Tag Archives: CareWalk

Family Service Agency Prepares for Twelfth Annual Care Walk

The Family Service Agency of Burbank (FSA) is excited to announce the Twelfth Annual Care Walk will be held on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 at Johnny Carson Park starting at 9:00 a.m. 

This annual event raises funds for no-cost school counseling programs. FSA provides life-changing, often live saving individual and group mental health care on 19 school campuses as well as prevention services daily in their 2 Student Care Centers at Burroughs and Burbank High Schools. Last year the school-based counseling services provided over 12,000 hours of assistance and the high school program an additional 3,400 hours. In total, nearly 3,400 students received services.

Photo by © Ross A Benson

     Sponsorships for the Care Walk event are available starting at the $1,000 level up to $10,000 for a Presenting Sponsor. Individuals can participate as a team member or on their own. Each participant will receive a tee shirt, a participant medal, and a free breakfast provided by Command Performance. Registration fees are $25 for youth and seniors, $35 for adults, with team fees starting at $225 for youth and $325 for adults. In addition, there are numerous exhibitors offering services and giveaways.

     Each year the event honors an individual who has offered services and support to the counseling programs provided by FSA. This year the Jeri Buliavac Care Award will be presented to Todd Niesen, who has a long history of support for FSA and its services. The award will be presented at 7:45 a.m.

     To get more information on this event or to register, go online at www.CAREWALKOFBURBANK.org or visit local libraries, recreation centers or other municipal facilities.

Family Service Agencies Annual CareWalk Brings Out over 400 Walkers Supporting Mental Health

Assemblywoman 43rd District Laura Friedman presents Janet Diel with a Citation for her dedication to her city. ( Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Burbank Firefighters from the C Platoon with Battalion Chief Travon White walked this years CareWalk as a team. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On Saturday, April 21, the Burbank community filled Johnny Carson Park with compassion, generosity and physical fitness as they took to the paths and over the bridges of the recently renovated park for a 5k power walk or a casual stroll in support of Family Service Agency’s 11th Annual CareWalk. More than 400 teachers, parents, students, counselors, community and business leaders came out to support FSA in their 65th year of service in Burbank.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman joined FSA Executive Director Laurie Bleick, emcee and former Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke and CareWalk honoree Janet Diel on stage as State Senator Anthony Portantino announced that FSA will be honored in the California State Senate as 2018 Non- Profit of the Year. “We are awed by the continuing support of our community,” said Bleick, “And to learn that our work and the importance of mental health care will be recognized in the Senate is icing on the cake of a beautiful day.”
Perhaps Bleick should have said syrup on the pancakes. For the 11th year, Command Performance donated the delicious pancake breakfast that greeted walkers as they completed their laps and earned their medals. Committee chair Eric Hansen joined Mickey DePalo, Mary Alvord, Teri Stein, Elise Stearns-Neisen, Chris Krohn, Pat Smola and Ross Benson in putting together the most successful CareWalk to date.
For 65 years, Family Service Agency has been dedicated to providing counseling, prevention, education, and advocacy to empower children, adults, and families to achieve psychological, emotional and social wellness.

Family Service Agency Carewalk Honoree Shows A Great Diel of Compassion

As the old Chinese saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In July of 1953, when three local educators fought to find the funding to launch Family Service Agency of Burbank, they could never have foreseen how far those first steps would take the tiny organization, at that time operating out of Assistance League offices in Hollywood.

But 65 years later, their dream of mental health care being recognized as “a community service for all” is a success story worthy of celebration and support.

This weekend, when FSA hosts their 11th Annual CAREWALK, the Burbank community will come together to help the agency take the next steps toward continuing and expanding their valuable work in Burbank

Janet Diel (Photo Courtesy Suzanne Weerts)

The 2018 CAREWALK will honor the commitment of one of Burbank’s most dedicated volunteers, Janet Diel. A strong believer in the value of community service,

Diel has been involved in the Burbank for 39 years. Not only does she talk the talk of kindness and the importance of giving to others, she walks the walk. Because Diel has struggled with health challenges for much of her adult life, she often walks that walk of service to others with a cane, and when need be, she rolls it in her wheelchair.

As the former oncology nurse says, “Disabilities make life more complicated, but not impossible.” And she expects more of herself not less. “I identify myself by what I can do, not what I can’t,” she explains. And in Burbank, Janet Diel has found a way to do a great deal.

“Janet is relentless, passionate, and tireless about a number of causes, all of which help folks who are less fortunate that she. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I catch it several times each year,” says Tim Murphy, who served on Burbank’s City Council from 1989-1993.

Diel considers herself a Burbank newcomer, having only lived in the city for four decades. In that time, she has built an extensive resume of service. She has been the cookie chair for 41 Burbank Girl Scout troops, she chaired both GATE and Special Education parent support groups, spearheaded the disabled-friendly playground at Bret Harte Elementary, and served on various Boards including Job’s Daughters and the Burbank Human Relations Council.

She has dedicated decades to service with the Burbank Transportation Commission, the local Optimist Club, Burbank’s Tournament of Roses Committee, Relay for Life and BUSD’s School Facilities Oversight Committee. She may be best known for her thirty-two years with the Burbank Coordinating Council where she has overseen Camperships and Holiday Baskets impacting countless children and families through her decades of tireless service.

Diel’s community service has been recognized with numerous awards including last month when State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman named her District 43’s 2018 Woman of the Year. In 2016 she was among Congressman Adam Schiff’s 2016 Women of The Year and in 2010 Burbank Council PTA awarded her the Golden Oak.

Dave Golonski discusses the Holiday Baskets program, as Janet Diel looks on. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Retired City Manager Mary Alvord has nothing but appreciation for Diel.

“I have known and worked with her for most of my 38 year career with the City of Burbank and continue to witness her incredible commitment and devotion to the Burbank community,” said Alvord.

“I first worked with Janet on issues related to access for disabled individuals and she has been an amazing advocate and leader for the rights of disabled individuals. Janet has helped make the Burbank community much more user-friendly for persons with disabilities in addition to countless other kind and loving acts of generosity in our city.”

Diel and her family are proponents of FSA’s services, having used them themselves.

“When my grandson was eight, he had a ‘safe person’. He knew he could ‘save some of his mad and some of his sad’ and share it with his counselor at FSA,” said Diel, “Laurie and her team made it possible for this young man to bravely stand up at a City Council meeting and share his experience, in the hopes that other children may be encouraged to talk to counselors when needed as well.”

For three decades, Diel has been a member of Burbank Coordinating Council, overseeing the Holiday Basket program and ensuring that hundreds of families in need receive food and gifts over the holidays. And in the summer, many children in those families get to go camping as well thanks to the Coordinating Council’s annual Campership program.

When preparing the list of children who could benefit from a summer camp experience, Diel reaches out to FSA to ensure that no child in need is left out. She and FSA’s office administrator, Pat Smola, compare lists of children to identify those in need of such an opportunity.

“Camp is good for the mental health of so many of these children,” says Diel, “It can be a salvation for kids who’ve dealt with abuse or neglect in their homes or children who are struggling with stress and anxiety but whose families can’t afford to give them the life-changing experiences that summer camp can provide.”

Diel has ensured that between 100-150 young people get to experience local day camps and overnight camps annually, having inherited the role from her dear friend Barbara Sykes, a community leader who passed away in 2016.

“Barbara was an inspiration for so much of what I do,” said Diel. “While the CAREWALK may be in honor of me, I’ll be walking in memory of her.”

“FSA is proud to shine a light on Janet Diel’s extensive community involvement at CAREWALK 2018,” said Laurie Bleick, Executive Director of Family Service Agency, “Janet has given countless hours of her time to further our work and is a great example of how one person can rise above her own challenges and make a difference in the lives of countless others.”

Diel’s family legacy is one of the noteworthy historical accomplishments. Her father worked with the National Science Foundation and was part of the team that helped develop the internet and her mother was a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director who worked with Walt Disney in the creation of the Haunted House attraction at Disneyland.

Diel’s stepmother, Kitty, survived three concentration camps during the holocaust.

“My dad was a navigator on a bomber while the woman who would one day become his second wife was in a concentration camp,” Diel explains. “Kitty had been a prima ballerina and knew several languages which earned her the position of Interpreter in the camps.”

That role gave her an extra half potato ration. Once the camp was liberated, she walked 1000 miles to Czechoslovakia and eventually came to America where she met Diel’s father.

Her knowledge of Kitty’s horrific experiences led Diel to say yes when given the opportunity to coordinate the BUSD holocaust speakers program for 7th and 10th graders.

“I know in my heart that when kids hear authentic speakers share their personal stories, they will understand and never forget,” says Diel. She recognizes that there are few survivors left to tell their stories (quote about her stepmother) and this is the last chance for a generation to hear from living survivors.

Diel grew up knowing that life is full of trials. “We all come into this world with our own set of challenges, but at some point ,we have to stop looking at what is wrong and instead look at how we can help others.”

She says her parents and stepmother all experienced difficult childhoods and were damaged emotionally, but they still left indelible marks in the world. Understanding and appreciating those marks connects her more deeply with the work of FSA.

“Regardless of your challenges, you have the capacity and responsibility to do something valuable with your life,” says Diel. “If we can all share a little of our time and a little of ourselves, we can make a better world.”

Diel appreciates that the counselors at FSA are ready to assist anyone who needs a little extra help navigating life’s challenges so they can take the steps needed to create a valuable life. And this weekend she will be there when the community comes together to take steps for FSA at the CAREWALK.

Care Walk Needs Sponsors To Support Youth Mental Health Care

The Eleventh Annual Care Walk, scheduled for Saturday, April 21, at Johnny Carson Park, provides an opportunity for members of the Burbank community to support youth mental health care.

This event raises awareness and funding for the on-site, no-cost counseling programs provided by the Family Services Agency of Burbank (FSA) at all of the schools in the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD).

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Last year, FSA served over 2,400 students on 19 BUSD campuses, providing over 13,000 hours of counseling. Students received professional counseling to help them confront issues of depression, anxiety, feelings of alienation, thoughts or plans of suicide, family violence, critical illness, grief and loss, sexual identity, date rape and violence, bullying and peer violence, eating disorders, cutting and substance use and abuse, all while trying to meet the expectations of their young lives.

All the proceeds from the event, which attracts over 400 participants, go towards supporting the no-cost services provided by FSA.

You can learn more by going to www.CAREWALKOFBURBANK.org or calling (818) 845-7671.

Jeri Buliavac Honored at Family Service CareWalk

A beloved Burbank native battling cancer will be honored during the Family Service Agency’s seventh annual 5k CareWalk on Saturday, May 10, around Johnny Carson Park.

The event is being dedicated to Jeri Buliavac who is undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer. A local hairstylist, for many years she has rallied support of the Family Service Agency through her large customer base, said Eric Hansen, CareWalk public relations chair.

Jeri Buliavac celebrated her 50th birthday with family and friends on Saturday. (Photo by Annette Fiol)

Jeri Buliavac celebrated her 50th birthday with family and friends on Saturday. (Photo by Annette Fiol)

Buliavac was diagnosed in November and started chemotherapy at the first of the year and goes for treatments every two weeks, said her cousin Elise Stearns-Niesen. She continues to work at Headlines Salon on Magnolia Boulevard.

“Her work keeps her going,” Stearns-Niesen said. “During her latest oncology appointment last week she found out that her cancer markers were down, which means that the combination of chemo and regime of meds are working and killing the cancer cells.”

Buliavac been a great friend to the Family Service Agency. Even last Christmas, she told her clients not to give her cash bonuses, but to donate to the Family Service Agency or bring in nonperishable food items for Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

“She’s just one of these generous people who would give you the shirt off her back so all the goodness she has put out in the world is coming back to her like there is no tomorrow,” Stearns-Niesen said. “She’s an amazing woman.”

Buliavac and Stearns-Niesen started an exercise group years ago called the Dirty Divas and they group put on a garage sale about three weeks ago and raised $3,800 in one day. The funds will help supplement Buliavac’s income when she is too exhausted from chemotherapy to go to work.

Buliavac is grateful for the support she receives from family and friends who she calls her “village”.

“I have to thank my family and friends for all the support and the prayers and especially the people who come into my shop just to hug me,” Buliavac said. “I get no less than five cards a day. I am humbled, I’m grateful and, at the end of the day, I am blessed. And I’m honored they want to dedicate the walk to me. That was a big surprise.”

Buliavac has a couple of friends who work at Family Service Agency and other friends have benefitted from its services, she said. A few years ago, she started a food drive at Christmastime. The first year, she collected 2,000 cans of food and took some to BTAC and some to Family Service Agency along with a cash donation she raises from her salon clients.

“I just think Family Service Agency is a fabulous organization and I think we should pay it forward, so I have done that for Christmas the last three years,” she said.

Jeri Buliavac is surrounding by her exercise group the Dirty Divas at her 50th birthday party. Instead of gifts, guests made donations to Family Service Agency. (Photo by Lexi Buliavac)

Jeri Buliavac is surrounding by her exercise group the Dirty Divas at her 50th birthday party. Instead of gifts, guests made donations to Family Service Agency. (Photo by Lexi Buliavac)

Buliavac celebrated her 50th birthday early with a party on Saturday and asked the guests to make a donation for Family Service Agency. She raised over $2,000 thanks to everyone’s generosity.

On-site registration for the CareWalk begins at 7:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 8. Entry fees are $30 for adults; $20 for senior adults and youth from kindergarten to 12th grade; and teams of no more than 10 people are $175 for senior adults and youth from kindergarten through 12th grade, and $275 for adults. Included in the fee are a T-shirt, gift bag and breakfast of pancakes, sausages or bacon and fruit.

All proceeds benefit its no-cost, school-based counseling program, which provides a counselor on-site during school hours at each campus in the Burbank Unified School District.

Entertainment will be provided by the jazz band from Jordan Middle School. For more information, visit www.carewalkofburbank.org.