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Amgen Offers Cash Awards to Science Teachers, Schools

This is a regular feature on philanthropic activities by Valley-area businesspeople and companies. Amgen announced that 34 science teachers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico received $10,000 cash awards as part of its 19th annual Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. The award recognizes extraordinary science teachers at the kindergarten through 12th grade level who significantly impact their students in communities where Amgen operates. Each award recipient will receive an unrestricted cash award of $5,000. The receipient will also receive a restricted $5,000 cash grant to the recipient’s school for the expansion or enhancement of a school science program, science resources or professional development for science teachers. “At Amgen, we are committed to supporting programs that encourage bright young minds to explore a future in science,” said Dr. Joseph Miletich, senior vice president of research and development at Amgen. “We applaud this year’s exceptional winning teachers who are inspiring their students to be excited about learning and science.” Amgen received more than 360 applications in 2011 for the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. Winners were honored at special ceremonies in their communities and during surprise presentations at their schools. Grocery Store Raises Most Funds The Vons in West Hills was recently named the top fundraiser store by Easter Seals for Safeway Inc.’s charity campaign to help people with disabilities. Safeway is the parent company of Vons. The Vons store, located at 6534 Platt Ave., collected more than $10,000 during its month-long fundraiser, raising one of the highest totals in its district. The campaign included more than 268 Vons and Pavilions stores in Southern California, which together raised more than $1 million. The fundraiser benefits people with disabilities at Easter Seals Southern California and their families. The money will be used for job training and employment, preschool and after-school services, autism services, assistance for people moving out of institutions and into their own homes, and services that teach daily living and social skills. “Thank you to our employees and loyal customers who made the campaign successful again this year,” said Joe Gilbert, manager of the West Hills store. “Vons and our parent company Safeway Inc. are decades-long supporters of Easter Seals. We’re proud of their work to help all people with disabilities gain independence.” Market, Restaurant Host Event Whole Foods Market in Glendale partnered with La Cubana restaurant to host a benefit dinner on June 24 for We Care for Youth’s 20th anniversary. The dinner is a celebration of the past 20 years for We Care for Youth, a Glendale-based nonprofit organization that partners teenagers with adult mentors. The event included entertainment by Craig Kupka and the Hoover High Alumni Jazz Combo. Kupka, a former band teacher at Hoover High, is well-known for his mentoring. Becky Feliciano, marketing supervisor of Whole Foods Market in Glendale, said the store is proud to partner with We Care for Youth. “Their work in this community speaks for itself, and the passion and dedication they bring to everything they do is truly inspiring,” Feliciano said. We Care for Youth started 20 years ago by its co-founders, Jose Quintanar and Linda Maxwell. Companies Sell, Buy Tickets Several businesses in the Antelope Valley are coming together to combat hunger and homelessness by helping raise funds for the Grace Resource Center. Area grocery stores started selling $6 pre-sale tickets for admission to the Antelope Valley Fair. From each sale, $1 is given to the center to help provide training, education, clothing, shelter and medical care to those in need. Participating grocery stores include Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Ralphs, Vallarta, Supermarkets and Vons. Tickets can also be purchased at All Valley Credit Union, Antelope Valley College, Edwards Federal Credit Union, George’s Cleaners, Round Table Pizza, Grace Resource Center and the fair itself. The tickets are good for any day at the Antelope Valley Fair and the Alfalfa Festival, which run Aug. 19 through Aug. 28. Various businesses in the community are also supporting the program through bulk ticket purchases for their employees and clients. The Greater Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS made a purchase and a matching donation of $1,000 to the program. Dan Jacobs, general manager of the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, and Steve Baker, executive director of Grace Resource Center, released a statement asking for more help. “This is a community project that will help families in immediate need by providing necessities and skills that most of us take for granted. We are asking for your support and participation.” — Compiled by Jessica Vernabe

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