State Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, has named Houchin Community Blood Bank as the 16th Senate District’s Nonprofit of the Year as part of California Nonprofits Day.

Fuller recognized the blood bank at a ceremony in Sacramento on Wednesday for its contributions to the community. Houchin Community Blood Bank serves 11 hospitals as well as cancer, burn and transfusion centers in Kern County.

"Houchin is an integral part of Kern County's emergency response team and an indispensable component of our healthcare system," Fuller said in a news release. "Their job is immensely important, and they do it exceptionally well. I commend them, and the thousands of blood donors, for helping to save lives one drop of blood at a time."

Houchin wasn’t the only local entity to be honored as part of California Nonprofits Day. Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, recognized Covenant Coffee as the 34th Assembly District’s Nonprofit of the Year.

Covenant Coffee is a nonprofit company that employs and trains former foster youth to help them find success in the workplace.

“Covenant Coffee provides a foundation and hope for former foster youth in our community,” Fong said in a news release. “Every day, Covenant Coffee is changing lives and helping our youth in need in Kern County. I am very proud of the work they do and it is my privilege to honor Covenant Coffee as our Nonprofit of the Year.”

Spectrum and the City of Bakersfield are holding its free Movies in the Park series starting Friday.

The series will kick off with “The Lego Ninjago Movie” at the Spectrum Amphitheatre, 11200 Stockdale Highway. Movies start at dusk every Friday through July 27. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Here’s the schedule of the following showings:

June 15: “Lego DC Super Heroes: The Flash,” Lowell Park.

June 22: “Peter Rabbit,” Greystone Park.

June 29: “Ferdinand,” Siemon Park.

July 6: “Despicable Me 3,” Central Park.

July 13: “Paddington 2,” Silver Creek Park.

July 20: “Cars 3,” Stonecreek Park.

July 27: “Coco,” Spectrum Amphitheatre.

For more information, call the city at 326-3000.

Courageous Kids Climbing, an Idaho-based organization that provides free rock-climbing opportunities for children with special needs, is coming to Bakersfield this month.

The organization will be coming on June 24 to Action Sports, 9500 Brimhall Road #400, from 10 a.m. to noon. Children of all ages and needs are allowed to participate. The organization travels with special equipment so that those with physical disabilities can participate.

Members of the Kern County Fire Department, Bakersfield Police Department and Hall Ambulance Service will attend in support and to provide any services to children if needed.

The goal of the activities is to help in the physical and mental development of children with special needs.

For more information, email

The Kern County Taxpayers Association has announced that it’s now accepting applications for the Kern Leaders Academy.

The academy is a countywide program aimed at developing community leaders through education and training. The academy will give participants advice, such as an how to listen to constituents and seek endorsements and support.

Ten evening classes will be held between Sept. 10 and Oct. 8. The tuition for the academy is $1,000.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. July 27. Applications can be found at

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