Where were they?
By Cynthia Mendoza

What about that heat, huh!? I joked with someone by saying that this kind of heat should serve as a warning for us to behave as to avoid an even hotter place and the person replied, "Yeah, or it's helping us to acclimate to where we're headed if we don't." So from either point of view there's just one way to sum it up. It's HOT! May those who are blessed to work in an air conditioned building be truly thankful and appreciative of this tremendous blessing and never take it for granted.
So in spite of the hellish heat, spirits are running high all around and this last weekend was one jam packed with both indoor and outdoor activities.

Colton Relay for Life raised approximately an eye popping $54,000! The heat could not keep friends, families and survivors from walking the Colton High School track either in memory of a loved one or for someone they cared about who was battling cancer. Thanks to Target Distribution Center and McClain's, all who participated were kept well hydrated with the seemingly endless supply of water they provided. According to organizers, there were 35 teams, 1,000 registered walkers and 100 survivors who participated! I guess there's one thing heat can't destroy; love and passion.

The Diploma Bound Summit at San Bernardino Valley brought together members from many sectors of the community to discuss the high school dropout problem and how to work together to improve the situation. Rialto School Unified Board members were there, City of Colton elected officials were there, including Mayor Kelly Chastain, and San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris was also there. Who wasn't there were San Bernardino City Unified School District Board members, and who pointed that out was Mayor Morris. And now that I think about it, I don't recall seeing any Colton Joint Unified School District Board members there either. (If someone was there and I didn't see you or you came in after I left I apologize) I understand that save the date cards were sent out two months prior. On Tuesday I checked with Mayor Morris's office just to find out if maybe one or two SBCUSD Board members happened to wander in later in the day after I had left and according to Morris's office they did not. If someone has an explanation as to why the decision makers from either district did not attend a meeting of dropout prevention and intervention, please let us know!

Well, that's it for now folks! Be healthy, drink plenty of water (just water, not sodas, or artificial sweetener laced drinks; you might as well drink diluted chlorine) and be thankful for the many blessings we enjoy but so often take for granted!
Community involvement
By Naima Ford

The engagement of the community is important for a number of reasons. First, without the whole community only the desires of a few are accomplished and second, institutions are diminished and eventually fail without the collective discussion, input and actions invested by community members.

This week I saw different programs and people that are a part of the community and are invested in their community. They are not doing it out of their desire for personal gain or glory but to make it better for everyone else. In turn they are making the world a better place for everyone.

I wrote an article on the Pastors on the Premises program. At first sight it seems like a role similar to an appointed chaplain, but these pastors are redefining their roles as leaders by making themselves accessible to students. They spend time on local high school campuses during lunch time to make themselves available to students to talk and show them that they care. According to Craig Luke, a local pastor who is also the author of the Pastors on the Premises Benefit program, they are there to help young people by raising their self esteem, help them raise their grades and overall to be successful in life. Pastor Richard Bryant says they aren’t there to look down on them as an authority figure, but to speak with them eye to eye. Local statistics have shown that the hour or two they take out every day has made an impact on the number of suspensions and expulsions on the campuses.

Another program was the “Ante Up for Africa” event at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. The organization was created by poker great Annie Duke and Academy Award nominated actor Don Cheadle who were both at the event. Local poker enthusiasts and other celebrities came to the event to raise money to help fight against the crisis in Darfur. Though the crisis is far away, local people, including the San Manuel Casino that donated $500,000 to the charity, are invested in what has been called genocide by many but will not be stopped until it receives the audience needed.

“We need the attention, we need the focus,” said Cheadle.

There are also many opportunities to celebrate community like the Redlands Fly-In that received a strong community turnout to celebrate local aviation, or the opening of the Operation Phoenix center in westside San Bernardino.