In today's political and financial climate, the geniuses in Sacramento see fit to toss away our state's greatest asset by denying funds to educate our youth.

That being said, occasionally an individual will step away from the lethargy of complaint and make an effort, in some small way, to make amends for the neglect of the powerful.

Few can access corporate millions to donate, but persons denied access to millions still make positive contributions to the community.

Brentwood's Josephine Cooper is such a person.

Cooper, unlike many volunteer parents in the classrooms of their children, without whom most schools could not function, altruism is at the core of her giving.

Cooper, in 2005, decided that funds were needed to complete the construction of the Brentwood Senior Center. With that in mind, she went into action. This was the birthplace of the biannual Summerset IV Boutiques.

Her contribution to the cause was $1,250. The next effort provided $600 to "A Place for Learning." Cooper had become a serial donor.

Summerset IV spring boutique, usually held in March, and Summerset IV holiday boutique, usually held in late October work the same way.

In space provided by the beautiful Summerset IV Orchard View Lodge, Cooper provided table spaces, for a rental fee, to more than 45 vendors. Proceeds of the fees were then donated to a worthy cause.


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By 2009, Cooper had set her sights on doing all she could for the Garin Elementary School library.

"Words cannot begin to express the deep gratitude my staff and I feel for the ongoing support of Jo Cooper," wrote Garin Principal Stacy Joslin.

"Our students are the primary beneficiaries of these resources, and what a difference it has made," she continued.

According to Joslin, Cooper's first donation allowed the school librarian to purchase a series of books on the individual states in the USA, references necessary for the curricular studies of all five fifth-grade classes.

Joslin wrote, "Gone are the days when the state had adequate funding to support school libraries.

"It is critical that we instill a love of learning in students -- up-to-date, appealing books are a means to that end," she continued.

Another way that Garin students gain from Cooper's efforts includes a sense of community, and participation.

"Garin fourth- and fifth-grade students made beautiful ornaments to sell at the boutique," Joslin wrote.

The Garin students were not the only ones to benefit from the Summerset IV boutique. Since 1991, the Liberty High School District has had a 20-hour community service program in place as a requirement for graduation.

The Students in Service program volunteers not only earn scholastic credit, additionally; they are exposed to diversity in their community, leadership skills, civic responsibility, and several more positive aspects of living in an ethical society.

"Well-educated students lead to the security of the future of our country," Joslin said.

"There will be several high school volunteers on hand to help out in any way they can," said Albert Joseph, of AJ Entertainment.

People looking for that one of a kind gift, whether a handmade birdhouse, jewelry, homemade goodies, or maybe ornaments created by local fourth- and fifth-grade students, should find their way to the Summerset IV Holiday Boutique on Saturday. Oct. 27.

For more information, visit: www.brentwoodholidayboutiques.info.