Diablo Valley offers more than lovely weather and gorgeous mountain views. Caring government, business and community organizations work together to help our neighbors live full and productive lives. Diablo Valley is indeed a wonderful place to live.
School may be out for the summer, but Assistance League of Diablo Valley members and Golden Eagle Insurance Corporation employee volunteers Stephen Baird, Terry Embry, Pat Mathews, Kendra McKeen, Daniel Pardinas and Srikar Yendluri realize that accommodating the needs of students in Contra Costa County with Operation School Bell school uniforms is a worthy endeavor anytime.
Employee volunteers from Golden Eagle Insurance gave "hands-on" help at the league's headquarters in Walnut Creek last month to prepare new school uniform packages for elementary students selected by school administrators to participate in Operation School Bell, the largest of the league's eight philanthropic programs.
Golden Eagle Insurance is known for providing personal and commercial insurance services to small- and medium-sized California businesses.
Likewise, Operation School Bell member volunteers accommodate the needs of schoolchildren mandated by their district to wear uniforms. Assistance League provides six pairs of socks and underwear, two pairs of pants, (one skort for girls upon request), three polo shirts, and one sweatshirt for
Operation School Bell benefits students, teachers and our community all year in improved school attendance, positive campus citizenship and overall academic performance. Last year, 3,697 children in Contra Costa communities benefited from this program.
To learn more about the league's corporate partnerships, Operation School Bell and its primary fundraiser, the Way Side Inn Thrift Shop in Lafayette, visit the chapter website at diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.
John Muir Medical Center is free offering health education seminars on driving, depression and Medicare.
Participants will learn about health benefits, drug coverage and how to supplement their coverage. The presentation is by the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) of Contra Costa County.
It will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 7, at Martinez Adult Ed, 600 F St., Martinez. Call 925-228-3276 for reservations or visit www.johnmuirhealth.com.
Participants will learn causes of the condition and, most importantly, what can be done to stop or minimize it.
The class will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 3, at the Outpatient Center Tice Valley/Rossmoor, 1220 Rossmoor Parkway, in Walnut Creek. Call 925-947-3300 for reservations.
Also offered is the four-and-a-half-hour refresher course for those who have taken the eight-hour course within the last four years; those participants should bring their certificate.
The cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for others. Bring your AARP member ID number to class for verification. The refresher course can be repeated every three years.
Training is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 11, at John Muir Medical Center, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. Call 925-947-3300 for reservations.
Peaceful words, art
The 15th Annual Art & Writing Challenge Awards presented by the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek inspired Contra Costa County high school and middle school to submit 300 pieces of art, and 75 essays and poems for consideration.
This year's topic was the "Occupy" movement. Students were asked to offer submissions in response to this question: "The 'Occupy Movement' is raising concerns about social inequality in our country. From your perspective, are there improvements you would make and inequalities you would end within your school, community and/or nation that would help you, your family or others? Describe."
Senior Melanie Jinon of Salesian High School in Richmond, and Penelope Watson, an eighth-grader at Pleasant Hill Middle School, won first place in the art competition.
Winners of the essay competition were junior Kendall Lamaestra, of Independence High School in Brentwood, and Cayden Minyard, an eighth-grader at Black Diamond Middle School in Antioch.
Creative writing winner, sophomore Jesse Pickell of Independence High, joined eighth-grader Clayton Cruncleton of Bay Point's Riverview Middle School.
Hailey Westphal, a senior at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, won the Estera Roseman Award. Roseman, 93, died in 2010. She was a visual artist, using oil and watercolors, graphics, and etchings. Estera's children, Stevie Roseman and Michele Roseman, are both working musicians who, with their family, established the prize in 2012.
Award winners included middle school students Ricardo Barajas, Kevin Caldera, Gabby Heng, Stephanie Leighton, Melissa Martinez, Edgar Rodriguez and Eva Schoenholz.
Additional high school award winners included Hersha Cantiller, Quentin Hamilton-Meyers, Nehemia Mekete, Daniell McCann, Jose Ramirez, Savannah Ridgley, Kyle Trujillo and Tai Vugia.
Outgoing executive director Mary Alice O'Connor thanked Dennis Thomas for his dedication to the program for all 15 years. The contest encourages discussion in classrooms on care of the earth, economic disparity and nonviolent solutions to conflict.
For more information about Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center activities, visit www.mtdpc.org.
Our neighbors in Contra Costa County volunteer in eight different programs through the Sheriff's Department. Volunteers help get full-time officers out in the field helping our neighbors. Last week we profiled the Search and Rescue Team volunteers. This week, we feature the Chaplains Volunteer Program.
The Chaplains Program is the newest of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. Chaplains provide crisis response counseling for victims, death notification for families, counseling and other support functions and provide confidential services to department employees.
Volunteer chaplains are all ordained or licensed members of the clergy. The program is affiliated with the Delta Ministry Center of Oakley. There are 25 volunteer chaplains currently available 24 hours a day.
The Volunteer Services Unit is continually accepting applications. They can be picked up in person at the Sheriff's Office, Volunteer Services Unit, at 50 Glacier Drive in Martinez, or call the volunteer services coordinator at 925-646-4461.
"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to email@example.com.