70 Wishes

Kids waiting on their wishes from Strata Credit Union

70 Wishes - Our 70th anniversary community giving campaign

70 wishes for 70 years of service in Kern County

In celebration of our 70th Anniversary, Strata CU fulfilled 70 wishes benefiting local individuals and organizations in need.

We wanted to do something special in celebration of our 70th anniversary that encompasses the foundational philosophy of the credit union movement. Credit Unions have always been about “people helping people.” With the help of our community, we will grant a total of 70 wishes for individuals or organizations that are in need right here in our community whose wishes will be submitted by someone on their behalf.

— Brandon Ivie, CEO

Wish #70!

For wish #70… our final wish in celebration of our 70th anniversary, we teamed up with KGET TV-17 and The Bakersfield Homeless Center to help bring joy to three local families just in time for Christmas.

The Bakersfield Homeless Center recognized three families who were once living at the center and have since transitioned into their own homes, now making it on their own.

We were provided wish lists for each family member consisting of toys, clothing, household items, basic necessities and last but not least, a Christmas tree that they could decorate and call their own.

Our hearts are filled with joy. Each one of our team members treasured this special experience. We met three wonderful families and got the opportunity to share what Christmas is all about with each of them.

See the videos, in our comments, of our visits with the first two families. Be sure to tune in to KGET-TV 17 on Christmas Eve to watch the conclusion of our 70th wish when we visit with our third and final family before Christmas.

In the spirit of the season, we would like to thank our community for 70 wonderful years. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

KGET coverage of Strata’s 70 Wish!

Wish #69! - Healing Through Music Therapy – a Gift from the Employees at Mercy Hospitals

As we near the end of our year-long 70th anniversary community giving campaign, (70 Wishes) we’re amazed yet again by just how caring and generous our community is. The recipient of Wish #69 is the Friends of Mercy Hospital Foundation’s music therapy program. However, this wish is truly a nod to the generosity of Mercy Hospital employees, who have funded their music therapy program in its entirety through employee giving.

38% of all Mercy Hospital Employees contribute to worthy causes such as this one. Mercy Hospital of Bakersfield became the first hospital in our community to hire certified music therapists. Currently, the therapists work 9-10 hours per week playing mostly guitar, as they travel from patient room to patient room. Each week, the therapists share stories such as walking into a patients room who has uncontrolled pain, and leaving when the patient is resting comfortably. It’s not uncommon that a patient nearing end of life benefits from a favorite worship song to bring the patient and family peace.

Music therapists understand that music is a form of sensory stimulation, and it provokes certain emotions and memories. The therapists use this in a therapeutic context to invoke security, a reduction of stress, management of pain, lifting of emotions, and sometimes just a meaningful moment spent creating something fun.

Wish #69 was a special wish for us as they hit the nail on the head with their “people helping people” spirit. A member of their team submitted a wish to help boost funding for the program. We want to thank all of the employees at Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield who have contributed to many wonderful causes that benefit our community just as this music therapy program has. If you’d like to help support the Friends of Mercy Foundation please donate at:…/donate-online

Wish 69

Wish #68 – Assisting the Jingle Bell Club (and Santa) in Creating a Christmas to Remember for Local Children

The Jingle Bell Club is a local non-profit organization that is committed to providing new shoes, gifts & creating a memorable Christmas experience for first graders of underprivileged schools in the Bakersfield area.

This wish was submitted by Yvonne Chambers who told us that “Many of the children that the program serves wear worn and tattered shoes, often not fitting properly. The thrill of receiving their own new pair of shoes is more exciting for these children than receiving a new toy.” The Jingle Bell Club (JBC) was the vision of a neonatologist, Dr. Sudhir Patel, who wanted to bring his fondest childhood memories of sponsored Christmas parties to fruition for some of the children he saw in his practice. After a few conversations with co-neonatal practitioners (RNs, RTs, etc.), the JBC was born!

The first party was 10 years ago at College Heights Elementary School. The Jingle Bell Club and “Santa” brought Christmas to approximately 150 first graders. Santa not only brought presents, but also personalized stockings stuffed to the brim with goodies and Christmas cookies ready to decorate. The cafeteria was converted into Santa’s workshop complete with a Christmas tree, wrapped gifts & all the decor of the North Pole! Dr. Patel stationed himself behind a camera ensuring that every child had a photo of him or herself on Santa’s lap to commemorate the party.

Many children have said these were the only Christmas celebrations they would experience. These statements encouraged the JBC to work hard and grow that small party of 150 kids to this years’ party of nearly 500 kids in two private hangers at the airport!

When Dr. Patel was asked “why first graders?” he said, “Because they still believe. They still believe in Santa & the Magic of Christmas.” We are happy to keep this tradition alive and wish each and every child in our community a Magical Christmas. For more information please visit

Jingle Bells Wish

Wish #67 - Building the Next Generation of United States Marines

Earlier this year a wish was submitted by retired County Veteran’s Services Director Dick Taylor, requesting funding to help a few brave young boys and girls attend Devil Pups camp in the summer at Camp Pendleton US Marine Corps base.

The Devil Pups Youth Program for America, which emphasizes “Growth Through Challenge,” was founded in 1954 and strives to develop in its participants qualities of good citizenship, self-control, confidence, personal discipline, teamwork and respect for others, their family and their country. United States Marines were given the name “Devil Dogs” in World War I by enemy troops they were fighting due to their accomplishments on the battlefield and “never give up” spirit. The Devil Pups name is derived from this rich Marine Corps history. Any healthy, non-delinquent boy or girl, age 14 to 17 may become a Devil Pup through a physically demanding application process.

Devil Pups participate in running and other physical conditioning exercises, first aid, organized recreation, jumping into a swimming pool from a 25 foot tower, a bivouac, swimming, conditioning hikes in steep terrain, and close order drill. Devil Pups attend educational lectures from military and civilian role models and the values of leadership. The program culminates with an impressive graduation at the School of Infantry parade deck, with family and friends present. Kern County typically sends approximately 30 boys and girls to the encampment each summer. There is no other program quite like this in the United States.

STRATA’s wish funding, along with the generous support from other local business and personal donors, will help send another class of Devil Pups to camp in 2020.

To learn more about our local Devil Pups, follow them at

Thank you Dick Taylor, not only for this program, but for all the work you continue to do for our local veterans. We are truly honored that you reached out to us.

Devil Pups Wish

Wish #66 - Fostering a Love for the Arts through Dance – Bakersfield City Ballet

Bakersfield City Ballet is a local non-profit whose mission is to be Bakersfield’s premier pre-professional ballet company by inspiring and enriching their community with performances and fostering a love for the arts in youth through dance.

The organization serves as a training program that provides its members with higher education and the experience necessary for them to transition from studio training to a professional career. Many of their performers are also featured in the annual local production of The Nutcracker.

The Bakersfield City Ballet contributes to the development of Bakersfield’s rich culture by bringing the beauty of dance to more lives through annual performances. This wish will help provide necessary funding to offset costs of local performances, costumes and educational programs.

As a non-profit organization, Bakersfield City Ballet relies on the generosity of our community to continue to build a strong presence for dance and the arts in our community. They believe everyone should have access to the performing arts as a participant or patron, knowing that exposure in any capacity can leave one feeling inspired.

The BCB’s largest fundraiser of the year is their upcoming Beer and Ballet event that will be held at Lengthwise Brewery at 7700 District Blvd from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on January 31st. Last year’s event sold out! For ticket information please call 661-675-3842. To help support their cause, please visit:

Ballet Wish

Wish #65 – All is CALM, All Is Bright…at the California Living Museum

Since 1983, the California Living Museum has displayed and interpreted native California animals and plants for education, conservation and research. CALM also operates the most extensive wildlife rehabilitation center in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and more than 20,000 students in our community participate in on-site programs at the museum every year.

Visitors to CALM also have the opportunity to experience the all-volunteer Central California Children’s Railroad and the Condor Challenge, a low and high ropes course and climbing tower that is used for team building and leadership training.

CALM relies on donations to support native wildlife conservation, research and their educational efforts. Did you know you can adopt an animal or create a lasting memory for someone at CALM by placing a tribute in an area of your choice? When you adopt one of CALM’s non-releasable animals or place a tribute, you are helping provide food, shelter and veterinary care, while also actively supporting California’s premier native zoo and garden.

One holiday tradition that simply can’t be missed is the annual Holiday Lights event at CALM that is going on now through January 4th! Holiday Lights features creative animated displays and a wonderful musical tree show. The display features more than 3 million colorful lights and has been voted Bakersfield’s Best Annual Event. Tickets can be purchased at the gate: Adults are $12, Seniors 60+ and youth 13-17 are $10, Kids 3-12 are $6 and Children under 3 get in for free.

Thank you to museum supporter, Courtney Clerico, for submitting this special wish on behalf of CALM. For more information about the programs of CALM, to volunteer or adopt an animal, please visit them at To donate directly to the program, please visit:

Calm Wish

Wish #64 – Ensuring Every Foster Child In Kern County Receives a Gift for Christmas

The Holiday Cottage, organized by the Kern County Department of Human Services, is a holiday toy drive with one simple goal, to provide a Christmas gift for each child in the foster care system in Kern County. The Holiday Cottage relies on the generosity of Kern County’s citizens and businesses to fill the wishes of each child in the system.

Visitors to the cottage will step into a warm and cozy living room decorated for the holidays. Along the walls they will see wish lists, one for each foster child in our community. The list will show the child’s first name, age, gender, and wishes. Donors are encouraged to browse, take a wish from the wall, and return with an item from the list.

This simple act of giving a little can have tremendous impact on a foster child who might otherwise be feeling lonely during the holidays. “There is not a more difficult time than the holidays for a child to be without their families,” said Dena Murphy, director of the Department of Human Services. “This is something that makes them feel cared for.” For STRATA’s Wish #64, we are supporting the Holiday Cottage by selecting some of the more “difficult” wishes that otherwise may not be fulfilled. Also, on Thursday, December 5th, STRATA employees will be volunteering at the cottage all day. We invite all of our members and followers to come out and see us, take a wish, and include a local foster child on your holiday shopping list.

The Holiday Cottage is located inside the Rosedale Village Shopping Center (near the Studio Movie Grill) at 2681 Calloway Drive Suite 314 and is open 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily 7 days a week, beginning Monday, December 2nd through Monday, December 16th, 2019.

For more information please contact The Kern County Department of Human Services’ Outreach & Communications Team at 661.631.6600.

Holiday Cottage Wish

Wish #63 - A Pro Scooter for Scotty

8-year-old Scotty Harper has been riding scooters competitively since he was 6 and is now making a name for himself in the scootering world and currently holds First Place in 5 states, in his division.

Scotty’s Mom Jessica submitted a wish on behalf of her son with the hope that he’d get a new pro scooter or helmet. She told us that not only is he continuously outgrowing or burning through his scooters and equipment but that it was becoming quite expensive staying on top of the costs of competing in general. She went on to say that Scotty was a straight-A student and that it was Scotty’s dream to become a pro scooter rider one day.

We learned that Scotty was getting ready for a big competition in Las Vegas and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to surprise him a pro scooter, new knee pads and a helmet. We wish Scotty the best of luck! Go ScottyBird!

Scotty Wish

Wish #62 - Golden Empire Gleaners - Alleviating Hunger For Those In Need

Many of us will celebrate the year’s bounty with a feast on Thanksgiving Day this week. Meanwhile the Golden Empire Gleaners will provide food to over 1,000 local hungry families & individuals. “Gleaning” is the Biblical tradition of allowing the poor to gather leftover grain from a farmer’s field after the harvest. The Golden Empire Gleaners continue a modern form of this tradition today by collecting & distributing food & agricultural products that might otherwise go to waste.
Our team visited the Gleaner’s facility and took the tour with Executive Director, Glen Ephrom. We learned quite a bit on our tour:
• They receive no government funding. This enables them to accept & distribute food with minimal bureaucracy.
• They are efficient.
• They help anyone in need. Folks can simply volunteer & receive a hot meal and a week’s worth of food- with no judgement & no red tape.
• They have an outstanding support network that includes corporate partnerships, grocery stores, farms, fundraising events, food drives, & more.
• The food donations that come through their door are often generous, but they do not always match the needs of the community. Mr. Ephrom shared with us that the shelter recently received 38,000 lbs. of strawberries. He then showed us what appeared to be two tons of canned tomato sauce. It would be nice to have a little pasta and fresh garlic to go with that!

With these factors in mind, STRATA was more than happy to fulfill their request for a monetary donation. This funding will help the Gleaners fill in donation gaps, operate smoothly, & complete their mission.

To support the Gleaners or learn more, please go to their website at
Their next fundraiser is “Rhythm and Roots” on February 27th, 2020 at Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace. Ticket and sponsorship opportunities are available on their website.
Thank you Glen and staff for submitting such a timely and impactful wish!

Gleaners Wish

Wish #61 - The Cat People – Helping find Purrfect Homes for Abandoned Cats

The Cat People is a local non-profit that has been committed to reducing the cat overpopulation through spay/neuter programs and compassionately managing feral cat colonies in Kern County since 1990.

Since inception, The Cat People have grown to become an integral part of many other programs in our community that are designed to help animals in general including the Make Kern No Kill coalition. This organization is made up of non-profits and local shelters that work together to educate pet owners and reduce the euthanasia rate in our community. Spay/neuter, adoption and educational events are part of an ongoing effort of the coalition to promote more responsible pet ownership.

Today, efforts made by The Cat People, include a variety of programs that are 100% run by volunteers. Their Hart Park Program sends teams of trained volunteers to monitor and care for over 150 abandoned and feral cats that live in the park. They feed, trap, treat, and try to find homes for the strays. Other programs include the Spay Today Voucher Program, Food Assistance Program, Foster Care Program, Trap, Neuter and Return Trap Free Rental Program to name a few.

All efforts made by The Cat People cost the program thousands of dollars each year that are paid for by donations to the program. If you’d like to foster a cat, become a volunteer or provide food and supplies, please contact them at: 661-327-4706.

The wish submitted in support of The Cat People asked us to help with kitten food, cat food and a donation to their adoption program.

To donate, please visit: Visit their website or Facebook page for information about all of their programs! Together we can help make these cats feline good!

Cat Wish

Wish #60 - Links for Life – The Power of Pink

Since 1992, Links for Life has been a driving force in providing breast cancer awareness and services for women in our community that are coping with cancer.

The nonprofit has been committed to challenging each woman in Kern County to be aware of her breast health and to providing breast health awareness to the general public.

A wish was submitted on behalf of Links for Life by Susan Hopkins, stating that they needed funding for their Grocery Card Program. “A breast cancer diagnosis presents a wave of uncertainties, hardship, and strain. Links for Life works to help the entire family unit return to a sense of stability and normalcy,” said Susan.

Links for Life has invested more than $8 Million into our community via, mammograms, ultrasounds, wigs, services and outreach events over the past 27 years. In 2018 alone, over 200 mammograms and ultrasounds were funded and 249 cancer patients were fitted for wigs or head covers. There is so much more that this organization does to help support families affected by breast cancer.

A favorite annual fundraising event is their “Love Links Luncheon.” The next event will be held on February 13, 2020 at the Crystal Palace. For more details on this and all of their upcoming events please visit:
To support the efforts of Links for Life, please donate at:

Link Wish

Wish #59 - A Date Night for 12 Resource Family Parents

As many people know, parenting is hard work and parents occasionally find that they could benefit from a break sometimes. Dinner and movie, a babysitter, and a night on the town with no kids can refresh the body and recharge the mind. This is especially true for the generous and hardworking resource families who not only care for their own children, but also open their hearts and their homes to take in foster children.

With this idea in mind, Ashley Thompson of Pathway Family Services submitted a wish on behalf their agency’s resource families. She told us: “These families do so much for the children that have been placed in their homes that they often don’t take time to have a night out or enjoy a date night with their spouse.” We agree. These families deserve break! STRATA recently fulfilled this wish by providing 12 Date Night kits that include dinner and a movie that will be distributed to Pathway Services’ resource families.

Pathway Family Services is a local, faith-based, foster care and adoption agency whose vision is to reach an abused and abandoned generation with help, hope, and healing. To learn more about Pathway Family Service’s mission, or to gain information on how you can become a resource family, adopt a child, or to donate, please visit them at or call 661-325-2570. Send email inquiries to [email protected].

To Pathway’s resource families, we hope you enjoy your much deserved night out, and thank you for opening your hearts and homes!

Pathway Wish

Wish #58 - A Sister’s Wish for the Safety of her Sibling

Property crimes occur far too often. At StrataCU, we recognize that this affects our members every day. Theft, vandalism, & damages from uninsured hit-and-run drivers can be especially hard on working families of modest means. Imagine that you are getting by, you’re paying all your bills, and then one morning you wake up to find your car windows smashed & few personal items stolen out of your car. Could you afford to pay your deductible, get a rental car, and/or take unpaid time off from work? For many of our members the answer is no. We see this all too often, as members are forced to overdraft or borrow to get back on their feet after an incident.

One Strata member recently had this happen to her not once, but 3 times! DeeAnn B. submitted this wish on behalf of her twin sister Lee Ann, “She is a single mom, raising her daughter on her own, & working full time…” DeeAnn went on to explain that her sister was recently victimized by auto vandalism & two parked-car accidents involving uninsured drivers all within the span of a few weeks.

We believe that this was not just bad luck. This situation is an ongoing risk that needs to be managed. With one child having moved out of the house recently, the sisters worked to clean out Lee Ann’s garage so that she could store her car in her garage. STRATA’s team purchased a motorized garage door opener and made arrangements for professional installation. In addition, we provided her with a Ring doorbell to add another layer of security to their home & garage.

Today Lee Ann will wake up to a car parked safely in her garage and go to work with a little less to worry about & her twin DeeAnn, will have more peace of mind knowing that her sister is safer.

While we cannot afford to install home security for everyone, we can offer ideas to make your home safer. Keep your lights on. Get to know your neighbors, and their vehicles. Be observant. Report suspicious persons & activity to law enforcement & if feasible, on the Nextdoor app. Thanks DeeAnn for this heartwarming wish to provide your sibling with a more secure environment.

Sisters WIsh

Wish #57 - Bringing STEAM to the Students at Lamont Elementary in Celebration of National STEAM Day

The Lamont Elementary School Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) Club was formed by teachers, Angelina Fernandez, Angelica Perez, and Marymar Salazar, whose dream was to provide students with a more modern learning environment. Through after school STEAM activities, Kinder – 3rd graders are actively engaged in robotics, coding, green screen production, and hands-on learning that provide an enriching education beyond the regular hours of a school day.

This wish was submitted by a fellow educator who wanted to help the club, in its first year, acquire equipment that is essential to a STEAM learning environment. Such early exposure to STEAM lessons will introduce students to possible career paths anchored in the arts and sciences.

Originally a small agricultural community, The Weedpatch farm labor camp depicted in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath is located just 2 miles south of Lamont. Many parents in the community continue to make their living in farm labor. Lamont has remained strongly connected to its agricultural roots and the students participating in the STEAM program now have a better understanding of the science, technology and engineering behind agriculture.

We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for these children and their community. For more information about the Lamont School District please visit:

Lamont Wish Photo

Wish #56 - A Thanksgiving Feast to Remember for the Children of CASA

Since the summer of 1994, CASA of Kern County (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children) has filled a special role in serving the needs of abused and neglected children in our community. Through the use of highly trained volunteers, the CASA program seeks to provide every child who needs an advocate with a voice in the juvenile court process. These special volunteers are often able to provide more detailed and objective information about their children’s cases than social workers and court officers can.

A wish was submitted on CASA’s behalf that asked for us to help provide a special Thanksgiving Feast to remember for 50 CASA children, their siblings, and their volunteer advocates. The holidays are extra hard for CASA’s children due to them being separated from their families. Foster care can be a lonely place. Think about being a young child and spending the holidays in a stranger’s home! CASA believes bringing these children together for this celebration will provide them a little bit of normalcy during this difficult time. They hope to send the children a clear message, that they are loved and that their lives are of value.

CASA of Kern County relies on volunteers, corporate sponsorships, and community fundraisers to meet its goals. To date, CASA has served 3,004 children. Currently, CASA has 116 Advocates serving 224 children. To learn more about CASA, check out their website or follow them on social media


If you’re interested in a fun way to support CASA, consider lacing up your running shoes, slipping into a superhero costume, and hitting course at the annual CASA Superhero Run this Saturday November 9th, 2019 . Online registration is still available at

Wish #55- Celebrating our Veterans and the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion Post #26

The American Legion Post 26 of Bakersfield was chartered on August 7th, 1919 and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year along with their 100th Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 11, 2019.

Post 26 was formed to serve as a patriotic veteran’s organization that is devoted to mutual helpfulness. Its success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. They are committed to mentoring and sponsorship of local youth programs in our community, they advocate patriotism and honor, and provide continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

This wish was submitted by Cathy Butler of the Downtown Business Development Corporation (DBDC) for Strata to help offset costs for the annual Veterans Day Parade and to provide volunteers to help the Legion on Veterans Day.

Before the parade on Monday morning, the American Legion Post 26, wants to start this Veterans Day off by serving those who’ve served our country. The tenth annual breakfast provided by the Kern Law Enforcement Association (KLEA) is for Veterans, but everyone is welcome to attend. Breakfast will be served from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the American Legion Hall at 2020 H Street. Veterans eat free and non-military guests are encouraged to donate $5.

The Bakersfield Veterans Day Parade takes place at 10:00 a.m. at 22nd and L Streets.

We got an opportunity to visit with Commander David Graham and previous Commander Mick Edmondson recently, who shared many stories of the wonderful things their organization has accomplished over the past 100 years and we are certainly proud to support their cause.

American Legion Post 26


For more information about the American Legion Post #26, please visit: To help support the efforts of the American Legion Post #26, please call 661-323-7875 to volunteer, donate or sign up to attend a number of regular fundraising events such as their Friday night steak dinners that take place the 2nd and 4th Friday every month.

Wish #54 All Eyes on Downtown as Historical Civil Rights Leader Gets a Mural

The Hub of Bakersfield, a local nonprofit founded by City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, was presented with a unique opportunity to bring world-renown muralist Andres “Cobre” Iglesia from Argentina to Bakersfield for downtown’s latest mural at 18th and L Streets. Funding from Strata’s 70 Wishes and other local organizations, helped bring this project to fruition.

The mural will be complete this evening and pays homage to American labor leader, Cesar Chavez, a figure whose roots lay in Kern County. This wish was submitted by Miranda Whitworth, a member of the board of The Hub of Bakersfield who told us “they were in need of support from our community to see this unique and special project through.”
We are so proud to support organizations that work to beautify and revitalize our community such as The Hub, The DBA, The City, our Chambers and many other wonderful organizations.

The Hub of Bakersfield is a newer nonprofit organization that is directed by local professionals and business owners. They work with the Bakersfield community to create business and investment opportunities, amenities and services with the goal of moving the city toward a vibrant and healthy urban core. They are the fiduciary arm of Second Saturday, The Innovation Lab and Be in Bakersfield.

Cobre focuses his artwork on the eyes as windows into the soul of a person, and his medium of painting starts with black and white references then moves to spray paint to make his hand-painted photo come to life.

Downtown Mural

To help support future efforts of The Hub of Bakersfield please donate at:

To view the artwork of Cobre, please visit:

Wish #53– Supporting the Preservation Efforts of the Historical Minter Field Air Museum

Minter Field was once the largest U.S. Army Air Force flight training base on the west coast during World War II. It is now a museum whose goal is to educate the public about Minter Army Air Field and Kern County aviation’s impact on local, regional and global history through preservation efforts, specialty presentations and community outreach programs.

The museum is housed in the original fire station, built at Minter Field in 1941. It is the last example of this architecture left on the field. The base was a major basic training facility where nearly 12,000 pilots received basic training. Over 7,000 personnel manned the field, both military and civilians.

The museum features a wonderful collection of models of aircraft and military vehicles. In addition, there are several recreations of historic aircraft, ships and even a German Railroad cannon. Some of the displays include people from Kern County who made historical contributions, especially during WWI and WWII.

This wish was submitted by Romona Dolan who is the founder of the California Pinups and Patriots organization that helps raise funds for the Minter Field Air Museum as well as other programs that benefit local Veterans. Romona stated that “Support from our community helps with the museum’s preservation efforts, building and grounds maintenance costs and outreach programs.”

The museum’s largest fundraiser of the year is the annual “Wings ‘N’ Wheels fly-in and car show” that benefits both the museum and the California Pinups and Patriots organization. Proceeds from the event provide support for the museum and support for local veteran’s services, active military and first responders, through the California Pinups and Patriots.

This year’s show is scheduled for this Saturday, November 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Minter Field, located at 401 Vultee Street in Shafter.Wings ‘N’ Wheels is one of the largest plane fly-in and car and motorcycle shows in Kern County and on the West Coast. There are plenty of vendors to see, food, beer and wine, museum tours, a kids zone, a James Dean tribute including a replica of Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder, courtesy Carriage Masters, a pinup contest, live music from Three Bad Jack’s and much more! Spectator admission price is $5 per person at the gate; children 6 and younger free with paid adult admission. Active military and veterans have free spectator admission with valid military ID.

Minter Field

Check out this article in Automobile Magazine that includes a photo gallery from last year’s Wings ‘N’ Wheels show at:

For more details about Minter Field, please visit:

For more information about Wings ‘N’ Wheels, please visit:

To donate to the preservation of the Minter Field Air Museum please visit:

Wish #52– Necessities for Seniors through NOR’s Meals on Wheels Program

For over 20 years, the North of the River Recreation and Park District (NOR) has been operating a Meals on Wheels program that provides hot nutritious meals to home-bound seniors in our community 250 days a year. Meals on Wheels helps the seniors participating in the program remain independent and living in their own homes by providing them with a hot nutritious meal each weekday.

The growing senior population, along with poor economic conditions is creating a growing need for Meals on Wheels. There are anywhere from 80-100 people at a given time on the waiting list and cannot be served due to inadequate funding. Today, 270 meals are prepared for local seniors at home or in one of their senior centers each day.

A wish nomination was submitted by Meals on Wheels driver Lori Hansen, for funding to help provide Christmas care packages for the seniors they serve. Lori stated “Many of the program’s seniors are on their own with no family. The meal we bring them might be the only meal they have in a day and in many cases, they lack items such as basic toiletries, warm socks and blankets. At Christmas time, we do our best to gather as many of these items as we can to make care packages for each of our seniors.”

Although the program receives federal, state and county funding for the Meals on Wheels program, the organization relies on additional funds from businesses and individuals to help serve as many people as there is a need and to help provide other necessities outside of meals when feasible.

We would like to thank NOR for providing a service that benefit so many seniors in our community. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment visiting with your staff and seniors.

Meals on Wheels

There are many ways our community can contribute! If you’d like to become a sponsor for a senior, a route or more, please visit:

If you’d like to become a volunteer, please call (661) 392-2030.

Wish #51! - Improving the Lives of those living with Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County (ADAKC) is our 51st recipient of Strata’s 70 Wishes community giving campaign. ADAKC is committed to improving the lives of Kern County residents affected by Alzheimer’s, dementia and other related disorders. They specialize in adult day care services, support groups and offer educational classes for Alzheimer’s clients and caregivers alike.

The wish submitted by Julie Juarez-Ceja, asked for support of the organizations day center and its upcoming fundraiser, The Heart Never Forgets Senior Prom. ADAKC has been serving Kern County families on the Alzheimer’s Journey for over 37 years. They are a licensed adult care center where families can confidently take their loved ones Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Their specialized, trained and educated caregivers offer brain stimulation, regular activities and provide nutritious meals to those under their care daily.

Because they are a non-profit organization, fundraising is necessary and they rely heavily on the community for support. In celebration of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month during the month of November, the organization will hold their “The Heart Never Forgets Senior Prom” from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at their facility located at 4203 Buena Vista Road in Bakersfield on Saturday, November 9th. This event is family-friendly and the goal is to celebrate all of the seniors in Kern County. Tickets are available now and are only $25.00 each. Everyone is welcome to attend and are encouraged to join the fun and wear attire from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s!

ADAKC Alzheimers

For more details about Prom and other upcoming events or to volunteer, please call (661) 665-8871 or visit:
To help support the efforts of the ADAKC, please donate at:

Wish #50! Therapeutic Art Lessons for the Students of LIFT Bakersfield

The Bakersfield Museum of Art and LIFT Bakersfield have discovered that art programs in general provide many therapeutic properties. To an at risk student, art programs instill a level of confidence, self-worth, a sense of accomplishment and have proven effective in helping keep high-risk students in school. In addition, such programs also have a correlative effect upon improved learning with scholastic content.
This wish was submitted by Celina Palacio of The Bakersfield Museum of Art on behalf of LIFT Bakersfield in an effort to make art accessible for students in lower income communities who may not otherwise be able to participate in a formalized art program. For over 60 years, the Bakersfield Museum of Art has provided outstanding exhibits and offered unique educational opportunities in the visual arts to residents of Bakersfield and our surrounding communities.
Janet Cater of LIFT Bakersfield stated that the organization provides a safe, Christ-centered, environment where at risk and low income students can receive academic support, fellowship, showers and hot meals when needed, clothing when necessary, school supplies and access to a number of other opportunities. The children are able to participate in fun activities and field trips when possible and are offered access to other services that will help them succeed.
We wish all of the students participating in this art program much success and we want to thank both The Bakersfield Museum of Art and LIFT Bakersfield for all the wonderful things they do to support the youth in our community.

LIFT Bakersfield Museum of Art

If you would like to help support the efforts of the Bakersfield Museum of Art please donate at:

Wish #49 Helping Kern High ROC Students Go Green

At Strata Credit Union we believe that there are often added benefits to going green. For instance, our downtown branch solar project will reduce our draw from California’s power grid, and it provides us with significant long term operational savings, which will be passed on to our members. Our members also seem to appreciate those extra covered parking spots on hot summer afternoons!

With this in mind, we thought that Wish #49, submitted by Lisa Krch on behalf of the Kern High School District’s Regional Occupational Center, was a particularly brilliant idea. Her wish was for startup funding to form a campus-wide recycling program. Our startup funding will go towards collection bins and professional pickup services. ROC students enrolled in the SkillsUSA Student Leadership Program will own this recycling program from start to finish. All of the paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products generated from this campus of 2,000 students will be recycled. Perhaps more importantly though, these students will learn crucial skills including responsibility, organization, communication, marketing, and environmental sciences.

As of today we are delighted to report that the Kern High School ROC student recycling program is now up and running!

Kern High ROC Recycling Program

You can follow their progress and learn more about the SkillsUSA Student Leadership Program at

Wish 48 – Ringside Seats for Jared

Jared Cheeseman is a 34 year old lifelong Bakersfield resident and a die-hard WWE wrestling fan. Like 800,000 other Americans, Jared lives with cerebral palsy. However, his condition does not stop him from keeping a positive outlook on life, going places, and enjoying his hobbies. Jared has been to a few WWE events, but due to limited mobility, he has never been able to sit ringside and get close to the action.

Cody Stone is Jared’s best friend. He often accompanies Jared to events and shows, and thus he knows how difficult it can be to get around and get good seating. With this in mind, Cody decided to nominate his best friend for a wish to attend the WWE Raw live event that took place on October 7th in Bakersfield. Cody told us that “Jared is the constant example of having a positive outlook on life and lifts up people’s spirits and mindsets when he is around them.”

We were inspired by Jared’s resilience and enthusiasm, so we wanted to make this wish happen for him. We made arrangements for two VIP ringside seats with accessibility, that included an autographed superstar photo, a ringsider drawstring bag, exclusive WWE merchandise, and a limited edition souvenir event chair at last night’s WWE Raw live event at Mechanics Bank Arena.

Thank you Cody for reaching out to us with your story. We hope you guys had a great time at WWE Raw last night. Keep on making those good times and happy life moments happen!

WWE Tickets for Jared

Wish #47 – Developing CSUB’s Future Nurses

The California Nursing Students’ Association is a statewide community advancing the transition of the student to professional nurse through leadership development, education, mentor-ship, advocacy, activism, and stewardship. They help students become nurses. California State University Bakersfield’s nursing department maintains an active local chapter.

Recently our local CSUB chapter submitted a wish requesting financial aid so that our local student nurses can attend the annual statewide CNSA convention. Attending this convention will help our local future nurses bridge the gap between the classroom at CSUB and a real emergency room. Our local CSUB delegation will also be presenting a resolution to the statewide body which may affect healthcare policies statewide.

Our community needs more nurses. At Strata Credit Union we realize the importance of developing future nurses. They might care for us one day! Thus, we are delighted to fulfill this wish.

To all of CSUB’s CNSA student members, we wish you the very best at your state convention and in your future careers!

CSUB Nursing Program

For more information about the California Nursing Students Association, visit their website at or social media

Wish #46 Toys for Tots Receives a Gift of Their Own

Toys for Tots ensure that the children living in poverty in our community will have a gift to open at Christmas. Over 28,000 children in Kern County received toys from the program last year that might not have received a gift otherwise. It is because of the generous spirit of our community that our local Toys for Tots program is able to put a smile on so many young faces each year.

Last week a news story broke stating that Toys for Tots was going to lose all of their storage units due to the sale of their long-time storage provider. Upon hearing this, Strata CU and Metro Record Storage and Shredding joined forces to provide new storage for the Toys for Tots of Kern County just in time for the kick-off of their annual toy drive. 19 storage units, supplies and the commitment to help support their kick-off event were presented to the non-profit that was almost forced to cancel the 2019 toy collection campaign altogether.

Toys for Tots will hold their official 2019 campaign kick-off on Monday, September 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at Strata Credit Union’s Downtown branch at 1717 Truxtun Avenue. All are welcome to attend! Take photos with Santa, visit with Marine Corps Reserve and take photos by the big Marines truck! Toys for Tots will be accepting toys and cash donations, distributing collection boxes and passing out plenty of swag! Sign up to be a volunteer or Toys for Tots recipient.

Toys for Tots is in need of 33 gallon heavy duty black trash bags, clear masking tape, box cutters, toys for children aged 0-2 and 10+ and new books for their literacy program.

To donate to Toys for Tots online, please visit:…/index.html…

Congratulations to Toys for Tots and thank you to our partner Metro Record Storage and Shredding for your support in making this wish come true for the organization that does so much for the children in our community.

Toys for Tots

Wish #45! - New Band Equipment for the Liberty High School Marching Patriots

Wish #45! – New Band Equipment for the Liberty High School Marching Patriots

Liberty High School opened 20 years ago, and most of the school’s band equipment is original from 1999. Their percussion equipment in particular has taken a beating over time with some of their drum sets now broken. Faulty equipment has begun to affect the Liberty Band’s ability to go out and perform live.

Band students, parents and staff dedicate a substantial amount of after school time and their personal resources so that the band can get much of what they need to perform. Thus many band programs rely on fundraising and community support.

This wish was submitted by a Marching Patriot parent who’d said that the school was in dire need of new cymbals and supporting equipment. She said that the band not only supports the arts in our classrooms, but has a long history of teaching students respect, community and pride.

We hope that this wish helps future students embrace music and the arts. Congrats and March On Patriots!

Liberty High Patriots Marching Band

Wish #44! Portrait of a Warrior Gallery Kern County - Gallery Expansion

On September 10, 2019, the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery – Kern County celebrated its one-year anniversary with a ceremony that included a fallen-hero roll call, a 21-gun salute and the unveiling of two new portraits featuring fallen war heroes from Kern County.

The gallery was built one year ago to serve as a memorial in honor of Kern County servicemen and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in wars fought post 9/11.

Co-founder and Chairwoman, Lili Marsh got the idea for the gallery when she heard an artist in Texas was painting portraits of every fallen hero in the state since 9/11. It was at that moment when she knew we could do this in Kern County and the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery Kern County was born.

Over the past year, the gallery has grown to include a resource room, a tribute to those who fell in Vietnam, a re-creation of a soldier’s camp, and now, the dream of expansion. The gallery’s Co-founder and Executive Director, Jason Geis, is a local military adviser and retired US Army Veteran. Jason submitted a wish asking for support to help the gallery in its effort to develop a robust WWII and Korean War Memorial area. We knew immediately, that we had to help them achieve this goal.

The gallery’s mission is to never let those who have sacrificed their life for our freedom be forgotten. Strata Credit Union wants to help continue this mission to uphold the dignity and honor of our local fallen and their families. We’d like to thank the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery for submitting a wish that will inspire our community to always remember.

Portrait of Warrior Picture

Wish #43! - Encouraging Positive Behavior at Van Horn Elementary

Although fostering positive behavior is an expectation placed on most all schools in our area, the staff at Van Horn Elementary have taken things a step farther by incorporating a rewards program that was designed to reinforce positive behavior.
The students follow a behavior matrix that focuses on Following directions, Leading by example, and saying Yes to success. Students are rewarded with “FLY” tickets when they demonstrate positive behavior on campus and are able to cash their tickets in on fun activities and prizes.

Many schools in Kern County have adopted the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) system at their schools with the goal of promoting positive change in student behavior. The system teaches students pro-social skills and supports behaviors consistent with a positive and safe learning environment.
The PBIS Committee at Van Horn Elementary found that they had even more success when they rewarded their students. “In order to ensure the success of PBIS, it is imperative that we reward students for displaying the desired positive behaviors that reflect a dedication to learning and citizenship,” said PBIS Committee Member, Camille Fulton. “We strongly believe in the benefit that this program offers our students and are determined to keep it going.” The school wished for funding that would help sustain the rewards program and we wish them much continued success! Go Hornets!

Van Horn Wish Photo

Wish #42! - Medical Equipment to Help Make Kern County’s Animal Shelter No-Kill

Animal abuse, overpopulation, and abandonment are significant problems here in Kern County. Local rescue organizations, veterinarians, government agencies, citizen volunteers, and foster families are often stretched to their limits and find themselves keeping up with problems rather than getting ahead of them. The Kern County Animal Services Department recognized this and submitted a wish that will benefit our community for years to come: diagnostic equipment for their in-house medical facility.

KCAS often takes in animals in poor health. Tick and flea infestations resulting in anemia, diseases, and dental decay are common. With a wish from Strata Credit Union, KCAS will purchase specialized diagnostic equipment that will allow them to immediately diagnose and treat animals in-house, rather than outsource to local veterinarians. This ability will enable them to rehabilitate more and euthanize less animals, helping them achieve their goal of becoming a “no-kill animal shelter” by the year 2020.

Funding for this equipment has historically been out of reach for KCAS since they have numerous responsibilities that often take priority including: public safety, code enforcement, disease control, licensing, stray animal calls, vaccination programs, investigation of animal cruelty, dead animal removal, promotion of spaying and neutering, public education, and operating an animal shelter. KCAS relies on private sector donations, grants, and citizen volunteers to reach their goal of saving lives. During the last year volunteers provided 30,068 hours, or the equivalent of 14.5 full time employees!

Please see the images of dogs that are currently available for adoption. If you are interested in helping KCAS, or utilizing their free and discounted services, visit their website at or call 661-868-7100. We thank the staff of Kern County Animal Services for reaching out to us with such a forward-thinking and impactful wish.

Kern County Animal Shelter Wish

Wish #41! Supporting the Educational Goals of Women in Kern County

The Miss Kern County Pageant, Scholarship Organization is a community-based pageant that fosters the educational goals of women in Kern County through faith, family, service and community.

This year, the pageant is celebrating their centennial anniversary. Pageant delegates serve a multitude of organizations during their one year commitment and give hundreds of hours back to the community completing various community service projects. The Miss Kern County Pageant has touched and served our community in various capacities for 100 years! Congratulations to all the women in our community who have earned scholarships that will help further their educational goals.

For more information about the Miss Kern County Pageant please visit their Facebook page at:

If you know an individual or organization in need of support, please nominate them online at or visit us at 4180 Coffee Road or 1717 Truxtun Ave. to submit a wish in one of our wishing wells today!

Miss Kern County Wish Photo

Wish #40! Bringing Hope and Healing to Local Teens Struggling with Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Our 40th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Teen Challenge of Kern County. Teen Challenge is celebrating 50 years of providing life-transforming support for teens in our community who struggle with substance abuse. Teen Challenge offers the most effective substance abuse recovery and prevention programs available. The organization relies upon donations to continue their mission to provide effective, solutions to drug and alcohol addiction at no cost.

The wish was for us to help support their Annual 5k for Recovery Run and Walk in celebration of National Recovery Month. Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to help celebrate the gains made by those in recovery. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

The 7th Annual 5k for Recovery Walk and Run will take place at The Park at River Walk on Saturday, September 14th at 8:00 a.m. Join us in celebrating all of the lives that have been transformed through recovery by signing up to participate or by making a donation today! Please visit:

Teen Challenge Wish Photo

Wish #39! Hungry and Humble

Anyone who lives in our wonderful community knows that the people of Bakersfield and Kern County are among the most generous people in the world. They always open up their hearts and pockets and give freely of their time to help those in need.

We were made aware of a family in need that is new to our community through a local post on the Nextdoor App. The woman who made the post stated that she and her family were “Hungry and Humble,” working hard at short term jobs to get by until her husband could start the job that brought them to Bakersfield. She asked neighbors in her area if they had canned foods they could spare to help them get by.

We were able to get in touch with the family and made arrangements to meet. Our goal was to help them with what they needed until they could get on their feet. What was also special about the meeting was learning how many neighbors from the app reached out to help, bringing them food and providing information about local resources.

There is something to be said about the giving nature of our community and this family just experienced firsthand what our community is all about.

Humble and Hungry Wish Photo

Wish #38! Vehicle Repair for NickoleRenee

Our 38th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is NickoleRenee Mensch of Bakersfield. NickoleRenee was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a power wheel chair as her primary means of transportation. She also has a van that she uses when she has to go to appointments, in which case a friend drives the vehicle that allows room for her and her power wheel chair.

She was nominated by an individual who said that “she not only uses the van so that she can get to her own appointments, but she uses it so that she can help people like her get around as well. The only trouble is, the van is in need of some maintenance and repairs and it is difficult for her to care for the van on her limited income.”

We were inspired by how NickoleRenee loves to help others and wanted to help her get her van tuned up and repaired so that she could take care of her needs and continue helping others in our community as well. Great things happen when people help people. Congratulations NickoleRenee!

Wish 39

Wish #37: A New Beverage Refrigerator for the Guild House

The Guild House/Child Guidance Guild of Bakersfield is an all-volunteer organization, which consists of approximately 200 community members. The Guild House has one goal: to raise money for the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. The Clinic provides mental and behavioral health services to children and families in Kern County.

The Guild House is a unique restaurant and event venue whose primary fundraising season is from September through June each year. All proceeds and gratuities from the restaurant are donated to the Clinic.

Over the past few years, the beverage refrigerator at The Guild House was starting to break down and they began struggling with regular maintenance bills. The refrigerator was refurbished when they purchased it over 20 years ago and it wasn’t at all energy efficient. The organization feared that their refrigerator wouldn’t make it through another fundraising season which begins in a few short weeks on September 3, 2019 this year.

Their wish? A brand new beverage refrigerator that would finally put an end to the regular maintenance fees they’d been paying. Strata purchased the commercial refrigerator locally from J&E Restaurant Supply and had them install the unit in the historical home over the weekend, just in time for fundraising season.

wish 37

We’d like to thank The Child Guidance Guild volunteers for their hard work and dedication to raising funds in support of the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. We look forward to visiting The Guild House for their gourmet lunches and invite you to join us this season. For information or to volunteer, please call (661)325-5478. To donate please visit: Their Website

For KGET’s coverage of this wish please visit:


Wish #36 Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers – Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Kern County (MADD)

Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers is a team that raises funds to support the mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. On 3/25/18, Amber Morales of Bakersfield lost her children’s father, her 14 year-old daughter Madysyn, her 19 year-old son Kaleb and her 11 year-old step-daughter. They were killed instantly by a woman under the influence of alcohol who was three times the legal limit. Amber’s son Ethan who is now 18 years-old, was the sole survivor. He lost his father and 3 siblings that day which has forever changed their lives.

Ethan suffered numerous injuries that included damage to his brain, broken femurs, ribs, forearm, wrist and fingers, collapsed lung and intestinal tears among other things. He was lucky to survive. Today they continue work on his recovery however; he has improved tremendously and is destined for great things. Ethan is now in college and has a job.

Amber, Ethan and friends created their team “Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers” to support MADD’s efforts in memory of their family members, to all those that have lost their lives and to support those who are left to live with injuries, both physical and mental.

This year’s MADD event is on Saturday, September 28th, 2019. Registration is $20 (5-18) and $25 (19 & up.) All money raised stays in Kern County and benefits Kern County victims affected by individuals driving under the influence.


Congratulations to Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers, we are proud to support your cause and thank you to all those who support Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Kern County. Bakersfield’s Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash is your chance to do something about drunk driving in our community.

For the sixth year, Kern County will come together to proclaim, “No More Victims.” For more information, to participate in the MADD Walk/Run or to donate please visit:

Wish #35! Helping Bike Bakersfield Get Back On the Road

Bike Bakersfield’s mission is “Bicycling for everyday transportation.” Among their many contributions to our community, they teach kids of all ages and skill levels how to ride a bike. They have a fleet of 10 youth-sized rodeo bikes which they bring out to the local Boys and Girls Clubs, other youth organizations, and special events across Kern County.

One recent evening, while parked at their downtown location, many of the youth-sized rodeo bikes were stolen out of the back of their truck. The thief used a saw and bolt cutters to remove multiple locks and made off with all the bikes. Unfortunately, that meant lessons at the Boys and Girls Club, as well as other events and rodeos they planned to attend would be on hold, including the much anticipated Ready-Set Back 2 School resource fair coming up on August 8th at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Strata Credit Union was made aware of this situation by the organizers of Ready-Set Back 2 School. They submitted a wish asking us to help get Bike Bakersfield back on the road in time for the Back 2 School fair.

When we saw this wish, our first thought was – who steals from a non-profit organization? Our second thought was – we need to fulfill this wish, and fast!

To learn more about Bike Bakersfield’s mission and work, to volunteer, or to donate, please visit:

Bike Bakersfield

Grizzly Cycles, a local bicycle shop, had already started an online fundraising campaign for Bike Bakersfield, so they were our first call. Owner Kevin Tally, who is a former volunteer at Bike Bakersfield, was very helpful in fulfilling this wish. He reached out to Batch Bicycles, a manufacturer of high quality everyday use bikes, and between Kevin’s wholesale buying access, Batch Bicycles support and Strata Credit Union’s donation, we were able to replace Bike Bakersfield’s entire fleet with bicycles of similar make and quality. We want to thank all of our partners for helping us make this wish possible today.

Wish #34! Feed and Supplies for Brook’s 4-H Livestock Project

Our 34th recipient of Strata’s 70 Wishes is a local 8th grade student by the name of Brook. She said she needed a little help covering the expenses of her 4-H livestock project animals that she’ll be showing at the Kern County Fair this year.

Brook has two Suffolks breed lambs named “Thor” and “Hulk” that she spends much of her time with every day. She’s raised both Hulk and Thor from birth and has been responsible for all aspects of their care from walking and feeding to vaccinating and docking their tails. She even castrated them with the help of her parents.

She told us that raising livestock has been so much fun but that it was also very challenging. Brook said that she “learns something new every day and that she believes learning and caring for livestock has helped her gain knowledge, compassion, responsibility, respect, a strong work ethic and so much more.”

Brook 4H

We wish Brook the best of luck with Hulk and Thor at this year’s Kern County Fair and hope that she continues to learn many life skills from her 4-H and livestock raising experiences.

Wish #33! A New Website for the Kern County Genealogical Society

For over 55 years the Kern County Genealogical Society has been providing free research assistance to community members at their library of historical records and books housed at Beale Memorial Library. KCGS volunteers staff their genealogical room, organizing and overseeing over 5,000 donated and/or purchased books related to genealogical records and family histories. The KCGS also works in conjunction with other community-based organizations such as: The Kern County Historical Society, Kern County Scottish Society, The Buffalo Soldiers, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of Union Veterans and other groups.

A wish was submitted by volunteers of the group on behalf of the KCGS, stating that the organization was in desperate need of an improved website. They need a site that offers custom applications providing improved member management tools, the ability to accept donations and dues directly online, the capability to send email notices to members and the public, to have an e-commerce storefront, house newsletters and research material and that greatly increases their ability to serve the community and their members with genealogical research.


While visiting the Genealogical Society, we met many wonderful volunteers who demonstrated how passionate they were about their work in preserving history and we couldn’t wait to announce that we would provide the necessary funding to make their website a reality. Congratulations to all the members of the Kern County Genealogical Society and thank you for donating your time and resources to help others with their genealogical research efforts. For membership or more information please call 661-868-0773.

Wish #32! A CPAP Cleaning Machine for Local Woman

Our 32nd recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Ms. Cynthia Peralta of Bakersfield. Ms. Peralta was nominated by Sarahi R. who told us that “Cynthia is such a kind and deserving person for a wish, she’s been saving up for a long while to purchase a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) cleaning machine, filters and some other supplies to help keep her CPAP breathing machine running in good order and to help prevent illness.”

When we met with Ms. Peralta, she was so surprised to hear that someone had submitted a wish on her behalf. Thank you Sarahi for submitting this wish for someone in need. 70 Wishes is all about “People Helping People.” Congratulations to Cynthia!


Wish #31: New Custom Stroller for Special Needs Child

Marisa and Michael Romero of Bakersfield submitted a wish nomination on behalf of their 5 year-old autistic son, stating that he was in need of a customized stroller that would provide the necessary support and safety features that he needs. Custom equipment for special needs children can be quite costly.

While visiting with Michael Jr. and his family we learned that while Michael loves to go outdoors, he’s not been able to as much simply because of the dangers associated with his current stroller. We enjoyed our visit with the family and were inspired by the love that they share and we are thrilled to fulfill this wish to help make day-to-day activities easier for them. Congratulations to Michael and the Romero family.

wish 31

Wish 30: New Advances for People with Disabilities (NAPD)

Wish #30! Our 30th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is New Advances for People with Disabilities (NAPD).  NAPD provides quality services to people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). They offer programs, advocacy, and skills that empower their clients to live more productive, rewarding and independent lives, fully integrated into the community.

A couple of months ago, staff member Crisol Jimenez introduced a yoga program to a test group of clients to see if they’d be interested and see any benefits. Now 7 weeks into the program, the staff discovered that not only were they seeing improvements in behavior but their clients are gaining strength, self-confidence, focus, weight loss and are much happier individuals overall!

The daily, one hour yoga program has become so popular with the clients, that NAPD has made the decision to grow the program to include all clients that are interested in participating. The wish was for brand new yoga mats that each participating client could call their own.


Congratulations to the staff and clients at NAPD! We wish you continued success in all of your programs! Donations allow NAPD to continue providing the best possible programs and services to one of our communities most vulnerable populations. To donate please visit:

Wish #29 Backpacks & School Supplies for Thousands of Local Children

Back to school week can be an exciting time for many students. A new backpack, a fresh haircut, a new pair shoes, or a fresh pack of pens can give children a helpful boost of confidence. Back to school week can also be stressful for children and families who lack the resources to provide these things. That is why Strata Credit Union is pitching in to help!

The Kern County Department of Child Support Services is holding its 10th Annual Ready-Set Back 2 School event on Thursday, August 8, 2019, at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Ready-Set Back 2 School is a free community health and wellness fair that helps so many local families with their back to school needs.

The event is supported entirely by local fundraising efforts by employees and sponsors who purchase all the backpacks and school supplies for our local children. The event also provides useful resources and information for education, immunizations, nutrition, medical, dental, counseling, services for the disabled, free children’s haircuts, legal services, veteran services, and so much more.


If you would like more information about donating or becoming a sponsor of Ready-Set Back 2 School, please call (661) 868-0647 or email [email protected]

We can all help send Kern County children “Back 2 School” with new backpacks and school supplies this year!

Wish #28: Trona Community Chest Disaster Relief

Residents of small towns like Trona are still facing much devastation after the earthquakes near the Ridgecrest area last week. The response by the Red Cross, State, County and Local officials and the Bakersfield community at large has been amazing and the recovery efforts are underway.

However, this morning we were contacted by local residents Lola Nickell and Nicole Crandall-Melson who have friends and family living in the outlying community of Trona. We were made aware that the situation is still dire for many displaced residents of this small community that lies just outside of the Kern County line. Nicole’s family helped organize the Garces Memorial water drive for Trona that is also still taking place.
We were given a wish list that included hardware supplies, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, paper goods, first aid and safety supplies. Today our staff wasted no time. We hit the streets and stores to fulfill wish #28.

Loading up company car for delivery

**** Both monetary and in-kind donations are still accepted! Monetary donations can be made to the Trona Community Chest Disaster Relief fund via your financial institution to account number #53955 at Desert Valley Federal Credit Union. Checks can be mailed to Trona Community Chest at P.O. Box 413, Trona, CA 93592. All funds received by the Trona Community Chest stays in Trona.

Wish #27 - A Mother's Wish to Get Healthy

Local Mom, Ms. Flossie White, submitted a wish on behalf of her and her oldest daughter to “get in shape and become more healthy.” Ms. White told us that she and her daughter needed a little help to get on the right track and that they wanted to make a change for good.

Ms. White initially wished for a commercial treadmill noting that her daughter was interested in a gym membership but that they simply couldn’t commit financially.

We were inspired by their wish and determined to help set them up for success! We found a long-term solution to support their quest and signed Flossie and her daughter up for gym memberships complete with personal fitness training, nutrition counseling, day care services for Ms. White’s younger child, a gift card for workout clothing and healthy groceries to fill their fridge and pantry.

A mothers wish

We are so excited for Flossie and her daughter! The two have asked us to check back with them in 6 months to share in the success of their progress. We can’t wait and wish these two determined ladies the best of health!

Wish #26 – Bethel Apostolic Academy 4-H Club – “Project Greenhouse”

“Project Greenhouse” of the Bethel Academy 4-H Club is a hands-on learning program that teaches children about the economic and business aspects involved in agriculture. The program was designed to teach students how to grow plants and vegetables based on proper structure, soil, fertilization, seeding, germination and the final product of the plant and vegetable itself.

Their lab exercises include exploring the stem, embryo and insects encountered when growing crops, and how to prepare, can, store and dehydrate fresh food. In addition, the program promotes healthier eating habits and teaches children to understand the process of “Farm to Market,” and “Farm to Fork.”

This wish was submitted by Ag instructor, Caren Floyd who said the 4-H Club was in need of various supplies including siding and fencing to help finish construction of their greenhouse. We visited the site where all the construction was taking place and were truly impressed by the entire area, how well-planned the site was and how hard the students were working to build their greenhouse.

On Saturday, July 13th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Bethel’s Agriculture 4-H will be holding their first annual Farmer’s Market and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony located at 1418 W. Columbus Street. They are looking for vendors (free to participate) who would like a booth to sell their products and services at. They are seeking vendors that offer information about health and nutrition, nurseries, food vendors, fruit and vegetable farmers, clothing vendors and more. For all the details please contact Caren Floyd at 661-800-8808.


Congratulations Bethel Apostolic Academy 4-H Club. Your greenhouse is simply wonderful and we wish you the best at your Farmer’s Market!

Wish #25: Bakersfield Homeless Center

Pauline V, long-time Strata CU member, nominated this organization because of the impact she sees it makes in our community.

The Bakersfield Homeless Center provides year-round emergency shelter, food, clothing, housing assistance, job development training and supportive services to homeless and low-income families and individuals in our community. BHC is the only homeless center that serves women and children in Kern County. On average, over 100 children a night stay at BHC; sleeping warm, snug and well fed. For school age children, their Champ Camp after school program makes learning fun and helps keep children in difficult circumstances from falling behind their classmates.

Unique to BHC is Discovery Depot Child Care Center, the first licensed child care center in California located at a homeless shelter. BHC is extremely proud of the Job Development Program that helps put people back to work and into homes! Labor crews from BHC are the perfect solution for companies or government agencies needing to supplement their current workforce. Their work crews benefit by developing professional maturity, job skills, work ethic and progress toward continuous employment and self-sufficiency.

Wish 25 Homeless shelter

We reached out and learned that the BHC gladly accepts help in all forms: monetary donations, goods, services, and volunteer work. Learn more at:

Wish #24 Scholarships for Tomorrow’s Nurses

This wish was submitted on behalf of the Vidora Hair Extensions scholarship fund. This local business has a very specific vision for creating goodwill in the community: help struggling single mothers by giving them a pathway into a high paying, high demand career – nursing. This year Vidora Hair Extensions, with a little help from Strata Credit Union, was able to provide six young women with $1,000 for their scholarship fund to help them on their journeys through the nursing programs at CSUB and Bakersfield College.


More information on this scholarship can be found at:

Wish #23: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County.

he Boys & Girls Clubs serve 7,200 children a day in our community! The Clubs provide services and programs to benefit the growth and success of our children. The Clubs also help fill the gap between school and home and provide welcoming, positive environments in which kids and teens have fun, participate in life-changing programs, and build supportive relationships with peers and caring adults.

We had an opportunity to tour one of our local Boys & Girls Clubs, headed by Executive Director, Zane Smith and we were simply amazed by all the activities that are available to children in our community! Activities available include performing and visual arts, STEM, sports, music, culinary skills, job skills, health and fitness, gardening, literacy and so much more.

Boys & Girls Clubs have many fundraising events throughout the year. One of the most popular is “Farm to Table(aux),” that will take place on October 4th. This event brings together community-minded, philanthropic art and food lovers to enjoy a feast of fresh and seasonal dishes prepared by local chefs and farmers alongside the imaginative productions and performances of local artists and entertainers. Members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County will auction their original artwork (based off the work of Van Gogh), that spotlight the artistic talent of these children.

Wish 23 at Boys and girls club

We look forward to working with The Boys & Girls Clubs to help children in our community and if you would like to help support their efforts as well, please visit:

Wish #22: A Special Father’s Day Wish

Our 22nd wish of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” was fulfilled for a local Dad, Grandpa, and U.S. Marine Veteran, Mr. Gary Huff, just in time for Father’s Day.

Nominated by his family, including children, Dewayne, Aaron and Jason and his 6 grandchildren, we learned why Mr. Huff is so special to them all.

Determined to get Mr. Huff back on the lake, the kids reached out for a little help. With funding to get his boat repaired, a new rolling Nomad tackle and bait storage case, new fishing hat and some extra money to spend at his favorite rod and tackle shop, we’re sure to have Mr. Huff back on the lake in no time.

Wish 22 Fathers day

Wish #21: A New Drum Kit for Anthony

Our 21st recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is an amazingly talented local drummer by the name of Anthony Rodriguez. It was long-time member, American Labor Leader and dedicated Jazz fan, Ms. Dolores Huerta who submitted a wish on his behalf with the hope that Anthony could have a drum set of his own. Ms. Huerta met the visually impaired drummer at a Bakersfield Jazz Workshop at Temblor Brewing Co. one evening and became a fan immediately. Anthony performs locally in multiple bands using a borrowed drum set to perform with. The wish was for us to purchase a drum kit for him that he could be proud of and be able to call his own.

Wish #20: Keeping the Artistic Heritage of Jazz Alive in Our Community!

Our 20th wish recipient is The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop. The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop is a nonprofit organization that supports the education of jazz students, advancement of jazz musicians, enrichment of jazz enjoyment for the general public, and promotion of jazz in our community. They provide a supportive environment that brings together outstanding performers and teachers along with students and listeners of all abilities and backgrounds, and offer classes, resources, and performances to expand and preserve this original American art form.

It was a pleasure for us to witness the many performers working together to make such inspiring music at their most recent workshop. This season’s workshops are every Tuesday at Temblor starting at 6:30 p.m.

Wish 20 Jazz Workshop

The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop Founder and CEO, Steve Eisen began the workshop in 2006 and the program continues to thrive with support from the community, its performers and a dedicated board. To learn more, donate, or participate in The Jazz Workshop, please visit:

Wish #19: Relief From the Heat

For wish #19 we have installed an air conditioning unit in her home that is sure to keep her nice and cool when the mercury soars past the century mark, for many summers to come.

According to a family friend who anonymously submitted this nomination, our recipient is a “kind woman who’d never ask for help nor could she afford to repair her A/C on her own.” Our recipient told her friend that her air conditioning system had gone out and that she planned on just “toughing it out” through the heat of the summer.

Wish 19 Heat

For those in an emergency situation, several cooling centers are offered throughout the county, thanks to a generous grant from PG&E. For the hours and daily status of these cooling centers please visit:

Wish #18: Supporting the Children and Families of Bakersfield

For wish #18, Strata Credit Union is providing support for the Children First program and participating in the upcoming festival. Our team will be on site with free school supplies, prizes, and resources to help families establish savings plans for their children.

East Bakersfield Festival will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 11a.m. to 4p.m. at Jefferson Park. Click here for all the details:


East bakersfield festival

If you’d like to contribute to the Children First Campaign or volunteer please visit:

Wish #17: Mutts and Runts

Mutts and Runts Rescue was founded by Brandi Reed when she realized the large number of strays, neglected and often abused animals that are in Bakersfield.

While visiting with Brandi and two of her rescues, Dilly and Sweetie, we learned that there is a great need for foster families due to the overpopulation of dogs in Kern County and that to date, Mutts and Runts Rescue has found loving homes for over 400 dogs. Upon intake, they provide medical care, vaccines, behavioral training and sometimes physical therapy. Rescues remain in their care until they find their forever families.

Mutts and Runts

Contact Mutts and Runts if you’d like to foster or rescue a sweet four-legged friend of your own today!

For more information or to participate in their upcoming Sporting Clays Fundraising Tournament, please send an email to: [email protected].

To donate, please visit:

Wish #16: Giving the Power of Art to Students

Mrs. Karen Engel, a parent of a previous student of Mr. Joseph’s submitted a wish on his behalf stating that he was “so caring and such an inspiration to his students. He can make a kid with no artistic skills into a Picasso… who many times has used his own money for supplies for is growing art class.”

We were excited to contribute to his efforts of keeping art alive by giving him a gift certificate to his go-to art supply store along with an art cart, brushes, paint trays and canvases. We appreciate all the hard work and love he puts into his teaching career and our youth. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Mr. Joseph!

scott josephWISH

Wish #15: A Relaxation Station for a Very Deserving Teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week!

Our 15th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Olive Drive Elementary school teacher, Mrs. Bobbi Brown. Head Room Parent, Ms. Stephanie Crisostomo submitted a nomination on Mrs. Brown’s behalf saying that she “pours an abundant amount of compassion, time, energy and her own money to ensure an amazing learning environment for her first year students.” Her wish was for us to help make Mrs. Brown’s resource room a place she could unwind and recharge in-between classes. We helped supply her with a few items for the resource room that would make it somewhat of a retreat that includes extra storage, a microwave, and a few other items that are sure to help transform her space to a place she can relax. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Mrs. Brown!

Bobbi Brown Olive Drive Elementary Wish 15

Wish #14: Giving Sole to the Standard Elementary Shoe Closet.

Our 14th wish recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes” is for the Standard Elementary Shoe Closet. Ms. Amanda Peirce, a regular substitute teacher at Standard Elementary, submitted a nomination on behalf of the school requesting that we fill the depleted shoe closet. She said that “the school does its best to provide shoes to students in need, but the closet is nearing empty.”

With help from our staff, we supplied 100 pairs of new shoes and a rolling storage rack to replenish the shoe closet and provide storage for them.

Standard shoe pantry Wish

Wish #13: A trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth” for a strong little boy and his family

Ms. Melinda Gordon of Arvin submitted a nomination for her 4 year-old grandson and his family to take a much-needed break from the many trials the family has undergone over the past four years. Melinda’s grandson Ethan was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Defect at birth and at just two days old, he’d undergone his first of 5 open-heart surgeries.

Ethan is a fighter and has fought his way through some tough first years. Since his last surgery, Ethan has improved tremendously and he and his family finally have an opportunity to take a break from the many long-term hospital stays. He has a long road ahead of him, but for now he has the opportunity to celebrate his 4th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. Happy Birthday Ethan! May you have the greatest experience at Disneyland with your brother, sister and family!

Ethan trip to disneyland

Wish #12: M.A.R.E. (Mastering Abilities Riding Equines) Therapeutic Riding Center

M.A.R.E. was nominated for a wish by local Girl Scout Troop #3450 who learned that the riding center was in need of funding and beautification to help kick off their fundraising season. The troop requested help to secure enough soil and flowers to plant in the flower beds that surround the facility.

MARE planter

M.A.R.E. provides equine-assisted therapies and activities for people living with special needs and disabilities. They serve over 50 riders each week and have 11 horses that require daily care.

Wish #11: Food Security for CSUB Students

On Saturday 4/20/19, hundreds of community members came out to our Riverlakes Branch for free recycling and document shredding. Many of them also brought in non-perishable food and cash donations to the food pantry and took home edible gardening starter kits. At the end of a long day of planting, collecting donations and educating the community on the benefits of edible gardening, CSUB’s team went home with one last contribution from Strata Credit Union as our 11th Wish recipient.

Group photo giving donation to food pantry

Wish #10: Kern Bridges Youth Homes

Our 10th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Kern Bridges Youth Homes (KBYH). KBYH is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a safe, stable, and consistent environment for children ages 0-21 years old. They offer continuous training, support, and encouragement to their Foster Families to ensure they are equipped to provide short-term, long-term and in some cases adoptive homes to match the various needs of children in their care.

Group Photo with Kern Bridges

Wish #9: Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development

Wish #9! Our ninth recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is FIELD (Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development). FIELD was founded in 1978 by Cesar Chavez to promote economic and social prosperity in rural communities for Latinos, working people, and their families. FIELD offers English as a Second Language (ESL) and literacy classes to adults over the age of 18 via “EPIC de Cesar Chavez,” which is a fully accredited charter high school for adults. Non-native English speakers are taught the skills needed to improve and integrate their basic reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. If you’d like to help support the efforts of FIELD, please join us on April 24, 2019 for the 3rd annual breakfast of Cesar Chavez.


Wish #8: A Family Reunited

Local resident Beatrice Bryant (age 91) has been separated for many years and by many miles, from Latesha James, her granddaughter who she raised from birth. Latesha lives in South Carolina. Work, life, and finances have kept them apart. Beatrice’s daughter Robin Hartney (Latesha’s Aunt) submitted a wish to help bring Latesha and her Grandmother together. On Saturday, April 6th, we made this wish come true.

We arranged the airfare, Robin rallied together family, friends, and even a few Strata Credit Union staff to join in a big surprise reunion at Meadows Field Airport. What a special moment it was!


Wish #7: Relay for Life

For our 7th wish we are picking up the baton and jumping back in the race to find a cure, with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Over the years as Kern Federal Credit Union, we made some incredible memories out at the Relay. We laughed as we played silly games, we cried as we reflected lost loved ones, we cheered on those fighting their battles, we stayed up way too late, and we’ve even “dressed up” on occasion. Fulfilling this wish to sponsor the 2019 Relay for Life was like reconnecting with an old friend.

Relay for life

Thank you to all of our current and past employees, friends, and families for supporting this event over the years. We wish the very best to all of the other teams and supporters of Relay for Life 2019.

Wish #6: All Star Bowl

Wish #6! Our 6th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is The U.S. Army All Star Bowl. The All Star Bowl is a high school football game that showcases the county’s best football players and cheerleaders one last time! It is the only High School All Star Bowl played in an arena in the United States. Funds raised through sponsorships and ticket sales go directly towards the organizations scholarship program. The wish was to raise more money for the scholarships that will be given this year. This year’s bowl will take place on April 26th, 2019 at Rabobank Arena. Visit the Rabobank Arena Box Office to purchase tickets for this year’s game.

all star bowl

Congratulations to Stephanie Verrell and all of the participants and scholarship recipients at this year’s U.S. Army All Star Bowl!

Wish #5: Children's Miracle Network

Wish #5! Our 5th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Children’s Miracle Network. The Lauren Small Children’s Center at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital cares for 37,000 children every year. Donations made to the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital (BMH) Foundation through the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) program help provide state-of-the art, life-saving equipment and assists with capital improvement projects for the Lauren Small Children’s Center. The BMH Foundation is Kern County’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital partner. 100% of funds raised with this program locally, stays right here in Kern County.

Group picture of children miracle network

Congratulations to Robin Woodward and the whole Children’s Miracle Network team for making Miracles happens in Kern County. Find out how you can “Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are” at:

Wish #4: Arvin Color Guard

Wish #4! Our 4th recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is the Arvin High School Color Guard! Word got back to us tonight that time was running short for this talented group to raise the funds needed to cover their transportation expenses to compete at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH, April 3-6th.

Arvin Color Guard 2019

Congratulations to Arvin High School’s Color Guard! We are proud of you!

Wish #3: Kern County Basque Club’s Basque Dancers

Our 3rd recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is the Kern County Basque Club’s Basque Dancers. The dance group was formed in the early 1950’s by members of the organization to keep the tradition of folk dancing alive within the Basque community. Volunteers of The Kern County Basque Club have kept the tradition going strong in Bakersfield for over 60 years.

Current teachers Ashleigh Rossi, Elizabeth Othart and Josette McCrary performed in the dance group growing up and now volunteer, teaching children of members a variety of traditional Basque dances for their annual performances at the Kern County Basque Festival.


Basque Club can Dance

Renee Iturriria, a parent of one of the performers, submitted a nomination to upgrade the dancers 15-year old, not-so-portable music device to a more modern Bluetooth stereo for easier use and portability. The system is needed for their weekly practices and for fundraising events throughout Kern County.

Wish #2: Kern County Museum

Wish #2! Our 2nd recipient of Strata’s “70 Wishes,” is Ms. Lori Wear. Lori is the Curator at the Kern County Museum. She was nominated by two individuals who said she’d at times use her own money to fund restoration projects because she was “that passionate about her work in preserving local history.” We were thrilled to read Lori’s nominations and wanted to do what we could to help support her efforts in keeping Bakersfield’s history alive.

Congratulations to Lori and the Kern County Museum! We would also like to invite our community to help support the efforts of the Kern County Museum at:

Kern County Museum

While visiting Lori, we met two wonderful volunteers, Ms. Judy Evans and Ms. Micki Burcher who have also contributed both money and many hours to help Lori with her work preserving some of Bakersfield’s most rare photos among many other items.

Wish #1: Bakersfield High School Marching Band

Our first recipient of “70 Wishes,” is the Bakersfield High School Drillers Marching Band led by Randy Bennett. The band’s wish was for an Insta360 ONE X Action Camera that they needed to film their concerts with. They share all of their concerts on YouTube as part of their fundraising efforts. This camera is projected to help raise an additional $2,000 per year for their music program.

BHS Band awarded a new camera to help raise money for their band program

Strata CU Executives presenting BHS Band with their wish of a new camera to be used for fundraising for their program.

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