Since its founding in 1965, MTI College has been a community-based institution with a strong focus on the community in which it exists. As a result, the community service in which MTI College students, faculty and staff participate has also been a major focus of the College as a whole. For Rochelle Barnes, Desktop Applications and Keyboarding Instructor, that community service is paramount.

“I could see the need. [Some students] have no coat and they’re going to school to better themselves,” she said when I spoke with her during her twice-annual Share Ware event on November 29th. MTI Students swarmed room 111 sorting through racks and stacks of clothing that had been donated by MTI students, faculty and staff. Suits and dresses hung on a clothing rack in the middle of the room surrounded by tables piled with neatly folded clothing lining all four walls.

“I will look sharp in this suit,” one student exclaimed after trying on a grey, three-button, single-breasted suit. Barnes congratulated him on his find and saw him off. It was remarkable how she seemed to know every single student. When asked how that came to be, she explained that since she teaches Keyboarding and Desktop Applications, she has nearly every MTI student in her classroom at least once. Another student who Barnes knew well came over very excited about finding some Nursing scrubs with a fun and bright pattern on them. Since the medical students can wear any color scrubs on Fridays, the selection of scrubs usually goes fast, Barnes explained.

The Share Ware event happens twice annually, giving MTI students the opportunity to acquire the clothing they need for job interviews at no cost. Barnes explained that a portion of the students at MTI are single parents, maybe unemployed or trying to get their feet under them and simply don’t have the resources to go out and purchase new business clothes. Fortunately, there is a large faculty and staff population at MTI who has had the time and opportunity to build a wardrobe that occasionally needs some thinning. “They’re on board and willing to help,” says Barnes. This year, the third year that Share Ware has happened, there was even a large selection of children’s clothing which seemed to be a big draw.

During our conversation, a Nursing student came up to Barnes and asked if she could donate to the Adopt-A-Family program right then. Barnes asked her to find her in her office during her usual office hours and bring a check written to her or cash to donate. She then explained that, like Share Ware, Adopt-A-Family is also in its third year. The program goes through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento who qualifies candidate families through various household and income requirements. From there, MTI is given a family who has a list of items (things like refrigerators, vacuums, household items, etc…) that they need which the students, faculty and staff of MTI work to provide by Christmas. Donations of cash, checks or the items themselves are welcomed in this process and, just like with Share Ware, a donation to this program will fulfill the community service requirement for an MTI student. “We try to bring [the community service] to the students so it doesn’t interfere with work time,” said Barnes. At the conclusion of the Adopt-A-Family fundraiser, MTI hopes to provide the items on the list plus a $50-$100 gift card for groceries to the family.

Share Ware and Adopt-A-Family are just two of the amazing Community Service programs that MTI offers. The College participated in Lee National Denim Day (denimday.com) on Monday, October 1st. For a $5 donation, any student, faculty or staff member could wear jeans for the day. That $5 went half to local Breast Cancer organizations and half to national research to fight, treat and prevent Breast Cancer. This year, MTI raised over $500.

MTI also works hand-in-hand with Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom throughout the year. Not only does MTI ask for donations to give Easter Baskets to the Food Bank in the Spring, but Barnes personally designed the program for a recent event that the Food Bank hosted, saving them over $700.

On the cosmetology side, MTI’s Paul Mitchell the School participates in the Paul Mitchell Corporate “FUNraising” on an annual basis. Paul Mitchell’s “FUNraising” season is a network-wide fundraising marathon with hundreds of schools participating. Paul Mitchell the School – MTI College hosts events like fashions shows, car washes and bake sales raising thousands of dollars annually to benefit non-profit organizations like the Morris Animal Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, Cancer Schmancer and more.

In short, MTI’s efforts to be a force for good in the community have never ceased. Now, with faculty members like Carla Kearney (who organizes the MTI Blood Drive coming up on the 20th) and Rochelle Barnes spearheading many of the service opportunities, MTI College is only becoming a bigger force for service in the Sacramento area.

First, some facts about blood:

  • The shelf life for whole blood is forty-two days.
  • It takes fifty-six days for a person to regenerate enough red blood cells to be eligible to donate again.
  • One-in-Seven people hospitalized require blood transfusions.
  • To supply the forty or more hospitals that with whom Blood Source works, they need 700 pints of blood per day.
  • Only 38% of the population is eligible and able to donate blood.
  • Only 10% of the population actually does donate blood.

“I’m scared of needles… but I’m gonna try” said one MTI student as she tentatively approached Ashley Rebholtz, Account Manager for Blood Source, to sign up to donate blood the morning of December 20, 2012 during MTI’s annual Winter Blood Drive. Though the fun and exciting incentives for donating (such as a free pint of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s – more incentives listed at http://www.bloodsource.org/AboutUs/CommunitySponsors.aspx) didn’t seem to calm her much, Rebholtz had a few tips that can get anyone through “the poke.”

Rebholtz has a passion for blood donations and with good reason. In the early 2000’s her cousin was nearly fatally wounded and would not have survived without the transfusions that he received. In his three months of hospital care, surgeries, treatment and recovery, he required 23 pints of blood (mind you, the human body holds around 5-6 pints on average). After seeing her cousin through his treatment and recovery, her passion for blood donation sparked her desire to make it her career.

Blood Source, a non-profit organization based out of Mather, California, utilizes its 18 donation centers and multiple Blood-Mobiles to collect whole blood and blood components (red blood cells, platelets, or plasma) to be tested, transferred and transfused in the forty or more hospitals across Northern California that Blood Source supplies. “We have to make it convenient and available,” says Rebholtz, and they certainly do. With, on average, ten or more Blood-Mobiles traveling around and the convenient hours of their Blood Source Centers, donating blood is as easy as it could be.

Blood Source doesn’t only supply Northern California, however. In times of great need, they step up and go the extra mile for people who need the extra help. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast earlier this year, Blood Source collected and transported over 300 platelets to the relief effort (platelets are the component of blood that initiates clotting – and their shelf life is only five days).

MTI College usually donates in the ballpark of 30-40 pints during our blood drives and kept up with the trend this year with 42 new registrations, 16 first-time donors and in total donating 36 lifesaving pints of blood. Julie Norman, Dean of the Day Schools, said that there was “something nudging [her] today” to come by and donate and it seemed like a large number of students felt the same way. Though there were a handful of donors signed up in advance, in the span of a half an hour at least ten walk-up donors joined them and braved the chilly, windy day to line up and donate. It only takes a few minutes to make the donation, and a little while more to have a snack afterwards and get ready to head back to work or school (the component donations take a little longer, usually 2-3 hours), but the benefit to those who need the blood is substantial. Just ask Ashley Rebholtz’s cousin and the countless others whose lives are saved every day by blood donated through Blood Source.

So if you’re eligible to donate blood (full listing of restrictions and requirements here: http://www.bloodsource.org/Donate/WhoCanDonate.aspx), find a local Blood Source Center or a mobile collection center (http://www.bloodsource.org/Locations.aspx) and donate today. The holidays always see a lull in donations, says Rebholtz, so donations are needed now more than ever.

And when you do donate, remember these few tips from Rebholtz: drink lots of water before and after your donation, make sure you’ve had enough to eat, and if you’re squeamish about needles (as many of us are, including Rebholtz), just don’t look down!

“‘What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills with no money…?’ said Scrooge indignantly” at the beginning of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And indeed, the holidays can squeeze the wallet more than most would like and more than some would like to admit. It’s not easy filling the stockings and the base of the tree, especially as one grows older. More and more recipients appear in one’s life and, therefore, the need for more and more gift purchases. Unfortunately, we all fall on hard times once in a while – sometimes for quite a while. Circumstances get the best of us and we find Christmas day less than a week out and at the base of the tree we find nothing but a rug.

John Zimmerman, President of MTI College, understands this plight, and understands that it’s not always easy to ask for help when one needs it. Even when help is made available, it can be difficult – and for some even embarrassing – to ask. That is why Zimmerman created the Ask Santa Program at MTI College this year.

As the holiday buying season picked up, MTI College provided request forms to the student body. If a student could show that they were in genuine need of a certain item and simply couldn’t afford it or couldn’t spare enough to purchase it themselves, MTI played Santa and bought that gift for that student. Many of the requests were for simple items: gift cards to places like Target or Toys R Us, gas cards or, in one instance, something as simple as a $22 toy puppy for a child. However, some of the gifts were more specific like a human hair wig for a family member who had lost their hair from medical conditions. Of the 35-or-so requests that were turned in, nearly every single one of them was approved and the gifts given to the students in need.

Erin Atnip, a Future Professional on the “Be Nice or Else” team at Paul Mitchell the School – MTI College, expressed that it was “really generous of John [Zimmerman] to do that for everybody.” The Be Nice or Else Team (BNoE) participated in the Ask Santa Program by making the cards that would go with each gift for the students benefiting from the program. They designed and made 48 cards in all as well as a stack of Christmas cards for Dalton Dingus, a 9-year-old boy in Kentucky suffering from Stage Four Cystic Fibrosis who hopes to hold the Guinness Book of World Records title for receiving the most Christmas cards ever (as long as Guinness re-opens the category, his mother estimates that he will beat the 1992 record by a margin of some 300,000).

Atnip went on to say that, in addition to making the cards for Ask Santa and for Dingus, the BNoE team and many other MTI students went out in search of students in need. Michael Zimmerman, Director of Operations at MTI College, confirmed that the majority of requests turned in were not turned in by the Ask Santa recipients themselves, but by friends and fellow students making requests on their behalf. Atnip explained that there are a lot of students who are single moms, pregnant or otherwise struggling financially and simply needed some money for diapers or other basic needs, but couldn’t divert the money from utilities and rent to buy them. So she, the Be Nice or Else team and many other students from across the MTI campus stepped up and made the requests so that those in need could receive the help they needed. “Good inspires good,” she says, “that’s why the whole Forward Focused thing works.”

As the closing lines of Dickens’ famous ghost story go, “it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. Let that truly be said of us, and all of us!” And let it, indeed, be said that John Zimmerman and MTI College not only see and understand the challenges their students may face, but seek to help in increasingly out-of-the box and genuine ways. So as 2013 begins let us all recommit ourselves to live up to the example set by Ask Santa through the philosophy that Atnip stated so well: “good inspires good.”

Medical Assistant Students Work with TLC for a Rare Training Experience

From May 17-19, MTI Medical Assistant students seized the opportunity to serve alongside paramedics and EMTs at the annual FMF Hangtown Motocross Classic, one of the toughest motocross races in the world.

The FMF Hangtown Motocross Classic marked the opening round of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, which attracts competitors and sponsors from all over the globe. This race in particular has been running longer than the Championship Series itself, and victory here remains one of the most coveted wins of the 12-race cup. The competition has two main classes of events for both women and men, the premier 450 Class and the 250 Class for the pack of rising motocross stars.

Together with the TLC medical staff, MTI students treated everyone in the stadium who needed assistance, including racers, staffers, and spectators for injuries ranging from collision trauma to sunburns. With over 32,000 people in attendance, this was quite the responsibility to say the least. TLC has also offered MTI Medical Assistant students the chance to volunteer for other special events (which include motocross races, football games, cheerleading events, festivals, rodeos, roller derby, MMA fights, drag races, and off-road races) or even tag along during ambulance rides.

Students also lent a hand with logistics, helping at the ticket counter and with the food service.

TLC Ambulance and Medical Transport has been a major presence in Northern California since 1999, and they frequently provide Emergency Medical Services for community events.

Volunteers manned the First Aid Stations for the two days of practice runs as well as the action-packed main event on Saturday when all actual competitions were held. After being patched up by the TLC team and our student volunteers, the motocross racers were all set to go on to the next round held a week later in Wortham, Texas.

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