September in Diablo Valley is particularly beautiful, and this fall season promises lots of interesting opportunities to enjoy socializing and helping our neighbors.

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.

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.

Wellness conference

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.

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, for school-appropriate clothes. Rotarians shopped for kids who couldn't attend, with kids' sizes and requested specifications in hand -- though some requests for rainbow colors presented challenges.

To lean more about Rotary, go to www.Rotary5160.org

Networking women

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.

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

Myeloma program

A free 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.

For reservations 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 goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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