December 28

City employees do double duty with nonprofit work on side

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The techie from City Hall had a special credential he did not bother to flash. “My dad passed away when I had just turned 8,” he said. “I was raised by my mom from then. I respect my mom a lot and I think she did such a great job raising me and my sister it makes me want to help other mothers who may be in that same situation.” The other day McRee brought a crew to the group’s Canyon Country digs to fix computers and set up the network. Then Quick spotted another use for his information technology gold mine. “He has a big heart,” Quick said. “He will be part of our mentor program.” Retired firemen and policemen have banded together to create a mentoring program for boys whose fathers are largely absent. Quick has tapped McRee to take part, by sharing his computer skills. Like McRee, other city staff members employ their knowledge – and some leverage social and business connections – outside City Hall to benefit nonprofit groups. While many orchestrate fundraisers from cozy seats in the boardroom, some also find themselves picking up garbage and handing out water to parched firemen, as Adele Macpherson, the city’s superintendent of community services, has done. The president of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center’s board has rolled up her sleeves at fundraising events, and while volunteer work with the American Red Cross sent her across the country to help out in disasters, she handed out the water when fire has consumed hills and blacked the sky in Santa Clarita. The native of Sale, a town near Manchester in England, also is a member of the Queen Victoria chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire. The group holds teas to help support the British Home for retirees in Sierra Madre. City Clerk Sharon Dawson, who spends her days working alongside bureaucrats and private citizens – some who long to become bureaucrats – spends her spare time raising money to make reading fun for kids. It is no coincidence she serves on the board of the Friends of the Santa Clarita Valley Libraries. “My dad, when he retired from his permanent job had worked in an elementary school library,” she said. “He got so much joy out of helping kids find books and learning history. I do it in honor of my dad.” Her father has since died. Special districts administrator Dennis Luppens is the president of the executive board of the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. That does not stop him from getting some dirt under his nails. He calls on contacts to donate food, money or marketing expertise, and each year he helps out with the postal drive, where the U.S. Postal Service collects canned food for the group. Mail carriers may collect the food, but unlike the mail, the do not deliver it. Luppens helps out with that, unloading carts and delivering goods to the food pantry. “I used to be involved with low-income families in my city job,” he said. “It’s that desire to maybe help that one person you may never meet again. You know you’ve helped that person and made their life a little better.” The director of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department serves on the board of the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club, but his calling as a lifeguard from 1975 to 1993 led to collecting and managing lifesaving statistics for open water and lifeguard agencies across the country. Rick Gould’s responsibility for a nationwide statistical database makes him an expert of drowning prevention and lifeguard effectiveness, which he frequently lectures on. “I can tell you with the touch of a finger how many rescues occurred in Miami, Florida” he said. Closer to home, he advises Los Angeles County lake lifeguards. Macpherson, who was a founding member of the Santa Clarita Valley Resource Center, hopes its new presence on the Web attracts more helpers. “It’s the friendliest of ways to look through volunteer organizations without having to call organizations and find what they have,” she said. “It makes it easier and more comfortable.” Volunteer opportunities can be found at Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – In his day job, Rob McRee’s computer smarts are pretty much taken for granted. It was another story when he entered the Web-less domain of a nonprofit group that helps out single moms and their kids. McRee, the city of Santa Clarita’s Webmaster, is building a home for Single Mothers Outreach on the Internet. “There will be more awareness from the public, more volunteer opportunities available and updates on events at our office,” said Debbie Quick, executive director of the organization. “To moms who are out there seeking help from themselves, feeling alone and distraught, they can click on the computer and see there’s help.” Single Mothers Outreach helps women find jobs, a place to live and support groups. The local group serves about 1,400 single mothers and their kids, who range from newborns to 20-somethings. last_img read more