Reach Out Hosts 10th Annual National Innovative Communities Conference and Celebrates 50 Years of Service to the Inland Empire
Upland, Calif. – To celebrate five decades of serving youth and families in the Inland Empire, Reach Out held its 50th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, June 18th as a highlight to its annual two-day National Innovative Communities Conference which took place on June 18th and June 19th at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California.
The 10th Annual National Innovative Communities Conference was Reach Out’s largest conference of the year and the only one of its kind in the Inland Southern California region! Over 700 community leaders, including government and public health officials, law enforcement and faith leaders, healthcare professionals, educators, parents and nonprofit organizations, from all over Inland Southern California and more than 100 noted speakers came together to address the region’s toughest issues, discover new resources, collaborate and learn innovative ways to improve the quality of life for all residents.
This year’s theme was Leadership-Action-Legacy and featured inspirational key note speakers Ken Seeley from the hit television reality series Intervention, Mary Parks the creator and host of American Spirit, and Dr. Cid Pinedo from the Children’s Fund. Topics included civic leadership and engagement, immigration, gang violence, recidivism, substance abuse, LGBT+ support, healthy living, affordable housing, homelessness, and human trafficking. A youth panel facilitated by Barbara Alejandre, Chief Intergovernmental Relations Officer for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, was also present to provide a student’s voice on these pressing concerns.
Trudy Raymundo, Director of San Bernardino Public Health, was a panelist on The Convergence Inland Health Workforce Summit. “The National Innovative Communities Conference continues to be an excellent opportunity to bring together current and future leaders in the realm of health, safety, education, and the economy”, said Raymundo. “In support of the Countywide Vision, it brings together stakeholders across all sectors to share ideas and strategies to address the needs of our communities.”
Place making & Profit: Finding Balance in Workforce Housing in the IE was another popular and well-attended session at the conference. Panelists included Al Zelinka, City Manager of the City of Riverside, Scott Ochoa, City Manager of the City of Ontario, Jonathan Weldy from Meridian Land Development Co. and board Member of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, Jimmy Elrod represented the Southwest Carpenter’s Union Local 909/951, Dave S. Osborne represented the Ironworkers International Union and Monique Reza-Arellano completed the panel representing the San Bernardino Council of Governments. Peggi Hazlett, the CEO of the Greater Ontario Business Council was moderator and challenged panelists to find solutions and work together to assure that workers have better housing options in order to provide economic stability that is conducive to both a high quality of life and good business.
Following the first day of the conference, Reach Out hosted a 60’s themed gala attended by more than 300 esteemed guests to celebrate its 50 year commitment to creating safe and healthy communities where they honored individuals, groups and organizations who were pivotal in providing support and contributed to the success and longevity of the organization.
Guests were encouraged to dress groovy and arrived for the occasion in bright flower power patterns, headbands, fringed tops, go-go boots, and bell bottoms. Illusionist Mark Paskell performed as the Master of Ceremonies, peppering the evening with humor and magic, while classic rock band Dynamite Dawson provided live music featuring hits from 1969.
“The gala was an amazing event. We all know that “it takes a village,” said Karen Scott, Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino, “and Reach Out has demonstrated their sound ability as villagers! Thank you Reach Out for your strength and capacity and for celebrating the many relationships nurtured over your 50 years.”
Diana Fox was taken by surprise at the end of the evening when the board of directors honored Ms. Fox for her dedication and accomplishments during her 14 years serving as Executive Director of Reach Out. “We’ve been helping to create innovative community partnerships in Riverside and San Bernardino counties for the past five decades,” said Fox. “I am honored to celebrate this special occasion with incredible people. I am in awe at the boundless generosity of partners who have selflessly given their time, talents and financial support over the years; and have tremendous respect for the communities who refuse to live with anything less than equity.”