Food Deserts: the Issues and How They are Being Solved

Photo via Pixabay by Dapedwa

A food desert is a geographic area that is devoid of healthy food options, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, within a reasonable or accessible distance.  Food deserts can be found in rural areas or urban areas.  The problem is compounded in urban areas where there are small corner markets where people shop out of convenience, that do not offer healthy food options. 

Food desert areas that are heavily serviced by local convenience stores are more prone to have residents that contribute to the national obesity epidemic.  Food options in these areas are limited to what their residents can afford and the abundance of processed and sugar-filled foods that the local stores provide.  Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, has been on the rise nationally and found to be more prevalent in these areas. 

People living in food deserts also have difficulty finding foods that meet their culture standards or dietary restrictions, such as food allergies or lactose intolerance.  The corner markets just do not have the necessary variety that bigger supermarkets offer.

These corner markets may also offer processed and fatty foods at much lower prices than healthier alternatives.  This can make it much more difficult for low-income families to consistently eat healthy meals. 

Awareness of the problem with food deserts is on the rise due to efforts of entrepreneurs, government officials, and community activists committed to getting healthy food to more people.  Different options and methods have been discussed and deployed in many areas, but much work still needs to be done. 

Accessibility was the major issue focused on for many years.  Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, promoted her Let’s Move! Initiative to end childhood obesity, which also focused on trying to get bigger supermarkets to move into food deserts.  Tax incentives and other programs have helped get supermarkets built in areas where they were previously lacking. 

Unfortunately, providing better places to shop alone did not fix the problem.  It was found that many urban residents did not completely abandon shopping at their neighborhood mini-marts due to familiarity and habit.  Over time some residents make the switch, but there are more complex issues at the root of the problem

Moving big supermarkets into these neighborhoods is not motivation enough for people to shop for and eat healthier food.  Better health education programs may need to be introduced to teach people the necessary skills for buying and preparing better meals before they will completely overhaul their shopping and eating habits. 

Volunteer groups like Gather Baltimore are trying to get more personal and make a change.  They collect food from places with an over abundance of food that might otherwise go to waste, like local farms, produce distributors, and farmer’s markets.  They then deliver it to families in need within the food deserts.  Other non-profits go to local mini-marts to teach owners and employees to buy, store, and market fresh produce for their neighborhood residents. 

Other organizations, such as Veggie Van, will pick up fresh produce and deliver it for a reasonable price.  They deliver to elderly and any other people who have a hard time getting to places that sell healthy food.

Food deserts are a problem that are not going to be alleviated easily, but with more awareness and current community, government, and corporate assistance, things can get better. 


February 2017 News

SECOND MIRACLE OF MOVEMENT GALA SELLS OUT

VIDEO FEATURING FIT 4 THE CAUSE PROGRAMS & VOICES BRINGS TEARS, LIFETIME FRIENDS AND ROBUST SUPPORT

On January, 21st nearly 300 guests mingled with beneficiaries, board members, civic leaders, sponsors and honorees, enjoying fast-paced entertainment, elegant décor and a renaissance themed feast. At the auction, our guests “Fueled Our Engine” while kicking off our Fund-a-Van campaign. Responding to our community’s needs, we are gearing up to export fitness programs through our “Fit 4TheCause 2 Go” Gym on Wheels program. We are allocating $5000.00 to this strength engine from the gala’s proceeds. We need an additional $25K to reach our financial goals and we will continue fueling our engine through our “fun” raising and event marketing.

WINTER FORMAL PHOTO GALLERY

Honorees Heywood G. Friedman, Lesli Moore Dahlke, Stephani Victor-Kuonen and William H. Powell at step & repeat wall featuring our Champion Sponsors Friedman Bartoumian LLP and Humana (with special thanks to Brian Sullivan).

We featured prevalent signage, decoration and tribute books acknowledging all sponsors and elegant trophies at awards ceremony.

Cheers for our Volunteers

It took four attempts to wrangle our Board of Directors for a photo opportunity but we finally did it.

F4TC FUN RAISING—EVERYONE IS A WINNER

MANIFEST YOUR INNER SUPER HERO

Before cleaning up for our Third Miracle of Movement Gala, we will get down & dirty again with our annual “sweat equity” racing event. Bay Club Thousand Oaks hosts our August 12th, 2017 Quadrathalon beating the heat with a 700AM check in and starting off with a two mile run at 800AM. Limited to 60 participants, a double feature drench fest follows the outdoor run with a back-to-back cycling class and a strength based power class. The final event in this game requires ten lengths in the Olympic sized pool. Showers are required before the plunge and we encourage creative strategy in splashing your way to the finish. The après race carb loading festival follows at Bay Club Thousand Oaks parking lot. All fitness levels are welcome with pre-training strongly suggested. All participants receive completion medals with special prizes for those wearing super hero themed athletic wear. Race participants are welcome to hike/run/walk/jog with the Tuesday Tribe Training Group—just ask to join their private page on Facebook. Additionally they can join the 830AM Saturday community strength class at The Stadium. Swimming and cycling practice opportunities will also be available for pre-event conditioning. Registration fees for the Quadrathalon are $100 a participant including bibs, tanks or tees, the four events and after party eats. All proceeds will support Fit 4 The Cause programming which provides exercise therapy and nutrition programs for those who cannot afford gym memberships or attend gyms under normal circumstances. Simultaneously, Fit 4 The Cause and Bay Club Thousand Oaks will launch a Fitness Mentor program where National Council of Certified Personal Trainers offers one scholarship for applicants interested in finding a new career in fitness. Applications for this scholarship will be reviewed collaboratively between Fit 4 The Cause and Bay Club Thousand Oaks.

SAVE THE DATE OCTOBER 21ST, 2017
1:30 – 4:00pm AT THE STADIUM

FOURTH ANNUAL FIT 4 THE CAUSE ZUMBATHON ® THRILLER FEST
ZOMBIE WEAR—NATCH!


November 2016 News

swim-team-groupOur fundraising history is consistent.  Our board members, donors, beneficiaries, employees and volunteers get down, dirty and drenched at our annual sports endurance marathons and then clean up in their best formal wear for the Gala.  Last year we got filthy at The World Famous Mud Run at Camp Pendleton. We all finished the race and continued our stamina by selling out our very first Miracle of Movement Gala.  This year, 30 waterlogged swimmers completed a 5000-yard relay race hosted by The Miller Family YMCA.  Once again, we are continuing our endurance, sprinting toward our January 21st Gala at North Ranch Country Club, asking our sponsors to join the party.  Our sponsor roster grows rapidly:

  • Friedman Bartoumian
  • Humana

  • Greenberg & Bass
  • Singer Lewak
  • William and Jewel Powell
  • BBSI
  • Ingber & Weinberg
  • Morton Capital Management

  • Southeast Ventura YMCA
  • Howard Blau Law
  • Dr. Lorne Label
  • Dr. Lester Summerfield
  • Dr. Jill Stocker (The Body Well USA)
  • David S. Kestenbaum
  • Dr. Michael Shore

  • Herzog Wine
  • Ware Cakes
  • Enhanced Landscape Maintenance
  • Alex Neumann Photography

Another Year of Improving Our Community’s Health Through Exercise Therapy & Nutrition Education

Your Contributions Bring Joy and Movement To Those Crying Out For More In Life!

Our licensed, insured fitness trainers and nutrition team serves 200 beneficiaries today after only two years of receiving IRS determination.  We are proud to report that we keep our operations slim with our office space donated and the generosity of services from our prestigious board of directors and enthusiastic volunteers.  Our highest operating expense is insurance since we provide fitness and nutrition services to populations with special needs.  Our daily operation consists of a founder who acts as Executive Director dedicating all of her time to growing and sustaining this new business and two part time employees.  We ensure compliance through our hands on CPAs who manage our bookkeeper and we are establishing a pipeline to grant providers through a dedicated grant coordinator. 

Our community partners including The Southeast Ventura County YMCA, Many Mansions, Studio BPM, New Chapter Fitness at The Stadium, Community Conscience, Kids World Entertainment Center, Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN®) and KO Boxing provide the necessary resources, training venues and fitness hardware to serve our beneficiaries.  Here is a photo review highlighting this year’s accomplishments:

New Year-New Beneficiaries

Lesli Moore Dahlke (Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) beats Cancer through commitment to strength and balance training and Sebastian gets a “four-legged” trainer/ service dog with Fit 4 the Cause community support. A Superdog for Sebastian campaign matches this little love bug with a service dog providing assistance with Sensory Deprivation Disorder.  Studio BPM hosted a cycling sweat fest for the cause. 

Fit 4 the Cause and Many Mansions work together improving health through wellness education for their residents.  Two local non-profit organizations determined to make a difference provide ongoing Zumba®, basic exercise and nutrition education. Rewarded through seeing more fitness lifestyle oriented behavior our wellness education programs are particularly relevant to the seniors, moms and teens residing at Many Mansions. 

shelleymandy

All better: Shelley Yukelson became boxing addicted while Mandy Duenas gets strong after a high-risk pregnancy.

Community Action

Whether its working with community partners like Kids World Entertainment Center on Down Syndrome Awareness or visiting Government Employees on behalf of Combined Federal Campaign we spread fitness fever wherever we go. We even have supporters spreading the word for us like Bobby Feldman (pictured with his daughter) after completing the LA Marathon. Led by Lauren Rytterager-Nickel, we participated in the global Push Up Campaign benefiting Military Veterans. 

One Heck of a Board

bod-march2016

Left to right: David Adelman, Henry Eshelman, Chris Woo, Hallie Blau, Kimberly Bordonaro, David S. Kestenbaum, Cindy Rakowitz, Lauren Rytterager-Nickel (Program Director), Dee Levy, Jill Stocker, Anita Pressman and Lorne Label. (Not present) Eric Hunt, Kathleen Milford, Brian Sullivan, Michael Shore and Robert Kahn.

Mini-Documentary Premieres at the Gala

HERE’S A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES

Video Production master Carter Northrup has been documenting our events from Saturday’s community classes to our swim relay wet-fest.  One hot summer day in July, we interviewed our gala honorees at a DTLA production facility.  Stephani Victor, Leslie Moore Dahlke, Heywood Friedman and William Powell shared their stories.  This mini-documentary debuts at the January 21st, 2017 Gala at North Ranch Country Club.  Interested in the excitement-Contact Cindy Rakowitz, Cindy@brpublicrelations.com  about sponsorship now (we sell out). 

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September 2016 News

WE ARE TONING UP-CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE

hallieCelebrating our two-year anniversary of IRS determination, we now provide exercise therapy and nutrition education services to 200 unduplicated beneficiaries.  Our service provision focuses on helping individuals or groups who need to get healthy through sustainable fitness programs.  Working closely with medical professionals, we tailor programs for low-income groups, diabetics, fragile seniors, at-risk teens and others across the mobility spectrum.  We depend on licensed professionals who can volunteer their time to help us implement our mission.  Our village keeps growing as we monitor our beneficiaries whose vital signs are dramatically improving.  As strategically planned for 2017, Fit 4 the Cause will only share net event proceeds with other non-profit organizations as an extraordinary exception to our policies.  As our beneficiaries and affiliates grow, our efficient operational costs continue to increase.  Our greatest challenge is finding the licensed fitness professionals who can serve the many groups and individuals who desperately need our services.  We will continue to provide physical fitness programs for our beneficiaries and donors in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.  We think globally and act locally and as a result, we are filling a gap by keeping people healthy. We thank our board’s marketing chair, Christopher Woo of C2 Technology and Small Dog Creative for visually capturing our service evolution on our revamped website.   

WINNING THROUGH SPINNING

studio-bpmF4TC is extremely thankful to Studio BPM owners, Marcus and Stacey McKinnon for this new collaborative affiliation serving our local community’s health needs together. 

When a board member has a child with a health concern, our Fit 4 the Cause community jumps in to pump their bodies raising funds and awareness.  Although several F4TC board members have personally contributed to help Kimberly Bordonaro’s son get a service dog—our partnership with BPM STUDIO in Agoura Hills will do even more.  On Saturday, September 10th at Noon, 20 cyclers fill 20 bikes to benefit A Superdog For Sebastian. 

Sebastian is like any other 5 year-old boy.  However, Sebastian has autism and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  Sebastian’s SPD gives him a super hero body.  His autism gives him a super hero brain. One great addition to this is to have a special-trained super hero dog to be by his side.  Sebastian’s SPD causes him to be extremely hypo-sensitive in many areas.  He doesn’t feel pain and other sensations like most people do.  This makes him want to impulsively run, spin, crash and jump so he can get the sensations his body craves.  Sebastian has trouble focusing in loud, busy places like the school auditorium or restaurant.  Many times, he does not  want to leave the activities or places he likes and prefers to control his situation because of this and may have a “sensory meltdown.”  This superhero dog will aid in safety awareness, undesirable behaviors, social interactions, balance and comfort during high anxiety situations. 

WE ALL GOT WET—NOW THE GALA IS SET!

finished3After four months of arduous crowd funding, six teams of swimmers dove in, swam 5000 yards and thoroughly exhausted themselves for the cause at The Miller Family YMCA. Living with three cancers, our gala’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner Lesli Moore Dahlke completed the race with grace.  Other swimmers with joint pain, diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments powered through their 50 laps (100 lengths) and accepted their victory medals with waterlogged glee.  Last year our board and fitness followers dashed through the mud before cleaning up for our Miracle of Movement Gala—this year we got soggy and soaked, cleaning up nicely again for our Winter Solstice Formal set for January 21st at North Ranch Country Club. Join our Champions, All-Stars & Player Sponsors because our last gala sold out!   For sponsorship inquiries please contact cindy@brpublicrelations.com or dee.levy@bbsihg.com. We expect 325 guests as we honor our champions, Lesli Moore Dahlke, Stephani Victor, Heywood Friedman and William Powell. 

IMG_1576DANCE DANCE DANCE!

For the third consecutive year, we enter “Thriller Dance” mode celebrating Halloween through 2.5 hours of community movement.  Everyone is invited encouraged to dress in their creepiest attire while moving to the beats led by Amanda Welti and her Zumba team.  One of our 2017 Gala honorees, William H. Powell is the Vice President of Casa Pacifica’s board, kicking off another wonderful collaboration between two serious minded non-profit organizations.  We look forward to working closely together, tackling our community’s mental health concerns and providing mentorship through strategic wellness education programs. 


June 2016 Newsletter

SOAKED & STOKED

SPONSOR A SWIMMER OR TEAM

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.14.12 AMThe New Wavers Adelman-headshot-CROP11-11-e1322589941549The Moby Dicks headshot-casual-CWOOSlippery When Wet
lauren-headshotSwim Reapers Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 6.55.44 PMRazzle Dazzle Razorbacks brian150Aquaholics
   holly-150Team Sub-Marines  

2017 INSPIRATION AWARD RECIPIENT
MEET STEPHANI VICTOR—THE PERFECT OBSTACLE SMASHER

victor-triptychThis USC film grad and actress Stephani Victor is living her own gold medal with an improbable script. Loading her car in 1995, she was pinned against her vehicle when an out-of-control car veered into her driveway. In order to save her life, both of her legs required amputation. Stephani’s will to live was astonishing and she was determined to overcome this unthinkable, catastrophic experience. While intensive care, this actress/film director had a dream of making a documentary film about her recovery. Suddenly her life’s worst tragedy became the backdrop for her most important film, “The Lengths I Will Go.” Three years and 13 reconstructive surgeries later, she took her first adaptive ski lesson. Since then she has won 5 Paralympic medals, 4 World Champion titles and 5 Overall World Cup titles. Stephani’s passion for pursuing excellence and living life to the fullest includes giving back to her community. She has volunteered on the Council for Disability Awareness. She has tirelessly contributed her voice by giving moving presentations to prison inmates, inner city schools and fund raising events for multiple non-profit organizations. Chosen by the USOC, Stephani serves as an Athlete Ambassador for Team of Tomorrow to spread the Olympic ideals of peace, goodwill, tolerance and harmony. Stephani will appear in our exclusive video premiering at our January 21st, 2017 Miracle of Movement Winter Solstice Formal. The Olympic committee will be announcing the World Championships race schedule in the near future. Stephani may have to be in Tarvisio, Italy in January as part of her effort to qualify for the Pyeongchang Olympics. If Stephani and Marcel (spouse/coach) are in Los Angeles, they will certainly attend our gala.

Save the date: January 21st, 2017 at North Ranch Country Club
Miracle of Movement: Winter Formal 6-1030PM

Meet our 2017 Honorees

honorees

CLICK, REGISTER AND DROP FOR 90 SECONDS

BCPUC-Square05June 25th at 1PM: Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park. You can register as a participant or support a friend!

https://www.crowdrise.com/ca-oak-park-fit-4-the-cause/fundraiser/laurennickel

JOIN THE MICRO DONATION REVOLUTION TODAY

bstowSearch Fit 4 The Cause through www.bstow.com and round up your spare change for charity through credit card transactions. Please note that platforms like BSTOW require a lot of information for registration. Popular with millennials, it might seem robust for some boomers. There are other wildly successful platforms working exactly the same way including Acorns, Digit and Robinhood. We recognize this-and we trust our collaborators in this mobile space. Crowd funding platforms like BSTOW raise millions for legitimate non-profit organizations. Please check out BSTOW’s website and social media pages to learn about their founder, Jason Grad and his philanthropic vision. Check out our featured page https://bstow.com/project/fit4thecause/

ALL THAT JAZZ

jazz1jazz2

Our community partnerships Spring into action with shopping events, music festivals and concentrated wellness education events at Many Mansions. Above photos feature board counsel David Adelman with marketing committee member Holly Hendrix and President, Dee Levy with board member, Dr. Jill Stocker. Once again, our philanthropist of the year, Heywood G. Friedman, Law offices of Friedman &  Bartoumian championed our presence at this community event with a $1500.00 contribution in honor of his mother, Dolores Greenberg Friedman. 


April 2016 Newsletter

CALIFORNIA JAZZ & WINE FEST IS APRIL 17

cjwf-logo

SAVE 20% with code 16RAK
BUY TICKETS NOW WITH CODE 16RAK

ID-100130723WE ARE GETTING WET! 

Last summer, Fit 4 the Cause’s board of directors along with an estimated 60 additional team participants dove into the mud at The World Famous Mud Run and raised nearly $16K for health needs.  This summer we are taking it to the water reinforcing our mission to produce numerous, diverse group exercise events.

Your support of our swimmers directly funds free fitness training programs for those who cannot afford gyms or personal trainers under normal circumstances. We keep our operational costs lower than most non-profit organizations and need your donations to keep our lights on. Our ongoing program development engages vulnerable children, adults and seniors throughout Los Angeles and Ventura County bringing physical education to after-school programs, one-on-one assistance for fragile seniors and free community classes for low income residents and social service agencies. We are proud to live at the non-profit intersection where fitness, wellness and medicine meet.  You will be hearing from our event’s swimmers soon who will be sharing their links to our crowd funding site. 

NEW FACES

bod-march2016

Fit 4 The Cause is excited to have Dr. Jill Stocker (4th from right) and Dr. Lester Summerfield (far right) join its Board of Directors, just in time to attend the March 30 meeting at North Ranch Country Club.

Per founder Cindy Rakowitz, “Dr. Stocker and Dr. Summerfield bring medical, therapeutic and practical field expertise, expanding our capabilities and reach while developing impactful programs for the diverse communities we serve. They both contribute wisdom, wit and verve to our group and we’re grateful for their commitment and service.” The organization’s board is bulking up with medical professionals, truly becoming the non-profit intersection where fitness, wellness and medicine meet.

townhall-croppedVOLUNTEER TOWNHALL

Want to get involved, but don’t know where to start? How about coming to one of our monthly Volunteer Townhalls? This month’s meeting was an energetic blend of new and returning faces and wall-to-wall enthusiasm. Warning: attendance and volunteering could be habit forming! Townhalls are held on the first Wednesday of every month at the home of Dee Levy in Oak Park. Food, drink and lively conversation are all provided, the only thing missing is you!

ID-100164690SAVE THE DATE

Our next Miracle of Movement/Winter Solstice Formal is set for January 21st, 2017 at North Ranch Country Club.  Honorees will include author, photographer & cancer survivor, Lesli Moore Dahlke (who is also swimming with us), philanthropist Heywood Friedman (Friedman Bartoumian LLP) and mentor, William H. Powell (Officer & VP, Casa Pacifica Board and Chairman of the Board, Granite Construction Company. 

COMMUNITY CORNER

zumba-flashmobSPRINGING INTO AN ACTIONABLE APRIL

  • We thank volunteer Aurora McCauley for hosting a one-week store promotion at Edge of Fashion, donating 20% of proceeds to Fit 4 The Cause.
  • Led by the amazing Amanda Welti, our Zumba crew surprised Rotary of Westlake Village street festival attendees with an energizing flash mob.
  • We now provide cardio kickboxing style classes for the “Break-Through Student Assistance program offered by CVUSD and continue our free community classes for vulnerable children and fragile seniors in various locations. 
  • Look for a Push Up Campaign in June benefiting veteran assistance programs at local gyms in our hood.

January 2016 Newsletter

CELEBRATING ANOTHER YEAR—BRING IT 2016!

Our humble grass-roots charity work began in 2010, raising money for causes through sporadic kickboxing classes.  Appealing to the community, our fitness fever concept captured the hearts of many.  In 2014, we formed our non-profit corporation and submitted our exhaustive application for tax-exempt status.  Miraculously, the IRS and the other relevant government agencies bestowed this “honor” upon us in 90 days.  Non-profit experts agree this is unprecedented given the heightened level of scrutiny that new non-profits face today.   

FLYING IN THE PERFORMANCE ZONE

manymansions

Wellness Education with Many Mansions Residents

One year after receiving our tax-exempt status, we are now operating in the “Performance Zone”.  We devote every day to ascertaining our community’s health needs and it is our pleasure to serve strong with a smile.  Our first “Miracle of Movement Gala”, at which we honored several inspirational community residents who have “smashed” their health obstacles, was literally a sell out and we were fortunate to be able to share proceeds with Ballet For All Kids. We enjoy a sustainable relationship with Many Mansions by providing health education to its low-income residents and our individual training programs for special populations who cannot attend traditional gyms under normal circumstances is blossoming.  All we need are more licensed fitness professionals who will selflessly donate their time at least once a month with a special needs individual along with space provided by fitness facilities.  If you are interested in joining our Movement and Sound volunteer team, please email admin@fit4thecause.org.

NEW TALENT AND AFFILIATIONS

jonathan-williams

Jonathan Williams, owner, New Chapter Fitness

We are now a proud member of the “Community Conscience” family with Ventura County office space “Under One Roof”, living with other non-profit health agencies serving the greater Conejo Valley. We now have a Junior Executive Director; a QuickBooks certified bookkeeper; a dedicated grant writer and continue to attract premium talent to our Board. Additionally, we are attracting new fitness talent and health club affiliates to our movement and sound team.  We are very excited to announce a new affiliation with New Chapter Fitness and its owner Jonathan Williams. Operating out of The Stadium in Agoura Hills, Jonathan, a veteran trainer for 13 years provides a unique experience. “It’s basically Fusion Fitness. The idea came from wanting to provide something fun and interactive for people of all ages,” Williams said. Williams has a degree in business and sports medicine from Pepperdine University. 

IS THAT A CALENDAR IN YOUR POCKET?–HANDWRITING IS NOT ERADICATED

call1Last year’s Holiday calendar featured the selfless fitness professionals who volunteer with our organization.  This year, we focus on the determined individuals who are pummeling their health related challenges – cancer, paralysis, amputation, cerebral palsy, autism and Parkinson’s disease.  Our viral spirit spread to the eastern seaboard where we are developing relationships with new communities in New York City.  Please contact admin@fit4thecause.org to request a copy of the new pocket-sized calendar.

calendarYour perpetual support powers our undying devotion to give to those less fortunate – bringing movement and hope to those spirits who are crying for a better life.  Your dollars improve quality of life for many through our robust programming.  Your donations go direct to funding equipment and exercise therapy for small groups and individuals who need to improve functionality for everyday tasks. 

Let’s celebrate another year of health and happiness.  Thank you for all that you have done to help catapult this new little village into something tangible, relevant and meaningful.

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MARATHON MAN KICKS OFF RUNNING SEASON BENEFITING FIT 4 THE CAUSE

feldman-headshotOak Park Resident and high-risk property insurance expert, Robert (Bobby) Feldman is gearing up for the 2016 Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon’s 26.2-mile race on Valentine’s Day this year.  From Dodger Stadium to the Sea, this race has a maximum net race finish time of six hours and 30 minutes from the time the last runner crosses the start line.

This Allstate Financial agency owner tirelessly serves his community with outstanding professional service in Los Angeles and Verdugo City.  His priority is assisting families in protecting homes, cars, commercial vehicles and businesses. Bobby has provided sophisticated service with Allstate for over 16 years. 

Sought out for his extraordinary barbecuing talents Bobby shares his savory, mouth-watering cuisine for fundraisers and ProVisors events. After losing a lot of weight, he advocates the fitness lifestyle, knowing that if you work hard through training, you can reward yourself with controlled calorie intake. 

feldman1Bobby owns bragging rights to completing the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon in November 2015. He’s a committed family man, enjoying his lovely wife Lisa and two daughters.  Help Bobby raise dollars for Fit 4 The Cause Programs here.

WE HAVE EARNED OUR R RATING

Rated-RADICALR=Registered! Our humans in motion logo is now officially registered with The United States Patent and Trademark Office.

UPCOMING EVENTS

love-yourselfAdmission is free to this LOVE YOURSELF Valentine’s Day event at Kid’s World Entertainment Center, 1-4PM in Oak Park.  We appreciate your generous donations benefitting Fit 4 the Cause educational programs including Dune Citi’s no-nonsense basketball training curricula for low-income males and females, 5-18 years old.

Support events and programs like this free event: DONATE NOW!

free-classOur weekly community class at DePaz Energie is free and open to all fitness levels.


New Year, New Way, New You!

New Year, New Way, New You!

Chances are your inbox will be filled with a hundred or more emails about how you can start off the New Year in the best possible way. You will hear about a zillion new diets, a host of ways to feel better after all the holiday bingeing, and you’ll get dozens of tips on setting goals and making resolutions to feel good and get all that you want from your life.

What if I told you that you don’t need to wait until January 1st? What if I told you that you can start right now…right this very minute? What if I told you that I have a proven method that is so easy that you will think, “Hmmmm….why didn’t I think of that?” What if the power of positive change is right at your fingertips and always has been?

How would you feel if on New Year’s Day you were already on your way to great health and wonderful well-being? It’s absolutely possible and if you continue to read this, you are on your way!

First, let’s look at some of the reasons why we so often struggle with sticking to our goals and making the lasting change we know that is best for us. We all have a Saboteur that lives within us…that resides in our heads. This Saboteur really likes things just the way they are and actually fears change.

“Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain….If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we’re trying to do.”   ~ M. J. Ryan from the book, ‘This Year I Will’

Research has shown that when we set about a task or goal that is too big, our brain rejects it. That is why I always recommend small, easy steps that are realistic because they are actually doable for you.  When I work with my clients I incorporate a method called Kaizen which was created by the Japanese and is used throughout the world, both personally and in businesses. Kaizen actually means “good change”. The theory about this method is that we can achieve continuous, incremental improvement through small steps over time that are in alignment with our specific goals and desires.

What it really means in more simple terms is that we break down our tasks into very small steps and then choose the one that is easiest to accomplish first. Your brain recognizes the success in accomplishing that task and virtually opens up, becoming more receptive to the next task.

If you are committing to eating healthier and adding more veggies to your diet, start small. Add a salad to your lunches for a while and then to both lunch and dinner. It will fill you up and you’ll eat less of the other foods. The next step might be to add more chopped veggies to your salads. The step after that could be adding a side veggie to your dinner.

For instance, if your goal would be to cook more meals at home, start with one dinner at home each week. Choose Sunday or a day that would be easiest for you. Eventually add another evening and then start making a lunch or two. Find foods that are already cut up for you and ready to throw quickly together. The easier you make your task, the more likely you are to succeed. The truth is that if you make your changes too big and too fast, you are less likely to stick with it.

Next and as equally important is to announce out loud what you intend to do. You are making a verbal commitment, like a pledge to yourself. Share that commitment with others. This makes it real and alive.

Be accountable to someone else and you will find that you become much more accountable to yourself.

Stay aware of the voice of your Saboteur that may be trying to derail you. Recognize it and shut it down. Remember why you chose to accomplish these goals in the first place. If you start to have doubts, write down three reasons why you want this change. This will reaffirm your commitment and quiet your Saboteur.

Create positive momentum and keep it going. Once you have achieved even the tiniest part of your goal, acknowledge that you now have momentum and that you need to keep the ball rolling. Pat yourself on the back but then tackle the next goal that might just be a bit harder. You can do it. Each time you do, it gets easier.

Let go of perfection! This is the most important of all. We will quickly stop doing things if we think we aren’t doing them well enough. Perfectionism is just a big old excuse. It is the first thing that sets us up to fail. Allow yourself to follow the 80/20 rule. Do your best 80% of the time and that is good enough.

So, here’s the recap:

  • Small steps that are realistic and doable
  • Do the easiest thing first
  • Announce your intentions out loud, share them with others to support you
  • Be aware of the voice of your Saboteur and shut it down
  • Create positive momentum by recognizing what you have accomplished so far and keep it going
  • Let go of perfection paralysis and use the 80/20 rule

I can personally vouch for this method as I have seen so many positive changes in my own life come from using these tools. There’s no limit to what you can achieve, so start now!

Final Edie retouched outdoor headshot - Copy (427x640) (200x300)

 

 

Edie Ruge is a Health and Wellness Coach offering unique strategies in guiding people to achieve their wellness goals. She specializes in weight management, stress reduction, increased energy and overall improved health. Edie’s integrative and holistic approach helps people lead healthier, happier and more balanced lives. 

www.ThePromiseofHealth.com 

https://www.facebook.com/edierugehealthcoach


This Thanksgiving Dish Up Some Gratitude

A Second Helping of Gratitude

I was driving near my home the other day and I always make a point to glance over towards the wash that surrounds my neighborhood. As luck would have it, I spotted my favorite bird, a Snowy Egret. I walked over just in time to see him in graceful flight overhead. I then looked back to see that there was yet another Egret lingering in the shallow water, so I lingered as well. It felt great. No, actually it felt luxurious. Taking a moment like that to appreciate nature is one of life’s little luxuries. Louie Schwartzberg, the famous time lapse photographer, has devoted his life to showing us the beauty and fascination of nature and all that surrounds us. He says “Gratitude touches your heart” and he believes that Nature teaches us mindfulness. He encourages us to really look at things and take time to be in awe. I stood there in awe of my Egret and the gratitude took me to a place of great comfort and serenity. Gratitude not only affects us on an emotional level, but gives us a sense of purpose in a world that is often focused on having and doing rather than on being. Gratitude frees you to be more loving and accepting of people and of situations. Gratitude helps you to view life’s struggles as lessons to be learned and appreciated rather than as failures.
The added benefits of living with gratitude are improved health, reduced stress, better sleep and more fulfilling relationships.

Dr. Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of Positive Psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions, says that satisfaction has a large correlation with gratitude and much smaller correlations with age, education, income, intelligence and attractiveness.
So, at the end of the day, when we truly count our blessings, it is the gratitude of who we are inside and who we love that fulfills us the most. Just how do we cultivate gratitude into our lives on a regular basis? Here are some wonderful steps you can take each day:

1) Keep a gratitude list. Start off each day with a list of what you are thankful for and reflect on it again before you go to bed at night. Try sharing it with a friend or loved one.
2) Express your love, thanks and appreciation to others often. Make sure to be mindful all throughout the day, finding ways you can thank someone for even the smallest courtesy or act of kindness.
3) Write a gratitude letter to someone who was or has been meaningful to you in your life. Let that person know how something they did or do for you has had a positive effect on your life. Send or give that letter to that person. This can be one of the most important ways to bring gratitude into your life.
4) Negativity and gratitude cannot exist simultaneously in your mind at the same time. When you are feeling anxious, worried, or stressed about something, immediately switch your thoughts to what you are grateful for. A feeling of calm replaces the anxiety.

Tips for Enjoying Your Thanksgiving Meal in a More Meaningful Way:

Fill your plate with all that you love, but add extra veggies this year! The original Thanksgiving feast was about celebrating the bounty of the Earth. Let’s get back to basics by eating whole, unprocessed foods. Savor each bite and chew well. When you feel like getting up for a second helping, stop and focus on the people you are sharing this wonderful meal with instead. After the meal is finished, have each person speak and say something they are grateful for. You can look up meaningful and inspirational quotes ahead of time and print them out like little “fortunes” for people to pick from a bowl. They can stand up and read their quote and express what that might mean to them. This is a beautiful way for people to express their love and gratitude. This just might be the best Thanksgiving ever!

Final Edie retouched outdoor headshot - Copy (427x640) (200x300)Edie Ruge is a Health and Wellness Coach offering unique strategies in guiding people to achieve their wellness goals. She specializes in weight management, stress reduction, increased energy and overall improved health. Edie’s integrative and holistic approach helps people lead healthier, happier and more balanced lives. 

www.ThePromiseofHealth.com   

https://www.facebook.com/edierugehealthcoach


October 2015 Newsletter

SOLD OUT WITH 250 GUESTS, FIT 4 THE CAUSE WINS FRIENDS AND FUNDING

Traditional press reviews have the power to make or break a new release or attraction. After receiving our IRS determination 14 months ago, the world now knows who we are and what we do! Fit 4 The Cause is a thriving non-profit noted for its commitment to philanthropy and compliance. Admired for its record of accomplishment and promoting fitness lifestyles for all populations through its endorphin releasing programs and promotions, F4TC is now sustainable.

This special newsletter commemorates our organization’s coming out party through a photographic recap.   We are very grateful to everyone in our community who selflessly contribute to our cause.

 

Fitness Fundraising NPO Announces Growing Team

Rytterager-KastenbaumLauren Rytterager-Nickel (pictured at left with Board Member David S. Kastenbaum), of Simi Valley, has joined the organization as its new Junior Executive Director, assisting Founder, Cindy Rakowitz with day-to-day tasks. Rytterager-Nickel has experience in counseling and mental health coaching, much of which she acquired working with families in South Africa. Additionally, she works as a fitness professional with The Perfect Workout in Thousand Oaks.

“I’m thrilled to bring Lauren on to assist with daily responsibilities. Since we are perpetually expanding our reach throughout the community and seeking more ambitious goals, having Lauren as an anchor will be immensely helpful,” said Rakowitz. “Her experience working with at-risk populations locally and overseas has instilled in her the kind of passion we want to bring into the folds of the organization. Lauren is a tremendous asset.”
FIT 4 THE CAUSE™ also welcomed two members to its Board of Directors.

Mary J. Ott (below, 3rd from right, with the Board of Directors) is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who studied dietetics and exercise physiology throughout California and currently resides in Simi Valley. Her expertise in nutrition aligns with the organization’s goal to retain and attract directors in the health and fitness industry. Ott has worked at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center since 1997.

ott-bod

David S. Kestenbaum (above, 2nd from right) is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor known for his high profile cases and winning record. He has been practicing law for 36 years, during which time he served on the Board of Governors of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Board of Trustees of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.[/rescue_column]

“Mary and David are tenacious, hard-working professionals with a heart for serving their communities. Our team is growing by leaps and bounds, and each addition brings a valuable and unique skill that will propel us to the next level again and again,” said Rakowitz. “The stronger the talent amongst board and staff, the more individuals we can help lead healthier, happier lives through the work of the organization.”

Fitness Fundraising NPO Now Resides Alongside Other Health Agencies

FIT 4 THE CAUSE™ Newest Tenant At Community Conscience/Under One Roof

sapka-brittFIT 4 THE CAUSE™, a nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for health related causes, announced the organization’s additional location at Community Conscience/Under One Roof, a facility that houses health services agencies free of charge.

We are most excited to collaborate and develop sustainable relationships with the other non-profit organizations who are a part of this amazing consortium.

Community Conscience Executive Direct Robin Britt (above on the right, with Steve Sapka) is pleased to add Fit 4 The Cause to the list of community-serving agencies in the building, known as “Under One Roof.”

“There are a total of 13 non-profit organizations housed here rent-free,” Britt said. “The money they save can go to the exceptional services provided to clients in need. The non-profits in our building work as allies, referring clients to each other. Fit 4 The Cause can now have a presence in the Conejo Valley, giving them access to more health related causes while making a positive impact on the community. They are a wonderful addition to the services already provided here, and we see an opportunity of growth for all of us.”

PROGRAM OUTREACH

Many Mansions

Cindy Rakowitz visits three locations during fourth quarter 2015 educating residents about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

JOIN US

Trainer TortureTrainer Torture benefiting Life After Brain Injury

Make a pledge to turn the tables on your favorite fitness professional

David Adelman pledged $100 for Cindy Rakowitz’ completion of 300 skaters.

What will you have your trainer do??

Tis the Season: 365 Days of Giving

Ray-800Last year, Fit 4 The Cause featured its team of volunteer fitness professionals in its first annual Holiday Calendar.  The 2016 Calendar zooms in on the extraordinary individuals who smash obstacles every day.  Here’s a sneak peek at Ray Diaz, an extreme athlete from Queens, New York.  After recently losing his legs in an accident, his life isn’t easy.  “I swear, if I had the chance to go back to what I was…I wouldn’t,” says Diaz.  “I wouldn’t have my life any other way than what it is.”  A Crossfit Ridgewood regular, Diaz rocks every strength challenge whether sporting his prosthetics or not!  Please contact us if you’d like a copy of  our 2016 Fit 4 The Cause Holiday Calendar. Your donations are always appreciated and 70% of all proceeds go direct to programs that improve the health and well-being for all populations. (Photo Courtesy of Kacey Livingston)