NewsCovering Kern County


Organizations encourage the community to give back for Giving Tuesday

She Power November 30, 2021
Sikh Women’s Association November 30, 2021
Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 21:16:29-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday, which is a day to be as selfless as the many organizations that work to grow and help our communities.

Although it is celebrated across the country, this Giving Tuesday, local organizations like She Power are hoping folks choose to invest in their communities.

“The need is so massive and so great, and we are not able to do that work without the work of the community. Whether that is the MLK Community Initiative or whether that is She Power. The community needs to lock arms with us for us to do that,” said Arleana Waller, She Power Global Ambassador for She Power Leadership Academy.

It all starts with a desire to help. For Waller, it was to bring a space that would help create girl leaders in our community in hopes of closing gaps and therefore changing the course of many families.

She added in the past, donations have helped offer their academy for free to girls across Bakersfield but as they grow, so does the need.

“We need a van. We have been working with a lot of young ladies from the southeast area and transportation is of concern,” said Waller. “As you know there is not a round of transportation that goes out of the southeast area, so it is hard for them to get to our headquarters in the southwest.”

Aside from monetary donations to fund the academy and buy a van, they are always looking for community members to speak to these girls and serve as role models.

Like Waller, Raji Brar the Co-Founder of the Sikh Women’s Association also began with wanting to make a difference. The organizations help raise money for high school students to continue their education.

“I remember the first year we started, I think all we raise was $5,000 and now at the end of our six years, we have given out $150,000 in scholarships and it is literally all just from community members,” said Brar.

For Brar, the organization has helped create a safe space for her community and show we are all one.

That is why the scholarships they give out are open to any high school senior regardless of ethnicity or gender.

She said the best part of supporting homegrown organizations is you can see the immediate impact in your neighborhood.

“You know you are going to know somebody who benefitted from the scholarship that was given out or someone who benefitted from a donation that was made. And I think that is what is so important about local non-profits because you see the folks, you know the folks, you know the story,” said Brar.

At She Power, Waller said the donations not only build the next generation of women leaders but provide the stability that makes an impact now through support and full meals at every session.

Nurses celebrated this Giving Tuesday

Meanwhile, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting our nurses. On this Giving Tuesday, those at Adventist Health received the gift of education.

Every hospital visit begins and ends with a nurse. This past year many of them were the only human contact hundreds of COVID patients had for months at a time. And even after such a tough year of long shifts and burnout, the nurses who stayed want to continue improving their skills.

That is where a $100,000 donation from Adventist Health Bakersfield Foundation board member Joe Gregory and the Houchin Blood Bank will be going towards. The money will pay for nurses to take advanced certification courses that often cost from $200 to $500.

Heather Van Housen, the chief nursing officer at Adventist Health adds that for the most part, nurses pay out of their pocket for these types of courses, and is very exciting to be able to tell them there is a fund for this now.

"This will mean so much to them, this generosity will go a long way to support them and it also means a lot that it is going towards education. When we ask our staff what we can do to support them, they always are looking for ways to grow and to learn more so they can give that back to their patients."

You can donate to the fund online.

The chief operating officer at Houchin Community Blood bank mentioned if a monetary donation is not possible, the healthcare community is always low on blood donations and encouraged people to help that way as well.