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Jeff Pickering, president and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation, is leaving that post after five years of service.

The Kern Community Foundation will present its first round of grants -- totaling more than $200,000 -- from a new fund to 10 local nonprofits Monday, Oct. 7.

The one-time grants from The Arthritis Association of Kern County Fund will be given to the following groups:

* Bakersfield College Foundation, Scholarship Fund for Disabled Students -- $50,000

* League of Dreams -- $50,000

* New Advances for People with Disabilities (NAPD) -- $20,000

* Bakersfield ARC (BARC) -- $20,000

* H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection -- $20,000

* Pine Meadow Counseling -- $15,000

* The Jeremy Staat Foundation -- $10,000

* MARE Riding Center -- $10,000

* National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Kern County office -- $5,000

* Kern County Burn Survivor Trust -- $5,000

The grants for groups that provide health or educational services to people with special needs or disabilities will be presented at Imbibe Wine & Spirits at 5 p.m. The Kern Community Foundation will also recognize TERRIO Physical Therapy-Fitness at the event for its charitable works, according to a news release.

The new fund was started with approximately $400,000 from the association, said Jeff Pickering, the foundation's president and CEO.

The Kern Valley Hospital Foundation will hold its second Women of Excellence Health Expo later this month.

The event is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Kern River Valley Senior Center, 6405 Lake Isabella Blvd. The event is free, with lunch available for $8. The event will feature 19 speakers, including Dr. Oscar Streeter Jr., medical director of The AIS Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital, who will offer the keynote address at noon. On-site bone density scans will be offered with a physician referral and pre-registration. For information, contact Anna Leon at (760) 379-5257 ext. 24 or

The American Heart Association is encouraging people to team up for the 2013 Bakersfield Heart & Stroke Walk.

The walk, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association, is free and participants raising $100 or more receive a free T-shirt. The event starts at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Cal State Bakersfield Amphitheatre. A 5K run starts at 8 a.m. and a 5K walk begins at 9:30 a.m. Music, food and awards will also be offered and participants can get free health screenings.

For information, visit Contact Cori Kitchen at 327-1173 or e-mail

San Joaquin Community Hospital is partnering with Links for Life to light the hospital's campus pink this October.

The lighting change will also extend to The AIS Cancer Center at SJCH, which opened earlier this year, adding pink lighting to the building's exterior and its indoor fountain.

My Breast Health Network, a network of local health care providers, launched this month and aims to get 10,000 Kern County women to sign a Breast Health Promise in October.

The promise can be found at It asks women to commit to six tasks, including to perform a monthly breast self-exam, visit their doctor annually and encourage others to do the same. Women must provide their name, email, address, birthdate, and create a username and password to complete the promise. A drawing will be held each week in October for a $250 Visa gift card for one woman who makes the pledge.

Sandy Doucette, marketing manager for Mercy & Memorial Hospitals, said the network effort is being spearheaded by Dignity Health and the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center.

-- Californian staff writer Rachel Cook