Like many passionate and dedicated individuals who have made an impact in the world and changed the lives of many, Victoria Morgan’s life mission came from a deeply personal and emotional experience. That experience resulted in BIS KIDS; a program and movement that has helped and encouraged more than 2,000 children and families from Orange County and Los Angeles to lead better and more productive lives.
BIS KIDS is a proactive prevention program against drug and alcohol use. The BIS Foundation was founded in 2006 and is designed for children 7-12 years of age. The program uses age-appropriate language; games; music; artwork; role playing; videos and prizes to educate children about substance abuse and the disease of addiction. The children have great fun and they leave with knowledge and a tool-set that can help them stay safe. BIS KIDS teaches children if they stay away from drugs and alcohol they can accomplish anything they choose to do in life!
Alen Wood had the opportunity to sit down with Victoria Morgan to learn more about her mission, the BIS Foundation, and the BIS KIDS program.
Alen Wood: I am excited to speak with you about this wonderful program. Can you tell me about the BIS KIDS program and what happens at a BIS KIDS event?
Victoria Morgan: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my foundation and the program that is so dear to my heart. Drugs and alcohol are sucking the lives out of our children. Substance abuse is promoted in our music, on TV, and in the movies. It is in the schools, neighborhoods, communities and at home. Our goal is to empower children! We want them to have the tools they need to stay safe and drug free no matter what is going on around them.
On the first day of the BIS KIDS event, we do role playing and discuss many important questions. Who are the safe people in your life that you can talk to? Who would you call if you needed a ride home and you did not want to call your Mom or Dad? How do you step out of a bullying situation if someone is trying to get you to do something you do not want to do? What do you do if someone offers you a drink of alcohol, a pill or a marijuana cigarette?
The program and BIS KIDS events teach these children about the “addiction monster”! Here is a startling fact: If a child starts drinking alcohol or experimenting with drugs before the age of 15 there is a 50% chance they will become addicted.
On the second day of our workshop we bring in the parents and we teach them everything we have taught the children. We want the entire family on the same page. We want to open the door of communication so families can have discussions about these issues. The parent and child do an activity together. After the group activity the kids graduate from BIS KIDS receiving a certificate of completion and the kids can download the BIS KIDS app (www.thebiskid.com). It is a fun positive game that reinforces what they learned in BIS KIDS!
AW: When people think about “drugs or alcohol abuse”, they generally think about teenagers or adults that are using. Are there some thoughts you have that people should really know about... that perhaps they are unaware of?
VM: Absolutely! Children are affected by substance abuse. They know kids in school that may be experimenting with alcohol, marijuana, street drugs and prescription drugs. They see people smoking marijuana and drinking on TV. It is embedded in our culture. They begin experimenting at a younger age. We have had children in BIS KIDS in middle school that have friends who overdosed on drugs. It is tragic! The kids all knew about Michael Jackson and Prince! The only way to the other side is by education and giving the kids a tool-set that can be applied in slippery situations.
AW: Can you tell us how the idea for creating BIS KIDS came about? What was the motivation for you to start the foundation and program?
VM: In 2005 my only son Colin was killed in alcohol related automobile accident. He was riding in a car with a drunk driver. The driver was a 24-year-old female with a history of substance abuse. My son was 30 years old and had struggled with addiction issues since high school. Everyone’s life changed in that moment. Our family was devastated! We wanted something good and positive to come from this horrible accident. The BIS (Believe In Sobriety) Foundation is a living legacy to my beautiful son. If we can keep one child or one family from experiencing what our family experienced our efforts will have been a success!
AW: You have built a living legacy to Colin and it’s very inspirational. How involved are the communities and cities where you hold BIS KIDS events? Are they supportive and encouraging?
VM: Thank you for asking this question! This is our 8th year doing BIS KIDS in Orange County and Los Angeles and we are literally here because of the incredible support we receive. Working with corporate sponsors, private foundations, individual donors and local agencies enables us to scholarship all the children. We enroll the children on a first-come basis. All children need the skill-set we teach at BIS KIDS.
The key to the program is that the kids have great fun and the parents are so appreciative! We receive tremendous support from North Bound Treatment Services; The Children’s Bureau; All for Kids; The Raise Foundation; Hope By The Sea; The Iacocca Foundation and individual donors. We are expanding BIS KIDS to every city and community in Orange County. The cities officials and community leaders have been extremely supportive!
AW: Wow! Every corporation who provides sponsorship should know about BIS KIDS! Can you tell us about the BIS KIDS team of specialists? Who actually facilitates the program?
VM: A team of trained professionals lead all the BIS KIDS events. Our clinical director is Leslie Cox, a LCSW, and most of our team members are bilingual.
AW: Is there anything else that you would like to communicate to people about the BIS KIDS program?
VM: I could speak forever about what people should know, but education and knowledge are the keys to success! We have to empower our children! Give them the tools they need to take care of themselves. We have to teach our children about this disease. Studies show that using heroin, marijuana, pills, alcohol and nicotine is on the rise! You cannot expect your kids to just say “NO.” We must teach them a set of tools that help them stay safe.
Pretty little Nancy is ready and looking for her purrever home! This curious little kitty just loves attention and is always there to greet you at the door. Just over a year old, Nancy has a fun spunky personality and would make a great addition to almost any family!
This scruffy little cutie is name McCoy and he is a great big bundle of fun! Only 2 years old, McCoy loves to run and play. He gets along well with other energetic dogs his size and enjoys a good game of tag. McCoy would make an excellent companion for someone who loves to stay active.
These big brown eyes belong to a sweet little pup named Peanut. Appropriately named, Peanut is a very small dog with lots of love to give! Due to her petite size, she can sometimes be a tad shy in making big new friends but really wants nothing more than to be cuddled in your arms. Once you meet Peanut, she’s sure to win your heart!
Three year old Marshall is just about as lovable as they come. Sociable and attentive, he enjoys the company of human visitors as well as his feline friends. Marshall’s winning personality and playful demeanor make for an all-around fantastic pet!
Health professionals are finding that sitting for long periods of time, day in - day out is surprisingly more harmful then smoking.
The combination of commuting to work, sitting at a computer, and coming home to watch TV, the average person is spending too much time on their bums. It‘s this sedentary lifestyle that is contributing to today’s chronic health issues and is slowly killing more people than smoking.
Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University of Obesity Solutions, states - “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death”.
He also is credited with coining that mantra “sitting is the new smoking”. He’s not the only one who believes it. Researchers have found major supporting evidence that a sedentary lifestyle puts one at a much high risk for developing cancer, heart disease, type two diabetes, muscular and joint problems, LPL enzyme disruption, and depression.
For example, just one of many studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found men and women who sat more than six hours a day died, earlier than their counterparts who only sat 3 hours or less. The study surveyed 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were healthy at the start and after a 14-year follow-up they saw a higher rate of mortality among the longer sitters. These associations of mortality were mostly due to cardiovascular disease. YIKES!
Sitting like smoking is clearly bad for our health. Luckily, we can minimize the risk by simply limiting the time spent on our butts each day, standing more and being active. That’s right, the simple action of standing has been found in many studies to offset the effects of sitting. So, a standing desk could be a simple solution for the work environment. But, more importantly living an active lifestyle should be the priority, just like brushing your teeth twice a day.
To create a successful active lifestyle, at Align we highly suggest choosing activities that you find fulfilling, enjoyable and want to do daily, like Pilates and yoga. Begin today by saying no to sitting and start moving for a better quality of life!
On June 11th, regional government officials, dignitaries and special guests joined local business owners and professionals at a gala event to benefit The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF), the world’s largest nonprofit funder of childhood brain tumor research.
Serving the more than 28,000 children nationwide who are living with the diagnosis of a brain tumor, PBTF programs include free educational information, college scholarships and the annual Ride for Kids motorcycle event. The upcoming event is scheduled for October - for details, please visit http://pbtf.convio.net/goto/EnzosRFKpage
Sponsored by Nolet Spirits & Brio Tuscany Grille and hosted by Enzo and Jill Scognamiglio, the gala event proved to be the “party of the year” as guests gathered at the Ketel One Hospitality Center in Aliso Viejo for an evening of specialty cocktails, delicious cuisine and an amazing array of silent auction items, including vacation packages, wine tasting, speciality spa services and more!
“We would like to also thank all of our wonderful volunteers - without them, this event simply would not happen,” says Event Chair.
Special Thanks to
Our Title Sponsors!
Nolet Spirits USA
Everett and Wendy Manning from Libre
Beau Bianchi from
Pete and Dawn Ferrarini
The neighborhood builders have been selected and construction is now underway on model homes for the six brand new Hilltop Neighborhoods slated to debut this Fall at the inter-generational village of Esencia in South Orange County, announced Paul Johnson, Senior Vice President - Community Development for Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC.
According to Johnson, the homebuilders selected to construct and sell the six new Hilltop Neighborhoods at Esencia include Del Webb Homes and CalAtlantic Homes, who will build new “Gavilan” neighborhoods (primarily single-story homes exclusive to residents age 55-plus), while Meritage Homes, MBK Homes, Warmington Homes, and William Lyon Homes will build the brand new all age neighborhoods within Esencia’s Hilltop Neighborhoods. Combined, the six homebuilders will offer six different and brand new Hilltop Neighborhoods terraced along hillsides to afford panoramic ocean and territorial views of the vast Rancho Mission Viejo. To sign-up for more information about The Hilltop Neighborhoods, visit www.RanchoMissionViejo.com and complete the Sign Up form.
Esencia is the second village on the 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo (“The Ranch”), where approximately 75% of the land has been designated as preserved open space known as The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo and only 25% will be crafted into inter-generational villages over the coming years. Ultimately, Rancho Mission Viejo will offer homes for all ages as well as “Gavilan” homes exclusive to people age 55 and older. In addition, Rancho Mission Viejo is planned to include sites for parks and schools, miles of multi-user trails, recreational clubhouses, community farms, civic uses, child care centers, places of worship and up to 5 million square feet of non-residential uses including shopping, dining and employment centers.
The first village to be developed on The Ranch was the now sold out village of Sendero. The second village on The Ranch is Esencia (Spanish translation: the essence), set atop some of the highest elevations of The Ranch.
The initial collection of homes offered for sale at Esencia are part of The Canyon House Neighborhoods, which introduced a new model for inter-generational living by integrating Gavilan 55-plus neighborhoods into Esencia’s all age neighborhoods. Homes in The Canyon House Neighborhoods are currently priced from the high $400,000s to over $1 million. The next collection of homes at Esencia, known as The Hilltop Neighborhoods, will continue this level of integration around an inter-generational recreational and social amenity called The Hilltop Club.
Now under construction and envisioned as the recreational and social heart of Esencia, the expansive Hilltop Club has been designed as a resort-style clubhouse with indoor-outdoor fitness and group exercise spaces, swimming pool, wading pool, spa and special event bar with lounge seating, BBQ pavilion, bocce ball courts, game arcade, firepits, and a large lawn for community events, celebrations and gatherings.
Through the unique programming and services offered to all Rancho Mission Viejo resident via “RanchLife,” fitness classes, health and wellness workshops, happy hours, club meetings and all sorts of events and activities at The Hilltop Club will be conducted to unite residents via their shared interests and abilities versus dividing them by age. And, views from The Hilltop Club, situated at the pinnacle of Esencia, will feature expansive coastal and backcountry vistas including the preserved lands of The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.
“As we continue to evolve the concept of inter-generational living here on The Ranch, we welcome the neighborhood builders who are joining us as pioneers in offering new, exciting and enriching environments for people of all ages and life stages,” said Johnson. “Ultimately, RanchLife and the integrated lifestyle we are encouraging is all about giving people the choice to be as connected to each other as they desire.”
Johnson explained that complimenting places like The Hilltop Club are amenities designed for families as well as amenities exclusive to Gavilan 55-plus residents, including the recently opened Outlook swim and social retreat as well as the large Hacienda clubhouse in the first village of Sendero. Johnson also noted that additional Hilltop Neighborhoods will consist of phased releases of homes now for sale by CalAtlantic Homes, Shea Homes and TRIPointe Homes in Esencia’s Canyon House neighborhoods.
The Canyon House Neighborhoods are oriented around the many amenities found at The Canyon House social and recreational gathering place including Canyon Coffee, the Esencia Visitors Center, the indoor-outdoor Retreat, the event lawn and courtyard, the meeting and art room at The Studio, and the adjacent Oak Canyon open space and trails which lead to the new Esencia Farm, the third working farm on The Ranch.
Johnson added that new recreational amenities have recently opened at Esencia and more are on the way. For example, now open is The South Plunge, an all gathering place with a pool, children’s water play area, small event lawn, and an outdoor grilling and dining area. Also open and exclusive to the Gavilan 55+ crowd is The Outlook, complete with a covered great room, a resort-style lap pool with cabanas, a fire pit, and an outdoor dining area with barbeque grills. Plus, preparing for their grand openings over the coming months are numerous open air rooms and retreats located within Esencia and along its scenic edges, including The Campout with its tent platforms, BBQ grills, shade structure, tables and firepit, as well as the new Esencia Green, and South Paw Dog Park for four-legged friends. For Gavilan residents, Sunrise Park, Sunset Park, the BBQ Barn, and The Getaway will provide unique opportunities for picnics and other get-togethers with friends, family and neighbors.
Plan are also underway for The Pavilion, a multipurpose gymnasium with adaptable space for basketball, volleyball and all sorts of cultural and social events. And, anticipated to open for instruction by Fall 2018 right next to The Pavilion is the new Esencia K-8 school (part of the acclaimed Capistrano Unified School District). Approximately 50 acres of commercial space has been allocated at Esencia for such uses as retail shops and services, restaurants, professional and medical offices, and more.
Esencia on The Ranch is located just 2.3 miles from downtown San Juan Capistrano and five miles from San Clemente and Doheny State Beach, with easy access provided to the employment and retail centers of Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita and other Orange County areas.
To reach Esencia, exit the I-5 at Ortega Highway and proceed inland to Antonio Parkway. Turn left, then right at Cow Camp Road, left onto Esencia Drive and follow the signs to The Canyon House/Visitors Center.
Trusted, tried and true. That’s the reason why United American Mortgage has been successful for over 20 years. Since 1993, UAMC specializes in providing mortgage-financing solutions to homeowners and homebuyers.
You’re almost tired of reading about it but it’s true: the mortgage meltdown hurt more than a few and people are still trying to recover. It’s hard to know whom to trust. With many mortgage companies competing and failing, UAMC has found itself expanding into 9 states. Originally formed to provide for the specific needs of Southern California borrowers seeking mortgage products tailored for them, UAMC has made it their personalized business to get to know and help you.
“We’ve grown substantially because we have the ability to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace,” says UAMC President Al W. Hensling. “We are in the home business, the helping-people business. Yes, it requires us to at times work around the clock. Yes, we have to keep up-to-date on the latest products and regulations. We take our clients and what we do seriously because at the end of the day, everyone should either be in the home of their dreams or keep the one they love so much. To some people, it’s just paperwork and numbers. But to us, it’s personal. It’s home.”
Their incredibly impressive, rare, referral-only business model may also be the key to understanding their success, as customers flock just to see if UAMC truly walks the walk. To them, offering you efficient, cost-effect and timely service is just a day’s business. These days, most companies feel the need to plaster those words all over their advertisements. UAMC doesn’t need to express that they go above and beyond, they just think that it should come standard. “I guess you could say we just want to help how we can. Since our business is referral based, we truly get to know your family and friends.
UAMC continues to evolve with new products and financing solutions to the ever-changing Southern California real estate market. While many have given up the idea of owning a home or even refinancing, UAMC holds to the knowledge that today’s new and innovative programs are making it easier than ever to purchase or refinance.
“After a period of time in which it was extremely difficult to obtain a mortgage, things have started to normalize and lending guidelines are starting to loosen,” says Al. “The ‘Mortgage Meltdown’ created a great deal of uncertainty in the marketplace and made it difficult for so many to secure financing. We understand that a lot of people are scared to see where they stand and that’s ok. We just want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Most of our clients feel the same way. Some people tell us they didn’t even want to find out about their options in the first place because they didn’t understand the jargon. Well, we aren’t the company that just explains things once. We’re with you step by step, no matter what.”
“If you’re considering anything in our sector then consider us the right team for the job,” Al says. “Call us, visit us online, or stop by the office anytime. We’re always on standby to see how we can help you. Don’t let the mortgage meltdown of yesterday affect where you’re at today. We’ve got the cutting edge techniques and knowledge to help your unique situation. We’re ready to meet your challenges and assist you into getting or keeping your home!
“As the Economy continues to grow and we experience job growth, more families will have an opportunity to experience the benefits of home ownership. Clients always ask what is going to happen to interest rates. I really wish I had that crystal ball to answer them accurately. It is difficult to say what rates will do, as markets have not reacted to this economy as they had previously. I counsel clients to borrow based on need and what they can afford. Loan programs are changing almost daily. As we move farther away from the mortgage meltdown of 2008, more and more programs and financing options will open up. But always be wary of the deal that sounds too good to be true. Even though recent changes have cleaned up the lending industry, there are still people out there that are not looking out for the client’s best interest. Families should always determine the experience level of their mortgage professional, along with checking references from previous clients.”
Primrose is a happy little pup who enjoys meeting new people. Only a year old, she is full of pep and loves to frolic and play. Though when it comes to cuddle time, Primrose is a real pro and can snuggle with the best of them!
This handsome gent is named Skylar and he just can’t wait to meet you! Skylar has an outgoing and yet laid back attitude that would make him a great companion. With his winning personality and striking good looks, Skylar is quite the catch!
Three year old Nero is a friendly little guy who is hoping to be your new best friend! Full of energy and tons of fun, Nero loves going on walks and playing in the yard. Once you meet him, this spunky little pup is sure to win your heart!
Splash is a sweet kitty looking to find her purrfect match. At 2 years old, she has an excellent temperament and gets along well with both her human and feline friends. Though very playful and friendly, Splash would do best in a quieter home.
This summer, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®,the circus that started it all, invites fans to blast off on an intergalactic adventure with the launch of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Out Of This World™ - an all new, immersive experience playing at the Honda Center/Anaheim from July 29 – August 7.
“As we unveil Out Of This World, a show unlike anything experienced before, we are launching our iconic brand into the future,” said Alana Feld, Executive Vice President of Feld Entertainment and Producer of Out Of This World. “Ringling Bros. is constantly changing, but this is more than that. In this production, we’re creating a new genre of circus that will shatter expectations, spark excitement and push the limits of what’s possible.”
In Out Of This World, audiences will be riveted by an interactive, action-packed storyline filled with space-age family fun and technology, which deepens their connection to the performers. Through the lens of a magic telescope capable of discovering the most spectacular circus stars in the galaxy, they will join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic mission of good versus evil to bring performers back to Earth, traveling to interstellar worlds of sand, water, fire and ice.
For the first time, the show features thrill skaters, in addition to unbelievable performances by gravity-defying acrobats, majestic animals and hilarious clowns. Imaginations will run wild throughout the non-stop display of artistic athleticism, with acts seamlessly transitioning from floor to air to ice, a feat never before done in Ringling Bros. history.
“By adding the element of ice, we’re bringing speed and motion to an already thrilling, multi-sensory performance,” said Feld. “Throughout the show, families won’t know where the floor ends and the ice begins. In the same way, parents won’t know what’s more amazing: what is happening in front of them or the look of wonder in their children’s eyes.”
Kids (age 2-12) tickets available for only $10 each (with discount coupon from participating Chick-fil-A locations)
Opening Night Special Discount tickets are only $15 each (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)
Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or HondaCenter.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.
*tickets may be subject to service charges & facility fees
Since its first Wills and Trusts Week in the fall of 2011, the Orange Catholic Foundation (OCF) has had as one of its primary goals to encourage everyone to have an estate plan designed to provide for the needs of their families.
Each year in the spring and fall, the OCF works in collaboration with parishes and schools throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to provide information sessions led by local Catholic estate planning attorneys and financial advisors to help you protect and provide for your loved ones, update or create your estate plan, and learn more about wills, trusts, estate taxes, probate expenses, guardianship of minor children, selection of personal representatives, and more.
For convenience, the Foundation offers a series of morning and evening seminars that are scheduled at local parishes across the diocese.
While learning how to effectively plan a legacy, attendees at these sessions receive answers to such questions as:
The Orange Catholic Foundation warmly welcomes all who are interested in attending one of the upcoming sessions during the week of May 16 through 21. Times and locations for the spring Wills and Trusts Week are listed in their advertisement in this issue of Sorbet.
Everyone who attends and completes a basic introductory form will receive a complimentary consultation with both an estate planning attorney and a financial planner within the next six months.
In ancient poetry, a surviving image of justice was described “holding level the balance.” Later named Iustitia, the image of Lady Justice has maintained through the age, appearing in courtrooms, palaces, and government centers worldwide. A physical allegory for the law, the lady is none to be reckoned with: her double edged sword as formidable as any.
And yet, what is perhaps most striking about this ages old symbol is her blindfold. Any fool can muscle a scale to balance, if he is tilted himself - but the Lady holds the recipe for sea change in her blinded gaze: a ruthless integrity of purpose - to mete justice without the sway of fear or favor.
For Senior Deputy District Attorney Karen Schatzle, that ruthless integrity of purpose is what she seeks to bring to the Superior Court in Orange County. Prior to obtaining work in prosecution, Karen worked full time for the Orange County Probation Department. As a Deputy Probation Officer, she handled a myriad of tasks, ranging from investigating both juvenile and adult offences, supervising violent crimes offenders, and preparing guidelines for the Superior Court’s sentencing procedures. A force on the streets as well, Karen was post certified and trained to carry a weapon. Part of a coalition enforced with unifying efforts to reduce gang violence, she worked hand in hand with social services, law enforcement, probation officers and prosecutors: honing her awareness of the social issues taking shape in the streets of her city, and driving her decision to apply for law school. Clearly no stranger to hard work and dedication, Karen took the initiation to motherhood one step further than most, passing the BAR exam on her first attempt, while pregnant with her third child.
During her longstanding tenure as a prosecutor, Karen dedicated the majority of her attentions towards violent crimes - trying over 86 cases, many of which resulted in multiple life sentences. Though one might guess at the fact, Schatzle notes that “she has never been, or am now, dissuaded by a difficult challenge.” But what is the cost of such dedication? Surely, this is why Lady Justice is blindfolded. To remain separate from her decisions - if not to spare herself the torture of seeing chaos enacted daily in the streets of so many cities in Orange County. But to Schatzle, there is no worth without the struggle for true integrity: which, for her, “is not an external appearance but an inward reality that refers to singleness of heart and mind, the development of a blameless character by adhering to an exemplary moral code.”
And her opponent? “It is a determination to maintain judicial independence that moved me to challenge Scott”, Karen notes, “I voluntarily supported him during the last election - yet it is opposed to my moral character to do so now.” Recently censured for multiple reasons, including having sex with his law students in the court’s chambers, Steiner is an incumbent, and former colleague of Schatzle’s. “My career in law enforcement began almost 30 years ago - I have dedicated most of my career to prosecuting child molesters, sex offenders, and career criminals. My integrity, and the integrity of the court is an asset that voters should be unwilling to sacrifice.” Will the scales tip in her favor with the vote for the Superior Court seat coming up on June 7? Perhaps they should: after all, I think Lady Justice would agree with Teddy Roosevelt when he noted that “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” - or Robert Brault: “what happens if I do nothing?”
For more information, visit www.schatzleforocjudge.com