Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Beaumont Charitable Foundation supports worthy causes that enhance our lives

Beaumont has long shown that it takes care of its own.

This good will dates back to the Great Depression when the city and local service clubs worked together to find jobs for men who were desperately trying to support their families.

Now, the city is continuing that legacy with the Beaumont Charitable Foundation, which was formed in 2009. The charitable arm of the city accepts tax deductible contributions, and helps raise money for many very worthwhile causes and outreach programs.

In that spirit, the foundation recently awarded 15-year-old Brittany Ramos $3,000 toward her trip to Europe this summer as a Student Ambassador for the People to People Program. For more than a half-century, the program started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower has promoted cultural understanding and peace among nations.

Other Foundation beneficiaries include the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Shop with a Hero, Spark of Love, Special Olympics, Smiles for Seniors and a program that allows students with perfect attendance to take in a Los Angeles Angels baseball game with police officers.

Through the charitable foundation, contributions are made to individuals and programs that enhance life in Beaumont. Applications are available at the Civic Center. The City Council, which serves as the foundation’s board of directors, decides how to award the money. Brittany received her award after she spoke at the Feb. 1 City Council meeting.

Beaumont’s young ambassador

“Brittany will be an outstanding representative of the city of Beaumont,” said Mayor Brian De Forge.

The hometown girl, who was accepted to the People to People program based on teacher recommendations and good grades, has already served Beaumont for many years. She is currently one of three princesses for the Miss Beaumont Pageant. And as captain of the Beaumont Police Explorers, Brittany will study Europe’s criminal justice system on her trip abroad. But before she leaves, Brittany will take part in many fundraising activities for People to People, including being a “waitress for a day” in Hemet.

Proudly representing her hometown

Brittany will depart in early June for her 20-day trip that includes stops in England, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Once she lands overseas this summer, the world will become Brittany’s classroom. She will learn from the finest historians, educational experts, and professional guides.

While visiting Great Britain with other People to People students, the Beaumont High School sophomore will receive a briefing at Parliament and tour Buckingham Palace. Brittany will learn about the world wars by visiting Flanders Field in northern France and by touring the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The teenager will gain an understanding of everyday life as she meets with ordinary European citizens and stays with local families in several countries.

During her trip, Brittany will be telling Europeans about her friendly hometown and fun things to do here like attending the Cherry Festival.

“I’m very excited,” Brittany said. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and learning about many cultures and other languages.”

When she returns, Brittany will report on what she has learned to the Beaumont City Council. And one day, she hopes to protect and serve her hometown as a police officer, just like her father, Beaumont Police Corporal Chris Ramos.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

“Beau” heads off to college and gets ready to make his hometown proud

Beaumont is going off to college, canine style. The hometown pooch believes in helping people just like his namesake, the city of Beaumont.

The black Labrador will soon enroll in a rigorous school for guide dogs to learn how he can help someone who is visually impaired or blind move about freely in the world.

Wearing a blue-and-white vest to show he is a guide dog in training, Beau, as he is called, drew lots of attention and got a big send-off recently at a breakfast meeting of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. Many came up and patted the guest of honor as they wished him well in his upcoming classes.

“I’ll invite the whole community to come out and see his graduation,” said Ambassador Jackie Johnson of the non-profit Guide Dogs of the Desert.

The making of a guide dog

So far, Beau has shown all the traits needed to be a successful guide dog, including a good temperament, intelligence and an inbred desire to serve, Johnson said. Beau showed these and many more great qualities while growing up in Cherry Valley with puppy volunteers Laura and Phil Myring. Beau goes to Mass with the couple on Sundays and navigates the busy aisles at Costco and Petco. Beau got his namesake from the Beaumont Lions Club, which works diligently in the Pass area to help the blind and visually impaired.

The upcoming training will take place in Whitewater at the Guide Dogs of the Desert facility and requires a lot from every dog. It’s an intense six-to-nine month program month that teaches Beau and his canine colleagues how to be the eyes of his master. The dog will learn to spot and guide his master around an obstacle like a tree branch on the sidewalk and also how to safely take his master through crowded train stations and airports and cross streets while watching out for traffic.

The promise ahead

On graduation day, about half the dogs that start the school will be qualified to be paired up with a master. The others will find work as therapy dogs, police dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.

Beau couldn't speak for himself at the recent breakfast - at least not in words. But as the lab keenly watched guests file out of the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon (former East Valley Golf Club), he seemed eager to begin a journey that will lead to a career of service and helping others. From Beaumont to his desert training, Beau was on his way!