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Just Communities...Lucky in March

Gerrard Larriett Pet Products

Pamper Your Furry Friend and Help Support Just Communities!

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Dakarai Larriett and his dog Dada.

I'm sure that right now you're thinking..."Just Communities and pet products? I don't get the connection." We didn't either, until we met the amazing and passionate Dakarai Larriett. Just Communities board member Joshua Moon Johnson first met Dakarai when they were in college together and when Joshua shared that Just Communities was looking for corporate partners, Dakarai jumped at the opportunity to get involved.

This month until May 30th, Gerrard Larriett will donate 10% of each online sale to support Just Communities programming. Simply enter code "JUST" at checkout and you will also save25% on your entire purchase!

Click here to start shopping and saving!

About Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care: Dakarai Larriett, a gay man of color has always been very passionate about LGBT social justice issues and even served as Vice President of the board at Bronx Community Pride Center. In 2012, Dakarai launched the Gerrard Larriett pet product line inspired by the memory of his childhood Golden Retriever who hated baths. Gerrard Larriett pet products offer spa quality aromatherapy pet shampoos and conditioners, pet freshening and shining sprays, and deodorizing soy candles and gift sets for pets.

To learn more about Dakarai Larriett and his business Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care, please or "like" them on Facebook:

Why Do We Resist Change and...

What Can Leaders Do About It?

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Nicole Dinkelacker (left) and Ana Becerra (right) facilitate "Transitions" workshop at the Partnership for Excellence Conference

On March 8, 2013, Just Communities's Board Member Nicole Dinkelaker and Program Manager Ana Becerra presented at the Partners for Excellence Conference at the Fess Parker's Double Tree Resort in Santa Barbara. They facilitated a discussion among approximately 40 conference participants focused on understanding why people resist change.

The overarching questions for the session included: How does change really happen? Why do people resist it? What can leaders do to more effectively manage change processes and initiatives?

Based on the work of William Bridges[1], participants learned about change vs. transitions. They discussed the application of a "transitions lens" to current and upcoming changes they are facing or implementing within their organizations. They were introduced to practical tools and strategies they could use for planning and managing the first steps of their change scenarios.

Bridges based his Transitions Framework on decades of experience working on personal and organizational change. The Framework distinguishes between Change as a shift in the environment and Transitions as the internal process people go through as they come to terms with that change.

Essentially, there are three stages of transition: Endings, which are about loss and letting go; the Neutral Zone, which can feel chaotic, but offers opportunity for creativity; and New Beginnings, which is the new chapter and renewal. Individuals and organizations that pay attention to the difference between change vs. transitions are more likely to enact change that is both effective and lasting.

For more information about the Transition Framework workshop, please contact Ana Becerra at

[1] For more information about the Transition Framework, please visit

Meet Our New Staff Member

Alíz Ruvalcaba-Ventura

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"I am truly excited about this Family Engagement Network, it is a missing link that will bring our community together, giving resources and empowerment to those in need. It will serve as a bridge that will form a pathway to parents ready to engage actively in their children's education. The network will give broader opportunities to their families and to our community as a whole."

Alíz was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Science from I.T.E.S.O. (Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente) with an emphasis on TV Media and Photography from UPR (University of Puerto Rico). In 2006 she moved to Santa Barbara to pursue her career in Media and worked for Univision (Spanish TV Newscast) as a producer and reporter until 2010 when she focused on her photography business specializing in newborn photography.

After moving to Santa Barbara and working with the Hispanic community here, she realized how effortless it was for her to have various employment opportunities and travel abroad due to her legal status. Her privilege was the key factor that forced her to utilize her abilities and strengths to try and help others that were not as lucky.When she read the job description for the Family Engagement Network Coordinator she thought it was a position created with her passion and goals in mind.

Alíz's love of both travel and photography remain a huge part of her life. She also loves art and helps coordinate the live performances for Viva el Arte Santa Barbara. She is currently living in Santa Barbara with her loving husband Henry and her two year old son Leonardo Sebastian.

Meet Our Board

Abril Lopez, Co-Chair

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"The work that Just Communities does is amazing in many different aspect, whether its trying to break down the language barrier that exists in schools or bringing a community together to try and make the place where they live safe.

That's why I love working with Just Communities, not only do they address oppression but they bring communities together to work on good causes."

-Abril Lopez

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