Embrace's Blog

Friday, 30 May 2014 23:10

Join us as we heal the home of Staff Sergeant Patrick Ozborn


Embrace's Healing Our Heroes' Homes program will continue its eighth home restoration next week. The mission will take place at the San Diego home of retired, paralyzed Marine Staff Sergeant Patrick Ozborn, who served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Ozborn, now 36 years old, is paralyzed from the sternum down and suffers from T5 spinal cord injury due to a motorcycle accident.


The mission for Ozborn's home includes the demolition and extension of his driveway, concrete ADA compliant wheel chair ramps at the entrance and side of the home, brick pavers around the home, new fencing, new front door with widened ADA compliant entrance, kitchen remodel and master bathroom vanity remodel.  Labor and materials are estimated to be approximately $30,000.  Funds raised from Embrace's Annual Ex 4 Vets IV event (www.Ex4Vets.org) that occurred last month will pay for incurred costs.  


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE Monday, June 2 & Tuesday, June 3.  Morning and afternoon shifts are available.  If you would like to register or would like more information please visit  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healing-our-heroes-home-patrick-ozborn-tickets-11575108461  for more information. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014 22:46

EMBRACE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Alliance Healthcare Foundation Board Trustee, Jeffrey Willmann

Jeffrey Willmann is President and CEO of Opprime’ Investments and Insurance Services, a local boutique consulting, investment, and insurance brokerage specializing in strategic relationships, business development, marketing, and insurance management services for their clients.  Jeffrey’s work includes; mergers and acquisitions, and clients and sales acquisitions.  He is currently on the board of various foundations including the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and Alliance Healthcare Foundation, and is a shareholder & officer at multiple health care businesses.  In the past he’s held positions such as CFO, Director, VP, and CEO at several well-known organizations. 


Mr. Willmann is passionate about caring for the underserved, homeless, and foster children.  His passion for serving led him to feeding 500 homeless people monthly since 2009; as well as being a 2010 LEAD San Diego Graduate.  Jeffrey was the founder of Urban Angels (www.Urban-Angels.com) that serves over 100,000 meals per year.  Mr. Willmann was interviewed by KUSI in October 2013 for the work Urban Angels does in the community.  http://www.kusi.com/video?clipId=9387631&autostart=true


Jeffrey Willmann was born in 1969, in Fargo, North Dakota.  He holds a Masters degree from Arizona State University in Health Service Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Arizona.  He moved to San Diego in 1996 and enjoys spending time with his fiancé and 1-year-old daughter.  Since having his daughter he’s learned parenting works a lot like community service and giving back.  Contribution and giving back is a must.  It's the only way to get real joy or fulfillment…”


Monday, 14 April 2014 18:26


Dan Huslin founded The Dark Horse Group in 2009 with the goal of providing quality marketing services to Southern California businesses.  Drawing upon his 20+ years of professional experience in marketing, research, sales and public relations he and his team are proud to offer award-winning ideas and creative, combined with quantifiable results, to their clients.  Last year, The Dark Horse Group debuted on the San Diego Business Journals Book of Lists Top Advertising Agencies and is one of San Diego’s fastest growing agencies.


Huslin is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University where he majored in English with an emphasis in Writing.  He enjoys cooking, reading, golfing and taking his family and pet Weimaraner to the beach.

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 22:20

REBECCA JADE, Ex4Vets IV National Anthem Singer

Rebecca Jade is a vocalist and has been involved with music her whole life. Growing up in a musical home and having generations of musicians in her family, she has been exposed to a vast assortment of artists, genres and styles. Her own mother was a professional jazz singer in Puerto Rico. With such influences, it seems a natural progression that Rebecca has followed in her footsteps.


Rebecca has been described, by many, as having a chameleon-like quality to her voice, being able to deliver each song in a unique way. Yet, she has been blessed with a sound unlike anyone else. Music lovers express how her singing induces a genuine feeling within them, and many have stated that she has the ability to transfer the emotion of each song to her listeners.


Rebecca has been singing professionally since returning home from college. She has performed with the most sought-after musicians in San Diego and Los Angeles and at some of the best venues in Southern California and across the nation. Rebecca’s versatility has allowed her many unique opportunities to perform, to name a few:


Rebecca was a member of the House Band for Anthology (www.AnthologySD.com), one of San Diego’s most popular and world-renowned live music venues, for over five years, until they closed their doors in early 2013; She is one of the Sirens of Siren’s Crush (www.SirensCrush.com), Southern California’s premiere Live event dance band who has opened for the likes of Boyz II Men, Erykah Badu, Vanilla Ice and the late Teena Marie, and performed for “Best of San Diego” 2010 and 2011 events; She has performed with Mindi Abair and living legend Norman Connors, for John Maatta, for Rev. Jesse Jackson and his guests at the 2009 Rainbow PUSH Coalition event, for Drew Brees and Marshall Faulk at their Celebrity Golf Tournaments, as well as private events for Michigan State’s Basketball coach Tom Izzo, NFL Charger Antonio Gates, Jenny Craig, and the USA Women’s Soccer team; She has done multiple concerts at Spaghettini’s, the Baked Potato, and the House of Blues (San Diego, Anaheim, Boston, Las Vegas); She has performed the National Anthem for many professional and collegiate athletic organizations; She’s entertained patrons at the San Diego Symphony; She also manages and is lead singer in her own R&B, soul, blues and funk variety band, called The Soultones (www.theSoultonesLive.com)


Rebecca has over 18 years of recording studio experience. She’s sung demos and background vocals on many different projects, including a recent project featuring Sly Stone (of Sly and the Family Stone) and songs for a catalog with Todd Carlon, pianist for Paul Anka. She also released her debut original music project, The Jade Element and opened for Grammy-nominated musical artist, Musiq Soulchild. She has also just released her sophomore album, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact. The other projects, one with LA producer Tim Miner, another with San Diego producer Jaz Williams, and yet another with Detroit pianist/arranger/composer Kamau Kenyatta (whose work was prominent on the Grammy Award-winning album by Gregory Porter), are coming soon.


Rebecca is also an actor and model, having done a variety of work, such as a commercial for Pechanga Casino, an industrial video for Qualcomm, and featured as a singer in the film, “5 Hour Friends” (starring Tom Sizemore).


Rebecca graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies and has earned her MBA in Marketing from the University of Phoenix. She has also advanced her musical education by studying Jazz Theory and Classical Voice at Grossmont College, and is learning to play the drums as a side hobby.


To learn more about Rebecca visit her social media sites:
Monday, 31 March 2014 17:28

EMBRACE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Alliance Healthcare Foundation Executive Director, Nancy Sasaki

Nancy Sasaki is the Executive Director of Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF).  She has held this position since August 2011.  AHF works to advance health and wellness for those in need in San Diego & Imperial Counties by providing over $2.25M in funding each year.  The strategic priorities are: poor (under 250% of poverty), uninsured/underinsured, homeless and children.  Ms. Sasaki sits on the San Diego Grantmakers (SDG) Board of Directors as well as the SDG Communications Committee, the Coming Home to Stay Working Group and chairs the Funders Together to End Homeless-San Diego chapter.  In addition, Ms. Sasaki sits on the Steering Committee of the Community Information Exchange (a health information exchange for the social services sector), the Advisory Board of the University of San Diego Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research, the Board of Directors of the San Diegans for Healthcare Coverage and the United Way Health Vision Council.


Prior to joining AHF she was the Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties.  She held this position from 2004-2011.  Her career with Planned Parenthood spanned almost 30 years, beginning as a Health Educator in Austin, Texas.  In addition to Austin and San Diego, Ms. Sasaki has worked as the CEO in Los Angeles and the interim CEO in Hawaii.  Throughout her experience with Planned Parenthood she worked in all areas of the organization and is most proud of the work she has done to expand access for women in need in each of the communities served, enhance cultural awareness for employees and customers/patients, and to bring creative and innovative alternatives to the organization.  For a short time Ms. Sasaki also worked as the Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.


In addition to her love for improving the health of the community as a whole, Ms. Sasaki’s other loves are her daughter Kelly and playing beach volleyball & tennis.  She also loves glass art and alebrijes (brightly painted wood carvings from Mexico).  One of Ms. Sasaki’s favorite songs is John Mayer’s song that says “I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for.” She said, “At 5’4” I feel that is very true for me! I believe I have been very lucky and fortunate in life and have no right to complain!”   


Thursday, 20 March 2014 20:13

EMBRACE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: SDSU Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Aaron Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Aaron Bruce, serves as the Chief Diversity Officer at San Diego State University, where he focuses on campus-wide multicultural understanding, social justice, and strategies related to diversity and inclusion. In addition to developing ways improve campus climate, Dr. Bruce helps strengthen the university’s connections to San Diego’s diverse local and global communities. His experience in the advertising and marketing affords him with the creative energy to promote diversity in a variety of ways. He presently is an active member of the National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), Vice President of the Southern California Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (SCADOHE) and is a International Multicultural Institute certified diversity trainer, who has facilitated numerous professional development seminars in the U.S. and abroad.He serves on the National Advisory Council for Saving Students Saving Lives an anti-bullying conference for educators and school counselors.


Dr. Bruce has held management positions in Latin America and Africa. His passion for global understanding has afforded him with opportunities to conduct research on management strategies, public health and education in Cuba, Mexico, and Kenya. Prior to joining SDSU, he served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Rhode Island College, where he developed policies and programming supporting underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.


He holds a BA degree from Michigan State University where he majored in Economics and Political Science, and earned a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.He holds a Master’s degree in International Business Administration from United States International University. Dr. Bruce completed his Ph.D. in Education from the joint Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island Doctoral Program in Education. He is the first African American male to hold such a distinction. He is presently editing his first book titled Beyond the Black Horizon; African American Experiences Abroad. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, Dr. Bruce has traveled extensively and is committed to making a difference in the world. He volunteers for numerous organizations and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is an advocate for global education, who lives by the motto “Awaken the sleep, protect the weak, and guide the strong”.

Thursday, 27 February 2014 03:16

Embrace's H3 program teams up with SDSU Interwork Institute to provide assistive technology to Disabled Marine Sarah Bettencourt

During the summer of 2013, Embrace's Healing Our Heroes' Homes program remodeled the home of retired Marine Captain Sarah Bettencourt and her husband Matt Bettencourt (Video of her home remodel can be found here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzUBgn25C6Q) Part of Sarah's disability has caused her permanent vertigo which relegates her to use a wheelchair every day.  

Sarah's remodel was unique in that for the first time, Embrace was able to utilize it's partnership with SDSU's Interwork Institute Program (http://interwork.sdsu.edu/main/) which consists of graduate students who, among other things, create assistive technology for people with disabilities.  Before her disability, Sarah was an avid runner.  The students at SDSU are in the process of creating a device that will enable her to get back to doing what she loves to do: running.  

Check it out.....http://youtu.be/CxFd3-soRW8   



Friday, 21 February 2014 21:15

Meet Embrace Community Service Award Winner Karl Walter: Owner of Old Venice Restaurant

Owned by Karl Walter & his sister Kathleen, Old Venice Restaurant (http://oldvenicerestaurant.com) has been open in Pt. Loma for over 35 Years

Serves Lunch & Dinner Monday – Saturday, Serves Dinner starting at 4pm on Sunday

- Karl has been donating food 1X per month to support Embrace's homeless outreach program (Embrace The Streets) for almost 1 year
- Karl is married to Lisa Betyar
- Karl has 2 children & 2 step children
- Karl loves sailing, exercising, cycling, & traveling
- Karl enjoys working on & driving old Porches & VW's
- Karl grew up in Point Loma, born on May 12, 1953


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