United States 28 May: Santa Monica, CA - Carpinteria, CA

The Pacific Coast

Our day began at Holy Grounds Coffee and Tea, a neighborhood coffee shop and sanctuary for creativity, productivity and relaxation.

Mark Alexzandr spoke about the goals of Holy Gorunds and ensured we felt welcome.

We were honored to present Mark with our Torch-Bearer award on behalf of the the Holy Grounds Arts & Literacy Foundation aims to help the local community act as a united voice in raising awareness for those with limited access to creative resources. It gives children and adults a chance to rediscover the joys of reading and creating. The Foundation aims to provide resources, services and creative outlets for the community.

We passed the torch around amongst some of the customers.

Mark and Eddie Ortiz then took us on as 1.5 mile run to a local park. Eddie told us of the amazing service he has been rendering in the community. Eddie has been a driving force with Para Los Niños an organization dedicated to raising children out of poverty and into brighter futures through positive educational opportunities and wrap-around support.

Utpara is always ever ready with refreshments.

Odgiv from Mongolia is here with his family.

Musical accompaniment.

Next we headed back to Santa Monica where we caught up with a dear friend and team member from 2014 Jennifer Cluck (not pictured). Jennifer had brought along her sister Amber and two nephews to meet us and offer their encouragement.

Veggie Grill very kindly gave us lunch today.

Later we caught up with the women's team at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura.

Father Tom Elewaut, very kindly welcomed us and shared some of the rich history from the Mission.

The founding of San Buenaventura Mission traces to the decision on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1749 by the Franciscan priest Junipero Serra to journey to the New World as a missionary to the native peoples. (Padre Serra was canonized a Saint by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015.)

Papaha, from San Diego made sure he got his miles in.

The women's team had a delightful run along the Pacific Coast

Special thanks to Hotel MdR for very kindly offering 4 rooms for the evening.

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