Vanguard Nursing Professor’s Faith at Home Showcased in OC Register

Amanda Firestone, associate professor of nursing at Vanguard University, is the main subject of a feature article in the OC Register published on Tuesday.  The article, called Making peace with two traditions, discusses Firestone and her husband’s collaborative approach to celebrating the holidays as a family of mixed faiths.  Firestone, a Christian, is married to a Jewish man who works in the medical field as an emergency room doctor.  Raising her twin boys in the Jewish faith, Firestone makes great strides to capture the importance of her Christian faith through the Christmas season in her home while still giving as much attention to Hanukkah, according to the article.

This year, her family will accompany her to Journey Christian Fellowship in Irvine, where she regularly attends church services, for the Christmas Eve service, according to the article.  While she goes on to say that she always takes her children to important Jewish celebrations, it is clear to the reader that her Christian faith has not diminished by the dual celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah.

“The article is delightful and Amanda says that they captured her thoughts and story well,” says Professor Mary Wickman, director of the nursing Program at Vanguard University.

The article goes on to discuss the many challenge of families of mixed faiths encounter during the holiday season and the creativity used in honoring the various traditions.

Click here to read the full article.

Veterans Club Helps Bring Christmas to Children Battling Cancer

Vanguard University fundraiser for Maxlove ProjectWalter Reed Military Hospital

Gratitude and warm smiles greeted the “Big Warriors for Little Warriors” holiday drive supporters as they gathered today for a small luncheon at Vanguard University’s Veterans Center.

For the past month and continuing until Dec. 20, the Vanguard Veterans Club has been receiving and will continue to receive gift cards, Legos, toys and monetary donations to help benefit the MaxLove Project and the Walter Reed Military Hospital. The contributions provide toys for military families and child cancer patients.

This year, the veterans club asked 42 children diagnosed with cancer at Walter Reed Military Hospital what they would like for Christmas. Legos was their answer. As of today, the drive has raised about $2200 and approximately 60 Lego gifts.

The holiday drive started last year when Veterans Center volunteer Adrian Michael asked MaxLove Project founder and Chief Hope Officer Audra D. Wilford for ways the veterans club could get involved with her organization. Michael knew Wilford from his time at Saddleback College; She was one of his professors.

Together, they came up with the idea for the “Big Warriors for Little Warriors” holiday drive to give the community an opportunity to bless the lives of veterans and child cancer patients. “Military families and hospital kid families share similar struggles,” Wilford said. Michael added, “Both know what it means to fight for their life and to experience the uncertainty of what each day could bring.”

Supporters from around the community and from various organizations came to the event. Some of the organizations represented were Strength and Support, the Orange County Freedom Committee and Newport Mesa Church. This event was specifically planned to thank the contributors and share with them the impact their contributions have made.

To learn more about Vanguard’s Veterans Center, click here.




Students Close the Books and Run to the Cafeteria for Finals Week Midnight Breakfast

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 2.45.20 PMLate nights of brain expanding studies and brain draining essays call for one thing: the finals week Midnight Breakfast.

A few minutes before midnight on Dec. 10 students began to line up outside the cafeteria for Vanguard University’s Midnight Breakfast, a finals week tradition. Each semester Vanguard University’s Student Government Association (SGA) works in conjunction with the cafeteria to put on a midnight breakfast for students.

The Midnight Breakfast provides a break from studies and a chance to refuel for those who will continue to work into the wee hours of the morning. The cafeteria makes multiple breakfast favorites including waffles, sausage and the beloved tater tots. Campus security is always present just in case some students get a little too crazy from exhaustion and try to start a food fight.

“Aside from all the logistics, my favorite part of the event is the stress free fun with friends, great music and delicious food,” the event’s coordinator, Vandella Jasso, said. “My friends and I look forward to this event every semester because we are all so sleep deprived that we get a little crazy when some sugar is put into our system,” she added.

To learn more about Vanguard’s SGA and what they are up to, click here.

Puppy Party Provides Relief from Finals Stress

dogs help Vanguard University students study and de-stress

Students were invited to pet puppies, eat food and de-stress in the Tower’s Patio on Dec. 10.

With the stress of exams and final projects piling high, Vanguard University’s Counseling Center and Diversity Programming collaborated to create a stress relief event for students. Therapy dogs, massage therapists and stress balls greeted the more than 200 students (and a few faculty members and staff) who attended the event.  BARK Reading Dogs brought eight trained therapy dogs and two massage therapists from the California College of Physical Arts helped loosen students’ stiff necks and shoulders. Vanguard-student-pets-dog

The Counseling Center and Diversity Programming had a table with brochures on stress, anxiety and test taking tips, and stress balls for students to take. There were also refreshments, fruit and cookies. Based on social media and word of mouth, Coordinator of Disability Services Kerry Kimble said: “Students were very happy, pleased and Dogs-reduce-Vanguard-students-stressextremely thankful for such a fun and relaxing event.”

To find out more about Vanguard’s counseling center, click here, and for diversity programming information, click here.

December Seniors Celebrated at Black and White Party

BlackWhitePartyOn Dec. 5, Vanguard University hosted a Black and White Party to celebrate, recognize and send out the December graduates.

About 75 sharply dressed seniors gathered with faculty and staff in Needham Courtyard Thursday night. The evening began at 8:30 p.m. with mingling and desserts. As the night went on, special speaker Dr. Michael D. Wilson, Vanguard’s Acting Provost/ Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Undergraduate College, gave an encouraging message to send out the graduating seniors.

Following his message, Director of Alumni Relations Joel Gackle prayed for the December graduates. The spring graduates gathered around their fellow seniors and extended their hands in prayer and blessing over them. Also, the Alumni Relations Team gave the December graduates fleece blankets with Vanguard University embroidered on them.

Looking back on the event, Senior Class Program Director Tommi Ploneis said it was a fun, classy and special event. “For some it was their last Vanguard moment,” Ploneis said and added that some students will choose not to come back to walk for graduation in May. Whether it was their last moment at Vanguard or just the last for a while, the final prayer was a special moment where all the seniors came together in support of the December graduates, Ploneis said.

Dressed in poinsettias, candles and pinecones, Needham Courtyard had a classy Christmas feel for this formal university event. While students, faculty and staff mingled over coffee and desserts, guitarists lightly strummed in the background. A photo booth for seniors to commemorate their time together added a special touch.

To learn more about Vanguard’s Alumni Relations, click here.