Thumbs up, thumbs down

February 14, 2014 

Thumbs up to Starr Elementary School first-graders and teacher Marceen Farsakian of Fresno Unified School District. They teamed up to win the 2014 Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. The contest is conducted annually by the international Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Starr Principal Charlie Reynolds said students in the Kind Kids Club inspire the entire school by making kindness capes for the kindergarten students, writing kind words to others with sidewalk chalk, and hiding kindness bookmarks in books at the school library. You can see a video of how they inspired their entire school at

Thumbs up to Kaiser Permanente Fresno for its $25,000 donation to the Fresno County Office of Education. The grant will provide about 200 uninsured and under-insured students in Fresno and Clovis with free dental exams, teeth cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatments and dental sealants. In Fresno County, nearly 19% of children ages 5 to 18 have no dental coverage, according to the latest data available from the California Health Interview Survey.

Thumbs up to New York Life's Central California office for awarding a $15,000 grant to Break the Barriers of Fresno. In addition, New York Life employees are volunteers for the nonprofit, which breaks through barriers experienced by people of all abilities. The grant will fund ability awareness, outreach and education programs. Among its many programs BTB provides training at no cost for disabled American veterans at its International Ability Center.


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