New Outreach Café Mural – Transforming Lives Through Art

By Sheryl Wilde
When Caymin met Joanne Tawfilis last year, he didn’t speak. He’d been bullied at school and he always held his head down, rarely looking up from the floor.
Just one year later, this 16-year-old autistic young man is now not only talking, but laughing, and getting straight A’s in all of his classes. Caymin is now also a Peace Paint Ambassador for Joanne’s organization, The Muramid Museum & Art Center. The museum is home to the Art Miles Mural Project, a non-profit established in 1997, which uses painting and art to promote a global culture of peace.
The Art Miles Mural Project was born when orphans painted their fears, their pain, and their hope, onto bedsheets riddled with bullet holes – creating make-shift murals on the only material they had, a grim canvas exposing life in war-torn Bosnia.
It was in Bosnia that Joanne and her husband, Fouad, saw the incredible transformative power of art. They watched the orphaned children paint and saw their eyes begin to fill with joy again. They watched as the children’s hands, clenched in fear and anger, began to slowly loosen up around their paintbrushes. They watched as the orphans’ hearts started to warm up again as they painted.
The experience in Bosnia inspired Joanne and Fouad to launch the Art Miles Mural Project, a United Nations, UNESCO initiative which has led to the creation of more than 5,280 murals by one-half million people in over 100 countries across the world.
Caymin is a shining example of how expression through art can change lives. “The power of art can remove, transform, and heal pain, sorrow and sadness,” says Joanne. “Caymin is a very talented young man.”
“Caymin works with Joanne at the Muramid Museum,” says Flor Angel, Program Director, Mountain Shadows Outreach Services. “Joanne and Caymin, along with several students from the Tukwut Leadership program at Cal State San Marcos come to Mountain Shadows Outreach every Tuesday. They help our participants create new pieces of artwork. The participants absolutely love them!
“When we mentioned to Joanne that we needed a new mural for the Outreach Café, she was so excited. There was no hesitation. She just asked, ‘What would you like us to do?'”
“Flor and the Outreach staff wanted a 50’s-style mural for the café,” says Joanne. “I talked to Caymin and he was very excited about it! He researched 50’s cars and memorabilia, and then he designed the mural and helped to paint it.
“Caymin loves working with the Outreach participants. He treats them as he would anyone else. They tell him what they want to create, he sketches it for them, and they paint it together. Caymin’s life was changed through art. Now he acts as a mentor and teacher to the Outreach participants. We’re so proud of him.”
“Several of the Outreach participants – Carlos, Kristine, Kenny, Caroline and Kara – helped in painting the mural,” says Flor. “They had a blast! And the mural is beautiful. It is exactly what we wanted.
“Joanne also hosted an art auction last year, with over 100 paintings created by our Outreach participants. More than $1,000 was raised! The proceeds were used to buy paint and brushes for our art program this year. We’re planning another auction for this Spring.”
“We just love coming to Mountain Shadows Outreach and working with the participants,” says Joanne. “I’ve been working with them for 4 years now. It’s become ingrained in me. The staff is amazing. It’s a win-win-win. A win for the participants. A win for the Cal State students. And a win for us.
“I love helping people see what they can do!”
Our heartfelt thanks to Joanne, Caymin, the Muramid Art Museum, and the Cal State San Marcos Tukwut Leadership program, for this incredible mural – and for your continued support and friendship.
To help Mountain Shadows continue to transform lives,
please click below.

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Annual Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism

The Sound of Thunder: 5th  Annual  Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism  to Benefit  Mountain Shadows  
By Sheryl Wilde
It’s probably the  feeling of the sound that you remember more than the sound itself – like the deep sound of rolling thunder that rattles you from the inside out, leaving your whole body vibrating, tingling, long after the sound is gone.
The legendary, syncopated, uneven idle of the Harley Davidson motorcycle is only part of its mystique. Harley Davidson’s success is built on creating legends – the sound, the look, the culture – all have become an indelible part of American culture.
Unfortunately, from Hollywood to the nightly news clips, much has been made of the image of bikers as “bad boys”. Little has been made of their “other” side – their commitment to their communities, their charity work, their brotherhood, their patriotism.
A dedication to helping others in their community is what brought Biggs Harley Davidson Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Howie Wahl, to Mountain Shadows. “We are committed to being actively involved in our local community. It so happens that Mountain Shadows is right across the street from Biggs Harley Davidson.
“I noticed the Mountain Shadows buses coming and going every day. I had no idea what Mountain Shadows was, so I walked across the street to find out. As I toured the facility, my head started thinking, ‘What a great place! These people are angels on earth.’ Then I said to myself, ‘Perfect! Mountain Shadows needs funds. We want to help local organizations. Let’s have a Ride for Autism!”
Thus the Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism was born.
“The 5th Annual Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism will be held on Saturday, January 13th, from 9 am to 3 pm,” says Flor Angel, Program Director, Mountain Shadows Outreach Services. “It will be a GREAT event! The ride starts at Biggs Harley Davidson in San Marcos. The first stop is Morehead Choppers in Solana Beach.
“The second stop on the ride will be at Mountain Shadows in Escondido. We’re very excited that the riders will be able to visit our campus to get a feel for who we are and what we do at Mountain Shadows Community Homes – San Diego. They’ll be able to meet some of the residents – and the residents are already looking forward to seeing all the cool motorcycles once again!!!
“Following the ride, everyone will gather at Biggs Harley Davidson. There will be tons of food, lots of vendors, raffle prizes, and even a live band!”
“The folks at Biggs Harley Davidson have been so kind to us,” says Fred Lindahl, Mountain Shadows Foundation, Development Director. “They’ve shown an active interest in helping us and getting to know our clients. We are deeply grateful for their support and friendship. All funds raised at the Ride for Autism will directly benefit Mountain Shadows.”
To join the Biggs Harley Davidson Ride for Autism, please register in person at Biggs Harley Davidson, 1040 Los Vallecitos Boulevard, San Marcos, prior to or on the day of the event. For more information, please call Biggs Harley Davidson at 760-481-7300, or stop by their San Marcos store.
All types of motorcycles are welcome at the Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism. The entry fee, which includes lunch, is $15 per rider; $20 with a passenger. Lunch for non-riders is $5.
Help us rev-up the sound of thunder at the Biggs Harley Davidson Poker Ride for Autism. Your support will benefit Mountain Shadows Foundation long after the sound is gone.
Can’t make it?
Participate by making a donation online!
Click Below.

Together We Can Make a Difference

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
~ Winston S. Churchill
Recreation and leisure activities are a critical component to  the quality of life for all people. They are a vehicle through  which people have fun, socialize, are exposed to new  experiences and develop new skills.  Mountain Shadows is dedicated to providing year-round  recreation and leisure opportunities for the 171 individuals  with intellectual disabilities residing at Mountain Shadows Support Group.  Our goal is to
Create Active Recreational Experiences   that improves health, physical, social, cognitive and  emotional functioning , while enhancing each participant’s abilities.
We are proud to say that we have been able to encourage our residents to lead an active lifestyle that suits their individual interests. Some of the many experiences we have been fortunate to provide our residents are aquatic camps, horseback riding, swimming,
skiing and trips to Las Vegas.
This holiday season, you can help us Create Active Recreational Experiences for all 171 residents at Mountain Shadows. Here’s what your donation can provide:
  • $25 per month will provide therapeutic horseback riding
  • $55 provides the option to attend local concerts, sporting events & theaters
  • $95 provides seasonal camp opportunities – skiing, sailing and/or swimming

There is still time to make an end-of-year tax-deductible donation to 

Mountain Shadows Foundation! 


On behalf of all of us at Mountain Shadows thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Mountain Shadows Celebrates 25th Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament & Spa Experience

This is why we do it:
Because Brittany wants to serve.
As part of her service, Brittany goes to the naval hospital once a week, each and every week. She visits the amputees.
A quadriplegic, born with cerebral palsy, Brittany pushes a special lever on her wheelchair with her right hand to “drive” down the long hospital hallway to find the next patient – perhaps someone who has lost an arm in combat, or a leg to an IED.
What does she say to them?
“I say that I love them. I say that God loves them. I say ‘Thank you for your service.'”
What do they say to her?
“Usually, they cry. But it’s a good cry.”
“Brittany has become someone we’d never dreamed she’d become,” says Kelly Barnson, Brittany’s mother. “And it’s because of Mountain Shadows. She has become an independent woman who has the ability to make choices in her life. The people at Mountain Shadows see her not as a woman with a disability, but as Brittany. Because of the care and opportunities provided by Mountain Shadows, she has the ability to dream, to soar!”
Because Brittany has no functional use of her body, other than limited use of her right hand, many might see her as someone in need. But Brittany’s mission in life is to help others.
“Doing things for others makes me feel good in my heart.”
As President of the Kiwanis-sponsored Aktion Club, she leads a group of disabled individuals committed to serving the community. As a leader in People First, an organization dedicated to empowering the disabled through self-advocacy, she inspires others to act. She donates her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from hair loss due to cancer. She skis. She lives. She thrives. And so much more.
This is why we do it.
For Brittany.
This is why, for the past 25 years, Mountain Shadows has hosted its premier fundraising event, the Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament and Spa Experience. For Brittany, and all of the individuals we serve.
And we are able to serve them because of those who support us.
And that makes us feel good in our hearts.
So to all of our generous supporters, participants, donors, volunteers, committee members, and staff – for everything they did to make our  25th Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament and Spa Experience a success, we say, “Thank you!”
Tournament Sponsors:  Union Bank, Mountain View Services, Inc.
Open Sponsors: Ron’s Pharmacy Services, HUB International, Bel Air Investment Advisors
Dinner Sponsor: Golden West Management, Inc.
Donors:  Coca-Cola, Jason Mraz, Pizza Port, Curves|Jenny Craig, AEG WorldWide, Dr. Brooner’s Magic Soaps, San Diego State, Easy Turf, Indian Joe Brewing, Melin Brand, Angels & Airwaves, Jägermeister, Booze Brothers Brewing Co., San Diego Museum of Man, Solace, Dolce at the Highlands, Susan Weller, Kimberly King, Jacqueline S. Felton, Shea Family, Kristen Weller, Rachel Marie Baxter, Carlos Ash, Tanya Joyner, Sean & Erin Amirkhiz, Eve Salis, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, La Jolla Shores Hotel, The New Children’s Museum, The Santaluz Club, Murder & Mayhem, Callaway, Body Beautiful Car Wash, Preston’s, Wine & Canvas, San Diego Rep., San Diego Padres, Romeo and Julieta Wine Bar, PRP Wine International, To The Stars, UVC International
Tee Sponsors: Union Bank, Mountain View Services, HUB International, Ron’s Pharmacy Services, Bel Air Investment Advisors, Golden West Management Inc., Ken Stern & Associates, Considine & Considine, Irwin Siegel Agency Inc., The Zenith, Family of Mickey Lawlor, Dr. Howard & Barbara Milstein-La Jolla Dermatology, Neal Stehly, CREA, LLC, Beyond Limits-Mountain Shadows.
Social Sponsors:  Marshall & Yuko Hung Foundation, J. Serrato’s Landscaping, Golden Boy Mobility, John & Barbara Cambon, Ontario Refrigeration Services, Keven S. Harold, DDS Inc., Gerson Law Firm APC, San Ysidro Development Corporation, Phillip & Mary Joy Blackburn, Gerald D. Gamboni Trust, El Zarape Restaurant, Kimberly D. Blackwell, Janet H. Spain, Bruce Campbell, Todd Caporal, Jerry M. Olefsky, Patricia Alexander, Jay Clicksman, Joshua R. Kleeberger, Wallace & Diane Bowen, Donna Patane.
Fall Classic Committee:
Fred J. Lindahl III, Chair – Mountain Shadows Foundation
Terese Bittner-Vieaux – Mountain Shadows Support Group
Connie Corn – Mountain Shadows Foundation
Steven Cassidy – Mountain Shadows Support Group
Robert Chakarian – Chakarian & Associates, CPAs
Arlene Galvan – Mountain Shadows Support Group
Carol Haskin – Mountain Shadows Support Group
Brenda Kritser – Mountain Shadows Foundation
Dick Marrs – HUB International
John Martindale – Ailsa Capital, Inc.
Lisa Shea – Mountain Shadows Community Homes
James Swartout – Considine & Considine CPAs
Yuri Jacobo – Golden West Management, Inc.
Wade Wilde – Mountain Shadows Foundation
Golden Flight Club: 25th consecutive playing year:

Dan Marrs, John Martindale, Dutch Perry, Terry Trax and Don Vonk.

Tournament Winners:  Ryan Chessman, Darren Poznick, Erik Quade, and Patrick McCarthy.

Thanks, once again, to all of our dedicated supporters. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s tournament on Monday, October 22nd at the Santaluz Club!
Wade Wilde
Executive Director
Mountain Shadows Foundation
Please click on the link below to watch a day in the life of Brittany

Choosing Gratitude this Thanksgiving

In the Mountain’s Shadow
Lies a valley of angels
Some cannot speak …
Yet their hearts sing of untold glories
Some cannot walk …
Yet their spirits soar beyond the heavens
Some cannot see …
Yet their eyes behold the light beyond the darkness
All are miracles

Dear Mountain Shadows Family:
As the holiday season approaches, I’d like to ask you something:
How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow morning and could no longer see – see the beauty of a sunrise? Or hear the song of a nightingale? Or say the words I love you?
These are difficult questions and, if you are like me, your first thoughts might be of despair, of loss, of sadness.
And if it was my baby, an innocent child, who would never see the light of day, who would never hear the sound of my voice, who would never walk along the ocean’s shore feeling the waves splashing at his feet, I might be beyond despair.
Yet, when I read stories like the one below, about Nicholas, who lives in Mountain Shadows Joshua House, and his mother, Susie, I realize that if we choose to look deeper, we just may find miracles rather than misery, gladness rather than grief, and wonder rather than woe in the answers to these questions.
As Nicholas and Susie’s story demonstrates, there are times in life when we must choose. We must choose whether to give up – or to give all we can, whatever the circumstances.
And how we choose to answer makes all the difference.
On this holiday of Thanksgiving, I am so grateful to Nicholas and Susie, and to all the resident angels who live in the Mountain’s Shadow, who light the way, and teach us that life is a miracle – a gift to be cherished in whatever form it takes.
And for all life, may we choose to be grateful.
From our entire Mountain Shadows Family to you and yours,
Happy Thanksgiving,

Executive Director

Riverside Adaptive Swim Program: Mother & Son Navigate Uncharted Waters
By Sheryl Wilde
Life is like a journey … 
The eyes fixed downward – it is a trait known as “sun-setting.” The most obvious trait though, is the unusually large head size.
“It was a difficult pregnancy,” says Susie Henson, Nick’s mom. “Problems were diagnosed in utero. The doctor said that if I continued the pregnancy, if my baby boy survived at all, I would be lucky to spend an hour with him.
“Nick was born with very significant hydrocephalus. His head was SO big. But I didn’t even see it. I was completely in love with Nick the minute he was born.
“It was a difficult birth. Terrifying. I was told over and over by the doctors and nurses that he would not live. But Nick’s attitude from birth was, ‘You’ve got another thing coming! I’m here!!!’ He was striving from the first minute.
… into uncharted waters for us all …
“From then on, life was completely different. But I never, not once, felt life was over. It never felt that way to me. I thought, ‘I can be upset and say life is terrible, or I can say this is an opportunity to see the world through another set of eyes. What does it look like?’
“Parents are often so concerned about having the perfect child. Nick gave me a whole different perspective on life. I hoped that somehow I could help others understand that while Nick may not look like others, he was perfect too.
“During the first year, it became clear what the future would hold. It was a tough year. Intimidating. Any infant needs a lot of care. Nick needed more. A lot more. He was having seizures. Bad seizures. And a host of other medical issues. I was a single mom. I was up all night feeding Nick and giving him medications for seizures. During the day, I was taking him to lots of doctor appointments. I also had to work a full-time job and keep my head on straight with no sleep. It was hard, but we were both OK.
“Then, when Nick was about four months old, he was diagnosed as being blind. That hit me like a ton of bricks. For me, there is so much joy in the small things in life.Seeing the sky at sunset. Seeing the stars. Seeing the green of the hills. Seeing all of that beauty brings me such joy. And then, along with everything else, the doctors told me Nick would never be able to see.
“I was devastated, barely functioning. I cried for two weeks. But then, after those two weeks, I thought, ‘Crying is no good!’ I snapped out of it. And that was the end of it. It was time to be action-oriented and positive. Being positive is a choice. I knew we could get through it. I knew we could be a good pair together.
If you become preoccupied with avoiding potential pain …
“Nick just turned 20 in October. We have had so many good years together. There have been lots of struggles – but they have been really, really good years.”
“Susie has been a life-long caregiver for Nicholas,” says Shannon Reilly, QIDP/AMountain Shadows – Riverside. “She is super devoted and passionate about him.
“Nick came to Mountain Shadows in May of 2016. He has Cerebral Palsy, a seizure disorder, and has been diagnosed with a profound intellectual disability. He’s non-verbal and non-ambulatory. He’s also cortically blind. But he can hear. He can feel. He can touch.”
“Moving Nick to Mountain Shadows was hard at first,” says Susie. “It took a year of counseling to make the decision. I had so much doubt. Did I do the right thing? Is he miserable? Does he want to tell me he wants to come home? But now I see him and he’s well-adjusted. He receives great care. He’s with similar people. The care staff is always there. It’s the right thing.
“I knew Nick was home two months after he moved into Mountain Shadows. I went to visit him at the house and everyone was there – Christopher, Lexi, Hydria, Marquez – all of his roommates. And they were all so excited to tell me all about Nick and what they had done that day. They were laughing. I could see they really cared and were interested in Nick. They could recount his day! They were keeping an eye on him.
“They all have dinner together. Everyone talks. They engage. Every time I walk in the house, everyone shouts ‘Susie!’ – like with Norm from Cheers. I love it.”
Adds Shannon, “Mountain Shadows is not just a facility to Nick and Susie. This is home – and Nick’s roommates are friends. He loves everyone and they love him.
You will miss the glory of the sunsets …
“When we started the swim program at Cove Water Park, Susie was interested and wanted Nick to participate. The Mountain Shadows Foundation agreed to pay for Nick’s lessons and purchased swim toys and pool rings for him.
“Nick normally keeps to himself. He loves attention, but doesn’t seek it out. Swimming is one-on-one. He gets so much attention – and he loves it! He loves being in the water. He did great from the very first day.
“There are so many benefits to the swim program – the sensory inputs, the feeling of buoyancy, the sounds, the social aspects.
“Since Nick has been involved in the swim program, I’ve seen positive change in his range of motion. He’s pushing to do new things. He loves being in the new environment and being around people. It’s been a very healthy change for him.
“Susie was at the pool on the first day of classes. I could tell she wanted to get in the water with Nick, so I told her she could go in. And when she went into the water, it was amazing. Nick can’t see, so he attaches to voices. When he heard his mom’s voice near him, he was so excited!
“Then, from the side of the pool, I asked Susie, ‘When was the last time you got to hold your son?’ She just stood there quietly in the water for a while, looking at me like she might cry. And she said, ‘I can’t remember.’
… on the ocean of your life …
“And then – it was so beautiful! Susie opened her arms wide and, due to the buoyancy of the water, Nick just floated right in to her outstretched arms. And she held him – she held her son in her arms again, much like she would have cradled him when he was a young boy, for the first time in more than a decade. I could see the smiles on both of their faces from all the way across the pool. They were just beaming! There was so much love between them. It was so moving. It was a great reminder of why we do what we do.”
“It was a beautiful moment for both of us,” says Susie. “Due to Nick’s condition and his size, it had been a long time since I’d been able to hold him, really hold him like that. We both needed that.
“Everyone at Mountain Shadows is incredible,” says Susie. “The care givers are amazing. I know they do what they do because it’s in their heart. That’s so evident every time I go there. It’s not about the money for them. They are there because they have genuine compassion for all of the children. I am so grateful for all they are doing for Nick. I know he’s at a good place now. I know he’s home.”
With his eyes fixed downward, Nick may never see the sun setting across the sky. His ocean, for now, may be a pool. Yet there is such glory in his life – in the sound of a voice reaching out to him through the darkness, and in the feeling of touch – a mother embracing him with love.
And he is the perfect child.
Life is like a journey into uncharted waters for us all. If you become preoccupied with avoiding potential pain, you will miss the glory of the sunsets on the ocean of your life ~ Teal Swan

A Swing for Hope

Mila loves to sing.
Thanks to you, and other supporters like you, Mila, who was born in a shower during the middle of the night to a 13-year-old girl who didn’t even know she was pregnant, is alive now.
Thanks to your support, this beautiful little girl, who was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain hemorrhage – this little girl who no one thought would survive – is walking and talking and thriving now!
Thanks to your support, Mila received the loving and specialized care she needed – physical and occupational therapy, advanced medical care from neurologists, ophthalmologists, audiologists, and more – from Mountain Shadows.
Thanks to your support, Mila is with her forever family now. Her life is filled with hope. She’s a happy young girl, bursting with energy – and she just loves to sing!
And thanks to your support, she has good reason to.
Please click on the link below to hear more about Mila and hear her song of hope.
Thanks to your support, we help children like Mila achieve their greatest potential each day.
We invite you to help us help others, like Mila, by joining us at our 25th Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament & Spa Experience Monday, October 23, 2017, at the exclusive Santaluz Club in San Diego. Please click on this link to register today.
We look forward to seeing you Monday, October 23rd at the Santaluz Club!  Your support will help give hope to all those we serve.
Wade Wilde
Executive Director
Mountain Shadows Foundation
Tournament Sponsors
To learn more about our sponsors click on their logo below.
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An Act of Giving Generates Love and Likes


An Act of Giving Generates Love and Likes
By: Sheryl Wilde
Who’s the “World’s Cutest Guinea Pig”?  If you follow the latest celebrity animals on the internet (and who doesn’t?) you may already know these four-legged legends:
  • Boo the Pomeranian – touting two books, a calendar and a stuffed animal line, Boo has amassed more than 7 million friends on Facebook.
  • Grumpy Cat has racked up over 11 million YouTube hits, a Forbes interview, and a spot on The Today Show since her photo was posted on Reddit. Grumpy Cat also has a book and her own website.
  • Tillman the Skateboarding Dog is a droopy-faced bulldog with the soul of Tony Hawk.  Tillman holds the Guinness World Record for “fastest 100 meter on a skateboard by a dog” and starred in both an Apple ad and a commercial for Armstrong Flooring. His video has now been watched nearly 21 million times.
Well, the dogs – and cats – have had their day we say!  And who’s the newest celebrity animal on the block?  It’s a cream-colored cavy named Booboo – a guinea pig who already has over 17,000 followers on Instagram.
Now, some have called Booboo the “World’s Cutest Guinea Pig” but we beg to differ.  You see, Olive House has just adopted the most adorable guinea pig on the planet.
Sure the American Blonde, Booboo, is cute in her hipster glasses and has flowers in her hair, but Fozzy, our gentle, golden-furred rodent is much more than just fluff.
“Olive is the largest house on campus,” says Jennifer Velazquez, RC, Olive House.  “We have 13 residents and they are considered more medically fragile than all of our other Mountain Shadows residents.  Many are non-verbal and about half can’t eat on their own and require G-Tube feeding.”
Finding new and effective ways to serve the Olive House population, to connect with them, to enrich their lives, is ever on our minds at Mountain Shadows.  And when Fozzy, the white-nosed guinea pig was first introduced to our resident, Vickie, we knew we were on to something – something really good!
“Vickie is non-verbal and doesn’t interact with others much,” says Trisha Brodd, QIDP.  “When she saw Fozzy, she got so excited, she squealed and started laughing.  That was huge!  Now Vickie and Fozzy are best friends.  Vickie and all of our non-verbal residents love touching him and holding him.
“Johanna loves to sit on the recliner with Fozzy in her lap.  The residents and staff really care about him and have bonded with him.”
“My best friend for 20 years, Trina Manes, and her family, generously donated Fozzy to us,” says Stacy Sullivan, Director of Operations.    “He’s become our Mountain Shadows mascot.  It’s been really fun to watch the residents holding him, wanting to take care of him.”
“Fozzy was born to a family in Descanso and given as a gift to my parents,” says Trina.  “When my parents had to move, Fozzy became part of our family.  As the kids have become older, and more involved in sports and school activities, we had less time for him.  He is very social- he would talk to me every morning and gives great Eskimo kisses. I felt he needed more interaction and attention than we could provide. I struggled with giving him to just anybody though as he is a special animal.
“While sharing my pet woes with Stacy, she had the great idea of bringing Fozzy to Mountain Shadows.  She shared the new campaign “Because I care” and thought Fozzy could be incorporated into this idea. Fozzy would not only provide companionship for the residents but also encourage their participation by allowing them to care for another living being.

“It was a little bit of a hard sell to my children initially. But after visiting the homes and meeting some of the residents, we all knew Mountain Shadows would be a perfect fit for Fozzy.

“We couldn’t be happier with his new family at Mountain Shadows.”

“Fozzy was a little shy at first,” says Jennifer. “But he got used to all of us quickly.  Now he loves being held and he’s very spoiled.  He has his own fenced area outside where he plays in the grass.  We all give him lots of treats.  He absolutely loves bell peppers and grapes.  He doesn’t want to eat his guinea pig food anymore.  I think he’s gained a little weight.”
So, sure, Booboo is cute with her heart-shaped glasses and flowers in her hair, but Fozzy is all that – and so much more.  He wiggles his nose and makes Vickie laugh.  He purrs when Steve pets him.  He runs barefoot through the grass for Andrea as she watches from her wheelchair and squeals with delight.  And he chills in the La-Z-Boy with Johanna at the end of a busy day.
Fozzy makes everybody smile.
So move over Boo, and Grumpy Cat, and Tillman, and even Booboo too – because Fozzy’s the World’s Cutest Guinea Pig in our eyes, and the most loved too.
Help us raise awareness about Mountain Shadows and make our Fozzy the newest internet sensation – click on the icons at the beginning of the story to like, share, and tweet his story and pictures with everyone you know!
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th.
Shop at and Amazon will
donate to Mountain Shadows Support Group!
Please click below.
Mountain Shadows Support Group 
970 Los Vallecitos Blvd., Suite 240 | San Marcos, CA  92069

Eagle Transportation: Making Christmas Wishes Come True

By: Sheryl Wilde
The shiny new Mercedes-Benz convertible crashed into the wall of Laurel Park house as Marquez squealed with glee.
The car hit the wall again.
Then, his eyes bright, lost in a world of his imagination, he revved the engine, screeching out a tight 360 with the remote-controlled car.
Many of you may know Marquez, who suffers from Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. He’s wheelchair bound but nothing can contain his free-wheeling, live life to the fullest spirit. He loves fast cars, baseball, and his older brother Maurice, who is afflicted with the same disease. The brothers were orphaned several years ago when both of their parents died within a month of each other. They were moved to Mountain Shadows soon after.
If all wishes came true, Marquez would be able to stand on his own, pick up the keys to a real Mercedes and walk on his own two legs to the car, then get in and DRIVE!
Unfortunately, due to the debilitating effects of Duchenne’s, Marquez will never be able to do a simple thing like drive a car. But that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming.
When he was a boy, like most boys, he played with toy cars and pushed them along the carpet mimicking the engine’s roar – VROOM! VROOM! And he dreamed of being free to drive – drive to his heart’s desire on the open road with the top down. And with his imagination on fire, he could almost feel the warmth of the sun on the back of his neck as he drove. He could almost see his girlfriend’s long blonde hair blowing gently in the wind as they cruised down the 101. And he would smile and laugh, and sometimes his heartbeat would even quicken as he played with those cars, because the story playing out in his imagination felt so real.
Like many young men his age, Marquez still dreams of sports cars and speed. In fact, when asked what he wanted for Christmas this year, he had but one wish – a remote-controlled toy car. It had to be remote-controlled because he can no longer get down out of his wheelchair to push the car along the floor.
Thanks to Eagle Transportation, his Christmas wish has been granted and Marquez is now driving in his dreams.
“I received a call from Marie Miltimore at Eagle Transportation a few weeks before Christmas,” says Janet Steen, Mountain Shadows – Riverside.  “She said they’d like to buy all of our kids something for the holiday. I was so excited for our kids! To me this is huge that someone who had never even seen our kids wanted to buy presents for them all. This rarely happens for our children. It’s truly a blessing.”
Truly a blessing, especially for Marquez, who otherwise most likely would not have received anything for Christmas.
Says Tom Holt, owner of Eagle Transportation, about why they contacted Mountain Shadows to make this incredible gift, “I love kids. I love ’em point blank. If my wife and I were younger, we would adopt every one of the children at Mountain Shadows. We’ve always been close to our own kids. We’ve devoted our lives to our kids to be honest. And we like to do it. A lot of people, when they have kids, take one big, fancy vacation each year. We do everything as a family – camping, desert riding, school activities, everything. We stayed active and involved with our children every day. And we enjoyed it.
“We started Eagle Transportation about 15 years ago. Since that time, we’ve grown into a multi-million dollar company that provides a wide variety of trucking and transportation services throughout the L.A. basin. We believe it’s important to take time out of life to make someone else happy, someone who can’t do it for themselves. I think if more people took time out to do this, it would be a very nice world.
“I’ll just tell you that I’m a very kindhearted person. Anyone would tell you that. I know I can’t take my money with me, so I try to share it and make as many people happy as possible. That’s probably why I’ll never be rich.
“We started doing this about 4 years ago. We have an army truck and it’s all decorated with lots of lights for Christmas. We started out caroling in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Then we started visiting Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in San Bernardino. We park the truck and play Christmas music for the children. Santa and his elves, my grandchildren, are there. We hand out lots of gifts. The kids really enjoy it. We learned about Mountain Shadows through Totally Kids.
“This year, Mike Rodgers and Brandon Myers of Hi-Way Safety in Chino partnered with us. Procast Products donated toys. They are all very loving people.”
“It was rainy and cold on the night Tom and Brandon delivered the toys,” adds Janet. “But as they were taking the toys off the truck, they were both smiling the whole time. I think Tom is a big kid at heart. He likes toys and he loves giving.
“Thanks to Tom and Eagle Transportation, all of our Mountain Shadows kids had a fun and great Christmas, especially Marquez!”
The Mercedes slammed into the wall again.
Marquez maneuvered it back to the center of the room, still lost in his beautiful dream – where his feet can press the gas pedals, where his hands can turn the steering wheel, where he can drive in the sun with the top down, feeling the wind dance across his thick black hair.
Thank you, Eagle Transportation, for making this Christmas wish come true for Marquez – and all of our children at Mountain Shadows – Riverside. Because you took time out to do this, our children’s world is a little bit nicer.
Tom Holt, you are a very kindhearted person. And we will tell everyone that.
To help Mountain Shadows residents like Marquez continue
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