Living life with purpose: Mount Shasta's Dawn Fazende
By Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Area Newspapers - Wed Mar 04, 2009
Dawn Fazende moved to Mount Shasta in 1993, and has since become the champion of several local causes. As a highly spiritual person, Dawn lives her life pursuing enlightenment and self-growth as she puts her organizational skills to work to promote those community issues that are close to her heart.
Mount Shasta's Dawn Fazende lives her life with definite purpose and an assured quality of acceptance. "When something is put in your path, you have a choice to make. The correct one is to take action," she said.
And take action she does — as a fierce fundraiser for the Meals on Wheels Auxiliary, coordinator of the annual Community Thanksgiving meal, director of Mount Shasta's annual Wesak Festival, and the founding editor-in-chief of Mount Shasta Magazine. Dawn recently began her own non-profit organization, Alliance for Humanity, as an umbrella for all these causes that she holds close to her heart.
Born in New Orleans to a Roman Catholic family, Dawn "broke away" from her hometown and organized religion as soon as she came of age, she said, embracing what people now call the "New Age" movement.
After making her way to Mount Shasta in 1993 under circumstances she described as "divinely orchestrated," Dawn said she felt guided to create a magazine that would showcase the sacred qualities of the mountain.
"Mount Shasta Directions" was established in 1996, when Genny Axtman, publisher of Mount Shasta Area Newspapers, chartered the quarterly publication. In 1999, Dawn took over publication of the magazine herself. Now titled simply "Mount Shasta Magazine," Dawn continues the tradition of highlighting ideas of "cultural creatives" who seek alternative ways to connect with a higher power and to make a difference in the world.
In 2003 Dawn was given the opportunity to continue the Wesak festival, which was initiated by Joshua Stone, a New Age spiritual leader, 15 years ago. Wesak attracts hundreds of people to Mount Shasta to "celebrate, renew their souls, and to learn" from New Age teachers and speakers who assist with personal development, Dawn said.
"Wesak is an event for people seeking conscious evoltion, but for the locals who wonder what the heck it is ...[Wesak] is all about calling attention to this area and bringing visitors and tourists to Mount Shasta to strengthen the economy," she said.
Named for "the convergence of Buddha, Christ and other Masters in the Himalayan Wesak Valley each May," and celebrated variously in cultures throughout the world, Wesak is one of Mount Shasta's largest annual events.
The same year Dawn took over Wesak, she also became the main organizer of the Community Thanksgiving meal, after no one else could take on the responsibility. During her involvement with that project, she said she began to understand the needs of the Senior Nutrition Center and the Meals on Wheels program, which feeds senior citizens throughout the community.
"I realized what a tight situation the programs were in financially, and began to throw my efforts into that," Dawn said. "The programs not only ensure that the seniors get their nutrition, but it's also about social support. Some of them can't drive, can't get out of the house and can't or shouldn't cook for themselves. The more I got involved, the more I realized how important these programs are."
"Dawn's great," said Anne Rutherford, the Senior Nutrition Center's program supervisor. "Whatever the program needs, I ask her and she figures out how to get it."
The Meals on Wheels Auxiliary ensures that funds go directly to the immediate needs of the community. Its current short term goals are to modernize the kitchen and dining facility, continue to bring nutritious and fresh produce into meals, and to make up budget deficits that are the result of State cuts.
"My goal is to have enough food for anyone who's hungry," Dawn said. "It's terrible that we have a waiting list [for Meals on Wheels]. The spirit of giving is what makes this program special... and whatever the community has to donate, we are grateful to use it."
Today, Dawn said she's happy to be an activist for the causes she believes in. After a near-death experience as the result of an aortic dissection in 2002, Dawn said she values each and every moment of her life.
Calmly accepting that she is not entirely well and still in precarious health, Dawn said she sets her sights on projects that she's able to handle in short spurts of time. Fortunately for the community, organization is one of her strong points, and her health generally allows her to work at her own pace on the projects she loves the most.
"I appreciate every solitary second of my life," said Dawn, "and I just want to give a little back to the world."
City officials to march for meals led by organizer Dawn Fazende
By Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Area Newspapers - Wed Mar 11, 2009
A large group of seniors at the Mount Shasta Senior Nutrition Center enjoy companionship and a balanced meal each weekday for a small donation — although no one is turned away for inability to pay. City leaders in our local communities are banding together for Mayors for Meals Day on March 18, to raise awareness of senior hunger in our area.
City officials, business owners and citizens will band together to show their support for senior nutrition on "Mayors for Meals Day," scheduled for Wednesday, March 18.
Meals on Wheels coordinators in Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir, Weed and McCloud will lead marches through the downtown areas to collect funds accumulated in special donation jars which have been placed in local businesses. If a business does not already have a jar of their own, they will be able to get one at that time.
Mount Shasta Mayor Tim Stearns, Dunsmuir Mayor Kathay Edmondson, Weed Mayor Pro Tem Dave Pearce, and City Manager Beth Steele of McCloud will personally deliver lunch to a homebound senior in their area.
"We are excited about having our city officials participate in this event," said Meals on Wheels Auxiliary founder Dawn Fazende. "We hope to raise awareness of senior hunger in our community."
Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious and balanced meals to homebounds five days a week — at no charge to the recipient. The Senior Nutrition Program feeds seniors and those in need five days a week at the Senior Dining Center at the City Park for a small donation — though no one is turned away for not paying.
In recent years the government in Sacramento has cut the budget for these programs significantly, said Fazende, leaving local programs to fend for themselves in making up their deficits.
The Meals on Wheels Auxiliary was formed this year to help raise much needed funds for the food programs. Donations to the Auxiliary go directly to local seniors.
The community has responded with donations of food, equipment and some monetary donations, although more funds are needed, said Fazende.
For more information about how to donate, or to volunteer in your town, call Dawn Fazende at 926-1762.
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