Rose Bowl 'Dream'

"Matteo's Dream -- A Playground for Children of All Abilities" in Concord will be represented in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, on the Lions Club International float for the parade theme -- Dreams Come True.

Concord residents who spearheaded the creation of the facility, Liz Lamach and Renee Henderson, named it after their son, Matteo, now deceased, who was blind and used a wheelchair.

As a member of the Concord Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission and the Lions Club of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, Lamach brought people together to make Matteo's dream of an accessible playground a reality.

More than 3,000 volunteers constructed the massive playground in 2007, after the city of Concord donated the land at Hillcrest Park and provided $232,000 in park funds, and 45 local Lions Club chapters raised additional funds in excess of $750,00, and provided many volunteers for the project.

Lamach and Henderson will ride on the Lions Club International-sponsored Rose Bowl parade float, decorated as Matteo's Dream, on Jan. 1, in Pasadena, along with Christian Campbell, a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy, of Concord, and his mother, Kausha King.

Lamach and Henderson received a certificate from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla for making "Matteo's Dream" come true, at a ceremony Dec. 18, at the playground.

Christian and his mother were in attendance and congratulated by Bonilla, Concord officials and the Concord Police Association, who raised funds to send Christian and his family to ride in the Lions Club Rose Bowl Parade float on New Year's Day.

Matteo's Dream was selected from hundreds of Lions projects worldwide for their Tournament of Roses float.

ARF's comedic turn

Join host Tony La Russa for ARF's Comedy Night, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, and "Stars to the Rescue XXIII," at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, in Walnut Creek.

Grammy Award-winning performer Bruce Hornsby, Grateful Dead founding guitarist Bob Weir, stand-up comedian Allan Havey, Broadway pianist and singer Michael Cavanaugh are featured performers at the events.

Stars to the Rescue is sponsored in part by Chevron, AT&T, the Shiavo Family, Contra Costa Times, and Walnut Creek Magazine.

Visit www.arf.net for tickets, or call 925-296-3154 or 925-943-SHOW (925-943-7469). Prices are $45, $100 and $250 for VIP tickets.

Proceeds from Stars to the Rescue provide support for ARF's programs. ARF saves the lives of dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters, giving them loving care and another chance at life until a new home can be found.

ARF's People Connect programs strengthen the human-animal bond for children, the elderly and other people in need. ARF allows people to experience the unconditional love and acceptance of dogs and cats to fulfill their mission of People Rescuing Animals ... Animals Rescuing People.

ARF is located at 2890 Mitchell Drive in Walnut Creek.

Christmas Pageant in Concord

Christmas was celebrated with carols, a children's pageant and bell choir at the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Concord last week.

Nik Gay (a young member of the church), was the storyteller of the birth of Christ in the city of Bethlehem, performed by other young church members Aidan Young, Clay Carlisle, Abby Rose, Caroline Rose, Bella Girard, Itzel and Sophia Castellon, Shelbi Bushman, Elias and Grayson DeWeese, Diego and Bella Sainz.

The children's bell choir was directed by Janet Gay. Pageant co-directors were Heather Raymond and Diana Carlisle.

The Christian Women's Fellowship group had a bake sale to raise funds for their outreach programs, and brunch was served by Lisa Morgan and Denise Schneider of the Fellowship Committee.

Poinsettias donated by members in memory or honor of loved ones decorated the church.

Senior outreach

Meals on Wheels increased services to Contra Costa County seniors through six Senior Outreach Programs, including:

  • Meals on Wheels delivers 750 hot, nutritious meals everyday to seniors unable to leave their homes.

  • C.C. Cafés host social activities and serve 200 healthy, low-cost lunches in six locations every weekday.

  • Friendly Visitors provide companionship to 215 homebound seniors every week.

  • The Home Care Registry helps 400 seniors and their families find trustworthy, in-home help every year.

  • The Fall Prevention Program educates 700 community members and makes critical home safety improvements for 100 seniors every year.

  • Geriatric Care Managers help 150 seniors access services that improve their quality of life every year.

    They can't do all this alone.

    Thanks to our generous community, more than 700 calendars for 2014 were collected for seniors to help them keep track of appointments. Tampico Terrace Care Center of Walnut Creek donated $5,000 in support of a new comprehensive brochure highlighting the six programs Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services offers in support of Contra Costa seniors.

    MOW and SOS also recently received generous donations from Jim Carlson of Griswold Home Care, and Tim Bouslog of Sutter Delta.

    Save the Date for the annual crab feast benefiting Meals on Wheels at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road, in Concord.

    Enjoy fine wine, pasta, salad, and delicious crab!

    Bid on a wonderful array of auction items, including Southwest Airlines tickets, Disneyland tickets, an In-Shape Health Club membership, theater tickets, a weekend evening sailing trip and an indoor sky-diving experience.

    Space is limited. Tickets are $65.

    Call 925-937-8311 or visit www.mowsos.org for more information.

    Women's conference

    The East Bay Women's Conference is returning for a highly anticipated ninth year and tickets sell fast for this popular event.

    The keynote luncheon speaker this year will be Cokie Roberts, award-winning journalist and author.

    Guest speakers feature Rita Moreno, award-winning actress and entertainer, and San Francisco native Leah Albright-Byrd, founder of Bridget's Dream, that raises community awareness of and provides support to victims of sex trafficking.

    ABC 7 news anchor Dan Ashley will emcee this conference that blends keynote and featured speaker presentations, breakout sessions focused on contemporary issues, exhibitor booths, a fully stocked bookstore, and author signings.

    Tickets are available now, so be sure to make your reservation soon for the East Bay Women's Conference that will be held Monday, March 3, at the San Ramon Marriott, 2600 Bishop Drive, in San Ramon.

    Registration begins at 8 a.m.

    The $195 ticket price includes continental breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon reception ending at 5 p.m.

    The event is presented by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Chevron and John Muir Health.

    e-Waste collection

    What do we do with all of the old, unwanted e-waste (electronic equipment) after the holidays?

    Electronic Waste Management offers a free pick up of e-waste from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at Diablo Valley College, 312 Golf Club Road, in Overflow Parking Lot 7, in Pleasant Hill.

    Another pickup is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1. Contact 866-335-3373 or visit info@NoEwaste.com for more information.

    Call the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce for tickets at 925-934-2007 or visit www.walnut-creek.com.

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