Category Archives: SGV-IE Columnists

Autism Mom: Patience!

Melody Kraemer

Ephesians 4:2 | NIV
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in
love”


Someone once told me that they don’t pray to God for patience because if you ask God for more patience, he will give you more things to be patient about in the day.
With my two boys, I sure don’t need that.


So how do I ask God to get me through the day? I pray for peace and
calmness within myself. My (autistic) boys will jump, climb and put anything
they find in their mouths. They will lick windows, pick up bugs, once my son
put a bee in his mouth!


Some days I feel like I’m a jumping bean watching after them. I find myself looking up to the heavens many times and saying, “I’m losing it here, help.” Usually, by noon, I am so drained, all my patience is gone. Though I know God heard my prayer because at that moment, my oldest boy will come up to me, put his arms around me and say, “Mom, I think you need a hug”. Or my little one who is not much on words will crawl up in my lap and put his head down on me, just at that moment when I feel I no longer have the patience to deal with life. I may get pushed over my limit on patience throughout the day, but I know God is there, putting calmness in my heart. Life and raising kids is all about love, understanding, grace and a whole lot of patience. I thank God daily for the patience I have.


Melody Kraemer is the Editor
and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For
more information or general encouragement, feel free to email
her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Saying Goodbye to Midnight

Nancy Stoops

I rescued Midnight was he was two years old.  He was so well behaved that I got him on Saturday and on Sunday he was going to work with me to see patients.  He was very calm, highly intelligent, loving, compassionate, he had a fabulous read on people, and had a zest for life that few do. Just like myself, he was very clear that he was put in this world to help people.  At two he tested to be a registered therapy dog and passed with flying colors the first time.  This was important because I had an emergency hysterectomy that I should have died from but St Jude’s Hospital saved my life. During my stay they brought a therapy dog to visit with me.  I felt to pay them back for saving me Midnight and I would volunteer there and we did for the next seven years.  We also spent seven years in their cancer center visiting patients as well

            Midnight seemed to just be abandoned by his family and was in a shelter when Westside Shepard Rescue found him and brought him to their Los Angeles location.  Nobody wanted him because he was a black dog.  Well I was the one that got lucky and got to adopt him.  You can read his story in a book on Amazon entitled Midnight the Therapy Dog. My grandson Taiko and him are the same age and literally grew up together.  When Taiko would play Midnight would guard him and look out for him.  They would play fetch but Taiko enjoyed sleeping over and his morning walks with Midnight the most.

            Midnight lived to take care of me and he did that so well.  He was the best friend I have ever had. His entire existence was about making sure I was good and happy.  He refused to sleep till I was in bed sleeping.  When my mom passed last year, he laid by her bed for three days until she took her last breath.  Everybody loved him and he was famous in our community and around the world with the people I met on my travels. He will be so very missed but will live in my heart and soul eternally!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net

Pastor’s Corner: Water Pressure

Mark Hopper

When was the last time you checked the water pressure in your house? Most people have never checked it. We just turn on the faucet and we are thankful to have running water in our homes. We assume the water pressure is fine until we have a problem. Recently a hose burst in our bathroom in the middle of the night. My wife heard a noise and woke me up at 3:00 AM.  The noise came from the bathroom at the other end of the house. The hose that supplied water to the toilet had burst and it looked like a fire hose was flooding the bathroom, bedroom and hallway. I quickly turned off the valve but the water damage was extensive. I wondered why the small hose had burst and flooded the rooms. The next day I checked the water pressure in our house and discovered it was 120 PSI – twice what it should be. A few weeks later I was able to replace the water pressure regulator which reduced the pressure down to a normal 60 PSI.

Just as high water pressure can damage your home and high blood pressure can damage your heart, outbursts of anger can cause serious physical and emotional damage to yourself and to others. Two different words are used to describe anger in Ephesians 4:31-32. One word is thumos which describes outbursts of anger when people lose their temper and vent their anger with words and deeds. The other word for anger is orge which is a slow, simmering temper that gradually builds up like a volcano until it finally bursts or explodes.  Both of these types of anger can be harmful and destructive just like high water pressure and high blood pressure.

In the same passage there are two different words – kindness and compassion. These are helpful and constructive. They are the antidote of anger.  Kindness and compassion seek to resolve problems and restore relationships. Words and acts of anger damage and destroy relationships. If anger is simmering beneath the surface in your heart or revealing itself in harmful words and deeds, let me encourage you to get help.  A new ministry called Domestic Kindness is equipping churches to be part of the solution to domestic abuse. Find them at domestickindness.org. Let me encourage you to ask God and ask those you have hurt to forgive you. Ask God to give you a heart of kindness and compassion that comes through faith in Christ. You will be glad you did and your family and friends will too!

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You“. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

The Eye Of The Beholder

Michael Armijo

It was a warm yet windy day filled with strong sorrow. The air reflected a deep sense of respect as people gathered to say goodbye to a friend whose spirit had left the earth.

As everyone gathered, the vibrant, wooden casket lay atop the ground as the family huddled closely around. The youngest, a young man, gazed at the casket while tears flowed from his swollen eyes. He walked up and laid his cheek on the rigid, shiny, wooden box, as his white-gloved hands gently caressed the top of the last home his father’s body would ever have. He laid gentle kisses on the top of the casket, as his unconditional love was reflected in front of all those who watched. A gentle whisper was heard a row back, “Did you see that? How sad.”

When I heard those words, I felt something deep inside that disagreed; something that didn’t see the message of sadness when the boy showed his emotions. Instead, I saw an act of love. A love so strong, it displayed the true meaning of unconditional love. Something deep inside that didn’t care if the world looked on or what people felt. A feeling of purity, of joy, and of strength.

I believe the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I believe we all see life in certain light, and sometimes, in certain darkness. I also believe that when we express the darkness which surrounds our lives, it spreads like a contagious and cancerous disease. It attaches by simple contact, clings like a dependent child, and deteriorates in a short amount of time.

I’ve learned that opinions are only perceptions of a person’s immediate thinking, and reflections of someone’s inner self. What we see is usually what we feel, what we feel deep inside. Without realizing it, we express past experiences, deep histories, insecurities about our future, and we reflect the perception of our own lives.

I also believe that when we see life in its darkest hour, we have the opportunity to see life through the brightest light. For some, it’s a short path traveled to a place inside that holds our mind hostage from our heart. For others, it’s a level of confidence that sits deep within that’s been damaged by a careless act from another.

I believe that the true meaning of life can only be understood through the light of beauty and the inner joy that sits deep in our hearts. I believe the vision of what will come can only be seen through the eyes of a believer. I feel the truest form of emotion can only be felt when a person can feel the presence of a higher power, a stronger entity, something or someone greater than themselves.

I understand that life is not always what it is expected to be. It changes moods like a spoiled child. But I also understand that life can be what we want it to be; all we have to do is apply our hearts in front of our minds. Following what we truly feel, not what we think we see, is the only way to put aside our petty angry thoughts and our insignificant bitterness. Because just as the young man who helped bury his father, the tears that flow from our swollen eyes are tears of love that can only be seen when beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Singing DBHS Counselor Sends Message of Hope in Weekly Videos

Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar High GLC Dave Desmond delivers weekly virtual sessions and music during COVID-19 quarantine.

Diamond Bar – Unprecedented times are challenging educators to go to great lengths for their students amid the global health crisis.

Take Diamond Bar High School grade level coordinator (GLC) Dave Desmond, for example.

For the past eight weeks, he has been sending video messages to homebound students using social media.

From his living room, Desmond presents counseling strategies in easily digestible bites, capped off by performing a song on his acoustic guitar.

“We’re still in coronavirus time and unfortunately it looks like we will be here a longer,” he said on April 9.

The 27-year veteran educator has literally opened up his home for the virtual sessions directed to his sophomore class and he doesn’t seem to mind.

“This isn’t something I would have done in the past,” he shared.

“I normally keep my private life to myself, but these are strange times.”

His only fear was playing and singing in front of the world.

“I thought, man, if there’s some way that me providing a little entertainment for my students will distract them from the general sadness of this time for a bit, well, that would be cool,” he said.

“And hopefully they’re listening to the counseling as well!”

His colleagues are also reaching out with regular communications via videos, newsletters, and emails.

“The other GLCs and I really miss seeing the kids and having that daily connection with our students,” he added.

Desmond said the team relies on seeing kids face-to-face and “counseling via the phone, email, or zoom is kind of tough.”

“This is just another way to let them know we care about them and are thinking about them.”

Each week, Desmond clicks through a PowerPoint presentation featuring topics normally discussed during the school year.

Themes have ranged from goal setting and college applications to financial aid and preparing for SATs.

Knowing that students are facing increased anxiety due to COVID-19, Desmond admitted that he’s also struggling while living in quarantine on the May 10 broadcast.

“Just like you, I’ve been having a tough time and I think it’s good for all of us to find ways to relieve that stress.”

With that, he began demonstrating how he’s been keeping busy around the house, beginning in the kitchen with a pink frosted cake he baked for Mother’s Day.

Next, he dashed to the dining room for a hand of gin rummy, a game he’s currently playing with his daughter.

“Break up the day by playing a game with your family,” he offered the teens.

“Hey, I just won – that was fun!”

He suggested using DBHS online mindfulness resources including meditation, listening to waterfalls, drawing, music, and even a koala cam.

“Doesn’t he look relaxed? Aren’t you more relaxed just watching this guy?”

Then Desmond pivoted to a doorway to demonstrate a few pull-ups, sprinted to the backyard to hit golf balls, and pull a few weeds.

“Maybe you can help your parents clean up the house a bit,” he suggested to the high schoolers.

Desmond even shared a weekend project he’s been working on.

“See this patch of dirt – it will soon be transformed into a putting green!”

Being sheltered-in-place is the time to set small goals each day including academic, physical and social activities, and finding a way to help the family, Desmond suggested.

“Make dinner or write a letter to grandma and grandpa.”

“But, one of my favorite things to do to manage stress is playing a tune,” he said wrapping up the segment.

And with that, he picked up his guitar and belted out “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

Desmond coordinates his tunes with each video theme from a memorized playlist of about 50 songs, including “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies, “Midnight Special” by Credence Clearwater Revival, and “Help Me, Stranger” by Jack White of the Raconteurs.

“Hold on, Brahmas, we’re going to get through this!” he exclaimed with a fist pump to the camera.

His message during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month is for students to keep doing their best.

“Do your best to live your life with some sense of normality while staying safe, do your best to help your family and friends get through this odd, difficult time, and do your best to take care of yourself. There’s so much about this situation that is beyond our control, so focus on what you can control and be good to yourself and to everyone around you.”

Pastor’s Corner: A New Four Letter Word

Mark Hopper

There is a new four-letter word in our vocabulary. I know there are many appropriate four-letter words that people say like – love, hope, help, kind, sure and more. There are also some four-letter words that people use that I don’t think are necessary nor appropriate to mention.

But there is a new word that has become part of our vocabulary during the Corona Virus outbreak.  The word is Zoom.  I’m not sure if it is a noun or a verb. Maybe it can be used both ways. But I hear the word in many conversations by both older and younger people. Even our grandchildren are including Zoom in their vocabulary as they describe going to school and connecting with their teachers and classmates.  

Previously we used tools like Skype and Facetime to talk with people on the internet. But Zoom seems to have surpassed them in popularity. I teach an adult Bible class on Sunday mornings using Zoom. Many churches are using Zoom to broadcast their church services to people at home. Schools are using Zoom to teach their students. Doctors are meeting with their patients on Zoom instead of in their office.

In many ways. Zoom and similar tools are changing the way we do business, education and the way we connect with family and friends. This has been a very useful and helpful tool during the Corona crisis. We have a Zoom call with all of our children and grandchildren once-a-week. But I sense most people feel it is not the same as meeting with people face-to-face. Many teachers feel that online instruction is not the same as classroom instruction. Many students miss the benefit of connecting with their classmates in the classroom and on their school campus.

The Apostle Paul wrote to some church leaders in Corinth expressing how his written letters may give a different impression than when he met with them face to face (Second Corinthians 10:1). Phone calls, email and text messages can be useful. Cards and letters are too. But I believe that Zoom will never replace meeting face-to-face with grandkids, clients, customers and classmates. When this pandemic is over and restrictions are lifted, let me encourage you to spend more time with other people face-to-face. Theywill be glad you did and you will too!

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Celebrating the Simple Things

Nancy Stoops

I believe each day that we have the honor of being alive is call for celebration. Every morning as I awake and see the sun rising and filling the sky with majestic colors I am reminded of how lucky we are. As I step out in the morning with Midnight my therapy dog I feel blessed for his friendship and for the health that we both have. As we start our walk through our wonderful community I am proud to be part of it and I enjoy the morning song of the birds around us. As we walk I enjoy the trees and flowers that represent life in the neighborhood. Midnight and I are greeted by the other daily walkers with a friendly smile and warm hello. It’s so nice to be part of such a wonderful neighborhood filled with such lovely people. Sometimes the other dogs will visit with Midnight as we make our way through our neighborhood and that makes Midnight a very happy soul.


I think the feeling of the sun on my face is just magical. The fragrant plants and flowers are intoxicating and so very delightful. Swimming or floating in water has always been very freeing for me. Laughter truly is the best medicine and I think we all could do a lot more of it. Looking up at a night sky filled with stars and a full moon can be an experience that provides a wonderful kind of solace. Just hanging out with my grandson is fabulous.


These simple things I speak of don’t cost any money but are literally priceless. I think if we all take time to appreciate the simple things that are so wonderful in our world we will be more positive. I think then we will not dwell so much on what is wrong but focus on what is right. I know we are all struggling to look at what’s right in our world and celebrating the simple things helps us do just that. I have faith that we all are going to get through these difficult times and come out better people for it!!


This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at 909 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Life Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.net.

Diamond Bar High Crowns Prom Royalty With Surprise Home Visits

Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – Diamond Bar High School made some special deliveries on Saturday afternoon.

Students are missing out on end-of-year experiences due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the “Night of a Thousand Lights” Prom which was to be held that evening.

So, Class of 2021 advisors Shari DeCambra, Jazmine Silver, Lisa Arionus, with class officers Daniel Min, Philip Ma, Aileen Park, and Chris Tan quickly began brainstorming ideas.

“As soon as our school was closed, staff went to work planning activities and trying to create memories for our students,” said Principal Jones who was excited to join the coronation.

A crew of Brahmas gathered up the glistening crowns, personalized banners, candy necklaces, and buttons and carpooled to homes to crown the royalty right in their front yards.

“We love our students and are determined to make the most of this difficult time,” he added.

Wearing protective masks, junior class vice president Philip Ma and committee member Cameron Tsai took turns ringing doorbells and then the royal winners were greeted with shouts of congratulations by the group.

King Irwin Chen, Queen Charlotte Tu – Class of 2020 and Prince Cristian Vargas, Princess Keili Ishitani – Class of 2021 were selected by student body online nominations and voting.

“It was exciting to still have a vote for prom court and honor the winners!” DeCambra said afterward.

Families marked the moment joining the celebratory photos on the lawn.

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Make U.S. News’ Best of 2020

Walnut – After crunching the numbers, U.S. News and World Report released its annual report of top performing public high schools in the country on April 21.

And it’s no surprise that Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools continue to lead the way through exceptional dedication to the success of all students.

This year, Diamond Bar High ranked #25 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #68 in California, and #519 in the nation. Additionally, Diamond Bar placed #77 in STEM high schools.

Walnut High scored #35 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #84 in California, and #601 in the nation.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings include data on more than 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 18,000 schools in the country, and 1,612 in California, were reviewed for performance in state assessments, graduation rates, and how well they prepare students for college.

Diamond Bar and Walnut offer an extensive roster of IB and AP courses to provide students with an opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level course work during high school.

“I’m very proud that Diamond Bar and Walnut High continue to be recognized on a national stage in preparing students for the next chapter in their lives,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“This is a wonderful recognition for our students, parents, teachers, and school leaders!”

Additional information at: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

C.J. Morris Elementary Teacher Bakes Through Pandemic

Kelli Gile

Walnut —On a recent Saturday, C.J. Morris Elementary teacher Jennifer Veneracion eagerly removed the jar containing a bubbling yeast concoction from her kitchen cupboard.

After four days of stirring and waiting, the fermented starter was finally ready to be combined with a few cups of all-purpose flour and mixed into silky dough.

She would spend the next several hours methodically kneading, allowing for rising, and repeating before shaping and popping in the oven.

And when the timer sounded, out came the steamy, crusty loaves of success.

The C.J. Morris Elementary Title 1 Specialist has joined legions of homebound bread bakers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Veneracion decided to learn a new skill at the onset of stay-at-home orders that began in mid-March.

“Bread making seemed fun to do as well as something the entire family could enjoy, and it could carry on after the quarantine,” she explained.

The novice baker had always been too intimidated to attempt baking from scratch.

“I was afraid the rising dough would grow so big that I couldn’t handle it,” said admitted.

“It feels silly now that I’ve learned more!”

The baking got off to a slow start because the educator first became a student desiring to learn all about her new hobby before donning an apron.

First, she bought a bread book for beginners, and then became immersed in reading recipes, articles, and following popular bakers including Amber’s Kitchen and Bonnie O’Hara on social media.

And then there was the shortage of flour and yeast on supermarket shelves due to the surge in quarantine baking.

But once Veneracion started, she was “hooked.”

During the past several weeks, she has cooked up traditional Filipino Pan De Sal bread, ventured into loaves, sandwich breads, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, and more.

Her tried-and-true techniques include keeping the right tools at hand: a big bowl, kitchen towels, kitchen scale, and food thermometer.

And before each baking session she measures out all the ingredients, puts them in different containers, and then combines as directed.

“Kneading the bread is key,” she added to the list of tips.

“You might think the dough is too wet, but if you continue to knead it, it will develop gluten which will make it firmer.”

Veneracion has discovered the restorative magic of the experience.

“Now that I’ve learned a lot, bread baking as become a form of therapy for me,” she said.

“Teaching remotely and getting my three kids on track with their work is rough, so unplugging and working on a recipe is both relaxing and rewarding.”

In the end, Veneracion’s family decides if each bake is a winner.

“My kids are pretty honest and will tell me if the bread is a hit – with reactions ranging from ‘Mom, this is amazing’ to ‘Whelp, it’s bread, I guess,’” she said.

“Either way, I’m hoping they see the importance of learning a new skill, celebrating the successes, and powering through the failures.”

Autism Mom: Mother of Two Autistic Boys

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)-
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”


This time of “social distancing” and “shelter in place” has presented challenges for all of us.


The kids are adjusting to a new routine, and we adults are trying to be creative and positive.

My life before “shelter in place.”


Kids attended school. They had homework and weekends off. We went out to eat, attended events, saw movies, said hello to people, and gave them hugs. Family gatherings and seeing friends were a part of our life. Parks, playgrounds, shopping, and socializing is what we did.
After “Shelter in place.”


Kids are home all day. Teaching autism kids from “social distancing” is not my forte. Many tears have been shed, mostly by mommy. Video conference calls have become the norm, and we can have up to five a day with all the boy’s services and school. Masks now has to be worn when we are out. We no longer visit people or go to places. The confusion and lack of understanding bring frustration to my boys.


We are thankful for the technology we have to be able to communicate by all means and even have a face to face talk with loved ones. Being creative, making the best out of the situation, having faith and staying positive is vital. We are taking a day at a time and riding this wave out. Life changes all the time, sometimes more extreme than we would like, but it happens

.
All we can and must do is trust in God above.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Robotics Teams Help Fight Pandemic

Walnut — Over the past several weeks, tech savvy teens from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools quietly answered a call to aide first responders during the global pandemic.

When students learned of the dire shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff and how anyone with a 3D printer could fill the void – they sprang into action.

Diamond Bar High’s DB Engineering and Team Sprocket robotics partnered with parent Joe Bloomfield, owner of Spyder3D, to design and manufacture reusable 3D printed facemasks and face shields.

Six members of the school’s Printed Works Club are creating a facemask that must be easily printable by those new to 3D printing, require little post-production work, be reusable, and accept multiple types of filters.

“Our team has developed a working prototype that meets all of our requirements,” said senior Logan Tang of the facemask that can also be easily scaled to fit different face sizes.

Next steps include calibrating the strap attachment points to increase comfort while holding the mask in place, he said.

Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar’s living room is currently in production mode on the project.

Since the school is shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond Bar High administrator brought a bay of 3D printers home to aid a special effort.

“Several community partners contacted us to see how we could leverage our 3D printing and manufacturing capabilities to support the need for face shields,” Aguilar said.

“Rather than collecting dust, these machines are now producing 30 face shield frames per day, using materials donated by Spyder3D.”

WVUSD FIRST Robotics Teams joined forces with the SoCal Makers COVID-19 Response Team to create face shields using 3D printed frames and clear plastic transparency sheets.

To date, Team Sprocket, Walnut Valley Robotics, Aluminati and 2nd Rebellion have provided approximately 600 free face shields to this initiative, which has supported nearly 100 medical centers, including West Covina Medical Center, Pomona Valley Medical Center, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Walnut High’s Wolf Corp Robotics team members are making do-it-yourself (DIY) face shields for health care workers and those providing essential services, including Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services staff serving weekday Grab & Go meals.

The shields are low cost and very easy to make with three main components: foam, elastic band, and a transparency sheet.

Each member has pledged to construct 15-20 protective face shields from home and over the weekend 50 additional gifts were delivered to essential workers in the community.

Aerospace engineer and mentor Eric Gever established the SoCal Makers initiative organizing groups of colleagues, robotics students, and local makers interested in making a difference and helping to produce the face shields.

Teens are not only solving real-world problems, but getting more interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic.

“While many students may be thinking of this time away from school as an extended break, those who have remained involved in the Socal Makers Response Team have stood to benefit greatly though their participation in this project,” Gever said via Go Fund Me.

Feeding Our Walnut Valley Families During School Closure

Walnut – Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services Division is ready to feed children each day during the COVID-19 school closures.

On Monday, over six hundred “grab and go” meals were distributed at Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools.

“We’re passing out a breakfast and lunch item with milk, chips, juice, and fruit,” explained

Josette Macias, a Nutrition Services Worker, as her team met cars in front of the gymnasium at Diamond Bar High.

The free meals are available to all children under 18 years old, who must be present during pick-up, for the drive-through service that runs 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

“Yesterday we served over 300 and are expecting a lot more today,” shared Walnut High staff member Ana Aguilera on March 17 as a steady stream of cars entered the staff parking lot.

“We’ve got to take care of our kids – kids come first!” said Eva Generalao who was in kitchen helping prepare meals at 6:30 a.m.

At the end of the morning shift, over 1,800 meals, triple the number from the previous day, had been served at both high schools.

“It’s a good feeling because the District can share this food with our students,” Aguilera said.

“And the people are so appreciative!”

“It’s nice to help at a time like this,” shared Rachelle Serrano as she provided the curbside service to families.

Parents signaled the number of children in each vehicle and then staff quickly handed off the packaged meals.

Serrano also delivered something special to each car – a friendly smile, a wave, and a “have a good day!”

For more information, please visit www.walnutnutrition.org.

A World Full of Anxiety

I have always been told that worrying is an insult to God. I always had interpreted this as that we are in good hands and need to trust the plan for our life. I believe being the best version of myself daily is really all I can do. I have come to realize that all I really have control over is myself and how I react to my life. I have no control over others or over their behavior. I can be helpful as a therapist and plant seeds for change in people. It’s not up to me whether those seeds get nurtured and grow into the very thing that provide tools for change.


The definition of anxiety is that our demands outweigh our means. For example feeling as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done. I think we can always work on improving our time management skills and sometimes we need to set more realistic expectations for ourselves and others. We need to learn that Rome really wasn’t built in a day and we need to learn patience. We need to pay attention to our bodies when we aren’t handling our anxiety very well. We need to practice our deep breathing and our meditation. We need to take time to pet and cuddle with our animals. We need to work on staying in the moment and not thinking so ahead of ourselves. We need to just relax and have faith in ourselves, in others and in our life plan.


More than fifty percent of all illnesses are stress related. If we can learn to relax and manage our stress than we won’t make ourselves sick. Slow down, breath and have faith in yourself, in others and your life plan. Learn to manage your life and your stress so that it won’t control you and your life!!!!!


This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net.

Diamond Bar High Students Perform Virtual Recital

Diamond Bar – When Diamond Bar High’s Performing Arts Academy spring recital was cancelled due to COVID-19 school closures, students decided that the music must play on.

The advanced musicians, who were quarantined at home, took to the internet’s world-wide stage during a live virtual concert held Wednesday night.

The teens were able to join online rehearsals before the big 8 p.m. performance with the help of industry professionals that provide assistance to the program that boasts 700 students.

“They are working diligently through these tough times to provide much needed opportunities for the kids to express themselves and stay connected,” said director Steve Acciani.

Then, through the magic of technology, the first group of students began playing with a flute, clarinet, French horn, oboe, and bassoon if they were in the school’s theatre.

Quartet members Alex Hong, Erin Miyahara – euphonium, Patrick Zhang, and Alan Lu – tuba performed a moving rendition of “It’s A Wonderful World” while sequestered in their homes.

A special “furry” guest audience member made an appearance during the finale of the 45-minute concert.

Lu, a sophomore, was joined on the sofa by his trusty golden retriever, Thunder, who was looking for some attention.

In the opening notes, the adorable pet began gently pawing at Lu until he freed a hand from the glistening silver instrument to offer a quick pat on the head.

And then the content companion laid down and appeared to be listening as the talented foursome played the remainder of the song.

“At first. Thunder didn’t enjoy it very much (when I played), but now he’s almost always next to me when I’m practicing,” Lu said.

“The virtual concert was a lot of fun since it was something new – and it kept me busy for the day!”

The complete concert may be viewed on Facebook.

DBHS Senior Surprised with $40,000 STEM Scholarship from So Cal Edison

Diamond Bar — Diamond Bar High School senior Sean Chang is one step closer to realizing his dream of becoming an engineer.

This week he was named a 2020 Edison Scholar, a prestigious award that comes with a $40,000 college scholarship from Edison International.

A surprise announcement had been planned during Sean’s fourth period orchestra class with school officials, parents, and a representative from Southern California Edison.

There would have been lots of cheers and maybe a few tears when the big check was revealed.

But, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic and resulting school closures.

Sean instead received an email video notification with the news, and he’s OK with that.

“This scholarship means a lot to me because it lifts a huge burden off my parents’ shoulders and will grant me additional education opportunities in the future,” he said.

Sean is among an elite group of 30 dynamic and innovative high school seniors in Southern California Edison’s service territory to receive a total of $1.2 million through the Edison Scholars Program this year.

Edison Scholars have bright futures ahead and these scholarships help turn innovative ideas into real-world solutions.

Sean loves the beach and has always been troubled by the amount of trash and pollutants that he sees sprawled across the shores.

After a summer internship at Boeing, he realized that he wanted to build a machine to clean up these pollutants while protecting aquatic ecosystems.

“As an aspiring engineer, I hope to create hundreds of cost-efficient ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles) that are connected through a large network, that can automate and expedite the clean-up of our oceans,” he said.

Sean plans to attend University of Pennsylvania next fall and study mechanical engineering.

He is captain of the Walnut Valley Hydromechs Robotics team and a member of the Diamond Bar Symphony Orchestra.

Each Edison Scholar will receive a scholarship, paid over four years, to further their academic pursuit of STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, or math studies – at a four-year accredited U.S. college or university.

Relax It Will Be Better Soon

Since we all have been hit with the fear of the Corona Virus many people are very anxious. We all need to relax and practice a lot of selfcare care right now. We need to exercise, meditate, eat well, take vitamins and supplements, get lots of rest, drink lots of water, do things we enjoy and have some faith. Many people are hoarding items but we have been told repeatedly there is no need for that. We need to stay up to date but we don’t have to listen to the news all day long. We need to maintain a very positive outlook. Stress actually wears down our immune systems and now especially we need strong immune systems. Echinacea is a wonderful herb that can help strengthen our immune systems. I have taken it for most of my life and I rarely get sick.


I also think we must practice being grateful everyday and continually think about all we are blessed with. We must be kind to each other and look out for our neighbors. We can check in with each other and make sure we all have what we need. This is a great time for all of us to practice being better human beings. Anger and fear are not the way that we will heal from all of this. We must practice kindness, tolerance, patience and humanity. We all must learn from this as I believe there are many lessons we could learn here.


Take advantage of working from home. Take advantage of your children being home with you. Take advantage of all the clean air we have from all of the rain. Look around everything is so green and beautiful and we live in such a lovely community. Start a new hobby, play with your children, take walks together with the dog. Try to enjoy your time at home with each other. Play some games, cook together, listen to some music, watch some movies, and take this time to enjoy your family. May God bless us all and may this be over very soon!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She also works as a motivational speaker. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs. For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com. Join Nancy’s wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.ORG and receive a daily wellness message.

The Name of a Road

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

By Pastor Mark Hopper

I love history and biographies. I enjoy learning about the lives of people and their journeys through life. It is fascinating to learn how a road or a street got its name. Recently I was driving down a major road in Scottsdale, Arizona and the saw a sign on a side street named “Joe Foss Way”.  I suspect that very few drivers even notice the street and even fewer know who Joe Foss was.  But I actually saw Joe Foss at Scottsdale Bible Church when I was a teenager.

Joe Foss was the first American Ace in the Pacific in World War Two. He was a cigar smoking, hard drinking fighter pilot who was the first American to shot down five Japanese planes in the war.  After the war his life changed dramatically when he became a Christian.  He was elected Governor of South Dakota and was one of the people featured in Tom Brokaw’s book, The Greatest Generation.

There is another road that you will see along Interstate Five between Los Angeles and San Diego. If you watch carefully you will see a sign that reads, John Basilone Memorial Highway.  This sign is near the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.

I did not know anything about John Basilone until I watched the HBO series about World War Two in the Pacific. I learned that John Basilone fought in the bloody battles on Guadalcanal in the south Pacific in 1942. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage and bravery in the brutal combat against the Japanese.

He came home to a hero’s welcome but decided to dedicate himself to training other Marines for future combat.  Instead of just training them he decided lead his fellow Marines in the landings on Iwo Jima in 1945.  In the midst of this terrible combat, John Basilone was killed. The nation was stunned that a Medal of Honor recipient would go back into battle with his fellow Marines and give his life to help win the war.

These are just two examples. There are countless streets and highways that bear the names of men and women who have been recognized for their service and sacrifice in the military and in public safety. Let me encourage you to research some of the names that you see along the streets and highways in your community. You will be glad you did!  

This article was written by Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church of Diamond Bar. Sunday Services are held at 9:00 am & 10:45 am at 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd. You can contact the church at 909.594.7604 or visit them online at Efreedb.org

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Meditation is a Natural Way to Wellness

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

I have been meditating most of my life.  I have been aware for years as to all of the benefits of daily meditation.  I have known for along time that daily meditation helps an individual focus better and manage stress better.  Recently, I was listening to the news and there was a story about a school district that has their students meditating daily.  They found a dramatic difference in how their students were able to concentrate and learn when daily meditation was incorporated into the student’s school day.  The other day a colleague was telling me about a study with the Dalai Lama.  They were able to show that meditation actually changes brain chemistry.   I personally would much rather meditate rather than use any other method, to adjust my mood or reduce my anxiety.

I must say that I’m very excited about these findings because they validate what I have believed for years.  Meditation takes daily practice and its’ effects can start early on, if done correctly.  True meditation occurs when one is able to clear one’s mind, by focusing on the deep breathing the individual is participating in.  Meditation isn’t a very easy skill to acquire but can be learned if the individual is serious. I meet so many people that are on medication for anxiety and depression.  I struggle with the concept of a magic pill for all that we suffer from.  Meditation is a much healthier and natural way of taking charge of you and your mindset.  On Saturday March 30 from 8a.m. -noon I will be facilitating a free wellness event at the Walnut Senior Center.  I will be teaching meditation as part of the event.  For more information contact me at (909)229-0727 or the senior center at (909)598-6200.  I hope you will join us for a wonderful morning of wellness and learn how to meditate and learn lots of other information about wellness.  Midnight the therapy dog will be helping me with the event.  We hope to see you all there!!!

  This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens.  For more information about any of these services feel.  You may call her at (909 229-0727).  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.