This month presents an opportunity to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience.
Sam and Judy Rodriguez - Caring Circuit Institute (CCI) | Senator Wilk’s May Small Business of the Month
Sam (Founder/CEO of Caring Circuit Institute) and Judy Rodriguez (CFO/Director of Human Resources and Finance) are a dynamic team working together to advocate for developmental disabled adults. They created and co-founded Caring Circuit Institute (CCI) in 2019, which began as a dream and a vision to help adults with developmental disabilities with a simple mission to help them obtain a job which they can grow into a career and support an independent lifestyle. Sam and Judy set out on their quest and Caring Circuit Institute (CCI) was established three years ago. One year into opening their doors, the pandemic hit and businesses were forced to close their doors. But Sam and Judy managed to survive and maintained their staff. Three and half years later, they are growing exponentially with now 30 employees and expanding to service new areas. CCI’s service , resources and career coaches guide their clients with training, further education, healthy life management skills, encouragement, with plenty of devoted love and support. CCI set out to help people obtain jobs and this dynamic duo say, “CCI is creating a culture of fulfillment and acceptance through integrated employment for adults with developmental disabilities.” Click here to read more out CCI.
Erin and Bruce Wilson – Founders of the Non-Profit Organization “If I Need Help”
Erin and Bruce Wilson are the proud parents of fun-loving and energetic 15-year-old son Jay who has moderate to severe Autism. Jay has very limited language ability and often has been lost at school and camp in the past. Erin and Bruce created the non-profit organization “If I Need Help” out of their love and concerns for their son Jay. They felt that if Jay could “wear his iD”, if he were lost there would be a way for a finder to get Jay home so Erin created a patch that could go on every shirt of Jay's using the QR technology that linked to their son’s information on their website. If a scanned by a first responder or good Samaritan scanned the patch, then the individual can help bring Jay home safely. If I Need Help is a 501(c)(3), boasting more than 16,000 people and is growing worldwide. Through her creativity, Erin has created over 40 ID products and alerts to help our loved ones with different sensory needs. Learn more about If I Need Help here: https://ifineedhelp.org/
Krishna America Flores – USMC veteran, Veteran Outreach Program Specialist for the Antelope Valley Veteran Center
Krishna America Flores served in the United States Marine Corps on active duty from 2004 to 2008 as a motor vehicle operator. In 2005, Krishna was one of two women in her battalion to volunteer to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Augmented as military police, Krishna provided convoy security and patrolled Anbar Province, Iraq, with Combat Logistics Battalion-2, Military Police Detachment Bravo Company (2nd MLG). After returning home, Krishna struggled significantly with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from her time in the war, combined with the long-term effect of experiencing Military Sexual Trauma. However, with proper support from the VA healthcare system and reengaging with her community, she was able to find her tribe after the Corps. She faced her challenges head-on and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Public Health Promotion and her graduate degree in Health Administration from California State University, Northridge. Today, Krishna works at the Antelope Valley Veteran Center as the Veteran Outreach Program Specialist. Her primary role is to connect combat veterans and veterans that experienced Military Sexual Trauma to readjustment counseling services and provide linkage to the VA healthcare system and community resources. The overall mission of the Vet Center is to reduce the number of veterans that attempt to take their own lives; on average, 17 Veterans per day die from suicide, 11 of which never accessed the VA healthcare system. Learn more about the AV Vet Center here: https://www.va.gov/antelope-valley-vet-center/