National Volunteer Week is coming up April 21-27. It's a time for us to celebrate people who support our neighbors by volunteering at community nonprofit organizations.
"Good Neighbors" celebrates our volunteers each week highlighting their dedication to our community. While organizations always appreciate donations, volunteer support is essential and makes the difference between an organization with good intentions and one with real success in helping people.
Get out there and find your bliss in helping others!
The Volunteer Center's Know How Network program offers seasoned professionals a chance to channel their lifetime of experience in helping East Bay nonprofits.
The baby boomer generation is driving the trend to volunteerism. The Know How Network was created to focus on volunteers 55 and older.
If you have professional skills and want to work on short-term, high-impact projects, this is the program for you.
Visit www.volunteereastbay.org/volunteers for more information.
Family resource fair
We Care Services for Children, First 5 Contra Costa, EMQ Families First, and Care Parent Network are partnering to provide a resource fair in support of families of young children.
It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 20, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Ave. in Walnut Creek.
There will be free developmental screenings, audiology testing, a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, mental health and behavioral therapist plus many other resources for families of young children.
Craft activities and a bounce house will also be included.
Sponsors are Hitachi Data System and GOALS for Autism.
For more information, call Barbara at 925-685-0207, ext. 108.
Clothing for kids
Shell Martinez Refinery employees recently teamed up with Assistance League of Diablo Valley for one of the organization's Operation School Bell shopping events, held at Wal-Mart. All volunteers helped guide young shoppers from John Muir and Morello Park elementary schools in Martinez through the store to purchase clothing up to a total of $80.
Shell volunteers, in addition to being "personal shoppers," have read to children in the Martinez Unified School District classrooms. Also participating in the shopping event was Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder, an Assistance League adviser.
For 18 years, Operation School Bell has provided new clothes and shoes for elementary schoolchildren around Contra Costa County, last year helping some 3,500 youngsters.
Volunteer Week at John Muir Health medical centers will celebrate volunteers from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, in the Ball Auditorium, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road, in Walnut Creek.
Brunch, fun, prizes and surprises are planned to show appreciation for the dedicated volunteers.
One of their special volunteer (human and furry) partnerships from the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) will also share the love.
CYC supports academic excellence for young athletes
The Community Youth Center is a state-of-the-art sports and academic center in Concord, where youth ages 3-18 thrive in a dynamic and positive environment where caring staff and volunteers support young student athletes.
The academic excellence program is designed to augment an athlete's existing studies and to help them manage their time effectively so they can become even better students and athletes.
Soccer has been added this year to sports programs for boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, taekwondo, judo, cheerleading and dance.
Sports activities help to develop key characteristics and behaviors in youth, and if done correctly can build a foundation for success in life.
A $1 million gift from the K.H. Hofmann Foundation opened the CYC in September 1995 to provide such a place for the youth of Concord and the surrounding communities.
Each year, the center has grown, with more than 1,200 members participating today.
To learn more about the specific programs offered at CYC, and to add your support, visit www.communityyouthcenter.com.
It's a new beginning for local history with a grand opening celebration of the Contra Costa County History Center's recent move to 724 Escobar St. in Martinez. The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
County Supervisor Federal Glover and Contra Costa County Historical Society president John Burgh, and others on the historical society board, will have a ribbon cutting kickoff at 10:30 a.m. to mark the opening of the new location as well as the beginning of the History Center's 31st year.
There will be tours of the facility at 30-minute intervals, and a chance to view the new exhibit, "Contra Costa County: More than the Opposite Coast," curated by Beverly Lane and Andrea Blachman. Refreshments and activities for children and adults will also be available and the book store will be open.
A member's preview will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18. The grand opening committee includes Melissa Jacobson, Harriett Burt, Blachman, Burgh and Lane.
For more information, contact the History Center at 925-229-1042 or e-mail email@example.com.
Contra Costa County 4-H'ers are joining clubs across the state for the California 4-H centennial this year to create positive impacts in their communities.
Locally, the Lamorinda 4-H -- the largest of eight clubs in the county -- has 100 members from Pleasant Hill, Martinez, and Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga who are among more than 500 participating youths. It is estimated there are more than one million 4-H alumni in California today, and some 17,000 volunteers who receive training and support from professional staff members in best practices for youth development.
Long gone are the days of "only cows and cooking," according to Anthony Cannon, the youth chair of the Lamorinda 4-H centennial celebration. 4-H has an array of projects, including raising animals and cooking, to robotics and rocketry, veterinary science, consumer awareness and more.
The UC 4-H development program is part of the Cooperative Extension system, with offices in every county statewide.
For more information, visit www.ca4h.org.
JFK Alumni of Year
JFK University alumni, including Richard Kitchens of Concord, and Primo (PJ) Quesada of Walnut Creek, were among eight recipients of the university's 2013 Alumni of the Year Award.
The honorees represent the three colleges of the university located in Pleasant Hill, each selected for distinguished service to their profession and to the community.
Kitchens, who received his juris doctor in 1997, has been a high school social studies teacher, basketball coach, athletic director, local union president, and the lead negotiator for both labor and management at various times.
He has taught college level courses in education law for both John F. Kennedy University College of Law and Golden Gate University Law School, and has won awards for his teaching and coaching.
Kitchens is currently the principal at Piedmont High School.
Quesada received his bachelor's in 2010. He completed his degree in business administration, with a specialization in strategic management while working full-time at his family's specialty food manufacturing business, Ramar Foods International.
In 2011, less than a year after graduating with honors, he was promoted from director of marketing to vice president of marketing.
Quesada is the incoming president of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce and a member of Toastmasters International and the Pittsburg Rotary.
Both Kitchens and Quesada were recognized at the university's Alumni Day on March 2, along with fellow award winners Valla Hoffman, administrative law judge for the Department of Healthcare Services; James Leventhal, deputy director of development at the Contemporary Jewish Museum; Tonya Johnston, equestrian mental skills coach; Ceylan Hulya and Lisa Rasmussen, co-founders of Art 4 All People; and Dennis Wade, program administrator for Anka Behavioral Health.
"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.