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Embrace's Blog

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 16:56

Alliance Healthcare Foundation Provides Embrace’s Game Changer Program with $25,000 Grant

 
   
 
 
 
Alliance Healthcare Foundation Provides Embrace’s Game Changer
Program with $25,000 Grant
Responsive Grant funds will further develop Police/Community Wellness Model 
 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 21, 2017) – Embrace recently received a $25,000 Responsive Grant from Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to assist with the development of the Game Changer model. Game Changer utilizes sports to create safe space for dialogue and understanding between police officers and lay members of the community. According to the Alliance Healthcare Foundation website, the criteria to receive Responsive Grants include: target population, evidence base for program design, geographic location of program, strengths and weaknesses in request, and budget, among others. Responsive grants may be: time-sensitive, a novel funding opportunity or leadership & organizational development-based.
 
 
 
 
San Diego Union Tribune Newspaper Game Changer Video
 
 
 
 
“Alliance Healthcare Foundation is excited to participate with Game Changer as we explore ways to impact health and wellness through violence reduction,” said Alliance Healthcare Foundation Executive Director, Nancy Sasaki. “Game Changer is a powerful way to reconnect as humans with respect and understanding by hearing each other’s story and creating positive shared experiences.”
 
 
Game Changer events have occurred every month at San Diego State University since the program launched on December 12, 2016. Additional events are scheduled to occur with the San Diego Padres during the months of April and May 2017. The number of events and where they occur beyond May, 2017 will depend upon funding and additional partners that include high schools, universities and professional sports teams.
 
“We deeply appreciate AHF’s support that addresses an age-old societal issue in an innovative, unifying manner,” said Embrace Founder and Game Changer creator, Sean Sheppard. Early efficacy results lead us to believe that the program’s immediate and foreseeable future is extremely bright.”
 
For more information on Game Changer and future events please visit www.ImaGameChanger.org
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Saturday, 11 March 2017 00:18

SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE SPOTLIGHTS EMBRACE'S POLICE/COMMUNITY MODEL & FOUNDER

 
 
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
San Diegan seeks change through dialogue, sports

Sean Sheppard, founder of Game Changer, brings groups to bond over the Aztecs at Viejas Arena after hosting frank focus-group discussions about thorny topics such as law enforcement and the judicial system. (Hayne Palmour IV U-T)
 
 
 
KARLA PETERSON
Sean Sheppard was sitting outside his neighborhood Starbucks when he saw it. Someone had scratched a swastika on surface of the metal cafe table where he was enjoying the sun and talking about his latest venture. And as the community advocate usually does when something disturbs him, Sheppard looked at an outrage and saw an opportunity.

“Whoever drew that, I would beg them to come to a Game Changer event,” the 48-year-old Clairemont resident said, pointing at the crudely carved symbol lurking amidst the coffee-cup rings. “When I step out of my home, I give people the benefit of the doubt that they are decent human beings despite our history and despite what you see on social media. Game Changer is about proactively bringing about our best American selves, or at least taking steps to do it.”
 
 
 
 
Click on San Diego Union Tribune Video - Making A Difference 
 
 
 
 
Formed in response to the fear and anger Sheppard felt after the 2015 rash of fatal shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers, Game Changer brings members of law enforcement and the judicial system together with elected officials and community members for frank focus-group discussions about such thorny issues as racism, stop-and-frisk, misconceptions about the police and people of color.

And when the stories have been shared, the issues have been aired and the pre- and post-discussion survey forms have been filled out, all of the attendees leave the KPBS meeting room and head off to Viejas Arena for an Aztecs men’s basketball game. Which is where some of the biggest changes can happen.
 
To donate to Embrace click here

“I know that my world view was shaped by the fact that I have been around white, black, Latino, Asian and gay people all my life, and I knew that I had to create an environment for that type of phenomenon to take place. And I knew that sports was something that did that,” said Sheppard, who was the director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports at Ohio State University.

“With Game Changer, you see people who may have been at odds an hour before, and now they’re watching the game and laughing and talking about their kids or how they like the same kind of bourbon. That’s what breaks down barriers. That’s what changes perceptions and that’s what changes behaviors. It’s hard to mistreat someone you like.”

Raised in South Brunswick, N.J., Sheppard did his undergraduate work at Georgetown University and got his graduate degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports psychology at San Diego State. He had some problems with drinking and smoking pot along the way, but after finding spiritual and psychological redemption by volunteering with the Salvation Army, Sheppard founded Embrace in 2003.

With Embrace, Sheppard helped rally thousands of college students to feed and clothe the homeless, collect food and water for survivors of natural disasters and repair homes for low-income and disabled veterans. The “Embrace the Streets” feeding-the-homeless program ended last summer, but the “Healing Our Heroes’ Homes” house-rehabilitation program just finished its 11th project. Embrace is holding a “Stretch 4 Vets” yoga fundraising event aboard the Battleship USS Iowa Museum in Los Angeles on April 8.

His years with Embrace made Sheppard an expert in the power of teamwork and unity. It also showed him the importance of knowing the right people in the right places. When it came time to take Game Changer from concept to reality, Sheppard knew he needed to get the San Diego Police Department on board. Fortunately, he was already on great terms with the person who could make it happen.

Sheppard met San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman a few years ago at a dinner honoring the Rev. Henry Rodriguez Jr., the San Diego Police Department chaplain and longtime St. Jude Shrine of the West pastor who died last August. Zimmerman is an Ohio State alumna and a rabid Buckeyes fan, so when she discovered that Sheppard was a strength trainer at her alma mater, a friendship was born.

The two kept in touch, and Zimmerman was his first booster. She got the San Diego Police Officers Association on board, Sheppard rounded up partners — including Uber, San Diego State and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity — and Game Changer was ready to play.

“The first time I met Sean, we talked about how sports was such a great equalizer,” Zimmerman said. “So a couple of years go by, and we go to lunch and he starts telling me about bringing the community and the police together and using sports to break down those barriers, and I said, ‘I love it.’

“Even if you don’t have anything else in common, if you have a love of sports, you can bond as fans. And then you start learning that you have a lot in common once you have an everyday conversation. Sports do bring people together.”

When the first Game Changer gathering was held last December, Sheppard did not know how his grand experiment would go. Would the 20 participants — 10 police officers and 10 community members — be willing to speak their minds? Would the resulting conversations be helpful? And could people put their differences aside long enough to listen?

The answer to all of the above was, “Yes.” And now that Sheppard has wrapped up his fourth Game Changer meeting — one where community members talked about frightening encounters with police officers, police officers talked about the life-and-death pressures of the job, and people from both sides bonded over their love of Hawaii — he is sure there will be more progress to come.

His goals include expanding the Game Changer program to include other sporting events and maybe some concerts. He would love to bring it to other cities. And once the data from the participants’ pre- and post-meeting surveys are collected and processed by Cal State Fullerton, Sheppard hopes that personal revelations can lead to public change.

“They say all politics is local, but I say it is also individual. Town halls have their purposes, but they don’t provide an opportunity for everybody to speak and be listened to. When we have regular interactions with each other and start seeing one another as people, that is how we see changes in society across the board. Exposure cannot help but bring about change.”

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Saturday, 11 March 2017 00:09

EMBRACE & COREPOWER YOGA TO HOST STRETCH 4 VETS IV ON BATTLESHIP USS IOWA

 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                       Media Contact
Embrace PR
619.857.7326
 
 
EMBRACE AND COREPOWER YOGA TO HOST STRETCH 4 VETS IV ON 
BATTLESHIP USS IOWA IN LOS ANGELES, CA
One Thousand yogis including college students, active military and veterans invited on the Los Angeles based Battleship to raise money for disabled veteran home remodel program
 
 
 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 7, 2017) – On Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 9am, nonprofit organization Embrace, and CorePower Yoga will host Stretch 4 Vets IV to raise money for Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program which remodels the homes of disabled veteran home owners. The fundraising event that utilizes yoga debuted on the USS Midway in November of 2015, before Stretch 4 Vets II took place at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington DC in July, 2016. Stretch 4 Vets III attracted over 500 yogis and raised approximately $25,000.
 
To register for Stretch 4 Vets visit: http://stretch4vets.org
 
“Planning our first event in Los Angeles with the USS Iowa and CorePower leadership is proving to be an exciting endeavor,” said Embrace Founder, Sean Sheppard. “The LA market in general is known for its strong yoga community so we are anticipating a great turnout, great vibes and a fantastic event.”
 
 
 
 
Stretch 4 Vets III VIDEO, San Diego, 2016
 
 
 
 
The event will be led by Los Angeles CorePower Yoga area leaders Ali Johansen, Inanna Jessup, Stephanie Solovy and Charlotte Munn. Proceeds will support Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program that remodels the homes of disabled veteran home owners.
 
To donate to Embrace click here.
 
 
 
 
Stretch 4 Vets II occurred at the Navy Memorial in Washington DC, July 2016
 
 
 
 
Thanks to:  
 
 
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 22:24

EMBRACE UTILIZES SPORTS TO LAUNCH POLICE/COMMUNITY VIOLENCE PREVENTION MODEL


 
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EMBRACE LAUNCHES GAME CHANGER: COMMUNITY/LAW ENFORCEMENT VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM THROUGH SPORTS
San Diego Police Chief & San Diego Police Officers Association Assist with Creation of Behavioral Psychology-Based model
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (December 20, 2016) – On Monday, December 12, 2016, nonprofit organization Embrace launched their much anticipated Game Changer program that utilizes sports to create safe space for dialogue and understanding between police officers and lay members of the community.   Almost 2 years in the making, Game Changer is a response to the many instances of often-preventable violence between law enforcement and members of communities of color around the nation.  The model is rooted in behavioral psychology aimed to educate while increasing understanding, familiarity, comfort and a greater sense of human connection through time spent communicating during the focus group and socializing at a sporting event to bring about changes in perception, leading to changes in behavior, leading to a greater number of peaceful outcomes. 
 
 
 
 
Plain clothed officers & community members during focus group & SDSU Men’s Basketball game
Top photo by: Tony Zaragoza
 
A diverse group of 7 lay members of the community and 7 San Diego Police officers met at KPBS television station 3 hours before the San Diego State University Men’s Basketball team took on Alabama State University at Viejas Arena to participate in a moderated focus group to discuss causes and solutions to violent and/or fatal interactions involving law enforcement.  All participants attended the basketball game following time spent together during the focus group that was civil, animated, and, at times, tense. All participants filled out pre and post surveys that measured changes in perceptions before and after the event. Cal State Fullerton will process survey data and provide a comprehensive report. 
 
 
 
 
San Diego Police Chief explains the birth & purpose of Game Changer
 
 
 
 
Gina Tang, artist and mother of 3 had this to offer after the event: “The impact of sitting in a circle, as an equal, beside law enforcement officers having open dialogue around shared concern for an issue, is such that today, when I saw a police car in the street beside me, my conditioned low-level anxiety response had disappeared.  Game Changer is definitely on to something here.”

To donate to Embrace click here

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and San Diego Police Officers Association President Brian Marvel were on hand to deliver opening remarks.  San Diego Christian College Psychology Department Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Stanton (PhD in Clinical Psychology, 15 years of Group Process experience) and San Diego Fire Department Captain Jason Shanley (31 years of Group Process experience) co-moderated the 2.5-hour focus group.  San Diego State University Office of Diversity and Kappa Sigma fraternity were fiscal sponsors. Uber sponsored round trip transportation for all participants while Chipotle and Starbucks were food and beverage sponsors.  
 
 
 
 
Lay members of the community and plain clothed police officers at the first Game Changer event
Photo by: Tony Zaragoza
 
 
 
 
The most surreal portion of the model may well have been after the focus group concluded when participants spent time with one another at the Aztecs men’s basketball game.  Participants who may have previously been at odds with one another, spent the better part of two hours socializing during the game, taking selfies and making plans to continue communicating beyond the event. 
 
 
 
 
San Diego Police Sgt. Richard Cox flanked by SDSU Professor Crystal English and entrepreneur Ken Kuczwaj
Photo by: Tony Zaragoza
 
 
 
 
“This is a start of real and honest conversations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  I would love to continue to be a part of this group.  It was a great experience and I know the next event will be even greater,” offered San Diego Police Officer Akaan Thomas.
 
Future Game Changer events will occur in 2017.
 
For more information on Game Changer and future events please visit www.ImaGameChanger.org

About Embrace
 

 
Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education.
 
For more information on Embrace, visit www.embrace1.org
 
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016 23:17

Stretch 4 Vets III Raises $25k / Embrace Remodels 11th Home

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                Media Contact
Embrace Public Relations
619.857.7326
 
 
 
 
EMBRACE RAISES $25,000 AT SAN DIEGO'S SECOND ANNUAL STRETCH 4 VETS YOGA EVENT
Over 500 yogis including college students, active military and veterans came together on the U.S.S. Midway to raise funds for disabled veteran home remodel program 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (December 7, 2016) – On Sunday, November 20, nonprofit organization Embrace, hosted its 2nd Annual Stretch 4 Vets event on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Midway through a partnership with CorePower Yoga.  Over 500 yogis from all over San Diego county, including active military, veterans and college students practiced yoga on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Midway to raise funds and awareness for the Embrace program called Healing Our Heroes’ Homes which remodels the homes of disabled veterans at no cost to the veterans.  
 
“This event is simply a joy to be a part of," said Embrace and Stretch 4 Vets founder Sean Sheppard.  “Working side by side with the CorePower Yoga leadership team and community to host Stretch 4 Vets is one of the highlights of our calendar year.  To do it to continue to serve disabled veterans makes it truly special.” 
 
 
 
 
(Click the image above to view the Stretch 4 Vets video)
 
 
 
 
2016 Stretch 4 Vets is co-hosted by CorePower Yoga, with the practice led by local CorePower Yoga instructors Amy Opielowski, Beth O’Reilly, Katie B and Sonny Bagsic, a U.S. Navy veteran.  The U.S.S. Midway donated the flight deck venue as well as staffing and equipment.  Key fiscal sponsors were Silver Sponsor Griffin Funding and Pete Knows Real Estate.  
 
 
 
 
 
(Birds eye view of Stretch 4 Vets III)
 
 
 
 
500+ participants, including 15 different fundraising teams, helped raise $25,000, a 70% increase from last year’s event. In addition to yoga, the practice was accompanied by local musician DTO, who provided live music for the event. The event also included the presenting of Colors by the San Diego Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th Horse Cavalry and a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by singer Hollen Lockwood. 
 
“It was truly inspiring to see over 500 students gathered together on the U.S.S. Midway for a CorePower Yoga class to support Embrace's mission. The yoga class focused on gratitude, honoring veterans and all those currently serving, and it created a magnetic wave of appreciation that rocked all of our hearts.”  added Amy Opielowski, Senior Manager of Quality at CorePower Yoga.
 
 
 
 
(Stretch 4 Vets participants enjoying boat pose)
 
 
 
 
The top individual fundraiser received a 1 year CorePower Yoga membership and the #2 individual fundraiser received a 40-inch flat screen television.  The top fundraising team was awarded the Stretch 4 Vets cup and a complimentary stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.  Local restaurant Snooze donated 500 breakfast burritos, Starbucks donated coffee, Perfect Bar  provided energy bars for all participants and Essentia Water donated bottled water.  U.S. Navy Region Southwest provided parking for the event. 
 
Funds raised will go to support Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes, a home remodeling program that remodels the homes of disabled veteran homeowners throughout San Diego County. To donate to Embrace please visit our website.

 
 
 
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Media Contact
Embrace Public Relations
619.857.7326
 
 
100% Disabled Navy Veteran Becomes 11th H3 Beneficiary
Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Home Depot Foundation lead sponsorship team & 100 volunteers for the home remodel of Escondido disabled Navy Veteran
 
 
 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (December 7, 2016) – On Tuesday, November, 1, 2016  Embrace began its eleventh home remodel for local disabled Navy veteran, Lieutenant (Navy), Niani Wiggins as part of the Healing Our Heroes’ Homes (H3) program. 10 days and over $70,000 in labor and materials later, Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program was able to complete its 11th home remodel on Veterans Day.    The remodel served to provide Lieutenant Wiggins and her husband with a new backyard due to a collapsed retaining wall.
 
The latest mission was made possible by a presenting sponsorship from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity Military Heroes Campaign and additional grants/sponsorships from The Home Depot Foundation, SDG&E, Jack In The Box Foundation, Veterans Support Foundation and the San Diego County Community Enhancement Program grant.  “This collective effort was unique in that we were able to complete various skilled trade work with new contractors and contractors from past remodels without the assistance from a general contractor.  Our partnership with the Home Depot Foundation was key as well,” said Embrace Founder, Sean Sheppard. “Everyone who donated their time and financial resources made serving our second female veteran beneficiary a memorable mission.”
 
 
 
 
(Click the image above to view Ninani Wiggin's Healing Our Heroes' Homes remodel video)
 
 
 
 
Work completed included: demolition and removal of the collapsed retaining wall, concrete slab demo and replacement, landscaping, excavation, installation of new retaining wall, installation of artificial turf lawn, installation of new vinyl fencing around the property.
 
Disabled Navy Veteran Niani Wiggins was selected among several other disabled veterans in need to have her home remodeled by meeting the criteria  of having an 80% or higher VA disability rating, being a home owner and being honorably discharged.  Niani Wiggins enlisted in the United States Navy in March, 1991. Her extensive military career includes deployments to support Expeditionary Strike Group Five Middle East/Pacific Deployment, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Unified Assistance, and Operation Northern Edge.  Health issues from serving in the military include losing sight in her left eye, multiple surgeries and a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. 
 
 
 
 
(Healing Our Heroes' Homes volunteers with veteran, Niani Wiggins, at the completion of the remodel)
 
 
 
 
Well over 400 aggregate hours of donated labor by multiple volunteer contractors and sponsors came together to complete this mission. Additional sponsorship dollars came from the Rob Benzon Foundation.  In Kind sponsorship was provided by long time sponsor, the Home Depot Foundation

All Embrace programs aim to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic service learning experiences for college students, connect young adults to veteran community members in need, raise awareness of low income, disabled veterans and increase the value and efficient use of their homes. 
 
 
 
 
About Embrace
 

 
Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education.
 
For more information on Embrace, visit www.embrace1.org
 
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 20:28

Embrace Founder Receives California State Heroes Award

 

 

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                              Media Contact

 Embrace PR

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On Saturday, November 5, 2016, California State Senator Joel Anderson of California’s 38th District named nonprofit organization Embrace (http://www.Embrace1.org) Founder, Sean Sheppard, a California State Hero.  Sean was 1 of approximately 15 other “heroes” to be recognized and receive a California State Senate Proclamation.

  

38th District constituent Daisy Tate proposed the idea to honor California Heroes, which eventually became Senate Concurrent Resolution 97. The legislation’s measure is the first in the nation to annually recognize a specific month as California Heroes Month.  The resolution is a way to honor local everyday heroes in the California community.  Senator Anderson’s website defines these heroes as those who actively take selfless actions to help their neighbor in need, and inspire others to become involved as well.

 

 

 

Sean Sheppard receiving a California Heroes Month award from Senator Joel Anderson

 

Sean was recognized for the 13 years Embrace has mobilized college students to serve less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities by serving homeless veterans and civilians and remodeling the homes of disabled veteran home owners.  Sean was nominated by Dr. Aaron Bruce, Chief Diversity Officer at San Diego State.

 

 

 

 Sean Sheppard with Senator Joel Anderson and San Diego State University Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Aaron Bruce

 

“Superman’s most critical characteristic was not his superhuman strength, it was his willingness to help people in need,” said Sheppard. “With that, I am extremely humbled to be considered worthy to be among such inspirational people who have also devoted their lives to effectively help people in need. I wouldn’t be recognized, and I wouldn’t be leading an organization, without tens of thousands of volunteers deciding over the years that Embrace was the organization through which they serve the community. ”

 

Thanks to Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the Home Depot Foundation, SDG&E and the Jack In The Box Foundation, at the time of this release, Sean is currently leading an effort with the Home Depot Foundation to remodel the home of a disabled Navy Veteran in Escondido, CA, Embrace’s 11th such remodel. 

 

This Sunday, November 20, 2016 Sean will be leading Embrace's second annual Stretch 4 Vets event that raises funds for their home remodel program, Healing Our Heroes' Homes.  To donate please click here.

  

About Embrace 

 

Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education. 

 

For more on Embrace please visit www.Embrace1.org

For more on Embrace Founder Sean Sheppard,

please visit http://www.TheGoodSheppard.TV

 

To donate to Embrace please click here

 

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Friday, 21 October 2016 19:51

Stretch 4 Vets III to Support 11th Disabled Veteran Home Remodel

         

 

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Media Contact
Embrace PR
619.857.7326
 
 
 
EMBRACE AND COREPOWER YOGA TO HOST STRETCH 4 VETS III ON 
THE USS MIDWAY
One Thousand yogis including college students, active military and veterans expected on the San Diego based aircraft carrier to raise money for disabled veteran home remodel program 
 
 
 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (October 17, 2016) – On Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 8:15am, nonprofit organization Embrace, and Corepower Yoga will host Stretch 4 Vets III to raise money for Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program which remodels the homes of disabled veteran home owners.  The fundraising event that utilizes yoga debuted on the USS Midway in November of 2015, before Stretch 4 Vets II took place at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington DC in July of this year.  Stretch 4 Vets I attracted 500 yogis and raised over $15,000. 
 
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Corepower Yoga for the 3rd time in one year to deliver what is quickly evolving into a premiere event in America’s Finest City on the U.S.S. Midway, one of America’s finest venues, said Embrace Founder, Sean Sheppard.   Yoga is a beautifully effective way to raise money so we can continue to heal the homes of our disabled veterans.”  
 
 Stretch 4 Vets I made its debut in San Diego in 2015
 
The event well be led by San Diego CorePower Yoga area leader Amy Opielowski, Area Manager Beth O’Reilly and local Corepower Yoga instructors Katie B and Sonny Bagsic, a U.S. Navy veteran himself.  In addition to yoga, the practice will once again be accompanied by local musician DTO, who will provide live music for the event. Proceeds will support the November, 2016 home remodel of Escondido resident Lt. Niani Wiggins, a disabled veteran of the U.S. Navy, as well as future remodels. 
 
To donate to Embrace click here.
 
Fiscal sponsors for Stretch 4 Vets III are Mortgage Banker Griffin Funding and San Diego Realtor Pete Knows Real Estate.  Local businesses Snooze A.M. Eatery, Perfect Bar and Essentia Water will be in-kind product sponsors as will Starbucks Coffee. 
 
Stretch 4 Vets II occurred at the Navy Memorial in Washington DC, July 2016
 
For more on the upcoming home remodel of Navy veteran Lt. Niani Wiggins, please scroll to the press release below.

 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                             
  Media Contact
Embrace PR
619.857.7326
 

 EMBRACE TO BEGIN 11TH HEALING OUR HEROES’ HOME REMODEL

Kappa Sigma Fraternity and The Veterans Support Foundation lead sponsorship team & volunteers for the home remodel of local disabled Navy veteran

 
 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (October  17, 2016) – On Monday, November 7, 2016,  Embrace will begin its 11th home remodel for local 100% disabled veteran, Lieutenant (Navy), Niani Wiggins, as part of the Healing Our Heroes’ Home program. 
 
Niani Wiggins enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March, 1991 and served as an electronics technician.  Her deployments include Expeditionary Strike Group Five Middle East/Pacific, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Unified Assistance and Operation Northern Edge.  During her decorated service LT Wiggins went through extensive health hurdles including: losing her eyesight in her left eye, optic neuritis and stage 3 breast cancer.  She currently suffers from chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression. She retired and was honorably discharged from the Navy in June, 2014.
  
“Lt. Wiggins’ service to our country has been exemplary.  We are very happy to be able to assist her and her husband by making modifications to their property that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to complete at this point in time,” said Embrace Founder, Sean Sheppard.
 
 
 
U.S. Navy Veteran Lt. Niani Wiggins
 
Volunteer contractors, members of the community, college student volunteers, Kappa Sigma Fraternity members, Team Depot members and Jack In The Box Brand Ambassadors will converge upon the Wiggins home to replace the retaining wall around the property that was destroyed by rain early in the year. Greenfield Fencing will replace old fencing with new vinyl fencing.  Home Depot will replace back yard grass with turf to complete the remodel.  
 
Presenting sponsor for this project is Kappa Sigma Fraternity.   Community Partner sponsors are CorePower Yoga/Stretch 4 Vets, SDG&E, The Veterans Support Foundation, the Jack In The Box Foundation and the County of San Diego. In Kind sponsors are the Home Depot Foundation, Greenfield Fencing and Canales Demo.

All Embrace programs aim to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic service learning experience for college students, connect young adults to veteran community members in need, raise awareness of low income, disabled veterans and increase the value and efficient use of their homes.
 
About Embrace
 

 
Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education.
 
For more information on Embrace, visit www.embrace1.org
 
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Monday, 29 August 2016 22:47

Kappa Sigma Fraternity's A Greater Cause Foundation Grants Embrace $35,000 Through Military Heroes Campaign

Kappa Sigma Fraternity's A Greater Cause Foundation  Grants Embrace $35,000 Through Military Heroes Campaign
Gesture is latest chapter in Embrace's growing relationship with the nation's largest fraternity

 

 

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity's A Greater Cause Foundation has recently provided Embrace with a $35,000 grant through their Military Heroes Campaign to support the Healing Our Heroes' Homes program. The program utilizes volunteer contractors and college student volunteers to remodel the homes of disabled veteran homeowners. 

Created in 2007, the Military Heroes Campaign honors and aids thousands of military veterans and their families in communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Since its inception, the campaign has donated over $1,000,000 to non-profit organizations who advocate on behalf of servicemen and women and those wounded in combat.

 

(SDSU Kappa Sigma's volunteering at a Healing Our Heroes' Homes remodel)


Embrace has remodeled 10 homes owned by disabled veterans since 2011, providing over $650,000 worth of labor and materials and over 5,800 volunteer hours.  Many of those volunteer hours were logged by Kappa Sigma Fraternity Epsilon-Iota Chapter at San Diego State University, which made for a unique relationship which opened the door for the Military Heroes Campaign Grant. 

"Kappa Sigma Fraternity is honored to support Healing our Heroes' Homes through our Military Heroes Campaign, which embodies the principals that Kappa Sigma looks for in a veteran support organization," said Michael Hall, Commissioner of Kappa Sigma's A Greater Cause Foundation which houses their Military Heroes Campaign.  "Service is one of the four pillars of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity which allows us to give back and show the world that Kappa Sigma is about being a part of something that is bigger than oneself.   We look forward to continuing to work with Embrace as Kappa Sigma and our Military Heroes Campaign will continue to grow in success."

 

                                                                                               (Left: SDSU Kappa Sigma preparing for Embrace The Streets serving the homeless)

(Right: Ex 4 Vets 2012 Top Fundraiser check presentation to SDSU Kappa Sigma)

 

"Whether Embrace is serving the homeless, remodeling homes or collecting water for fire victims in the Philippines, the brothers from Kappa Sigma Fraternity have been leading the charge among college student volunteers from San Diego State University," added Embrace Founder Sean Sheppard, in describing the unique relationship with Kappa Sigma.  "Not only are they the best represented student organization to serve the community through Embrace, they have done a fantastic job of recruiting other student organizations to serve the community through us."

Funds from the Military Heroes Campaign will be used to support all costs associated with remodeling the homes of disabled veterans including building materials and paid student interns, several of which have always been student veterans, compounding the impact that the grant funds will have on the veteran community.  

"We are very proud to work with such an amazing organization, that does so much for the local homeless and disabled veterans. Embrace puts on awesome events, and it's been a privilege to be part of their growth," said San Diego State University Kappa Sigma President, Mark LoVecchio.

(SDSU Kappa Sigma at Ex 4 Vets 2013)

 

Sheppard went on to share this: "We never imagined a bunch of guys regularly volunteering to serve the community through our organization would result in receiving a major grant.  "These young men continue to give back to the community through Embrace in every way imaginable. To us, they've been the bench mark student organization at San Diego State University.  There is no close second." 
 
About Embrace

Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization mobilizes college students and recent graduates to serve less fortunate members of veteran and civilian communities. 

For more information on Embrace please visit www.Embrace1.org
For more on the Military Heroes Campaign please visit http://kappasigma.org/military-heroes/
For more information on Embrace Founder Sean Sheppard please visit www.TheGoodSheppard.tv
 

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