California Casualty along with its long-time partners, the Professional Firefighters Association of Utah (PFFU) and the National Education Association (NEA), recently came together to deliver 85 warm coats to children at risk through the PFFU Coats for Kids program.
Students at Redwood Elementary School in Salt Lake Valley’s Granite School District will be a lot warmer this winter thanks to California Casualty, PFFU Local 2970, Star Orullian of Granite Education Association, Redwood Elementary School Principal Jolynn Koehler, and NEA Member Benefits Affiliate Relations Specialist, Sean Mabey.
Coats for Kids was established in 2013 by the Professional Fire Fighters of Utah to combat one of the most fundamental hardships of childhood poverty- the absence of a warm winter coat.
For more than a decade, PFFU has watched the problem of childhood poverty creep mercilessly into the homes of the communities it serves. Poverty ravages families without discrimination – and by necessity those struggling to survive naturally prioritize food, heat, and rent above winter clothing.
In Utah, and many other communities across the country, the lack of a winter coat often results in frequent school absenteeism which translates to forgone learning, missed opportunities for socialization and play, and the loss of balanced nutrition provided through the school’s meal program. Helping students stay warm as they walk to and from school leads to increased attendance, allowing children of families in need to experience the critical childhood benefits their school has to offer.
There is no denying the joy of a child being zipped into their brand new coat by their hometown heroes. Since 2013 the Professional Firefighters of Utah Coats for Kids drive has resulted in 2,198 coats purchased and provided to needy children in fourteen different elementary schools in Utah.
“What happened today at Redwood Elementary mattered to many little First Graders”, said Sean Mabey “Seeing those little kids wearing coats, smiling and waving, will be a highlight for me personally this season.”
Representing California Casualty, Assistant Vice President, Valerie Cregan commented, “It is truly an honor for all of us at California Casualty to join in support of our valued business partners in their efforts to help the children of the Salt Lake Valley community.”
“The Professional Fire Fighters of Utah, and all of our IAFF Affiliate Locals are very proud of our ongoing Coats for Kids project. Our ability to supply coats is only possible through our members’ fundraising efforts and our great partners such as California Casualty. As 2020 was a most difficult fundraising year – California Casualty stepped up BIG to help us get more kids in coats just in time for the holidays.” Jack Tidrow, President.
In attendance: Redwood Elementary Principal Jolynn Koehler; Granite Education Association Representative Star Orullian; PFFU President Jack Tidrow; PFFU Secretary/Treasurer Susan Davis; IAFF Local 2970 Firefighters Kyle Stewart, Bronson VonTussenbrook, and Drew Griffin. Attending remotely from California Casualty:Lisa Almeida, AVP, Valerie Cregan, AVP, and Erica Reich, Senior Field Marketing Manager; attending remotely from NEA Member Benefits:Sean Mabey.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Every year, Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty offer enrolled students, ages 14 to 22, the opportunity to win prizes for their original works (creative writing, video, graphic design, or music) showcasing creative solutions for preventing the #1 killer of their peers –reckless and distracted driving.
Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, mind off driving, or keeps ears from being alert to surroundings. Commonly referred to as accidents, these crashes are actually 100% preventable.
The Create Real Impactcontest is a proactive movement to reduce poor decision making and inattentive driving by 16 to 19-year-olds that has become an epidemic. Empowering messages from young people urging their peers to adopt safer driving attitudes and avoid the tragic result of bad choices behind-the-wheel can save lives.
The Fall 2020 Create Real Impact contest winners were recently selected.
Prizes are awarded by a panel of qualified judges based on the following weighted criteria: 25% concept/creativity; 25% execution of the idea; 50% effectiveness of the message emphasizing solution(s).
The following students will receive $1,500 Grand Prize educational grants for their entries:
Impact Teen Drivers was founded in mid-2007 by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, California Casualty, and the California Teachers Association. The organization has emerged as a leading non-profit organization dedicated to reversing the pervasive yet 100% preventable crisis of teens killed in car crashes. ITD’s mission is to develop, promote, and facilitate evidence-based education and strategies to save lives and reduce injuries and fatalities caused by reckless and distracted driving. To learn more visit www.ImpactTeenDrivers.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Our streets and freeways are coming back to life after having been empty for months. And right now, we are at the end of the season known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Add to that the excitement of back-to-school and socializing with friends beyond the virtual connections enforced by stay-at-home orders. It’s the perfect storm for poor decision making and inattentive driving by many 16 to 19-year-olds.
While COVID-19 poses a threat to our communities, teenagers are nearly four times more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.
One of the biggest contributors to this “other” growing pandemic is distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, mind off driving, or keeps ears from being alert to surroundings.
Did you know that reckless and distracted driving is the number one killer of young people?
Recognizing the need to proactively address these 100 percent preventable crashes – mistakenly called accidents – Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) launched a Create Real Impact Creative Contest. The contest hinges on the idea that needless teen deaths can be avoided if young people are given a platform to – in their own words – urge their peers to adopt safer driving attitudes and avoid the tragic result of bad choices behind the wheel. This year’s Fall Create Real Impact Contest gives educators and students a chance to win their share of $27,000.
Here’s How it Works:
Students, ages 14-22, can submit one entry into one of the four categories — creative writing, video, graphic design, or music — to showcase their original idea for a solution or strategy to end reckless and distracted driving.
Individual Prizes are awarded in a variety of ways:
$500 to the entry with the most online votes within each category
$1,500 to the grand prize winner in each category (as determined by CRI judges*)
$1,500 for a Spanish language award within the video or graphic design category
*Judges will determine the Grand Prize Winners based on the following criteria: 25% concept/creativity, 25% execution of the idea, and 50% effectiveness of the message. Online voting in no way influences the decisions of the panel of judges.
In addition to the individual student winners, high school teachers and advisors are invited to submit a distracted driving social media campaign developed and implemented by their student leaders. The High School Distracted Driving Social Media Campaign contest gives students the chance to develop critical thinking and rational problem-solving skills through conducting research, advancing technical and creative writing skills, and developing communication with peers and community members across multiple media.
Projects can be developed through distance learning or in-person.
The social media campaign prizes are as follows:
$10,000 for the first place winner
$5,000 for second place
$2,500 for third
Contest Opens: Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. (PT)
Contest Entry Deadline: Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. (PT)
Online Voting Begins: Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (PT)
Online Voting Closes: Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. (PT)
Grand Prize Winners and Top Online Vote Getter Winners will be announced by the week of November 23-27, 2020
No one understands teens the way their peers do. By leveraging their creativity to spread resonant messaging on safer driving and better decision-making behind the wheel, young people can be a powerful force in reducing needless teen deaths.
Over the last months, we learned to (quickly) shift our communities online — or create entirely new ones where there were none before.
If there are any silver linings to this pandemic, a strengthened sense of connection definitely tops the list. It’s no surprise that the professionals we serve — educators, first responders, nurses, and peace officers — have so often been the ones building community and connection.
Here’s a round-up of some heartwarming and creative ways they’ve brought us together while we’ve had to stay apart.
Positivity parade. To cheer their students up, teachers across the nation have driven through their students’ neighborhoods in car parades, oftentimes in vehicles decorated with joyful signs, messages, and decorations.
Teacher memes. Parents have certainly had a crash course in homeschooling — and their reflections (and teachers’ responses) have led to some brilliant memes.
Keepin’ it real. This music teacher’s video went viral when she shared what it’s like switching to online teaching and learning.
Mask project. Two former school administrators launched a mask-making project to support their communities’ frontline medical workers.
Keeping kids fed. Educators across the country have made sure that no students go hungry during school closures.
Dance as medicine. Lifting spirits while delivering excellent care, these nurses use dance to bring humor and positivity to their Covid-19 patients. Check out all five videos — we dare you to keep a dry eye!
Stepping up, showing up. School nurses have been answering the need in communities everywhere, whether by administering tests at Covid-19 testing sites, doing wellness checks on hundreds of students, or rounding up donations and supplies for other frontline workers.
Creative stress-busting. Nurses and doctors are using humor, dance moves, and creativity to stay sane, spread smiles, and promote safety.
#904RainbowHunt. Trying to cultivate hope in an uncertain time, an ICU nurse created a (now burgeoning) Facebook group for people to create, share and hunt for rainbows in neighborhood windows.
Storytime with peace officers. To comfort and connect with kids during stressful times, law enforcement officers nationwide have been reading to kids virtually.
Cribs – firehouse edition. Firefighters give kids a personal virtual tour of their fire station — from the living quarters to the garage, fire engines and everything in between.
Heroes cheering heroes. First responders cheer on frontline healthcare workers in New York and Pennsylvania with sirens, lights and applause.
#HeartsforHealthcare. Firefighters and first responders are sharing the love — by parking their engines and cruisers in heart shapes — to show support for healthcare workers.
Times of crisis bring out both the worst and best in people. We’re ever grateful to our American Heroes for bringing their best to their communities and inspiring us all to find ways to connect to and support each other.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to education professionals, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Celebrating the great work that you do and giving to others are important aspects of the California Casualty culture. We believe in giving back through important community impact initiatives and charity that makes a real difference.
Garage Makeover winner Kyle A.
We’ve been thanking first responders over the years for the hard work they do protecting our communities, with the Work Hard/Play Hard Sweepstakes.
In December, Pennsylvania firefighter Kyle A. was the recipient of a $7,500 Garage Makeover from California Casualty. Kyle, who is also a full-time 911 dispatcher, was thrilled. “My wife and I bought our forever home last year and we just purchased a storage shed so that we could clean out the garage to make it more useful,” he said.
He added that while he doesn’t seek recognition for what he does, he is grateful that California Casualty recognizes the hard work done by first responders.
While we are talking about firefighters, California Casualty wants to congratulate San Bernardino County, California, Fire EMT Kyle A. (a different K.A.). He is the grand prize winner of the California State Firefighters’ Association’s photo contest, sponsored by California Casualty.
Kyle receiving his award from Field Marketing Manager, Charlene Rowens
The contest invited first responders to submit images highlighting the bravery and camaraderie of the men and women in the fire service and the explosive situations they encounter in their daily shifts. Kyle’s photo of Los Angeles firefighters battling a commercial auto parts blaze was a quarterly winner in the contest and will be featured on an upcoming cover of The California Fire Service magazine. Quarterly winners received cash prizes from California Casualty for their efforts.
You can see some of the amazing and outstanding pictures submitted to the CSFA/California Casualty photo contest here.
Knowing the challenges and expenses new teachers face when setting up their classrooms as full-time educators, California Casualty introduced a $500 New Teacher Shopping Spree for student members of the NEA.
Shopping Spree Winner Katherine (center) with California Casualty’s Gabby Sole (left) and KNEA representatives.
Ms. Kirchhoff, a KNEA member, applied for the award while she was a student teacher in Olathe. She was hired this year to teach 4th grade at Piper East Elementary School in Kansas City.
“I am so thankful for this giveaway from California Casualty,” she said. “Being a first-year teacher, I didn’t realize all of the things I would need, and this money is going to help me get supplies that I planned to purchase for my classroom and students.”
Ms. Kirchhoff will use the funds for essentials, such as Expo markers, pens, paper, and other materials that will benefit her students.
Kansas Service Center’s Salvation Army Family Donations
To brighten the holidays for others, employees at our Kansas and Colorado Springs service centers chose to make a difference for families in need.
The Kansas Service Center Employee Activities Committee (EAC) adopted a family of four through the local Salvation Army. They bought dozens of toys, piles of clothing and hundreds of dollars in grocery gift cards to provide a joyous holiday for the three children and one adult.
Colorado Service Center’s Silver Key Donations filling the bed of a truck.
The EAC in Colorado Springs asked employees to purchase high-protein, nonperishable foods and personal care items for Silver Key Senior Services, which gives assistance to the elderly, many of whom are shut-ins or have very little family support.
The donations helped stock the emergency food pantry, which gets depleted during the holidays. Our employees brought in enough food and care items to fill the bed and cab of an EAC member’s pickup truck.
Working with you at schools, higher ed campuses, law enforcement offices, fire stations and hospitals provides us many opportunities to give back. Staff members at our Service Centers, Home Office and our Partner Relations team live in your communities, and we all pitch in to help with various fundraisers and recognition events.
We recently celebrated the extraordinary care that nurses give to others with $1,000 Nurse’s Night Out awards that went to Ohio RN Marie C. and Oregon RN Dina D. Both are members of their respective nurses associations. With holiday shopping and travel, both nurses said the money comes at a great time.
Marie (second from left) receiving her Nurse’s Night Out award
Dina (center) receiving her Nurse’s Night Out award
Our Illinois Field Marketing Manager, Katie Dunn, was given a great honor this fall by the Illinois Firefighters Association. As a token of appreciation for all the dedication she has shown to IFA and their members’ safety, they presented Katie with a white helmet naming her an honorary fire chief of the IFA. “Katie is always there to support the IFA in its efforts to make the fire service better for the men and women who wear the uniform,” remarked Terry Ford, VP of the IFA. “Her tireless energy, dedication and willingness to help with IFA programs and events demonstrate her caring for our members.”
Alina with Louis Manzione, President of the Independent College Fund of New Jersey
Another prestigious honor was given to Accounts Relations Manager Alina Fayerman. Alina works incredibly hard for the New Jersey groups that California Casualty serves and was named this fall to the Board of Trustees of the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Alina, who received a scholarship from the fund when she attended Drew University, will actively give back by helping with marketing expertise and support for the state’s independent colleges and universities.
California Casualty employees also participated in charity events, giving back to their communities. One was the very moving “Out of the Darkness” walk to prevent suicide. California Casualty Senior Field Marketing Manager, Sherry Hanacek, joined hundreds of people on a drizzly, cold September morning. She was supporting past president of the Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association Dave Butler and his wife, Anita, who suffered the loss of their son. Dave organized the walk, which raised more than $20,000 for the cause.
At our Colorado Springs Service Center, the November fundraiser was for Silver Key Senior Services. Every day can be difficult for elderly shut-ins, but the holidays can be especially tough. Hundreds of pounds of food, kitchen necessities, and personal care items (enough to fill a pickup truck) were collected and donated to help seniors in need. The donations will supplement Silver Key’s food pantry and home-delivered meals program.
And through our many visits to schools across the nation, we created a new Music and Arts Grant program to aid creativity in schools, such as choir, band, dance, film, theater, computer arts and graphics, or any K-12 curriculum that employs art for learning. After we reviewed nearly a thousand applications, 139 public schools in 31 states received a total of $34,000 to help provide music, instruments, and art and performance necessities. Some of those included:
Purchasing special adaptive instruments for the Special Education Center at Mark Twain School in Garden Grove, CA, that serves special needs and medically fragile students
Supplying watercolor sets for third-grade students at Homer Davis Elementary School in Tucson, AZ
Reestablishing the art program to third graders at Arcadia Elementary School in Deer Park, WA
Providing adaptive instruments and technology to expand the music therapy program for students at the ACES Village School in North Haven, CT
Buying an additional camera to allow more students to participate in the photography program at Filer High School in Filer, ID
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