Steve Flores column mug

Californian contributing columnist Steve Flores.

We had our family calendar meeting last night. It’s when we, my kids and I, sit around our kitchen bar area and catch up on all our family obligations, community projects and just-for-fun things we do together.

Some of the items that came up were weddings, poker games, community events, dinners, concerts, birthdays, Wavehog beach trips, unfortunate funerals and one of the things we look forward to most … babysitting for my grandchildren. After much discussion, everything was finally noted on our cell phone calendars.

We are always surprised at how quickly our months pass and even more amazed when we discover an open weekend without any commitments. We scheduled all the way to August and found only two weekends open for do-nothing weekends. Here are a few March events from our family calendar we want to share with you.

Festival for Peace and Non-Violence March

Saturday March 30, 9:30 AM- 1:00 PM, Don Hart East Lawn on the CSUB campus. The community is invited to this free event.

It’s the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and the local Gandhi Celebration Committee, of which I am a member, is joining international celebrations throughout the world to recognize his teachings of love, truth and peace. As many of you may know, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Neslon Mandela, Beatle John Lennon and many others adopted Gandhi's philosophy of peaceful protest and advocating for the underrepresented.

The "Festival" is sponsored by the Ravi and Naina Patel Foundation in partnership with the local Gandhi Celebration Committee and CSUB.

The “Festival” will have live entertainment, guest speakers, performers, informational booths from community based organizations, vendors and a variety of food to sample.

As a tribute to Gandhi's peaceful philosophy, the community is invited to join on a short march around CSUB at the start of the “Festival.”

World Premier – “Oildale” at the Fox Theater, March 30, 7 PM, general admission $10, a portion of the proceeds benefits Wounded Heroes and the Fox Foundation.

Hollywood glam is coming to Bakersfield. There will be a red carpet, search lights, meet and greets, actors, director, screen writers, industry agents, film critics and managers who are anticipated to attend the movie premier of “Oildale” at the Fox Theater. Directed by David Muller and filmed entirely in Bakersfield, the movie details the struggles of a parentless 18 year old Carlie and her younger brother as they deal with taking care of their 90 year old veteran Grandfather. Screenwriter Lynn Salt beautifully details Carie’s struggles and the relationship developed between three displaced strangers, who are also veterans, as they move in to help. There are unexpected twist and turns in this heartfelt story with a surprising ending.

And as an added bonus, you will see yours truly, as an extra in the concert at the climax of the movie. I will be neatly tucked in the back of the bandstand pretending to play my bass guitar, smiling at my friend Rick Davis on keyboard who was also a co-producer for the movie.

Helping One Woman (H.O.W.), Element Lounge, 3401 Chester Ave., every third Tuesday of the month, 6:00 PM

Each month for the past 10 years, except in December, H.O.W. has quietly brought hope to women who have suffered devastating personal losses. Started by two women from Fresno, chapters of this remarkable effort have sprung up in different communities. According to Christina Alizando, one of the Bakersfield H.O.W. Chapter Leaders, the non-profit organization started in 2008 and has helped over 100 women

Virginia Herrera, a Bakersfield H.O.W. member explains, “We have a dinner every third Tuesday of each month with the sole purpose of helping one woman who is experiencing an overwhelming loss. We ask guest to pay for dinner and contribute $10 to the woman selected for that month. Gift items are donated and raffled off to raise money.”

At the end of each dinner, a new woman is selected to financially, and equally important, to emotionally help the following month.

Christina explains, “We believe when we help one woman, we are helping one family and through that family we are helping our community.”

I promise to bring you more information about this remarkable effort of women helping women.

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Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at floressteve32@yahoo.com. His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.

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