In the the City of Angels

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Bright Moments from our 2014 Retreat

Last August, with generous financial donations from the Devata Giving Circle and Asian Pacific Funds, our young women were able to experience a memorable retreat in Los Angeles, CA.

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Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles

MegaBus transportation safely delivered our young women to Los Angeles.

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CERI board member and volunteer, Maria Remigio R.N. and her family, graciously hosted our young women and staff for five days. Maria journeys to the bay area once a month to volunteer her time mentoring our young women. 

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The retreat began by paying respects to the family of our beloved Director Mona Afary. Mona recently lost her father, Naim Afary. The young women visited Mona’s mother at her home in L.A. They were doted upon in true Persian style. Flowers and a lovely buffet welcomed the girls.

2014-10-25The Afary family has long supported Mona’s work with the Cambodian community in the East Bay. The visit gave Mrs. Afary the opportunity to make a personal connection with our young women. 

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In the following days the Santa Monica Beach became a favorite destination. We enjoyed more than one afternoon with Maria and her family playing volleyball, building sand castles, and keeping the seagulls from eating our sandwiches. Our young women were able to relax and play along this gorgeous stretch of beach. 

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Temperature: 103!

Temperature: 103!

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After a long day in L.A. we kicked back at Maria’s home, playing games, dancing, painting nails, and enjoying one another’s company. Sometimes the best moments are found in just being together and celebrating one another.

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We shared an adventurous day with Maria and her family at their desert ranch. For many of the girls it was the first time they rode a horse. Homemade Mexican food completed the five star hospitality received by the girls from Maria’s family. 

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Our final afternoon: L.A. Garment District  

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Bargains galore, corn on a stick and sassy sunglasses, whoa, we needed more than an afternoon to see all of the shops. Next year!

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Sadly we have no photos of our Chubby Bunny champion and the marshmallow fight that followed. When it comes to games we are a competitive bunch! 

IMG_20140815_130910283At our final breakfast we held a closing ritual. Everyone agreed that the week had passed by too quickly. With sadness we packed our bags to catch our bus to Northern California. Before we left we gifted Maria with flowers for her garden to remind her of the beauty she brings to our lives.

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The warmth and closeness we shared throughout this retreat week continues to bless our lives. We are grateful for the support we receive to continue our program, and the many volunteers that share their gifts and talents with us all year long. 

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The life changing youth programs at CERI are made possible by funding from Alameda County, generated by prop 63. 

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