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Achievement recognizes hospitals’ commitment to mentoring newly licensed nurses

SJRMC nurses from accredited nurse residency programs.

Dignity Health—St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo (SJHC) are proud to announce that the Nurse Residency Program was recently awarded accreditation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for the Practice Transition Accreditation Program (PTAP). With this accreditation, St. John’s program is now one of 240 officially accredited nurse residency programs in the nation and the only accredited program in the Tri-County area.

PTAP sets the global standard for nurse residency programs and formally recognizes the education program and support environment provided specifically to new nursing graduates so they can achieve the highest level of professional success.

“We are incredibly proud of earning national accreditation. Just a few years ago, our team saw a need for a nurse residency program in the community and quickly mobilized to develop the comprehensive program we have today,” said Dalarie Manda, Vice President, Chief Nurse Executive at St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo. “It’s rewarding to see our seasoned nurses provide invaluable support and guidance as the new nurses adjust to providing care at the bedside.”

The Nurse Residency Program at St. John’s provides mentorship and hands-on training for new nurse graduates and nurses transitioning to specialty and acute care. This comprehensive program is structured to include practice-based learning under the guidance of preceptors and clinical leaders, specialty core courses, and workdays focused on interprofessional education, professional development, and reflective learning.

“During a time where there is a critical need for health care workers in our community and across the nation, it is an honor to be part of a solution that is recognized not only for providing future health care workers with real-time experiences but also for supporting our existing nurses,” said Barry Wolfman, President & CEO of St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo.

Ventura College Foundation launches fundraiser to ensure tuition costs are covered

The program covers all tuition and fees for eligible students.

The Ventura College Foundation has launched a fundraising effort to support the Ventura College Promise program. The program covers all tuition and fees for eligible students for up to two years. The foundation’s goal is to raise $40,000 by April 30.

Ventura College was the first community college in California to offer a tuition Promise program if students meet certain criteria. For students to be eligible for the current two-year tuition-free education they must be first-time incoming students who attend full-time. The Ventura College Promise served as a model for the creation of the statewide California College Promise Program in 2017.

The funds are needed because state budget cuts caused a shortfall in Promise funding statewide in 2022,” says Anne Paul King, executive director of the Ventura College Foundation. “The foundation’s board of directors wants to be sure the funds will be there for all students who qualify.”

Since it began at Ventura College in 2007, more than $4 million in tuition costs have been covered and close to 20,000 students have been served through the Ventura College Promise. “VC Promise removes the financial barriers to a quality education that many students face and allows them to pursue rewarding careers that benefit their future, their family and our community,” says Dr. Kim Hoffmans, R.N., president of Ventura College.

To donate, go to or text VCPromise to 71777. For more information about supporting the Ventura College Foundation’s VC Promise Campaign, contact Gerry Pantoja, Director of Philanthropy, at 805-289-6158 or [email protected] To learn about the Ventura College Foundation, go to

The skies were gray, but nothing could rain on St. Patrick’s Day Parade fun.

A slight drizzle didn’t stop the parade from entertaining hundreds that lined Main St. Photos by Breeze staff

With a little luck of the Irish and huge community support, the 2023 County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade went off spectacularly.

Braving cloudy skies and light showers, thousands of smiling faces showed up on the morning of Saturday, March 11, to line the parade route on Main Street in midtown Ventura. After the event, the parade planning committee wrote a letter to express their great gratitude and relief at the strong turnout despite the questionable weather.

“The theme was ‘Let’s Celebrate,’ and we did!” committee co-chairs Nan Drake, Jim Monahan and Brian Brennan said.

“We were overwhelmed that, despite the threat of rain and a wee bit of drizzle, this community event roared back in full force with families sitting under umbrellas to watch one of our best parades,” they wrote. “Yes, there was a bit of a drizzle, but we would like to personally and publicly thank every single person and family who came out to enjoy truly Irish weather on Main Street in Ventura for the 2023 County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade. … It was simply sublime.”

All rejoiced as the 60-plus parade entries made their way down Main from Lincoln to Fir, with spectators cheering and basking in the diversity of a parade that included everyone from elected officials and historic local families to marching bands, dance troupes and youth groups.

The parade grand marshal this year was Ventura Elks Lodge No. 1430, celebrating its 100th anniversary! A wonderful community organization, the Elks Lodge supports local programs for veterans, youths and many others and has been the lead sponsor of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade since it began in 1984!

Parade entrants compete for awards presented by a panel of judges led this year by St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee member James Lockwood. This year’s other judges were Elks Lodge representative Rhonda Catron; Dr. Richard Rush, retired president of California State University Channel Islands; Celina Zacarias, CSUCI’s director of community and government relations; and Clint Garman, representing Ventura County Supervisor Matt LaVere.

The following are the winners of the 2023 County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

Color Guard: Blue Knights CA XVII.

Bands: Oxnard High School Marching Swarm (high school); Cabrillo Middle School Jazz Band (junior high school); and Gold Coast Pipe Band (adult).

Families: The McGrath Family.

Clubs and Organizations: Ventura Elks Lodge No. 1430 (adult); Claddagh School of Irish Dancing (youth); and Totally Local VC and the Local Love Project (nonprofit).

Vehicles: Ventura County Model “A” Ford Club (antique); Southern California Corvairs (classic cars 1950s or later); Ventura County Corvette Club (special interest auto); Topa Topa Fly Wheelers (tractors); Bunnin Chevrolet of Santa Paula and Fillmore (individual vehicle); and J.W. Enterprises (fire truck).

Commercial/Retail: The Grape Ventura “House of Jazz and Spirits” featuring the Phoenix Big Band.

Media: Drastic by Design Productions.

Novelty: Ventura Yacht Club.

Walking Entries: Unique Diamonds Competitive Cheerleaders.

Most Irish: John and Sally McNally with Flags of Ireland.

Environmental: Agromin.

Restaurants and Pubs: Santa Cruz Market.

Government Agencies: United Stated Coast Guard.

Mayor’s Trophy: Surf Rodeo.

Best in Parade (Arnold Hubbard Perpetual Trophy): Cabrillo Middle School Jazz Band.

Museum of Ventura County accepting applications for Bonita C. McFarland Visual Arts Scholarship

Grace Morton – Ventura (one of five 2021/2022 Scholarship winners).

Museum of Ventura County is now accepting applications for its Bonita C. McFarland Visual Arts Scholarship. The scholarship fund has a total of $10,000 to be awarded to eligible applicants who are high school seniors enrolling in college courses in Fall semester of 2023 or any continuing visual arts college student who is a Ventura County resident.

Awards will be based on artistic merit and commitment as demonstrated by the application, essay, letter of recommendation, and examples of work.

Applicants will be selected by a committee consisting of members of the Museum’s Fine Arts Committee and Museum staff. Learn more at

Application deadline: May 7, 2023

Review of applications: May 2023

Scholarships announced: Late May 2023

Ventura Unified making news

DATA launches its second cohort of this STEAM-focused program.

When Casey Stoops, Head of Patagonia’s Global Information Security and Core Technology and Scott Reed, Senior Account Executive at ePlus reached out to DeAnza Academy of Technology & the Arts’ (DATA) Principal Carlos Cohen to see if he wanted to launch a GRIT pilot program, he enthusiastically said, “Yes!”. GRIT, Girls RE-Imagining Tomorrow, was founded in 2017 by ePlus Technology in partnership with Cisco and a small group of girls on the East Coast in response to the increasing shortage of cybersecurity professionals worldwide, particularly women. GRIT was started to help girls understand what is available and what they can aspire to and to encourage them to consider careers in technology – girls can then re-imagine their tomorrow. The program has since grown to seven schools across the nation, including DATA. 

GRIT’s mission is to introduce diverse groups of middle school and high school girls to technology-focused career possibilities, inspiring curiosity and exploration in various areas of STEM. In addition, they seek to build confidence in these young women by providing mentorship and holistically approaching these young ladies in the areas of public speaking, online safety, and business etiquette.  

Last year’s DATA cohort, which began in January of 2022, participated in two visits to Patagonia’s office spaces in Ventura. One was to their corporate office, where students were able to see its IT/cybersecurity infrastructure, marketing, and work/lifestyle spaces, and the second trip was to their Research & Development “Forge,” where they saw the social and physical science that goes into making and selling a Patagonia product.

This year’s Cohort will try to get out into the community monthly with its next visit to Fathomwerx. Fathomwerx is a public-private laboratory, community, and resource for technological innovation that fuses small and non-traditional companies, academic institutions, and other Department of Defense stakeholders to work on the most challenging problems in the port and maritime domains. The students will be building a drone while they are there. 

This program has been such a hit with the middle school girls at DATA a long waitlist was created at the beginning of the year. Instead of turning down a group of girls interested in STEAM, the DATA team created a GRIT club. This club includes the students chosen to be a part of the Cohort and any other girls at DATA who want to participate. The club is bringing guest speakers to campus and coordinating field trips to other STEAM sites throughout the year. They are also working on opportunities for goal setting when it comes time to select their high school classes as freshmen.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) has been awarded $1,000,000 in 2022-2023 K12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP) funds. VUSD is one of ten Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to be funded by the South Central Coast Regional Consortium (SCCRC) and will use the funds to create a new Public Safety/Emergency Response Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway at Buena High School. 

VUSD’s strong partnership with Ventura College, Oxnard College, Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, and other community partners will allow the District to design and implement a robust and relevant pathway for high school students to transition into high-wage high-demand careers in Public Safety and Emergency Response after graduation. This pathway will be available to all high school students in the District via multi-site agreements.


Food Share readies to meet “Hunger Cliff” demand

Food Share’s capacity to serve is dependent on volunteers.

Food Share, Ventura County’s food bank, is bracing for an expected wave of food insecure individuals as the end of COVID CalFresh benefits becomes reality on March 1. People already struggling with hunger will now have an additional worry – less CalFresh money for groceries.

CalFresh, a federally-funded program, provides monthly food benefits to low-income individuals and families. CalFresh benefits were extended during the pandemic but those extra payments are set to end this month, at a time when high inflation means that wages aren’t keeping pace with rising grocery prices.

According to data from the California Department of Social Services, as of December 2022, more than 41,889 households and 75,163 people currently receive CalFresh benefits in Ventura County, including 27,800 children under 18 and 10,800 adults aged 60 and over.

Commenting on the impact, Monica White, Food Share’s President & CEO, said “There’s no question that this is going to really hit people hard at a time when many are already struggling. We’re bracing for an influx of people. The biggest impact is likely to be to low-income seniors qualifying for the minimum benefit under standard income guidelines. We’re seeing estimates that their monthly CalFresh benefits could drop from $281 to only $23. These cuts really couldn’t have hit at a worse time.”

Inflationary costs are also hitting food banks like Food Share, placing them under increasing pressure to raise more money to meet the increased demand for food that’s now considerably higher in price than it was 18 months ago. The cost of purchasing a case of canned mixed vegetables rose 30% in 2021 vs. 2020, while the cost of purchasing a crate of canned mixed fruit has risen 39% over the same period.

Food Share continues to serve hundreds of thousands of Ventura County residents each year through its network of 190 food pantries, plus multiple weekly emergency food box distributions, which the organization started running at the beginning of the pandemic. “We’ve just surpassed 900 emergency distributions,” commented Monica White. “We started out thinking there’d be a need for just a few months, which turned into three years. Now we’re running them in response to inflationary price hikes and the reduction in CalFresh benefits. It doesn’t appear there’s an end in sight.”

For all the latest information on where to find food, how to volunteer, and how you can support Food Share with a monetary donation visit:

Follow Food Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and tag posts #WeFeedVC

The Auxiliary volunteers work in most areas of the hospital

CMHS Auxiliary installed new officers and presented awards at luncheon.

Members of the Community Memorial Healthcare System Auxiliary recently attended a luncheon and installation of incoming Executive Board members. In addition awards were presented for those attaining milestones in number of hours and number of years of volunteer service.

Board President for the next year is Linda Petit, and she is also in charge of Data Base Management. 1st Vice President is Cynthia Broaddus, and 2nd Vice President is Mary Wdowicki. Recording Secretary will be Bobbie Mendez and Corresponding Secretary is Linda Wilson. Cheryl Volden is Treasurer, Marilyn Beal is the Junior Coordinator, Judy Miller is Parliamentarian, and Edie Marshall is Past President. John Crandall and Lynn Ridout will serve as Directors.

Awards for volunteering 100 hours were presented to Tomas Guillen, Debbie Kost, Cheryl Lewis, JoAnn O’Beirne, Brenda Ogden, Ani Toran, Roberta Vollmert, and Trisha Williamson. Those attaining 500 hours of service were Cynthia Broaddus, Argie Mandakas, Jan O’Donnell, Cheryl Volden, and Linda Wilson. John Crandall and Mike Patton both contributed 1000 hours, and Marilyn Beal, Ellen Bugaj, and Stephanie Coray volunteered 2000 hours, while Maria Kapp had 3000 hours of service. Trudy Cook and David Howard served 7000 hours and Mary Wdowicki, 8000. Both Sandra Frandsen and Linda Petit contributed 10,000 hours, and Frank Cavallero served 13,000. Judy Miller was honored for volunteering 24,000 hours! Both Connie Ferritto and Marjo Gardner were recognized for 25 years of service.

CMHS Auxiliary treasurer Cheryl Volden presenting a big check to CEO Mick Zdeblick.

Community Memorial Healthcare System Auxiliary treasurer Cheryl Volden presented a check for $50, 000 to CMHS CEO Mick Zdeblick at the luncheon. The funds are from donations, bequests, and fund raising by the Auxiliary. In addition to monetary contributions, the Auxiliary contributes many hours of volunteer service to the hospital each year. The assistance of these volunteers saves the healthcare system thousands of dollars and is a welcome contribution.

The Auxiliary volunteers work in most areas of the hospital, from the front desk to the gift shop to assisting the nurses and other staff in most departments. Information about joining this group may be found at the front desk of the hospital. In addition, you may call 805-948-4299 to leave a message and an auxiliary member will contact you.

Award winners were recognized at an in-person event in Los Angeles on February 23

Visit Ventura Director of Business Development Michele Gilmour, Visit Ventura President & CEO Marlyss Auster, and Wanderlust Content Studios Co-Founder Nicole Bordges accepting the Adrian Award.

Maintaining an ongoing streak, Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau (VVCB) was recently honored for travel marketing excellence by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) at the 66th annual Adrian Awards Celebration, the world’s largest global travel marketing competition. The award ceremony took place at the JW Marriott LA Live on Thursday, February 23, 2023. Visit Ventura accepted the award in partnership with Wanderlust Content Studios, the inspiration guide’s publisher.

Visit Ventura received a Bronze Adrian Award for its winning entry in the Print Advertising category for the 2022 Inspiration Guide. This is the fifth Adrian Award VVCB has been awarded in the last five years.

The goal of Ventura’s 2022 Inspiration Guide was to set Ventura apart from its competitors at first glance while diving deeper to capture Ventura’s community. Ventura’s people, places, and partners tell their stories with page after page of engaging content that marries both advertising and editorial in cohesive themes. The result: There are no competing fonts, calls to action, or loud logos. Instead, native content blends organically with editorial. “Ads” are placed within corresponding editorial sections. This gives readers a fuller understanding of all that Ventura has to offer.

And at the forefront of Ventura’s Inspiration Guide? The people of Ventura. Readers will not find paid models posing in photos featured in the guide. People photographed are true local Venturans, who go to the same grocery store and eat at the same restaurants as any other community member in Ventura. The incorporation of local Venturans and local artists alike is at the heart of the inspiration guide, resulting in an authentic and genuine guide that readers recognize from the first page.

“Ventura is a true gem of a City that offers outdoor adventure, historic and cultural attractions, one-of-a-kind retail, and a blossoming culinary scene,” said Ventura Interim City Manager Akbar Alikhan. “Visit Ventura’s annual Inspiration Guide is a stunning magazine that thoughtfully captures the local feel and flavor that makes our community unlike any other!”

VVCB’s work was judged to be exceptional by expert hospitality, travel, tourism, and media professionals. Judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on its own merit and success in achieving its objectives. Past winners of this coveted award include such industry giants as Choice Hotels International, Visit California, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, and Royal Caribbean International. VVCB’s wins are a “little engine that could” fairytale come to life.

Ventura Land Trust launches 20th Anniversary Year with community birthday party

Harmon Canyon Preserve by Jason Fakour.

Ventura Land Trust (VLT) will celebrate 20 years of land conservation in 2023, starting with a free community birthday party on Friday, February 24 at Topa Topa Brewing Company (4880 Colt Street, Ventura, 93003) from 6-9 pm.

The birthday party will include the reveal of the winners of VLT’s inaugural Art Contest, a look back at milestones through the organization’s history, a sneak peek of gear that will be on sale at the April 8th Gear Garage Sale, family games, and of course, birthday cake.

Ventura Land Trust was founded in 2003 as Ventura Hillsides Conservancy by community members who sought to protect the iconic hillsides to the north of Ventura from development.

The Conservancy hosted top musical talent at annual concerts in Arroyo Verde Park, raising funds to permanently protect local open spaces. The first conserved parcels of land were in the Ventura River corridor. Community volunteers worked alongside VHC’s staff to restore and care for conserved lands, setting a tradition of community involvement and volunteer support that continues today.

Ventura Hillsides Conservancy became Ventura Land Trust in 2017 to reflect a broadened vision to protect open spaces countywide. The organization was accredited by the Land Trust Alliance in 2019, joining a network of more than 400 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated a commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.

VLT now holds 3,877 acres of land in seven preserves across Ventura County—including the hillsides that inspired the organization’s founding, now known as Mariano Rancho Preserve. Ventura’s first large-scale nature preserve, Harmon Canyon Preserve, opened to the public in 2020.

VLT’s 20th anniversary will be acknowledged throughout 2023 with special events and opportunities for the public to be part of envisioning VLT’s next 20 years. The 20th birthday part is free to the public, but RSVPS are encouraged at

Skyler Knight accomplished the improbable

34 and 30 points in back to back wins by junior guard. Photo by Lyn Golden 

by Tom Marshall

Steph Curry has two game stretches like this. High School players dream of one game like this in their career. 34 points in a tightly contested varsity girls basketball game is a respectable point total for a team. There’s only 32 minutes in these games and defense at the high school level is suffocating. Skyler Knight accomplished the improbable.

The Ventura High School junior guard poured in 34 and 30 points in back to back wins over Oxnard and Dos Pueblos. She pulled off this offensive feat while playing her brand of smart, relentless defense. Skyler set the Ventura High single game record for 3 pointers in the game at Oxnard High with eight behind the arc buckets. Her team needed both wins to lock up the league championship and she delivered the goods. Two road games in three days. 64 points in 64 minutes of competitive late season high school basketball.

The vibe inside the Oxnard High gym during Ventura’s 63-57 win reached Christmas morning as a 6-year-old levels. Both squads refused to give in and the crowd could feel the collective desire to win. “Setting the VHS single game record for 3s in that win is my favorite moment playing basketball,” Skyler said. That exciting win could only be celebrated for an evening as the team had to prepare for a trip up the coast and a game against Dos Pueblos 2 days later. A win there would lock up the league title for the Cougars. Skyler dropped 30 points for an encore in a 57-42 win.

Clutch is an overused word when describing athletic achievements. It implies an athlete has ice in their veins or doesn’t and disregards the work an individual must put in to have the confidence and will to take the big shots. “Repetition and hard work give me confidence during games. There is always room to improve,” Ventura’s points leader said. Shooters shoot is another phrase that is often overused and misunderstood. Players need to feel their coach’s support and confidence in them. “I missed my first 5 shots in a game and Coach Larson told me to keep shooting,” recalled Skyler. Hard work and repetition builds confidence. A coach’s unwavering support, confidence, and an excitable crowd during a tight game will bring out clutch moments in the great ones.

Every high school athlete dreams up an ideal athletic senior year by the end of their freshman year. Skyler’s response didn’t surprise me but it did offer insight into her team first mentality, “My ideal senior year includes going undefeated in league, maintaining and improving our great team relationship, and a few offers to play college basketball.” There’s wisdom in that statement. Winning teams always have good players but the most talented team doesn’t always win. The best team wins.

Ventura fielded a relatively young team this season and should be a major force next year. Skyler Knight has another year to go in her Ventura High basketball career but she has already left her mark on the school’s record books.