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ConnectOC Blog

Connect OC Blog

The dream of a more vibrant, prosperous Orange County is within our reach. To achieve it, we must understand and confront difficult realities faced by too many of our neighbors. And we must coordinate our response so that every effort counts.

The ConnectOC enewsletter and blog bring fresh examples of innovation and impact as we share stories of the donors, dreamers and doers who partner with OCCF, as well as insights into how we are working to help make Orange County a stronger, healthier more vibrant community for all. With an easy-to-read format and expanded content, we aim to inspire, inform and help you connect with our community and the causes you care about most.

Orange County’s issues are connected—and so are you. We invite you to get in touch with critical information, promising approaches and a growing community of partners who share your passion for our county. Already, we are making strides toward the dream we share for Orange County.

The New Face of Neighbors in Need

ReachOut OC addresses the changing demographics of need in Orange County. Lake Forest resident Price will challenge everything you think you know about hunger in Orange County. A client of South County Outreach, he shops at the nonprofit’s food pantry. He and as many as 3,000 other residents count on deliveries of emergency food and fresh fare every month just to get by. But that wasn’t always the case. Price is the new face of ...
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Every child deserves a healthy smile

At the tender age of 7, Amber already had a mouthful of painful cavities and a tooth so decayed that it needed to be pulled. Her mother, Nancy Gama, a mother of two young girls with no dental insurance, felt like she had no options. She struggled with what to do, knowing that she couldn’t afford expensive dental procedures to address the serious problems her young daughter was facing. What Nancy experienced is not uncommon ...
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Celebrating 25 years of passion, innovation

A conversation with Pacific Symphony conductor Carl St.Clair While others clamor for influence, Carl St.Clair barely utters a sound. The musical director and conductor of the Pacific Symphony orchestrates musical innovation with a whisper. St.Clair generates the highest sense of creative spirit from the musicians he leads. His respect and support for their calling arouses exceptional performances that inspire awe. St.Clair celebrates his 25th season with the Pacific Symphony this year. During his tenure, the ...
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In Harm’s Way

Human trafficking is not just an international problem; it is a growing issue right here in O.C. We hear the horror stories about human trafficking in foreign countries. Children kidnapped from families in public marketplaces and smuggled into a terrifying life of abuse and slavery. Though devastating, it seems remote. Except it isn't. The same kind of thing is happening in Orange County. Vulnerable children in our neighborhoods and school systems are being brought into ...
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Keeping Dr. King’s dream alive

Orange County leaders champion his message of faith and equality. I learned recently that just 19 days before his assassination in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Orange County to speak against the war in Vietnam and in support of the Poor People's Campaign, which he planned to take to Washington, D.C., the following month. It was one of his final public appearances. His directive was simple: Make an effort to understand and ...
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Learning to Thrive with Diversity

No one likes to feel left out, yet we’ve all experienced the sting of being slighted, looked over or ignored at some point in our lives. In most cases, the harm is temporary and we’re able to move on. But other exclusions are more insidious because they divide Orange County based on differences in race, economic status, ethnicity, education, religion or sexual orientation. Fortunately, two important local nonprofits are helping overcome ignorance and isolation to ...
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The Power of Compassion

Transforming lives through understanding, kinship and connection. Gang member. Convicted felon. Parolee. That’s what we might see.  But not Father Gregory Boyle, founder of L.A.’s Homeboy Industries. Father Boyle—or “G Dog” as he is known to his nearest and dearest—sees a life worth saving, and a soul hungry to know its worth. Through Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the U.S., Fr. Boyle has dedicated his life to giving a ...
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A Gift of Hope

Toy Collaborative doesn't just give children presents to open; it offers a message that they aren't forgotten. Jacqueline Hernandez knows what it’s like to be forgotten at the holidays. In foster care from the age of 3, she was moved from foster homes to group homes, and back again. “It was easy to pack up because I had basically nothing, just a couple of dolls and maybe three outfits,” she writes. “I never had a ...
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30 years of feeding hungry in the county

Second Harvest Food Bank recognizes 30 years of seeking innovative, sustainable ways to end hunger in Orange County. In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger launched a successful maiden flight, Sally K. Ride emerged as the first U.S. woman astronaut in space, and the Internet, as we know it today, was created. Closer to home, 1983 is the year the Second Harvest Food Bank got started, the people behind it daring to dream of an end ...
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Education remains best defense against HIV/AIDS

Two local organizations help battle a virus that hasn't - despite some appearances - gone away. While much has been done to minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., the fight is far from over. And in honor of World AIDS Day, which was Sunday, remember that education remains a top priority, and getting involved is key to eradicating the virus. Organizations such as AIDS Services Foundation Orange County and Shanti Orange County are ...
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