Public agencies are nonprofit organizations that help our neighbors in need. Our returning veterans will get a helping hand on Halloween Day from many of these agencies. We thank them every day, and so do our veterans.

Honor hero, hire vet

The state of California will present an "Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet" job and resource fair for veterans, National Guard and reservists returning from active duty from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd.

Our heroes will have the opportunity to meet with potential employers, learn about job training and career planning. The event is offered in partnership with the Employment Development Department, California Community Colleges, California Department of Veterans Affairs, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Department of Industrial Relations-Apprenticeship Standards, One-Stop Career Centers and various federal, state, local and private organizations, including Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Auxiliary aids and services are available on request to individuals with disabilities by calling 800-735-2922. For registration information, contact veteran representatives Shawn Hansen at 925-602-0115 or Wayne Mauldin at 510-622-4328.

Four-part harmony

Devil Mountain Chorus members have been busy standing in for local church choirs on vacation, participating in the Walnut Festival and even entering a float in the Walnut Parade with members singing on the back of the truck, noted Dolores Mendenhall, the group's publicity chairman and director emeritus, in a news release.

The group's annual show -- actually two shows, a matinee at 1:30 p.m. and a dinner show at 7 p.m. -- will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Shadelands Arts Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek. The event will also feature a young men's quartet called "First Strike," finalists in the Spring Men's Harmony Society Far Western District Contest.

The Chorus show features about 10 songs based around a skit, said president Brad Dewey. There will be a singalong during the intermission, followed by three or four concert-type songs afterward. For the matinee, doors open at 1 p.m., with the show at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 each or $10 for a group of four or more. For the dinner show, doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m., and the performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Reservations for either performance may be made by calling 925-284-9042.

Teens make difference

USA Today has designated Oct. 27 as Make a Difference Day, and the Assisteens Auxiliary of Diablo Valley is joining thousands of other members nationwide for the philanthropic event.

Members in Assisteens, for students in grades 7-12 attending area schools, raise funds to support their six philanthropic programs, most notably, holiday parties for disadvantaged youth. In addition, they learn the value of volunteerism and giving back to their communities at an early age. It is an auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley, which has chosen literacy as the theme for Make a Difference Day participation. Assisteens are collecting new, paperback books to present to the Buena Vista Auxiliary Tutorial Program chairman Oct. 27.

The program provides identified second-grade students with 16 tutorial sessions, which conclude with a celebration party. Donated books will be distributed to students who have completed the program.

Further information about Assisteens, Buena Vista Auxiliary and Assistance League of Diablo Valley can be found diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.

Help, hope, jazz

Help, Hope & All that Jazz will be the theme for the annual gala to raise funds for the Contra Costa Crisis Center that provides 24-hour crisis lines, face-to-face grief counseling program, homeless services, youth services and 211 information and referral program for our neighbors in crisis.

Congratulations to their new executive director Rhonda James, formerly of Community Violence Solutions.

The gala will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at Diablo Country Club. The winner of this year's Rosemary Caldwell Award, Michael Rekasis of Wells Fargo Advisors, will be congratulated. The Addison Street Band will perform, and ABC7 news anchor Dan Ashley, board member at-large, will be master of ceremonies.

Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Union Bank and Wells Fargo are presenting sponsors, joined by Dawn and Russ Comer, Dave and Rena Munson, Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology and Sheriff David O. Livingston and the Sheriff's Posse. To purchase tickets, call 925-939-1916 or visit www.crisis-center.org.

Reunion rewards

The Alhambra High School Decades Reunion weekend this summer was a success both socially and financially -- gathering almost 2,000 students from five decades for a special weekend Aug. 17-19, and presenting donations to local good causes, according to Dorothy Lucero Buffington.

On Sept. 25, reunion committee members presented a whopping $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Martinez through its director, Tuong Troung, and another $1,000 to the Martinez Historical Society in appreciation of their support. The committee also recognized reunion sponsors for their efforts which enabled the monetary gifts to be made to the deserving organizations.

Leadership teams up

Leadership Contra Costa Alumni Association members participated in the recent community food drive, collecting more than 3,880 pounds of food collected for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and the Monument Crisis Center, said Sandi Jacobsen, of the association advisory board. Pet food donations were also collected for Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, based in Walnut Creek and serving the region.

LCCAA members coordinated the distribution of collection bags and fliers prior to the event, as well as assistance in the sorting of donations on Oct. 6. Several association members also conducted neighborhood food drives.

Leadership Contra Costa, a facet of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, is a countywide leadership program geared to people who want to make a difference in the communities in which they live and work. For more information. visit www.chamberorganizer.com.

Teen Center opens

The grand opening of the Pleasant Hill Teen Center was held over the weekend, with tours of the 6,987 square-foot center showing residents what teens can expect at the state-of-the-art gathering spot. The building, located at 147 Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill, will house dances, concerts and movie nights, as well as an Xtreme summer camp annually.

Teens will find a place to play chess, learn the business of baby-sitting or self-defense, take guitar lessons, prepare for the SAT and ACT, and study drama.

Safe Halloween fun will be offered from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, on the Teen Center parking lot. Students can come in costume and collect candy from community members who have decorated their vehicles (register your decorated vehicle for $5), for the spooktacular event featuring craft activities and a goody bag for each child.

The event is sponsored by Generations Church of Pleasant Hill, and all proceeds will be used to support the Teen Center. Visit www.pleasanthillrec.com for more information, or call 925-682-0896.

Pink up the mall

Breast cancer survivors were recognized by their respective oncologists and surgeons and featured in a Surviving in Style Fashion Walk Oct. 7, at Sunvalley mall in Concord.

The show featured special "pink" themed cancer- awareness merchandise and discount offers on pink-colored products throughout October. Mall merchants also promoted breast cancer awareness with pink window dressings.

"Breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer for women in the United States," said Brenda Carlson, executive director of cancer services at John Muir Health, in a news release.

Sponsored by John Muir Health, Diablo Valley Oncology, Diablo Magazine, Contra Costa Times and Sunvalley Shopping Center, the event was a great success.

For more information visit www.shopsunvalley.com.

Chamber music

The chamber music recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 1601 Mary Drive in Pleasant Hill will feature Baroque music performed by the Divertimento Baroque Ensemble and the Albany Consort.

Donations benefit Contra Costa Interfaith Housing Project which provides permanent supportive housing and services to formerly homeless and struggling families.

For more information, contact Decky Thornton at 925-228-7731 or deckyt@comcast.net.

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