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E-Newsletter 3rd Edition

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Summer is in Full Swing!

Summer is in full swing in National City and we're all basking in the glow of some of the terrific events we've already had and some yet to come this summer. National City is more than just a city. It is a community that takes care of itself. No doubt many of you experienced our recent July 4th week-long carnival. Here is what Lions Club President, Frank Pekarek had to say about it. We think this sums it up pretty well.

“The National City Host Lions Club is proud to report that we had one of our biggest carnivals in our 4th of July history, record attendance- Thank you to our great community for that ! This event is made possible through a wonderful cooperative effort between the City of National City and our club. This is truly a family friendly event with delicious food and great fun.”
Click here for an excellent video montage of the National City 4th of july fireworks.

Enjoy this Third Edition of the Your National City News!

Aida Castaneda Named Miss National City 2014

I'm so honored to serve as your Miss National City 2014! I plan to serve my term with a distinct level of professionalism, poise, and grace. Most importantly, this year, Princesses, Nadia Pineda, Carolina Camacho and I will seek to inspire our community to actively participate in civic life and empower our youth to pursue higher education and a healthy way of life. Together, I believe we can perpetuate a cycle of success for National City, a place I'm so proud to call my home.

A little bit about me:

I am 24 years old, and I currently attend San Diego City College, where I am a Political Science Major.

Civic engagement has been the cornerstone of my life. I have always been committed to empowering, educating, and inspiring our community. I'm especially passionate about uplifting our youth, respectfully representing our immigrant communities, and building equity for women.

In 2011, I co-founded California Workers Comp Professionals, advocating for injured workers at the state level - educating, protecting and enabling our community's workers and their families to live healthy and productive lives. I am also a proud Board Member of a local community association, which champions the needs, rights, and concerns of underserved and underrepresented communities.

I currently work as a Field Representative with the office of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

One of my greatest achievements is uniting members of our community to donate hundreds of toys to children in need, over the past 3 years through the organization I co-founded. My most humbling moment was being recognized by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality as a Latina Advocate, at the 2013 Latina Action Day Conference, where I was recognized by a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus for my advocacy efforts. Moreover, in 2013, I received acknowledgment from the County of San Diego and Chairman Greg Cox, who proclaimed March 14th, 2013 "Aida Cuahutli Castaneda Day" throughout San Diego of County for my work as an advocate for members of our community

In the next year, I see myself transferring to a California University, where I will then receive a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I have different phases for my education/career goals. I plan to do the following: Learn the Law, Practice the Law, and Change the Law. With those phases, I plan to become the ultimate resource for my community. I plan to continue seeking higher education and attend Law School, then establish my own legal practice--one-stop shop for legal services, where I will have at least 10 pro-bono cases a year. Ultimately, I hope to serve and represent my community as an elected official, so I may work to find innovative ways to assist my community through new laws and amend ineffective ones.

One of the most gratifying moments of my life— to further discuss my question given to me on stage the night I was crowned Miss National City, would most definitely be this moment right here-right-now! Getting the ultimate opportunity to serve a community—the same community that has given so much to my family these past 50 years, has been more than a dream come true, but an experience I never imagined living—to highlight my favorite quote “If you only do what you’ve always done you will only go where you’ve always gone” has not only inspired me to live outside of my own comfort zone but to purse this opportunity that lead me to be this year’s Miss National City 2014! I encourage you to keep an eye out for me and my court as we seek to inspire, educate and empower our youth, our community, and our city to live healthy, actively, and productively.

Best wishes,
Aida C. Castaneda, Miss National City 2014


National City Library Offers Computer Readiness Training to Adults

Many of us use the Internet to search for jobs, obtain health information, access e-government resources, and connect with friends and family. How can National City Public Library help residents stay connected?

The National City Public Library is committed to providing Internet access and computer readiness training. With over 60 computers, internet access, and Microsoft Office, the library’s Anne Campbell Computer Center is a major community hub for technology. Every Wednesday night, librarian Nathan Martin holds a drop-in computer class at the library.

A recent Pew Internet research study found that older adults tend to be more removed from online life. The library’s Adult Literacy Program hopes to help bridge this gap. Our goal is to help adults with limited computer skills to benefit from Internet use, stay in touch with friends and family, and stay sharp.

In the fall of 2013, the library’s Adult Literacy Program began offering a series of small-group, 8-week computer classes. Classes cover computer readiness topics, such as keyboarding, using a mouse, setting up an email account, and searching the Internet safely. Instructor Roger Flores says, “Library patrons are anxious and excited about learning computer skills. They know they are being left behind, and they want to do something about it.”

The library now offers three small-group Computer Readiness classes twice a week, and we hope to continue to support this great need. Technology access and training can help open up many exciting opportunities and doors for members of the community.

Adults interested in participating in Computer Readiness classes are encouraged to sign up at the Literacy Services Office at the library. Please contact Literacy Services at (619) 470-5860 or visit our website at:

Ocean Connectors: Connecting Youth for Conservation

With summer in full swing, Ocean Connectors is already gearing up for the school year! This non-profit will bring 1,500 National City children on exciting outdoor field trips next year, to help local kids explore and discover the marine environment. Ocean Connectors teaches fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students about nature and wildlife firsthand, helping to build a future generation of conservation leaders. But there’s much more to this interdisciplinary environmental education program!

Ocean Connectors uses migratory marine species such as sea turtles, whales, and sea birds, to enrich and strengthen the existing STEM programming at National City elementary schools. To help illustrate the importance of international cooperation for protecting migratory animals, students are engaged in bilingual “knowledge exchanges” with children living 1,300 miles away in Nayarit, Mexico. A “knowledge exchange” consists of scientific communications using artwork, letters, and video to share information about migratory marine life. This peer-to-peer dialogue fosters global and cultural awareness, and supports dual language skills.

Ocean Connectors is making a long-term positive impact on the lives of National City children. In a recent survey of teenagers who participated in Ocean Connectors during childhood, over 70% say they continue to take environmental actions as a direct result of the program. This indicates that Ocean Connectors builds community pride and helps National City students grow into responsible, environmentally-aware coastal residents.

Ocean Connectors participants get to visit aquariums, perform habitat restoration, and attend whale watching excursions all completely free of charge, through the generous support of our community partners. Ocean Connectors is now operating in six of the elementary schools in National School District, and we need your support to reach the remaining four schools. Please visit the Ocean Connectors website ( to learn more, and consider making a donation to support this important program!

National City YMCA is Starting Point for Summer Water Safety

During these sunny, warm months, lasting memories are created in and around water. As children and families head to the pools, beaches and lakes with the rising temperatures, it’s important that water safety skills are at the forefront of their minds to ensure safety while having fun in the water. Drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children under the age of 5. Every day about 10 people die from drowning. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1 through 4, yet many children do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

“At the Y, we not only teach youngsters how to swim, but adults as well. We recently taught a seventy-five year old woman. It was on her bucket list. If we can address drowning as a community, we’ll be stronger,” stated Blaze Zarev, Department Head for Aquatics.

The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they will carry with them throughout their lives. The benefits are far greater than just physical health. When kids learn to swim, they can build confidence, discover their personal best, have fun and be a part of a team.

For more information go to National City YMCA.

NCFD Offers CPR Training at Station 34

Employee of the Quarter: Corporal Wade Walters

Corporal Wade Walters is an outstanding example of what a corporal at the National City Police Department should be. He is a very proactive police officer on his squad and consistently steps up to any challenge presented to him. He is an inspirational leader which was proven earlier this year when a squad at the police department had a vacancy for a sergeant. Corporal Walters stepped into the role as an acting sergeant and surpassed all expectations.

As part of Corporal Waters’ collateral duties, he is assigned as a Field Training Officer. He is responsible for training new police officers hired by the City. As with any position Corporal Walters is assigned, he takes this collateral duty on with a passion rarely seen in any individual. Corporal Wade Walters continually demonstrates the type of leadership, police skills, enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism that we are striving for within our organization.

Library Reopens Local History Room

In 2010, budget cuts forced the National City Library to close the Local History room. Now, four years later, the generous support of library volunteer Ray Juarez has enabled the reopening of this valuable community resource to the public. June 2nd, 2014 marked the first day the Local History Room reopened its doors.

Mr. Juarez grew up in National City, attended El Toyon Elementary, National City Junior High, and Sweetwater High. He went on to earn a B.A. in Liberal Studies with emphasis in Education and Chicano Studies.  His interest in history started at a very young age and continues as he establishes himself as an enthusiastic contributor to the community of National City and its many community events. 

The Library is happy to welcome Mr. Juarez among its volunteer team and pleased to announce that the Local History Room is now open Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00 – 3:00 pm.

The Mission of the National City Public Library is to serve the informational, educational and recreational needs of all the residents of the community. We support lifelong learning and personal enrichment by providing access to a variety of materials and current technology, a courteous and expert staff and a friendly environment

To find out more about volunteering with the National City Library, click here.

Renowned Artist Unveils Third Stained Glass Mural in National City Library

Renowned Artist James Hubbell recently unveiled his third stained glass window for the National City Library. This stunning art piece, a 30” x 90” stained glass artwork titled “By the Wine-dark Waters” joins his two previous pieces “Legend of the Firebird” in 2009 and “Quest for the Grail” in 2013. Stop by the Young Adult area of the Library to see the sun shining through these vibrant and gorgeous works of art.

The Friends of the National City Library were instrumental in connecting James Hubbell with the National City community and for that we say ‘thank you’.

NCPD Dispatchers Fill Critical Role

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