BACKPACK DRIVE: Talk about creativity. Allure Beauty Salon owner Denise Ornelas is on a mission to collect as many backpacks for underprivileged children, and she's been using Facebook to entice potential donors. The goal is to collect 500. To reach that number, she's been offering some of her beauty services for free.

On a recent Facebook post, the esthetician offered a lip and eyebrow wax in exchange for a donated backpack. Other posts: free microdermabrasion treatment for three donated backpacks or a free microdermabrasion treatment and Brazilian wax combo if you bring in four.

The wife and mother of two began the effort so that children who need new backpacks will have the opportunity to pick one up for free at the annual consumer trade show. The 17th annual Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business & Consumer Trade Show, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Kern County Fair Grounds, is aiming to give away 500 backpacks in time for school.

The trade show will showcase a variety of local businesses as well as entertainment and children activities. Admission is free so organizers like Ornelas, vice chair of the KCHCC board, is expecting a great turnout.

Ornelas tells me that you don't necessarily have to be her Facebook friend to take advantage of her deals. If you're interested in donating backpacks, drop her an email at or call the salon at 661-859-1110. Sounds like a great deal to me.

For more info. on the consumer trade show, please call the KCHCC office at 633-5495.

SUMMER RESEARCH: I recently caught up with Art Medina of Brown Armstrong, and he told me about a great summer program happening at CSUB, which his wife, Andrea Medina, happens to be involved in. It's called the Chevron REVS-UP program, and it connects "89 high school students and 25 high school teachers with CSUB faculty and students to work for four weeks on science-related research projects," according Jennifer Burger, campus public affairs coordinator. Examples include predicting valley fever outbreaks and using satellite image tracking of environmental changes, Burger said.

Added Dr. Andreas Gebauer, REVS-UP director and chair of the chemistry department at CSUB, "High school students and teachers will obtain hands-on experience on modern instrumentation and with modern research techniques, something they would never be able to experience in the K-12 setting." And the students get to earn college credit. A neat program, which wraps up in two weeks and is made possible through a $500,000 CSUB gift from Chevron.

MAYA SMART: I love going to the movies. So do my husband and two oldest boys. But it's not always the easiest thing to do when you also have an active toddler and preschooler. Even an animated movie might not hold their attention from start to end, which is understandable. What's a family to do? Our choices are limited, but it's refreshing to have a movie theater thinking outside the box.

Maya Cinemas, the two-year-old trendy downtown movie theater, offers soundproof "child" rooms for popular movies. That means families like ours don't have to disturb or disrupt other people who are enjoying the film. Instead, we are given the chance to watch the film by sitting in these smaller rooms. They are soundproof in that the movie attendees don't hear our active, talkative children, but it's perfect because families get to enjoy the movie as well.

We recently watched Captain America in one of these soundproof rooms, without worrying about disturbing other patrons. That's golden for families like ours.

These are Olivia Garcia's opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.

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