Los Alamitos is home to some of the most generous and philanthropic people around; thus, it only follows that Los Alamitos is also home to some of the best nonprofits in the area. This article will focus on some of the most prolific nonprofits in the area and the good they are providing for the community. We at Sunset proudly support all these organizations, and we encourage you to read up on them and get involved if you are not already.
Casa Youth Shelter
Casa Youth Shelter is a nonprofit organization that offers emergency temporary shelter for homeless, runaway, and abandoned youth. Their mission is to provide a supportive environment so that the youth they assist can recover and redevelop personal strength in hopes of ultimately reuniting with their family. Myldred E. Jones opened Casa Youth Shelter in 1978 with a minimal budget and only one full-time employee, but the organization now has twelve beds in six bedrooms with a number of caring employees. Besides providing shelter for distressed youth, the organization also offers counseling, outreach to schools, youth leadership programs, and parenting classes. Below is an infographic with Casa Youth Shelter’s statistics from 2014, and it is clear to see the good this nonprofit is providing to the Los Alamitos area – this organization has truly come a long way since its opening in 1978. Here is the link for Casa Youth Shelter’s website if you are interested in donating or volunteering: http://www.casayouthshelter.org/
Los Alamitos Youth Center
The Youth Center looks to positively impact children through social, educational, and recreational programs. The Youth Center has developed partnerships throughout the Los Alamitos community with organizations like the Los Alamitos Unified School District, Rossmoor Community Service District, Seal Beach Lions and Leos Club, and many more – this means that many of the largest and most impactful events in the community have close ties to the Youth Center. In 1952, Frank Vessels, the Los Alamitos Race track entrepreneur, applied to the State of California for an additional race day and then used those funds to open the Youth Center. The Youth Center now continues to provide various programs and benefit to the community through donations from local individuals and businesses. Here is the link to the Youth Center’s website if you are interested in donating or volunteering: http://www.theyouthcenter.org/
Precious Life Shelter
Precious Life Shelter provides a safe environment for pregnant women with no place to live. Precious Life Shelter’s three step program provides various means of support which then allows these women to safely have their child, while simultaneously teaching them to become self-sufficient. The goal is not only to help these women in their time of crisis, but also to ensure that they are prepared for the responsibilities that come with life after childbirth. The program opened in 1989 and has since expanded, developing new programs and adding property to better support those women in need. Precious Life Shelter also operates a Thrift and Gift shop in which they sell extra donations not used by the residents and raise enough money to cover about 40% of the organization’s operating costs. Precious Life Center is another great nonprofit that has come a long way in supporting the Los Alamitos and surrounding communities. Here is the link for Pathways’ website if you are interested in donating or volunteering: http://pathwaystoindependence.org/
National Charity League or NCL is a mother-daughter philanthropic organization focuses on community service, leadership development, and cultural experiences. The organization formed in 1947 after two groups, one started in 1925 by a small group of women in Los Angeles and the other by their daughters in 1938, merged to create the first mother-daughter philanthropic organization. We are especially tied to the South Coast chapter of the National Charity League which is based in the Long Beach and West Orange County areas with most junior members attending Los Alamitos schools. The chapter supports philanthropies with hands-on service as well as monetary donations raised from their thrift shop, Miss Charity’s Attic, located on Cerritos Avenue, and their popular event Tournament Day, held every fall. Here is the link to the South Coast division of NCL if you are interested in donating or volunteering: https://southcoast.nationalcharityleague.org/
WE CARE pools the resources of the community in order to meet the emergency needs of families and individuals. WE CARE offers emergency, referral, therapy, healthcare, and holiday services to ensure families in need can remain healthy and happy. Listed below are a few statistics showing how many people were helped by WE CARE from 2015 – 2017:
- Food Distribution– 456 families/2,280 individuals were given 7,000 bags=140,000 lbs.
- Hygiene/Personal Care– 275 families/1,375 individuals were given personal hygiene kits.
- Food Certificates/Gift Cards– 75 families/375 individuals=$3,200.00
- Rent/Mortgage– 170 households/850 individuals=$215,180.00
- Utility Assistance– 47 households/235 individuals=$10,500.00.
- Vehicle Supportive Services– 12 families/60 individuals=$3,072.00
- Christmas Adopt-A-Family Program– 800+ children received toys
- Case Management– 505 families/2,020 individuals
Sunset is happy to support a great nonprofit like WE CARE working constantly to better the Los Alamitos community. Here is the link for WE CARE’s website if you are interested in donating or volunteering: http://wecarelosalamitos.org/
Pathways to Independence
Pathway to Independence or Pathways works to transform the lives of disadvantaged young women through education, therapy, mentoring, housing, and healthcare. Pathways was founded in 1994 and has always sought to help financially poor young women from backgrounds of abuse with higher ambitions of receiving an education or job. Through their services, Pathways is able to help a group of about 50 women at a time achieve such ambitions and become independent. Since its beginning no members or executives of Pathways have received any compensation whatsoever and about 88% of the program expenses went directly to the clients in 2015. We also love to support Friends of Pathways, which a subdivision of Pathways comprised of a small group of women who work to raise the money necessary for Pathways to function. This all just goes to show how Pathways is another great nonprofit working effortlessly for the betterment our community. Here is the link for Pathways’ website if you are interested in donating or volunteering: http://pathwaystoindependence.org/
Here is a promo video Pathways made back in 2013 with their founder Dave Bishop talking about their mission:
We truly believe that Los Alamitos is one of the best communities around, and this is largely in part due to these organizations. These nonprofits offer a wide variety of ways to get involved meaning nobody should have an excuse for not volunteering or donating. Regardless of personal preference, we are certain that everyone can find a way to help out and keep this community flourishing, so we encourage everyone to reach out to these nonprofits and help in some way, shape, or form.
Every year Rush Park in Rossmoor (3021 Blume Dr, Rossmoor, CA 90720) hosts a range of events which encourage local citizens to come out and have fun with friends and family. I’m always excited for the events personally because Rush Park is right across the street from our family. This year the events are returning in the form of Music, Movies in the Park, and Shakespeare in the Park. Admission is free to all these events and they even bring food trucks, which are delicious and convenient. Below is the schedule and description for such events, and we encourage you to swing by and check it out.
Friday, June 16th @ 6:00 pm: The Elm Street Band
The Elm Street Band has been referred to as “the soundtrack for the City of Long Beach, playing at events all over town” by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. They have been performing their garage/surf music throughout Southern California since 1988 and should definitely be an exciting act to attend with friends and family.
Friday, July 14th @ 6:00 pm: King Salmon Band
The King Salmon Band is another popular band throughout Southern California known for their fun mixture of recognizable songs. Their music is great to sing along with and dance to as they play a large variety of music from Cocktail Jams, Classic Rock & Disco, and 70s-80s-90s Favorites all the way to Current Classics. The King Salmon Band will be another exciting event that you should think about attending.
Friday, August 18th @ 6:00 pm: Smokin’ Cobras
The Smokin’ Cobras is a 6-person band who perform high energy songs all across Southern California. The Smokin’ Cobras perform the greatest songs from the 50’s to 80’s and are most well known for their Retro Rock ‘N’ Roll songs. This is going to be another great, exciting band to sing and dance along to, and we encourage you to stop on by and give it a go.
The three movies in the park are all kids movies which have come out in the past year or so. These movies are perfect for small children, and will likely be unfavorable without small children. Thus, while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a kid’s film every once in awhile, these movies are probably best avoided if you don’t have young children.
Friday, June 16th @ Dusk: Sing
Friday, July 14th @ Dusk: Lego Batman
Friday, August 18th @ Dusk: Moana
Shakespeare in the Park
Saturday, July 22nd @ 7:00 pm: Macbeth
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies revolving around a Scottish general spurred to power by the prophecy of three witches. Macbeth is a great tragedy and will surely be entertaining to anyone who enjoys the works of Shakespeare.
Sunday, July 23rd @ 7:00 pm: The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew is a lesser known comedy of Shakespeare focusing on a forced marriage in which the wife, Katherina, is a “shrew”, or an unwilling participant, before her husband Petruchio “tames” her with his tricks. The movie 10 Things I Hate About You is roughly based off this play so if you like that movie or like Shakespearean comedies than this play is for you.
These three types of events are different in variety meaning that everyone should be able to find at least one that they enjoy. These events are a perfect way to spend time with family and friends while remaining local and not having to spend any money. These various events are truly exciting community events, and we hope everyone tries attending at least one this summer.
Happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. We try our best to satisfy our customers by being courteous, providing great communication, having thoughtful workers and much more. With social media we have become more aware of our customers’ needs and we politely ask for reviews when we complete projects. We are by no means perfect and we are always trying to improve our services and practice; but, when we receive a glowing review like this one below it really puts a smile on our face.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Happy Customer!
“I have never written an online review before, but after working with John Zahn and the folks at Sunset, I feel compelled to do so. The idea of remodeling my back yard and pool was daunting, to say the least. However, not only did I end up with a gorgeous pool, backyard design and landscape, but I also had only positive experiences working with Sunset. I bet you can’t say that of many contractors! John and Nate were always nice, organized, responsive and beyond helpful. Each day, Nate would email me an update on the project to let me know the status, what was coming up next and who would be working in my backyard. I never had to ask when things would be done, as I knew John and Nate were on top of it. It eliminated so much of the stress of this big project and I was able to focus on my busy life versus micro managing the construction. Also, John and his crews did everything possible to minimize the disruption to our lives during the project. The crews were polite, appropriate (I have children) and efficient. And, they cleaned up each day (as best as possible given the nature of the project). John came over regularly, if not daily, to supervise the project and was involved in every last detail. Any issue that came up, no matter how small, John and Nate would jump on it and get it resolved. John sets high standards for his work product and it shows in the work that was done. Lastly, I can say that both John and Nate are good people. I felt they were honest in their dealings with me, they had my back throughout the project and I now consider them friends. I would not hesitate to recommend Sunset for your pool/back yard remodel.”
Have you noticed photos of the wildflowers blooming this spring after the amazingly wet season after the recent 6-year long California Drought? We have seen the news reports and the photos all over our social media feeds. On April 7, 2017, California Governor Brown terminated the January 17, 2014 Drought State of Emergency impacting all but Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. California residents successfully conserved water in unprecedented levels, reducing water use in communities by 22% between 2014 and 2017.
Throughout the drought many counties and municipalities enacted swimming pool permit restrictions in an effort to conserve water; however, luckily, we weren’t affected by these restrictions in our local area.
In fact, residential swimming pool and spa owners are already conserving water compared to a conventional backyard. Swimming pools use less water than the same square footage of a lawn and if you add in a pool deck area, rather than grass, the water savings are increased. Drought resistant/tolerant landscaping with native plants adds even more water conservation.
According to the California Pool & Spa Association, you can continue to do your part to conserve water in the following ways:
If you own a pool:
- Install a pool cover to reduce water evaporation by as much as 90%
- Shut off waterfalls, fountains and other water features to reduce water loss and evaporation
- Check the pool for leaks, contact your pool service professional for guidance.
- Minimize splashing or lower the pool’s water level to reduce “splash out.”
- Plug the overflow line when the pool is in use.
- Replace traditional sand and DE Filters with cartridge filters that do not require backwashing.
- Keep your pool clean to reduce frequency of backwashing.
- If your pool is heated, reduce the water temperature to reduce evaporation.
If you own spa:
- Keep it covered.
- Maintain the chemicals to extend water life.
- Check the equipment for leaks.
- Drain only when absolutely necessary.
- Check with your pool service professional for new technology that helps keep the water clean and reduce the need to drain the spa.
- If you drain your spa, reuse the water to irrigate plants and landscaping.
If you have any questions about the current condition of your pool/spa and landscaping, we are happy to meet and discuss your water conservation opportunities.
A bucket list in case you do not know is a list of things a person wants to accomplish before they die. Whether you know yours or not, we all have a bucket list. A bucket list is not necessarily something you take the time to write out, but instead is a few general things you want to accomplish over your life. In this blog, we will be talking about our bucket lists – what we have accomplished and seek to someday accomplish – and will encourage you to reply with items on your bucket list.
I am very fortunate to have knocked off many items from my bucket list. They often involve sailing and speed, yet this is all on land. (Landsailing World Championship 2014 Video) Recently I realized that my wife Alyson, who doesn’t like tippy monohull sailboats prefered a good sized catamaran. I was then on a quest for the ultimate experience. A Gunboat catamaran is just that balance between amazing performance and luxurious comfort. They are world cruiser at some of the fastest speeds and when you stop to relax you have a stable and comfortable platform. I have researched and found a few for week charter. If you have an interest in coming along please let me know?
I have done some “extreme” sports in my day and have loved every minute of it. Whether that be landsailing, bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, ziplining, hot air ballooning, glacier hiking, blackwater cave rafting… just to name a few. As you can tell, I don’t scare easily. I have been very fortunate to experience so many blood pumping activities. I have done some minor rock climbing but nothing too adventures. I have thought about this bucket list, done some Googling and decided that rappelling down a waterfall sounds like just the ticket! Now, where should I fly to find said waterfall?
Family vacations are always fun, but nothing is more exciting than vacationing with a group of families. My family and a few other families did just this recently when we traveled to Italy. Our time in Italy was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. We visited the leaning Tower of Pisa, saw the statue of David, toured the Colosseum, threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, and even watched my sister and her friends be confirmed in the Vatican. This vacation was one I will never forget from the marvelous sights to the laughing so hard I peed my pants (granted I was quite young). The only downside is that I decided this vacation was a good time to try out the fedora look, so one could say all the photos of me are pretty much ruined. However, vacationing with other families is an experience unlike any other, and I would strongly encourage everyone to give it a shot during their lifetime.
What’s on your bucket list? Leave a comment below letting us know. If you have never thought about your bucket list then now is the perfect time. We love learning new, exciting things about our customers!
For most of us, pools have always been around whether it was in our own backyard or in at a hotel or wherever; however, this was not always the case. Pools first began as public baths but are now widespread and can be found across the world. In this blog post, we will look back on the history of pools and see just how far they have come – then, we will look at some of the innovative ideas regarding pools and what lies in store for the future of the pool industry.
The Beginning: Ancient Pools
The first pool was actually a “great bath” and existed 5,000 years ago in the Pakistani city of Mohenjo-daro. It was built of stone and brick and filled with water for special religious purposes. Public baths like pools then became popular around 700 BC in Ancient Greece and were used for non-religious purposes like bathing and swimming. The first heated pool or jacuzzi was designed by Gaius Maecenas around 8 BC and had waterfalls and lush gardens. Over the course of 3,000 years, pools came a long way from a pit full of water for religious purposes to a heated spa with waterfalls.
The Introduction of Modern Pools
Modern pools began in the 19th century in Great Britain with improved water treatment and design. There were alarming drowning rates in Great Britain at the time, so 6 public pools were built in London in 1837 and the Amateur Swimming Association was formed to promote the skill of swimming. Swimming became an Olympic event in 1896, but was hosted in the open ocean water as funds could not be raised to build a suitable pool. Modern pools entered the U.S. in 1915 with the Deep Eddy pool in Texas, which is still swam in today. Pools then gained popularity in California in the early 20’s with the installment of William Randolph Hearst’s spectacular Neptune pool. Pools later began to be installed in hotels and motels across America in the 60’s – making pools as widespread as they are today. Needless to say, today’s pools have come a long way from a “great bath” built of stone and brick used for religious practices.
The Future of Pools
A few years back we started designing our unique pool design, the innovative elevated pool, but that is just the beginning of the future of pools. Like other technologies, we cannot predict exactly what pools will be like in the future but we have heard of some crazy innovations that may catch on in the future. One of these innovations is the disappearing pool. This pool design allows you to simply push a button and the bottom of the pool rises to ground height; thus, relocating the water and adding more space to your room. Finally, a Hong Kong design group came up with the idea to create a “Swimarium” that would project images of fish and an aquatic environment into your pool to make it appear you are swimming in the ocean. This has not actually been built yet but the design shows potential for what the future holds. Ideas like these are not so far-fetched anymore and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for the pool industry.
Clearly pools have come a long way over the past 5,000 years and it is yet to be seen where they will head in the future. The future of technology in general is fascinating and we are lucky to live in this time period of technological innovation.
It’s no secret that pools increase the real estate value of your home. With the nice year-round climate in southern California we are able to keep our pools open year-round, and, thus, pools add significantly more value to your home. There are a few simple steps you must take when selling the house to ensure you get this value. In this blog, we will cover what simple steps you should follow while selling your house in order to make sure your pool adds value rather than turning away customers.
Open up the Pool and Keep It Clean
Nothing would turn away a potential buyer faster than a dirty pool or one that is covered up by a pool cover. When you are looking to put your house on the market you should be keeping your pool as clean as possible. Additionally, you want to ensure you especially clean your pool before an open house and take your pool cover off to show off that beautiful pool that is the centerpiece of your backyard.
Maintaining a pool is not easy and is also not cheap, and buyers know this. Therefore you want to be upfront about the costs and effort that must go into maintaining a pool; in doing so, you will give the buyers confidence. One thing you may want to consider is having a pool binder that has all the information regarding the pool and previous records along with a list of reputable service companies. This will only further alleviate buyer skepticism and can show the buyers your professionality. Finally, another good idea is to include the pool accessories and equipment you have purchased as part of the deal. Granted if you are moving to a house with another pool then you may want to keep it, but if you are moving to a house without a pool then you will no longer have use for this gear and its addition to the deal will only boost value.
Time it Correctly
If you are selling a property with a pool then you should put the house on the market around the beginning of summer. You want the weather to be warm causing your buyers to possibly desire a pool more than they would during the winter months. Plus, nobody wants to buy a pool when it is cold and raining outside. With this being said, if you are in a rush to sell your house then a pool in the winter is not a game changer – it just may prevent you from achieving the maximum value your estate could reach.
A pool can and should add value to your home – all it should take is a few simple actions. By acting helpful and romanticizing your pool, you will boost buyer confidence and as a result boost your real estate value.
The title of this blog, “Planning for Summer”, may seem odd to many of you given that we are still in the dead of winter, but this is not a mistake. If you are looking to renovate your yard or house for summer then there is no time like the present. Everybody knows that renovations and builds take months and cannot be done in a matter of days. Oftentimes, it becomes summer and families realize they want a pool or spa or fire pit and it is too late. Thus, we are writing this blog to think ahead towards summer and start planning out how you will spend your time this summer.
Build on your Yard
There’s no better way to break in the summer than with a new pool, spa, or fire pit. If you have younger children then a pool is probably the best fit for your family. However, if you don’t have children or your children have moved out then a spa or fire pit can be a great option for late nights or parties. All of these options are wonderful and will no doubt add to your summer experience, but you have to start planning now.
Renovate your Yard
Maybe you already have a pool or spa, but you are looking to really amp up your yard for this summer. We would be glad to help and make sure you have a brand new renovated pool or spa to enjoy when the weather gets hot. We can always add new items like new cement or a fire pit as well if you desire.
Plan a Vacation
Finally, adding to your home and enjoying a staycation can be a blast, but who doesn’t love a nice getaway? Now is the time to start texting your friends and family and start planning that vacation you have been dreaming of. There is no better time than the present and you should make time this year to vacation with the people you love. It can be a simple vacation like camping or an extravagant one to a foreign country – all that matters is that you take some time off and spend time with those you care about.
Every year we hear the weathermen predicting this much rainfall and forecasting weather, but a majority of the time they are completely off in their predictions. Last year was supposed to be the saving year, the year of El Niño, but it ended up being a bust. However, this year it seems like it is raining multiple times a week. In this blog, we will look back on last year’s bust weather and also discuss our recent weather and its implications going for the drought going forward.
Last Year’s Weather
El Niño was a bust. The rare weather pattern was supposed to bring us more rain and possibly lift the pressure off this drought, but that failed to happen. El Niño did help Northern California rebuilding the snowpack, but California only received about 60% of its average rainfall last year. In fact, about 21% of California was categorized as in exception drought at the beginning of this year’s water year at the end of September. However, one benefit of this low rainfall is the result it has had on this year’s weather. The small El Niño has led to a larger La Niña this fall, which is basically El Niño’s opposite.
December was the wettest month recorded in downtown Los Angeles since December 2010. The percent of exceptional drought area in California has dropped 3% over the past 3 months and 18% of California is actually no longer considered abnormally dry while this number was 0% 3 months ago. Rain is always expected during this time of the year, but this year we seem to be receiving more than before. This rain is happily welcomed by most as it is only lessening the pressure of the drought. Once again, the drought is nowhere near over but a heavy rain year is always helpful.
The end of 2016 saw a huge increase in snowfall that is continuing into 2017. Granted, this snow is expected with the higher rainfall but 2016 saw a 52% increase in snowfall from 2015. Mammoth mountain saw 109 inches of snow in 2013 while 2016 brought 354 inches. This increase in snow is obviously awesome for ski resorts and those of us that love to ski, but this is also great news to the drought. Northern California snow melts and runs off into local giving us more water. Of course, once again this trend needs to continue to make a significant impact on the drought but we always love to see rain and snow.
Everyone thought last year, El Niño, was going to be the year California received a ton of rain and saved us from the drought, but that clearly was not the case. This year has brought us the most rain we have seen in years and all we can do is hope it keeps coming. This weather sure is whacky, as we wrote about in our previous blog, but we do love to see snow and rain. With that being said, this drought will continue for some time to come and we must always make sure we are conserving water and being water efficient.