John Muir campfires

Join the National Park Service for free campfire programs at 7 p.m. Saturdays, July 26 and Aug. 30; and at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 and Oct. 25, at the John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez.

Rangers will lead songs, skits and stories to celebrate the legacy of naturalist John Muir, the "father of the national parks."

Bring the whole family!

Come with picnic blankets, lawn chairs, marshmallows and a desire to have a good time. Rangers will direct you from the gate to the fire ring.

For more information, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/jomu or call 925-228-8860.

Created in 1964, the Muir site preserves the home, landscapes, and grave site of conservationist and national park advocate John Muir.

Muir spent his life exploring, studying and writing about his experiences in the American wilderness, most notably the Sierra Nevada.

His writing set the stage for a conservation movement that would spur protection of nature nationwide.

Wine into water

Enjoy a private tour of Tamayo Family Vineyard and raise funds for the Rotary International Project Agua Nicaragua, to bring clean water to remote villages.

The event is from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 2, at Tamayo Family Vineyard, 11618 Byron Highway in Brentwood. Call Marianne Clark with the Martinez Rotary at 925-639-7647 or Darren Kelly, with the Walnut Creek Rotary, at 415-350-5209 for more information.


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Riding the rails

The Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society, a club of men and women who volunteer to operate the Diablo Valley Lines model railroad, has enjoyed 65 years of sharing one of the largest HO-scale model railroads in the United States.

The model railroad is open for public viewing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 20-21, Nov. 22-23, Nov. 29-30, from 2-10 p.m. Nov. 28; as well as the last Friday of the month from 8 to 10 p.m., including July 25, Aug. 29, Sept. 26, Oct. 31, Nov. 21 and Dec. 26.

More than 200 train cars and 50 steam and diesel engines are in operation during shows at their clubhouse, 2751 Buena Vista Ave. in Walnut Creek. Fares are $2-$3.

According to its website, the Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society is a nonprofit, non-charitable organization with all proceeds going to construction and maintenance of the railroad. Membership is open to adults 18 and older. WCMRS is also home to the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew #4449 for Scouts ages 14-18.

Prospective members are invited to attend a public show.

Call 925-937-1888 or visit www.wcmrs.org for more information.

Rotary scholarships

The Rotary Club of Martinez presented scholarships to two recipients recently. Dominic Heiden, of College Park in Pleasant Hill, will attend Seattle Pacific University.

Recipient Daniel Truex, of Vicente-Martinez High School in Martinez, will be starting at DVC in the fall.

The Rotary Club of Martinez meets at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road in Martinez. Call 925-639-7647 or visit www.martinezrotary.org for dates and times.

Families give, grow

Give Together, founded just last year by Catherine Aker, hosts events throughout Contra Costa County for family volunteers.

"After spending more than a decade volunteering, advocating and supporting a number of nonprofit organizations, I wanted to change my volunteer focus to include my young children," the Lafayette resident notes.

"I wanted my children to develop compassion, learn the importance of gratitude and teach them that they can make a difference. And most importantly, I wanted them to know that giving back can be fun."

Give Together works with local organizations to develop age-appropriate volunteer activities that are fun for the children while being helpful to the organization's mission.

Program organizers provide families with additional educational resources and tools to discuss giving.

They organize service projects and craft events that benefit the organization behind the scenes, teaching children that even small acts of giving can make a big impact.

Activities are planned for families with children ages 2-12, but they welcome volunteers of all ages. Events are held in Contra Costa County and are usually limited to two hours or less.

In June, 48 families decorated place mats for Meals On Wheels clients, picked weeds and planted sunflowers at the Lafayette Community Garden, and created more than 100 friendship bracelets for young hospital patients at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland.

At a family service day at Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation, blankets and towels were donated to ARF, and families made dog and cat toys.

Thirty-four families participated in July by creating a mini-garden at the Lafayette Community Garden and donating it to seniors at the Lafayette Care Center, filled backpacks with school supplies for families receiving services through SHELTER, Inc., and assembled food boxes at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord.

Families are invited to join upcoming giving activities in September to create birdhouses for Habitat for Humanity at 10 a.m. Sept. 6, at The Home Depot in Concord.

On Sept. 20, Give Together will help beautify Wood Park in Oakland from 10 a.m. to noon, including weeding and other gardening work. Registration is required for all events.

Visit www.givegrow.org to sign up for events or to learn more.

Mission Vision

Kaiser Permanente Diablo Area Community Benefit volunteers from the optometry and ophthalmology departments, including optometrists, medical assistants, nurses and vision service assistants, helped low-income and uninsured people at the Mission Vision event in Martinez receive free eye exams and glasses.

Participants were referred from four local agencies that operate programs for homeless and very low-income adults and children.

"This is one of the best things that Kaiser Permanente does," said Vicky Lizarraga, Monument Corridor Senior Services Outreach program coordinator from Catholic Charities, one of the groups that participated in the event.

"To be in a place where everyone is treated with dignity is so important," she said.

"These are people that can't afford glasses or eye exams. This is just great for the low-income community."

To learn more about Mission Vision or Kaiser Permanente's commitment to the community, contact Diablo-Area-Community-Benefit@kp.org or visit kp.org/communitybenefit/ncal.

Wine, Women, Shoes

The inaugural Wine, Women & shoes fundraiser in May was a success. More than 300 people attended the event at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, generating $87,000 to benefit Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District, as well as Hospice of the East Bay.

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