DOWNEY - More than 20 of Rancho's talented artists and crafters will be showing their newest creations at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center's Arts & Crafts of Rancho Winter Boutique on Nov. 28-29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hospital's Support Services Annex.The event, which is sponsored by the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, is free to the public. The multi-talented Rancho graduate artisans will be displaying and selling items such as greeting cards, jewelry, Christmas specialty items, flower arrangements, hand-made scarves, placemats, towels, headbands, purses, hats, crochet items, plants, food items and much more to help guests get a head start on their holiday shopping. Santa is scheduled to make a guest appearance along with holiday carolers from the Performing Arts of Rancho who will perform at noon and 12:30 p.m. each day and bring holiday cheer to the event. Attendees can also enjoy homemade baked goods and hot cider available for purchase to support the Brain Injury Day Rehabilitation Center. Plants and other items from Rancho's Restorative Gardening Group will also be available. Here, in their own words, are the stories of six of the artists and crafters who will be participating in this special holiday event: Jasmin Amador "I was born with congenital Muscular Dystrophy. I was able to walk until I was 8 years old, then never again. I always thank God for giving me the opportunity to experience what it means to walk. "I focus on the things that I can do, such as art. Art is my passion! It gives me a meaningful way to express myself. Last year I decided to attend the Don Knabe Pediatric Arts classes at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. I loved the entire experience, and my teachers were especially amazing. They were very encouraging to me, and I am very happy to show my artworks at the Art of Rancho and Arts & Crafts shows. "Rancho is a fascinating place with people who fight with you and help you to achieve a better life. My art teachers are people like this...encouraging and inspiring me every step of the way!" Beatriz Ibarra "One morning, more than ten years ago, I awoke and could not move. I was paralyzed! I was referred to Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and remained an inpatient for five months. "After extensive rehabilitation and therapy, I was able to go home and resume a useful life. Rancho has provided me with excellent treatment. Today I am seen as an outpatient there. "I have found joy and meaning in the art of sewing, which keeps me active, happy and young at heart. I specialize in custom towels, placemats, kitchen appliance covers, hot pads, pillows and clothing. "I find enjoyment in creating new and different ideas for each of my projects. Every day, as I bring a little beauty to others through my sewing art, I thank Rancho for assisting me in finding something wonderful to do with my life. And I love knowing that others take pleasure in my art each day." Michael Seale "A man must always seek knowledge and experience while continuing to do his best to keep his business instincts sharp. How does he do this, you might ask? He reads books from powerful leaders and takes massive action in small steps, time after time. "Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center of Downey, California has been the beacon of light by providing me with lifelong friends, resources and business connections. The Art of Rancho and Arts and Crafts of Rancho shows are golden stepping stones to building my luxury retail art empire. "Rancho has shown me through abstract art talents being expressed regularly and exposed to the community and the world, I too can make a great living and have a prosperous and powerful lifestyle. "Rancho has taught me that self-sufficiency leads to wonderful opportunities of personal growth and a way to maximize my full potential as an artisan." Blanca Perez "I was born in Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico. For as long as I can remember, art has been at the center of my life. "After I got my degree in Business Administration, I came to California to continue my career. But I was soon involved in a serious car accident and my future looked bleak. I was transferred to Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, where the therapy has made all the difference for me. I would especially like to thank Debbie Diaz, who has always encouraged and challenged me to do my best. "After six months at Rancho, I was able to go home and live on my own again. My family's love and support has been very important in my healing process. In my free time, I like to paint and decorate cloth, ceramic objects, and candles. "It's something that allows me to express my feelings. I am thankful to my family and friends for providing the resources to help me create my art. I also wish to thank Rancho for always being there for me during some of the most challenging times of my life." Lydia Chavez "I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where I was stricken with polio before my first birthday. I came to the United States in 1973 at age 25 in hopes of finding better medical care. Soon I was at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and my life began to improve. "Polio has placed many obstacles before me. Dealing with post-polio syndrome and complications such as asthma sometimes makes me feel like I am at my limit. But every time I think I can take no more, something magical happens. Now when I work on my ceramics, I forget about the pain from polio. Each piece I create is like "my little children." I thank my ceramics teacher for keeping me motivated. "I am forever grateful to Rancho Los Amigos, not only for providing me with the best healthcare, but for nurturing me as an artist and allowing me to participate in the Arts and Crafts of Rancho program." Gladys Gomez "After a devastating car accident left me incapacitated for more than two years, I found Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. I was placed under the care of Dr. Robert Waters, who became my guardian angel. He helped me regain my health, my mobility and my independence. "As I improved, I became an advocate for individuals with disabilities. I began to learn about all the available programs, and was able to help provide assistance to others in need. I find great joy in creating flower arrangements, which provide a satisfying outlet for my creativity. 'I have spent many, many hours developing my crafting skills, and it has helped me support the needs of my children and me. "My sincere, heartfelt thanks to Rancho Los Amigos and all my special Rancho friends who have brought such beauty and joy to my life!" For further information, please call the Rancho Volunteer and Support Services Department at (562) 401-7651.
********** Published: November 22, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 32