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Water Take 1 Launches Global Online Short Film Contest

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Every person on this planet relies on water. In Ventura, our water is from local sources and it's our responsibility to protect it for future generations. To help spark that awareness, Ventura Water is partnering with Limoneira's Limco Del Mar, Patagonia and iThentic for the inaugural "Water: Take 1" Online Short Film Contest. We hope that this exciting initiative will highlight people's relationship with water and promote water awareness, efficiency and recycling programs.
 
"We chose to do an online film contest with a water focus because members of our community, as well as on a national and global level, must begin to recognize the importance of water and its infrastructure," explained Shana Epstein. "With the contest, we hope to engage intelligent and creative conversation between leadership, businesses and the community."
 
Filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit short films of less than five minutes in any genre - drama, documentary, comedy, animation, Sci-fi or experimental - that address the topic of water. Films can be submitted and uploaded at no cost to the contest website,
watertake1.com, through September 4, 2012.
 
A panel of environmental and entertainment professionals will choose a winner for the $1,500 Grand Prize and the top winner will be presented at an event hosted by the Brooks Institute later this fall. The film receiving the most votes at
watertake1.com will be presented the Audience Choice Award and its filmmaker will receive a Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera.
 
Competing in this contest is a great way for Ventura County's high school and college students, among others interested in water and the environment, to do something positive that helps others appreciate our access to clean water while promoting water efficiency and sustainability. Help spread the word to your friends, neighbors and coworkers and get involved by joining the contest and/or join the wave by voting for your favorite video at
watertake1.com.
 
The issue of water infrastructure is a global one. In the United States alone, there are large areas of infrastructure more than 100 years old that must be fixed or replaced. However, in many other countries, such as parts of Africa and India, the total lack of infrastructure there has a serious impact on the local health and economy and causes a negative ripple effect worldwide.
 
Water is also an important issue in Ventura, although many residents are unaware of the huge effort and the amount of energy it takes to clean and move our water so it can be used again and again for generations to come.
 
Ventura is among California's oldest coastal cities and has many areas where infrastructure is ending its useful lifespan and will need replacement over the next few decades. While projects and plans are underway to improve this invaluable infrastructure, it isn't without cost.
 
Years ago, much of the infrastructure was maintained using federal grants, most of which are no longer available due to budget cuts. As a result, water customers now bear the full financial responsibility of infrastructure maintenance, replacement and improvement.

 

It Takes A Village for The Jeffrey Foundation's Project 40

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The Jeffrey Foundation (TheJeffreyFoundation.com), a non-profit Child Care/Resource Center offering educational services, childcare and counseling for special needs children, was founded by Alyce Morris Winston in 1972. 

Over the past 40 years, the Foundation, which strives to improve the quality of life for special needs children (ages 18 months through 18 years), serves children with such diseases as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and autism.  Other children enrolled in their programs have a variety of physical impediments or are victims of abuse, neglect or in utero drug exposure.

At the Foundation, children and families are served through a variety of community-based therapeutic, recreational, educational and social programs including childcare, preschool, K-12 educational programming, speech therapy, occupational therapy, life skills, parenting education, after-school activities and social events. 

While the Foundation serves the greater Los Angeles area, Morris Winston is also involved in a national and international outreach program, Special Child USA.  Via Special Child, Morris Winston consults with other cities, states and even countries that are interested in developing similar childcare and resource centers.

"There are over 30,000 disabled youth in Los Angeles County that are in need of special interventions," said Morris Winston.  "Our Foundation is the only one of its kind in LA and we only have a capacity of only 124 children per day, and 40 families per month.  So the need is great -- not just in Los Angeles, but everywhere."

Morris Winston, whose adopted son Jeffrey, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was two, abandoned her career as a Max Factor model and began the Foundation after discovering that there was not enough appropriate child care, resources or support for families with special needs children.  What began in her living room is now housed in two professional buildings on West Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles.

"Most of The Jeffrey Foundation's students are referred by Child Protective Services or a Regional Center," said Morris Winston.  "Many of the families are headed by single mothers with multiple children.  In the Foundation's Parent Training program, over 85% of the children are in foster care and 10% are living with a parent who has lost custody at least once due to child abuse, neglect, maltreatment or abandonment."

The emphasis of the classes and programs, which are inclusive, aim to build core competencies such as cognitive skill building, language development, gross and fine motor skills and social and emotional development, as well as provide health and nutrition education. 

"We also strive to enrich our student's lives by giving them the opportunity to enjoy some recreation and special events.  We encourage them to learn and appreciate art, music and nature.  Our mission is to improve the quality of every aspect of their live as well as serve as a support for their families," said Morris Winston. 

The current economic climate, and cuts in federal and state funding, are severely impacting the Foundation's ability to keep some of their programs alive.  To offset some of the negative impact, Morris Winston recently came up with the creative idea of "Project 40" in honor of the Foundation's 40 years. 

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Project 40 will be a series of 40 events and happenings to fight the economic turndown.  Last night, one of the Foundation's friends, Lladro Boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, hosted a kickoff reception and launch of the YES! Network (Executives for Special Needs Children and their Families).   The YES! group will spearhead many of the Project 40 programs which will take place in Southern California as well as nationally.

Morris Winston hopes that through the YES! Network, different members of the business community will also become engaged to network, cross promote, as well as lend their expertise and support in developing new programs and fundraisers to sponsor and boost the Foundation's needed programs.

 "We support the community, and we need assistance from those in the community and beyond," said Morris Winston.  It does take a village and we want to be around for the next 40 years!"

To find out more about The Jeffrey Foundation, Project 40 and the YES! Network, visit:

TheJeffreyFoundation.com

Images from the YES! Network Launch Party at Lladro Boutique in Beverly Hills on November 17.  Photography by Maxine Picard Photography.


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LtoR:  Agnes Nicole Winter, Elaine DuPont Bernard, Mara New, 
Alyce Morris Winston & Maryann Ridini Spencer (YES! Network
Co-Chair)

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LtoR:  Singer and Evening's Entertainment, Laurie Marchese,
Preity Uupala (Miss India International) and Alyce Morris Winston

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LtoR:  Alyce Morris Winston and Nancy Jordan
(YES! Network Chairperson)

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Izabelle Gooch

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LtoR:  Barbara Berg Adams (Author "Ring Shui" and
Evening's Entertainment), George Adams and Alyce
Morris Winston
VC Style
Maryann Ridini-Spencer produces video stories about environmentally friendly and healthy living in Ventura County.

She co-hosts "Sustainable Ventura" with Ray Olson on CAPS-TV's VTV, Channel 15 as well as "Simply Delicious Living with Maryann" on Time Warner Cable ON DEMAND.