Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Forgiveness is Important to Your Health

It is easier to bear a grudge against an enemy, easier to build walls than to let them go. Far easier it is to bask in righteous indignation than to admit that perhaps in the larger scheme of things, we are not all that right; perhaps we might even be wrong. Sam Keen once said,"Our problem lies not in our technology, but in our minds, in our ancient tendency to create enemies in our imagination."

This is the function of our ancient reptilian brain, the stalker and enemy maker that lies curled up in our "amygdala." Our ancient brain builds fortresses and moats, dredging reptilian memories from mud and walling them within our cerebellum as conditioned reflexes, unthinking, unconscious and primitive. But thanks to our prefrontal cortex, we have the ability to reign in our emotions, view the situation with equanimity and perhaps even go as far as forgiving our enemy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness is good for our health. Studies show that anger creates a whole host of nasty effects on our bodies. It suppresses the immune system; it suppresses thyroid function, slowing down the body's metabolism; it impairs the brain's thinking ability and it jeopardizes our ability to sleep. Anger stalls the body's normal processes of repair and recovery. It contributes to the clenching of the jaws and eventual problems with teeth and jaw joints. It increases tension headaches and joint pain.

Most of all, anger elevates heart rate and blood pressure; it increases muscle tension as the body contends with a sense of losing control. Cases of people literally dying from anger are not unusual. Anger can constrict heart muscle and vessels and trigger a heart attack.

Studies also show that men have a more difficult time forgiving than women do. Women have been socialized into being more empathetic than men. Women also find it easier to talk problems over and move towards a common resolution. Women have learned to network since kindergarten; they have learned to build on the basis of cooperation rather than vengeance.

What happens to our body when we release anger and welcome forgiveness?

Our muscles relax. We breathe more easily. Our blood vessels open up; more oxygen enters our bloodstream. We feel as though a load has been taken off our chest. We sleep more deeply, more peacefully at night. Our body processes achieve equilibrium again and our energy fields become unblocked. We are no longer pouring energy into building walls; we can now re-direct energy towards building relationships, coherence and love.

We can all learn to forgive by concentrating on the present. Live in the moment and let past wrongs go; let go of all future worries. Regular meditation sessions can help us redirect our mind and body to the present moment.

All spiritual traditions emphasize the importance of forgiveness because healing, both personal and communal, cannot take place without forgiveness.

Bianca Tora is a writer interested in the relationship between lifestyle and the brain, specifically the area of emotional regulation and control. She has published a book on anger management for children. Visit her at
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Assist-A-Grad awards 168 students scholarships

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Genna Smith, a senior at Rodriguez High School, receives her Abundantly Blessed Investment Club scholarship during the Assist-A-Grad awards ceremony at the Fairfield Community Center, Sunday. 68 students received $131,500 in scholarship money. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)


FAIRFIELD — Vanden High School student Tyler Koss, who spent some of his free time preparing meals at the Fisher House, hopes to attend the Air Force Academy and plans to become a pilot with the financial help of the Order of Daedalians Flight 5 Scholarship he was awarded.

 Carolina Rodriguez plans to attend the University of the Pacific to become a psychologist with the help of an Armijo Class of 1965 Honorary Scholarship while Klara Reece wants to attend California State University, Fullerton, and become a registered nurse with the help of an Armijo Alumni Scholarship.

These students were three of 168 Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville and even Dixon students who came with their families to the Fairfield Community Center Sunday afternoon to accept scholarships that will help them meet their educational dreams.

“Believe in yourself and follow your dreams,” was the advice that Assist-A-Grad Scholarship Foundation President Rita Santos gave to the assembled young scholars who will be graduating in June.

Parents and friends took pictures, ignoring the noise of the fans that kept the community center cool, showing obvious pride as their loved ones walked up to accept their scholarships.

This year, 81 sponsors ranging from the DeVera Family and Anderson & Associates to Ball Corporation and the Cordelia Rotary Club, presented $131,514 in scholarships for Assist-A-Grad to hand out.

The ceremony was dedicated this year to school secretary Charlotte Toon, a dedicated Assist-A-Grad supporter for more than 20 years who recently died at the age of 92.

This year’s scholarship winners were:

Abundantly Blessed Investment Club Scholarship: Tyra Holt and Genna Smith; Greg Adams Memorial Music Scholarship: Bryce Beckel; Advanced Instruments Hearing Aid Center Scholarship: Brina Miller; Alooma Court No. 198 Daughters of Isis Scholarship: Rebecca Dulaney; Anderson & Associates CPAs Scholarship: Julianna De Vries; Friends of Armijo Agriculture Scholarship: Jesus Gonzalez and Kyle Palaganas;

George’s Feed & Pet Supply Scholarship: Miguel Cervantes, Adrian Ortega, Rosanna Villicana and Hamad Waiz; Armijo Alumni Scholarship: Julianna De Vries, Klara Reece and Kasey Ryan; Robert Jordan Class of 1949 Honorary Scholarship: Bernardo Ortega; Carol Jordan Memorial Scholarship: Tahoe Bautista and Cesar Rodrigeuz; DeVera Family Honorary Scholarship: Kelly Luthy;

Armijo Class of 1965 Honorary Scholarship: Carolina Rodriguez and Lonnie Saetern; Armijo Class of 1950 Honorary Scholarship: Hayden Del Dotto; Evelyn “Happy” Hallett Marinovich Class of 1958 Memorial Scholarship: Tiffany Clark; Clyde Perry Class of 1955 Memorial Scholarship: Blake Butler; Larrianne Simmons Glashoff Class of 1977 Memorial Scholarship: Howie Tomson; John Smith Class of 1950 Memorial Scholarship: Colby Hatfield;

Ed Hopkins Memorial Scholarship: Amrinder Bhandal; Armijo Football Boosters Club: Amrinder Bhandal, Jeffrie Brown Jr., Gregory Forkes and Miles Thompson; Armijo Staff Club Scholarship: Rassim Chettfour; Linda Ash Memorial Scholarship: Anthony Reyes; Assist-A-Grad Foundation Marvin Woodstrup Scholarship: Lucila Briesno; Honorary Recognition Scholarship Award: Jason Naidu;

Ball Corporation Scholarship: Rajpreet Sidhu; Charlotte Bailard Ball Memorial Scholarship: Miguel Cervantes; Ameriprise Financial Services Scholarship: Jennifer Flores Alvarez; M.J. Bates Scholarship: Claudia Diaz; Benesh Family Scholarship: Jacob Less; CSEA Fairfield-Suisun Chapter No. 302 Scholarship: Astred Castro and Kayla Vidal; California State Prison, Solano, Prison Outreach Program Scholarship: Daniel Smith, Tiffany Tramel and Clarisse Wangeline;

Larry Carr Memorial Scholarship: Claudia Diaz; Cordelia Rotary Harry Holbrook Memorial Scholarship: Melanie Esver and Gabrielle Tribelli; Crystal Elementary Scholarship in Memory of Mary-Jo Beyer-Tracy: Amanda Bernal, Brandon Contreras and Lonnie Saetern; Eckman Family Scholarship: Brendon O’Hara-Leid, Hector Rodriguez and Yixuan Zheng; FAST Lions Club Community Services Scholarship: Linda Houston and Alexandra Jenks;

Fairfield Community Services Foundation Scholarship: Leslie Gutierrez, Amber Jacobson and Elizabeth Ramirez; Fairfield High School Athletic Boosters Club Scholarship: Lea Alvarez; Fairfield Host Lions Club Scholarship in Memory of Bev Dihel: Crystal Benton; Fairfield Host Lions Club Scholarship in Memory of Curtis and Lil Burgan: Lucila Briesno; Fairfield Host Lions Club Scholarship in Memory of Ralph Penning: Melonie Miller; Fairfield Host Lions Club Scholarship in Memory of Verde Hawley: Emily Wong;

Fairfield-Suisun Adult School Women in Action Re-Entry Scholarship: Estela Fuentes; Fairfield-Suisun Adult School Staff Scholarship: Zhiyan Huang; Fairfield-Suisun Management Association Scholarship: Aaron Harrison and Jacob Hurt; Fairfield-Suisun Rotary Club Scholarship: Kyle Elledge, Melanie Esver and Jacob Less; Fairfield-Suisun Rotary Club Scholarship honoring Gaylord Whitlock: Elizabeth Hubbard; F-SUTA Scholarship: Kyle Elledge, Lidsay Nute, Daniel Smith and Israel; Fairfield Women in Action Scholarship: Rassim Chettfour and Jillian Lea; Janice Lynn Rossi Memorial Scholarship: Akila Hunter;

The Matt Garcia Foundation Scholarship: Diego Alcantar, Leah Alvarez, Daraja Carroll, Carolyn Elder, Aries Gresham, Yuxuan Guo, Leslie Gutierrez, Akila Hunter, Bernardo Ortega, Adrian Ortega, Vereniz Ortiz and Teresa Quintanilla; Geranium City Garden Club Scholarship: Kathleen Ng; Golden Hills Mustang Club Scholarship: Christian Marmolejo; Kathleen E. Herbert Memorial Scholarship: Laura Paolo Becerril;

Jack Hopkins Memorial Athletic Scholarship: Christopher Maynard; Ella C. Owens Jennings Memorial Scholarship: Sevanna Devers; Melinda Ann Kerner Memorial Scholarship: Alexis Villegas; Vocational and Trade School Scholarship: Marahi Alejo; Presilla Toon Lindgren Scholarship: Tiffini Mestas; Jimmy Low Scholarship: Vereniz Ortiz; Darwin L. Lum DDS Health Care Scholarship: Kassandra Villasenor;

Marsh Family Scholarship: Chyna Oyola; Jacobs Long Achievement Award: Angela Laosantos; Military Officers Association Scholarship: Kayla Andres, Andrew Grabowski and Brandon Servino; Michael Dominic Moretti Memorial Scholarship: Joseph Matteucci; MARFE Robert Redcher/Barbara Joyce Dyson Memorial Scholarships: Esmeralda Arteaga and Kimberlee Walker; Ian Albert Netto Memorial Scholarship: Joy Acuyong and Connor Ng;

Civil Engineering Scholarship: Isabella Perez and Breanna Thomas; Sons of Italy in America Fairfield Order No. 2534 Scholarship: Rachel Blackman, Mia Horn, Joseph Matteuchi, August Messano, Andrew Pirondini, Howie Tomson and Keila Wedow; Order of Daedalians Flight 5 Scholarship: Tyler Koss;

Valedictorian Scholarships in Memory of Dorothy Stone: Diego Alcantar, Jacob Less, Alicia Perez, Leilani Reyes, Isreal Vega, Victor Martinez, Kelly Bruner, Heidi Carr, Timothy Comer, Michaela Copp, Shanon D’Ambrosio, Elizabeth Hubbard, Scott Morris, Andrew Priodini and Jessica Ye; Parkside Dental Care Scholarship: Riffany Tramel; Brian Burzynski Memorial Scholarship: Sallie Canumay;

Rodriguez Athletic Boosters Scholarship: Daraja Carroll and Anthony Kaleczyc; Juanita & Andrea Schiel Memorial Scholarship: Crystal Benton and Gladys Cruz; Joe Shilts Memorial Engineering Scholarship: Karanveer Deol and Mark Leal; E. Ruth Sheldon Elementary School Scholarship: Carolina Rodriquez; Anna Sheldon Hopkins Memorial Scholarship: Dmitra-Dejahnae Lucas; John Paul Hopkins Towner Memorial Scholarship: Amanda Currier;

William Boyd Sheldon Memorial Scholarship: Cesar Rodriguez; Sudie M. Smith Memorial Scholarship: Tiffany Clark and Seghan Wodai; Clare Ficklin Memorial Scholarship: Gabriella Nathan-Funk; Solano First FCU Scholarship: Heidi Carr, Mariah Correa Santiago and Andrew Pirondini; Solano Garbage Company Environmental Scholarship: Christina Ramos; Solano-Napa Builders Exchange Scholarship: Blake Butler;

James Ward Memorial Award: Lindsay Nute; Soroptimist Scholarship: Elizabeth Hubbard and Kristina Maria Lapira; Marcia Stewart Memorial Scholarship: Angie Gomez, Yuxuan Guo, Elizabeth Ramirez and Veronica Zepeda; Suisun City Firefighters Association Scholarship: Joseph Matteucci and Marcos Moreno; Tigner Family Foundation Scholarship: Amrinder Bhandal and Jeffrie Brown Jr.;

Robert L. S. Wong Jr. Scholarship: Janine Alcordo; University Society Scholarship: Larua Paola Bercerril, Rebecca Dulaney, Audrey Nicole Gonzalo, Kristina Maria Lapira, Elizabeth Ramirez and Veronica Zepeda; Pamela Jarvinen Memorial Scholarship: Roshani Minhas and Alyssa Wright; Wednesday Club-Robbins Family Academic Scholarship: Veronica Zepeda; Gaylord P. Whitlock Memorial Scholarship: Kaytlin Denney.

Article Source: The Daily Republic 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it's someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Matt Garcia Learning Center School's First Prom!

The Matt Garcia Learning Center School had it's very first prom this past weekend. The Matt Garcia Foundation proudly sponsored the event.

A BIG Thank You to Shannika Crawford, CEO of S.J.I.D Production, for putting on the event! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Matt Garcia Learning Center School

For More Information : Contact 707-424-9400
The Matt Garcia Learning Center has been established to honor the youngest City Council Member in the history of Fairfield. As a young person, Matt was consumed with the notion that youth violence could be stemmed in favor of community involvement and service. He passionately believed in the ability of all youth to turn away from violence and towards a productive, positive lifestyle. To that end, Matt worked tirelessly with schools in the community and fostered a resurgence of the Youth Commission in the City of Fairfield. Matt was an inspiration to all who knew him.

As a sad irony, on September 1, 2008, Matt Garcia was murdered in a tragic case of mistaken identity, a victim of the senseless violence he fought so hard to eliminate. His death has brought about a new commitment to make something meaningful out of Matt’s death by furthering his cause of community service and violence prevention and reduction.

An important part of the movement towards reclaiming our youth for productive, positive lifestyles is the establishment of the Matt Garcia Learning Center. The Center will provide a nurturing environment for our students whose behavioral issues have prevented their success in a comprehensive setting. Serving youth from grades 2-12, students and their families will receive access to a rigorous academic program delivered by highly qualified, dedicated, and specially trained teachers. We will also receive support from our many community partners and agencies including, but not limited to, social services, health, law enforcement, probation, faith-based organizations, and local businesses. Special Education and English Learner services will be provided as needed. Smaller classes and a low student to adult ratio will allow for the formation of meaningful relationships and academic support. Starting with a school capacity of 150 students, it is anticipated that the program will grow over time.

The Center location itself will serve as a hub for community services, bringing providers together with those in need. The student day will extend beyond classroom hours. Tutoring, credit acceleration/recovery programs, extracurricular activities provided by the Police Athletic League and faith-based agencies, and counseling services will all be provided as needed and desired. The entire family will be involved in the successful completion of the program.

The Matt Garcia Learning Center is founded on the understanding that it takes a whole village to raise a child and on Matt’s strong belief that any person can turn his or her life around with hard work, dedication, and the support of a caring community. We can think of no greater honor to Matt’s memory than to dedicate a school committed to helping students resolve behavioral issues, claim strong academic standing, and to serve their community.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Support The Matt Garcia Foundation Through AmazonSmile!

You can help support The Matt Garcia Foundation by shopping through AmazonSmile.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to The Matt Garcia Foundation whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same Amazon Prime benefits.
  • Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at

Click the logo above to start shopping!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Power of a Smile: Suzanne Nimoh at TEDxYouth@Mt.Olive

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Compassion Test

How would you define compassion? It is basically treating others as you would like to be treated when grief comes your way. It can be about a tragedy or something small, but compassion is still called for. Think deeply about each question and see whether you are truly compassionate when someone needs you to care about what they are going through.

1) When someone is hurt whom you know or maybe an athlete on TV, how do you react? Some people laugh about it, while others jump into action and do what they can to alleviate the pain. Where in the spectrum are you? It tells a great deal about you as a person how you answer this question. In life, it will mean the difference between a good and lasting relationship or failure.

2) Outside the realm of compassion, what type of person are you? Abusive? Giving? Helpful? If you are giving and helpful in other areas of your life, and not compassionate, why is there a difference between the two?

3) Construct a way of collecting the opinions of those around you, without knowing which person said what. Put a note on the container asking them to rate your compassion level. Have them be unsigned. You may be surprised at the answers you get from this survey. Many times we cannot see the flaws in ourselves that people around us can see.

4) If the above survey came out negative about your level of compassion, how would you react, and what would you do to fix it, if anything? Would you be mad at the people who gave their honest opinions or use it as a growth tool to improve yourself?

5) Do you resent constructive criticism from those around you, whether it is a boss or someone you care about deeply?

6) What kind of response do you expect from others when you are in need of help? How does this compare with what you give to others in their time of need?

7) Why do you think people act in a bizarre manner, like laughing, when someone is in a hurting situation? If you are one of these, what caused it to be in your personality?

8) Do you think all the news, video games, and other negative influences have desensitized our society to others' pain? How have you changed over the years due to the influences of seeing people die and go through tragedies?

9) When you see a need in your family or community, do you take action or figure someone else will do it?

No one else may ever know your answers to these questions, but you do. What are you going to do about the answers you gave? Were any of your answers convicting to the point of your doing something about the answers that didn't meet your expectations?

It is one thing to take a test such as this, but what really counts is what you do with the answers you receive. Without positive actions to back it up, taking a test is of no value. It is up to you alone to make it valuable and to grow personally from it.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Bishop Jakes Says Forgiveness Is Like Making Biscuits - Oprah's Lifeclass

Forgiveness isn't always easy, but Bishop T.D. Jakes says it's a recipe for a better life. Watch as Bishop Jakes explains why forgiveness will take away the bitterness that festers in a state of unforgiveness.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Nature's beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg's lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day. (Filmed at TEDxSF.)