September in Diablo Valley is particularly beautiful, and this fall season promises lots of interesting opportunities to enjoy socializing and helping our neighbors.
The Crescent Drive Restaurant Walk is a great way to enjoy a late summer evening with friends and family while supporting Pleasant Hill public schools.
The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, on Crescent Drive in Pleasant Hill, sponsored by the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education.
Visitors can sample delicious food from Crescent Drive restaurants and enjoy live, 1965-1980-inspired music from popular local band, Lumberyard.
Proceeds from the event go to the FPHE grant program, which awards grants to the 11 public schools every May.
Since 2009, FPHE has awarded more than $120,000 to the schools.
FPHE board member and chair of the event, Leanne Hamaji, thanks participating Crescent Drive restaurants, Lumberyard, and the patrons of the event for their generosity and support of local education and our community.
The Living Well Beyond Cancer Conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 8, at John Muir Medical Center, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.
The free program is open to the public. Lunch is included. Call 925-947-4447 to register.
Sponsored by John Muir Health and funded by the Safeway Health Foundation, the event will feature interactive workshops.
There will also be guest speakers, including Michael Pritchard, local comedian and founder of the Humor, Hope & Healing program; Elizabeth Kristen, J.D., attorney with the LegalAid Society of San Francisco, who will be discussing the legal aspects facing survivors and give advice for life "post-treatment;" and Dr. Jeanne Alexander, a physiatrist and founder of the Alexander Foundation for Women's Health, who will discuss the mood and hormonal changes that occur due to treatment and their potential effects on patients' emotional as well as sexual well being.
Sewing for the troops
Learn to sew with Blue Star Moms of Concord by making personal-size quilts for severely wounded military and children's quilts for military families in need.
The event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Bethany Baptist Church, 5850 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez.
Come even if you don't know how to sew! They will teach you to sew or you can help with cutting, ironing, etc. Stay for a few hours or bring a bag lunch and make a day of it.
For more information, call Mary O'Keefe at 925-689-5947 or visit www.ccbluestarmoms.org.
The Diablo Regional Concert Band will be performing a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Martinez Veterans Hall at 930 Ward St. in Martinez. Some selections will be "Funiculi, Funicula," "Fairest of the Fair," "Nessum Dorma," and Broadway. Refreshments will be provided.
The band is a year-round, self-supporting ensemble of 30 volunteer musicians conducted by Cora Martens. Everyone who enjoys playing their band instrument may join this wonderful organization.
There is a $20 fee per quarter, and the new quarter begins Sept. 6. The band practices at Martinez Adult Education, 600 F St. Sign up at the adult education office. For more information call Cora Martens at 925-451-6222.
Lend a Caring Hand
We all think about aging in place -- in our own homes, on our own terms. Often the first thing to get in the way is that it becomes too hard or impossible to drive to the doctor, grocery store or to just get a haircut.
Support systems change with adult children moving for job opportunities, and neighbors and friends are not able to help as often as needed.
Do you have a couple of hours a week to help one of our seniors?
If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad, an active retired person, work part time or a swing shift, please consider giving your time to Caring Hands.
Their mission is to help local seniors remain independent as long as safely possible. More than 350 independent older adults participate in the Caring Hands program of John Muir Health, and their average age is 83!
In order to meet the growing demand of people who want to remain independent and in their own homes, they need volunteers. A couple of hours a week can make a big difference in the senior's life and yours as well.
A background clearance and orientation and interview are required before coming to the training.
Volunteers must attend a training session Friday, Sept. 21, at the John Muir Outpatient Center in Brentwood or on Friday Nov. 16, at the John Muir Medical Center in Concord.
Call Linda Groobin, program manager, at 925-952-2999 and visitjohnmuirhealth.com/caringhands for more information.
Helping school kids
Five Rotary clubs, including Concord, Concord-Diablo, Concord-Clayton Valley, Pleasant Hill and Martinez joined with the Salvation Army and Target of Pleasant Hill to give 70 kids a back to school shopping spree for school clothes.
Each child was given a chaperon who had a gift card worth $100, or $140 for those 14 or older.
The tag teams freely roamed the store to get school-appropriate clothes. For those not able to attend, a Rotarian was assigned to do the shopping for them with their size and request specifications, though some requests for rainbow color was a challenge.
This is just one of the many local projects of local Rotarians.
To lean more about Rotary, go to www.Rotary5160.org.
The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce continues to hold its Women's Networking Speaker Series through the rest of the year.
Join dynamic women for lunch the second Thursday of each month and listen to some keynote speakers, including Loretta Masnada, president of the Concord chapter of Blue Star Moms on Sept. 13; Lorrie Sullenberger on Oct. 11; Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla on Nov. 8, and others throughout this year honoring women of achievement.
The series is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd. in Concord.
Chamber members may attend for $25, and nonmembers for $40. Reservations are required. Call 925-685-1181 or visit www.concordchamber.com for more information.
'Best Book' winners
Concord author Susan Pace-Koch and illustrator Jeremy Kwan of Vallejo, representing Concord independent publisher, Get Out Books, are the recipients of the 2012 "Best Book" award from the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.
"Get Out Of My Head, I Should Go To Bed" is a children's picture book about 10 kids who can't go to sleep because they are busy thinking about dinosaurs and kittens and cowboys and whales ... but not sleep.
Pace-Koch offers studio tours for small groups by appointment and Get Out Books is happy to work with nonprofits, schools and libraries. Contact the studio through its website at www.GetOutBooks.com.
Be an English tutor
You can change a life! Volunteer tutors are needed to help English learners who find simple tasks like reading product labels, following street signs, understanding instructions or talking to a child's teacher frustrating.
This limits their roles as employees, as parents and as members of the community. Learning to speak English gives them confidence to become a fully immersed member of our society.
Tutoring workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22; from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4000 Clayton Road in Concord.
You must attend all three sessions. There is a nominal fee to cover the training and material costs. Adult volunteers typically give one or two hours per week.
For more information, visit dvlc.tripod.com or call and leave a message at 925-685-3881.
A multiple myeloma program and luncheon for patients and their caregivers is offered from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 12, at Diablo Valley Oncology, 400 Taylor Blvd., in the third floor conference room in Pleasant Hill.
The program and lunch are complimentary but reservations are required. Please call 925-677-5041, ext. 272 or visit www.diablovalleyoncology.md.
"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.