I was always focused on sports. I said ‘You know what, God, I need to take another route.’”
That route took him toward higher education. Calhoun earned a doctorate in psychology.
He then went on to mentored men in prison. But it made him depressed and he knew he had to get into a college setting.
Calhoun then became a college professor.
He said “I thought, Wow, I’m a professor!”
But his wife told him “You gotta give back.”
So, together, they started The Lettermen Project which mentors young men and helps them get into college.
Calhoun shared about one interaction with late Al Davis, the former owner of the Raiders.
Al Davis told me “You gotta practice, but you gotta do it when no one is looking.”
That’s what he shares with those he mentors.
Calhoun then invited those who were in the audience to join him on stage. He had each one introduce himself and share where they were attending school.
He referred to the young men as his generals helping build God’s Kingdom.
Calhoun finished with a reference to Dr. King.
“I’m trying to do what King would want me to do, reach them all and build a nation of educated people.”
His talk was followed by the announcement and presentation of scholarships to four students who won the MLK Day Essay Contest, as well as the Reginald L. Moore Scholarship presented to Claryssa Wilson.
The program concluded with Velma Wilson singing “We Are the World.”
By Steve Dulas
Sports Legends staff writer
More than three dozen youth coaches were able to partake of more than a century of experience Saturday during the 2015 Antioch Sports Legends Alumni Baseball Coaches Clinic at the Antioch Historical Society building.
The staff, led by former major leaguers and Sports Legends Hall of Fame inductees Butch Rounsaville and Aaron Miles, covered aspects of catching, middle infield play, pitching, hitting, and the keys to being a successful coach.
“It’s great to give back to the Hall of Fame and the Historical Society,” said Miles, who played nine years in the major leagues. “It’s a great place to dedicate your time to, and any chance I get to do something to benefit that I want to.”
The rest of the clinic staff included Bobby Rounsaville, who played one season of pro baseball in Italy after playing at UC Davis; Chris Bodishbaugh, twice drafted by the Florida Marlins and currently the pitching coach at Los Medanos College; Steve Ward, head coach at Diablo Valley College for 15 years; and Craig Chipman, who has coached high school and college baseball for 20 years.
“I think it turned out great,” said Butch Rounsaville, a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee who pitched for the Chicago White Sox before an arm injury ended his career. “I think the instructors all did a good job and we had a good turnout. All the coaches seemed to get something out of it.”
During the lunch break, some of the coaches took an eye-opening tour of the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the historical achievements of outstanding male and female athletes from Antioch. The display, in the Historical Society Museum, 1500 W. 4th St., is open from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. More than 100 athletes and teams have been enshrined in the hall, starting in 2007.
Miles, who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, taught two phases of the clinic, working with Bobby Rounsaville on middle infield play and solo on hitting. He and Rounsaville, who both played second base during their careers, spent an hour breaking down the basics of middle infield play, from which type of glove to use and the proper stance to movement around the bag on double plays.
“You want to know your audience,” Miles said. “You’re talking to coaches, and you don’t know if they’re coaching 9-year-olds or if they’re a college coach. All those things you know because you’ve played at a higher level, you want to still get those across without losing your audience.”
Bobby Rounsaville, part of the 1984 Antioch High baseball team inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, also did a clinic on baserunning. Part of his presentation dealt with stealing bases and how to avoid being picked off.
“You have to get the pitcher to show you his best move,” he said.
Butch, who is Bobby’s uncle, countered that later, saying no self-respecting pitcher would show his best move first.
Butch Rounsaville and Bodishbaugh represented two different generations – Butch made his major league debut in 1970, while Bodishbaugh began his professional career in 2008 after playing quarterback at San Jose State University. But their approach to pitching is the same, from the mechanics of the motion to the grip on the ball. They also stressed that they would not recommend that coaches of younger players try to teach either a curve ball or a slider.
“The only time I would say it’s okay for a 12-year-old to throw a curve ball is if it’s that one-in-a-million chance that they have the perfect motion and the perfect release,” Rounsaville said. “If winning your game means your kid throwing curve balls, I say win your games later.”
“What’s most rewarding is that these guys are ambassadors of the sport,” Chipman said. “These guys are the reason I can make a living, and these guys are the future of our sport.”
Tour began on January 7th and concludes on Opening Day in San Francisco on April 13th
This will be the third public trophy tour held in the past four years and will feature the 2014, 2012 and 2010 trophies. The focus of the San Francisco Giants World Championship Trophy Tour presented by Bank of America is to share the trophies with Giants fans in Junior Giants communities throughout northern California.
Antioch is one of those Junior Giants communities, so the trophies will be here on Tuesday, January 27th in the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park, 4703 Lone Tree Way, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We saw in 2012 how powerful it was for us to create a trophy tour which not only allowed us to connect with our fans, but also with the more than 22,000 kids who participate in our Junior Giants baseball program. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to do so again,” said Larry Baer, Giants president and chief executive officer.
The organization is working in partnership with their Junior Giants leagues throughout northern California to create public viewing opportunities in the following cities throughout the months of January, February and March. Fans will have the chance to both have their photo taken with the trophies and support their local Junior Giants.
PERSONAL PHOTO POLICY
You will be allowed to take one (1) photo per person. If you come in a group, you can take a group photo or individual photo, but not both. Depending on volumes of fans and line control, personal camera use for photos with the trophies will be determined onsite. Fans will also have the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with the trophies and can purchase those prints onsite and online.
The Trophies will be on display for two hours during each stop. The Giants intend to accommodate as many fans as possible during the viewing time period. Fans are advised to arrive early as the line will be cut off, if needed, to allow the trophies to leave at the designated end time. A Giants representative will assess and determine a cutoff point in line. A fan who arrives during the designated viewing time is NOT automatically guaranteed a photo with the trophies. Fans are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
For the complete schedule, click here. http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/fan_forum/trophy_tour.jsp
About the trophy
In 2000, Major League Baseball commissioned Tiffany & Co. to create one of the most celebrated awards in all of sports: the World Series Trophy. The Commissioner of Baseball presents this trophy to the winning team of the annual World Series. The goal of greatness is crafted into every detail of this revered trophy:
The initial World Series trophy was created by Major League Baseball in 1967. The St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games in the World Series that year, were the first World Series Champions to receive the trophy.
Trophy’s official name is “The Commissioner’s Trophy.” Each year, one full-sized trophy is crafted by Tiffany and awarded by the Commissioner of Baseball to the championship team.
The trophy is created at Tiffany’s workshop in New Jersey.
Master artisans employ age-old techniques – spinning, silversmithing, chasing, hand engraving, and polishing – to create the trophy.
Design features thirty pennants representing the teams in the American and National Baseball Leagues. The pennants encircle a dome base, which is etched with latitude/longitude lines symbolizing the globe and adorned with twenty-four karat gold vermeil applied stitches representing those on a baseball. Engraved on the base are the words, “Presented by the Commissioner of Baseball” along with the commissioner’s signature.
Sterling silver trophy weighs approximately 20 pounds and stands 24 inches high with a diameter of 11 inches.
Tiffany & Co. also creates the World Series MVP Trophy, presented to the Most Valuable Player of the World Series; the All-Star Home Run Derby Trophy, awarded by Major League Baseball to the winner of the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week; and the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award which is awarded at the Commissioner’s discretion. Previous winners include Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Roger Clemens, Ichiro Suzuki and Rachel Robinson.
Tiffany & Co. creates trophies for many of the world’s greatest sporting events. These designs include the National Basketball Association Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the National Football League, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship Trophies. Inspired by the transcendent form and energy of competition, these outstanding Tiffany designs are a lasting tribute to the athletes’ dedication and the thrill of victory.
The Celebrate Antioch Foundation, which hosted the 2014 Holiday Delites Celebration on December 6 in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown, have announced the winners of the parade competition. Following are the winners of the various categories. The celebration continued with the City Christmas Tree Lighting, followed by the Lighted Boat Parade on the river. (photos by Allen Payton) See more photos of the celebration, by Beverly Knight by clicking here.
1. Scouts – Scout Pack #153 (#14)
2. Civic-Community Service – Mr. & Mrs. Claus (#28)
3. Patriotic Entry-military oriented – Color Guards (#1)
4. Commercial Entry – for profit – HUGO (#12)
5. Entertainment Entry-performances – Octuvio Rusio (#26)
6. Cultural-costumed – GRIOT (#7)
7. Musical Instrumental – Dancers Elite (#23)
8. Clubs – Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch (#17)
9. Youth/Children – Girl Scouts (#32)
10. Dance/Gymnastics – Melody’s Dance Studio (#16)