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Felicia Stiles, 19, daughter of Luz and Richard Stiles of Concord, was recently crowned the Miss California Teen 2012 in the National American Miss competition, and will be attending the national pageant at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week.

Violence affects our lives everyday. Reading about it is sad, but when violence occurs in the home it is devastating.

There is help available through STAND! For Families Free of Violence. The organization represents the best of two wonderful organizations that merged in 2011 -- The Family Stress Center and STAND! Against Domestic Violence -- serving Contra Costa County children and adults who are victims of abuse.

Rebuilding lives

The STAND! For Families Free of Violence 20th annual "Rebuilding Lives" luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in the Golden Gate Ballroom of the Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd. in Concord.

Cheryl Jennings, ABC7 news anchor, will serve as mistress of ceremonies. The keynote speaker is Victor Rivers, actor, athlete, author and advocate. Co-chairs for the event, which honors Domestic Violence Awareness Month, are Colleen O'Brien and Nadia Costa.

The presenting sponsor is the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation. Major sponsors include Chevron, Joe Mullen Jr., Charles Schwab; Kaiser Permanente; John Muir Health; Littler Mendelson; Sybase; Trucker Huss, L.L.C. and Diablo Magazine.

This is STAND's big fundraiser of the year, folks, and this fine organization could sure use your support. Tickets, for $100, may be purchased online at www.http://standffov.eventbrite.com or by calling STAND! at 925-603-0110 for more information by Sept. 21.

Red Cross heroes

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter will honor the 2012 heroes at the Contra Costa County Heroes Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 5, at Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive in Danville.

The annual program celebrates everyday heroes, recognizing those local individuals and organizations that make a difference in their community through acts of extraordinary courage and kindness.

The Act of Kindness and Philanthropy Hero Award will be presented to Doug Stewart, founder of Central County Outreach in Martinez, where he has dedicated countless volunteer hours to solve the homeless crisis.

The Act of Courage Hero Award will be presented to Gurmail Billa who selflessly put himself in harm's way to help out a police officer who was attacked by several gang members in Hayward.

The Animal Rescue Hero Award honors Monika Helgemo, Animal Services manager at the Antioch Animal Shelter.

The Community Service Hero Award honoree is Laura Graham, a sophomore at Bishop O'Dowd High School of Oakland. She created "1 Closet," a program to donate gently used and new clothing to more than 300 low-income teenagers.

The Community Service Hero Organization Award goes to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team (SAR), one of the busiest teams in the county with 59 member-volunteers donating more than 44,000 hours of community service to SAR missions, medical event support, public relations and training.

The Lifesaving Hero Award goes to Randy and Kyle Harrell, father and son, who risked their own lives to save their 96-year-old neighbor and family dog whose house was on fire in Alamo.

The actions of the heroes embody the principles and ideals of the Red Cross' humanitarian mission. Congratulations to all!

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Heroes Breakfast event, visit www.redcrossbayarea.org/heroes. The event benefits Red Cross disaster readiness and relief efforts in the Bay Area.

Symphony's 50th

The Diablo Symphony Orchestra celebrated the start of its 50th season with a reception honoring the new conductor, Matilda Hofman, at the Alamo home of Mary Ann and Fred Osborne.

Symphony board president Pat Campbell acted as master of ceremonies and welcomed orchestra members and supporters.

The orchestra's popular conductor for the past 30 years, Joyce Johnson Hamilton, passed the "ceremonial baton" to Ms. Hofman at the event.

The orchestra was started as a community orchestra by the Mt. Diablo School District in 1962, and some of those orchestra members attending the party shared stories of those early days.

The 2012-2013 season opens with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek.

Newsmakers series

Newsmakers, the Lesher speaker series, welcomes a nonprofit partner for each speakers event. The organization chosen for Capt. Mark Kelly's presentation in September was, fittingly, the Aphasia Center of California in Oakland. Kelly was commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final mission and is the husband of former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords, the victim of a gunshot wound to the head last year, now suffers from aphasia, a communication impairment caused by brain injury (typically resulting from a stroke), which affects about two million Americans. The Aphasia Center provides assessment, education, training and consultative services for people of all ages.

The Aphasia Center of California welcomes volunteers in the areas of administration, communications, marketing, fundraising, special classes and governance.

For more information, visit www.aphasiacenter.org or call 510-336-0112.

For more information about Newsmakers, future speakers and nonprofit partners, visit www.lesherspeakerseries.org. Future nonprofit partners will include Youth Homes in October; California Symphony in February; Meals on Wheels in March; and Sentinels of Freedom in April of next year.

Helping Food Room

Hillcrest Congregational Church in Pleasant Hill was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Safeway Foundation, allowing the Food Room program to continue its mission of providing a three-day emergency food supply for up to four times a year to needy individuals and families in Pleasant Hill and surrounding communities.

The Hillcrest Food Room, which has operated for the past 62 years, is open three mornings a week and is a designated outlet of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. A total of 2,941 individuals received food in 2011.

"The money received from this grant will allow us to continue to buy food for the Food Room for the rest of this year, and it will allow us to purchase items the Contra Costa and Solano County Food Bank does not provide, such as eggs, hamburger, margarine and bread," said Bill Cunningham, Hillcrest Church outreach coordinator.

The Food Room is operated entirely with donations and staffed by volunteers from Hillcrest Church and members of other local churches. Anyone interested in volunteering, making a monetary donation to the Hillcrest Food Room, or inquiring about receiving emergency food supplies should contact Hillcrest Church at 925-689-8260 or visit the website at www.hillcrestucc.org.

By kids, for kids

The fourth annual musical extravaganza produced and performed by Youth Theatre Company members "By the Kids, For the Kids" takes place at 5 p.m. Sept. 30, at the Shadelands Art Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.

Tickets are $10 and benefit the scholarship fund of Friends of Civic Arts Education, and the Monument Crisis Center, which provides emergency food, nutrition education and crisis services to our neighbors in need.

For more information, visit www.youththeatrecompany.org or call 925-943-5846.

Crowning achievement

Felicia Stiles of Concord was recently crowned the Miss California Teen 2012 in the National American Miss competition, and will be attending the national pageant at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week.

The 19-year-old daughter of Luz and Richard Stiles is a 2011 graduate of Carondelet High School in Concord and is attending Diablo Valley College with a goal of transferring to UCLA or UC Santa Barbara next fall.

Stiles has been a dancer for more than 17 years and is teaching at Studio A in Pleasant Hill. She also plays a big role in the care of her grandmother, Iris Jordan -- Mama -- with whom Stiles shares a birthday.

Moose boutique

Concord Moose Family Center Lodge #567 is holding its "Hand-Crafters Boutique" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Moose Family Center Lodge, 1805 Broadway St. in Concord.

Proceeds will benefit the Moose Charity Fund donations to local nonprofit organizations, including STAND! For Families Free of Violence, We Care, Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Cancer Society, Monument Crisis Center and college scholarships and the Special Olympics.

For more information, call Irene at 925- 639-0570.

"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.