At Sebastian, we make giving back to our communities a priority. It is one of the cornerstones that defines who we are as a company. In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we are highlighting Sebastian employees who consistently give back by donating their time and energy to very worthy causes.
Christina Luna, Customer Service Representative (Kerman)
Christina wanted to find a way a meaningful way to honor her friends and family who have lost their battles with cancer throughout the years. She decided to donate her hair for cancer patient and survivor wigs. It took her three long years to get her hair to the appropriate length to donate. Talk about dedication! She finally took a trip to the salon about a week ago to make the donation, which coincided with Kerman’s Relay for Life celebration.
Christina says that she feels blessed with her health and this was a constant reminder not to take it for granted. She also noted that this is actually the second time that she has donated her hair!
The above photos show her hair’s transformation – along with her daughter Nicole’s hair that she also tried to donate.
Gina Leigh, Contract Administrator (Fresno)
Gina makes volunteering at Fresno Bully Rescue (FBR) a family affair! Along with her two kids, they spend time on Sunday mornings playing and caring for the dogs. There are two reasons Gina includes her kids in her volunteer efforts: instilling a strong work ethic and creating a desire to give back.
Bully breeds are one of the two most euthanized breeds in shelters and she works hard to change the stigma and show the public that these dogs, when in the right hands, are “the most amazing dogs” someone can have.
On top of her regular Sunday visits, Gina hosts an annual workout bootcamp where she donates 100 percent of the funds to FBR.
About Fresno Bully Rescue
FBR’s job is to provide a healthy and loving temporary home while looking for forever homes for the dogs. In addition, they are committed to promoting responsible ownership of bully breeds, fighting against breed discrimination, spaying and neutering pets, reporting dog fighting, and demonstrating to the community that bully breeds are loyal, loving, and wonderful forever companions.
Jaime Montoya, Property Management Technician (Kerman)
Jaime proudly coaches the Harvest Elementary Hawks wrestling team, leading them to district championships for the past two years. They are so good, in fact, that the team only has one loss in the past two years! Overall the team is home to four champions, two second placers, four third placers, and two fifth placers!
The team of fifteen 4th-6th graders practices three times per week and competes on Fridays throughout the season. Thanks to Coach Montoya, they have learned the value of teamwork, self-discipline, courage, and determination.
The love for wrestling came at an early age for Jaime. He competed in high school and started coaching when he was a junior. Inspired by his former coach’s motto, “Give back to where you came from,” Jaime has says that winning is not his reward – it is watching the children learn to understand and appreciate the sport.
While it may look like wrestling is a solo sport, the points each child earns combine for a collective team score. With Jaime’s help, the team works hard and supports each other from practice to competition. They see the value in one another’s contribution, making each of them work even harder. These life skills will stay with the children for the rest of their lives and it is something Jaime will remember forever.
Russ Young, I&R Tech (Foresthill)
Volunteering for Russ is nothing new. He’s lived in Foresthill for the past 37 years and has pretty much done it all. Little league coach, Boy Scout leader, Sebastian event volunteer, and currently resides as the commander for the Sons of the American Legion (S.A.L.) Post 587.
Founded in 1932, S.A.L. exists to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires. S.A.L. members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership.
The Foresthill post has 80 very active members. They help out with multiple community events and fundraisers throughout the year, including the annual Buck Stew dinner in November and the Fourth of July celebration.
When Russ was asked about the dedication to give back, he was quite humble. He said that when you live in a small town for 37 years volunteering is what you do. He likes the community and finds it fulfilling to help it prosper.
Tina Barrios-Lopez, Staff Accountant (Kerman)
Like many employees, Tina wanted to find a consistent way to earn her community service hours. She decided to combine her love of horses and the desire to help special needs children and adults by volunteering at Heart of the Horse on a weekly basis.
“I thought, hey, I grew up with horses, and I have a sister that was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age, and I helped train a horse for her disability, so what a perfect program for me to get involved in,” Tina explained.
You will find her every Tuesday from 3:30- 7 p.m. at Heart of the Horse. She helps prepare the horses for the students, grooms them, and gives riding lessons to the students. She basically does whatever needs to get done that day.
One of Tina’s favorite stories involves the little girl that she is teaching at the 16 second mark in the above video. When Tina first met her, she could barely walk and spent most of her time in a wheelchair. A year later, she can walk without assistance! The equine therapy helped build her core strength and leg muscles, giving her the stability and muscle tone to walk alone. The little girl has come such a long way and will actually ride a horse in the upcoming Clovis Rodeo Parade!
About Heart of the Horse
Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch is committed to promoting therapeutic riding as an efficacious treatment modality for those with a disability by developing community awareness of equine assisted/ facilitated therapy.
Some of the conditions for which therapeutic riding has been proved an effective treatment are cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, sensory impairment (i.e. loss of hearing or sight), Down syndrome, Autism, missing limbs, PTSD, and many other disabilities.
Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch’s mission is to help exceptional Central Valley citizens achieve new heights and discover new abilities through supervised therapeutic assisted equestrian activities.