Aera Energy celebrates its 25th anniversary by helping others

NAMI received a $10,000 grant.

Two organizations that empower, educate, support wellness, and change lives in Ventura County are getting a boost from Aera Energy as the company celebrates its 25th anniversary. 

Aera employees are sharing their excitement by providing much needed resources to the communities where they live and work. Aera’s employee-resource groups (ERGs) selected ten nonprofit organizations to receive a total of $100,000 in grants to support programs aligned with Aera’s values and those of the ERG. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Ventura County and the STEMbassadors, Inc. IDEA Center on Ventura Avenue each received a $10,000 grant to help amplify the work they do for Ventura families. 

Dozens of teens will use the new IDEA Center with the help of the grant from Aera’s Interfaith ERG. Local middle and high school students exploring STEM can use the latest lasers, computer-controlled cutting machines, and 3D printers – to bring their own creations to life at this student-run center. They can manufacture and sell the products they create at local stores, which is something they can’t do through school programs. Some teens have gone on to start their own for-profit businesses. 

The grant covers monthly membership fees for teens from middle and high schools including De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts, Ventra and El Camino high schools. It’s about giving teens options that can make lasting impacts on their futures, said Alex Wulff, president of STEMbassadors, Inc., who oversees the IDEA Center. 

Aera’s Diverse Ability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN) selected the NAMI Ventura County’s Family-to-Family Program, designed to foster learning, healing and empowerment among individuals supporting loved ones with serious mental illness. 

The DAWN ERG is focused on normalizing discussions around mental and physical disabilities so that we can help each other navigate resources, build trust, and exercise compassion,” said John Bohan, Aera production engineer, and chair of DAWN. “We feel passionate about supporting NAMI Ventura’s Family-to-Family program because it supports people who care for a loved one with a mental illness and empowers caregivers to make meaningful differences in the lives of those they love.” 

NAMI Ventura County has been providing its services at no cost to families for 41 years. “Our mission is to educate, support and advocate for families and individuals who often can’t speak for themselves,” said Roberta Griego, executive director of NAMI Ventura County. “Thank you Aera, for your support in helping make our work possible.”

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