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Dr. Judy Walters, former president of Diablo Valley College and currently interim chancellor at Chabot-Las Positas Community College, will participate in DVCís programs celebrating Womenís History Month in March.

Diablo Valley College celebrates Women's History Month in March with two special events, "The Feminine Mystique: Fifty Years Later," and a round-table discussion with career women of the Contra Costa Community College District.

The first event, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. March 12, features Melissa Jacobson, DVC history professor and vice president of the Contra Costa Historical Society, discussing the women's movement after publication of Betty Friedan's epic memoir.

It will also include viewing of the 2003 motion picture "Mona Lisa Smile," starring Julia Roberts as an art history professor from Oakland who takes a job at Wellesley College, near Boston, in the 1950s.

The second event is a round-table discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. March 13, with career women of the Contra Costa Community College District.

Included are Dr. Helen Benjamin, chancellor of the district; Susan Lamb, vice president of instruction at DVC; Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, district vice chancellor of education and technology; Dr. Diane Scott Summers, former vice president of student services and former interim president of DVC; Dr. Judy Walters, former president of DVC and currently interim chancellor at Chabot-Las Positas Community College.

Both events will be held in the Trophy Room at DVC, 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

For more information, visit www.dvc.edu or call 925-685-1230.


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Safety net forum

The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley will present a free forum addressing the safety net for children and their families from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2, in Room H-109, at Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, in Pleasant Hill.

Forum speakers will include Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clinica de La Raza, on health issues; Paul Buddenhagen, program manager of Spark Point Center, will update budget changes and county demographic shifts; and Larry Sly, executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, who will discuss hunger in our communities.

Also slated to speak are David Gerson, executive director of Loaves and Fishes, on bringing food to families in poverty; and Carol Carrillo, executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa, to highlight programs that stress educating the public and providing resources to support families.

Call 925-685-1230 for more information. Free parking is available in Parking Lot 7, adjacent to the building.

Lee Lawrence is the president of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, representing Central and Eastern Contra Costa County from offices at 500 St. Marys Road in Lafayette.

Visit www.lwvdv.org.

Marketing e-books

The Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers' Club will feature author and "Smashwords" e-book marketing guru Angela Schiavone at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, at Zio Fraedo's restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill.

Members will enjoy lunch and the program for $20. Guests are $25.

Smashwords offers free tools for marketing and distribution for publishing novels, short fiction, poetry, personal memoirs.

Contact Jean Georgakopoulos at 925-934-5677 or jeaniegpops@comcast.net, for reservations before March 6.

NAMI expressions

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Contra Costa hosted a free event -- Express Yourself through Art -- inviting people affected by mental illness and members of the public to participate in the art project celebrating surviving mental illness through the fun and healthy coping skill of art.

Select pieces of Express Yourself will be on display throughout March at the Panama Bay Coffee Cafe in Todos Santos Plaza, 2151 Salvio St. in Concord. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness and facilitate the discussion of mental illness.

At Rainbow Center

The Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa will hold a crab feed with live entertainment, raffles and prizes from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, March 9, at the Concord Moose Lodge, 1805 Broadway St. in Concord.

Tickets, $45, will not be sold at the door, so reservations should be made soon at www.rainbowcc.org.

Caldecott history

The Clayton Historical Society will hold a free presentation on the "Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore -- Tunneling Through Time."

It will be led by Ivy Morrison, Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore information officer, and geologist Chris Risdon.

It will be held at 7 p.m. March 6, at Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St. in Clayton.

Donations to support the Clayton Museum are welcome. For more information, call the Clayton Museum at 925-672-0240.

Empty Bowls

Every night, there are children in our community who go to bed hungry. "Empty Bowls" is an event dedicated to raising hunger awareness.

Residents are invited to join the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for a simple meal served in a handcrafted bowl and learn what the food bank is doing to get food to people in need.

Those participating can keep their handcrafted bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in our communities.

Chevron is sponsoring the event from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the food bank warehouse, 4010 Nelson Ave. in Concord.

The cost is $10 per adult, $5 for children under 9, and $30 for a family of four.

A variety of soups, beverages and raffle prizes, and speakers dedicated to ending hunger in our communities will be featured.

Register online at www.foodbankccs.org/events. For more information, contact Renée at rbaptiste@foodbankccs.org or 925-771-1310.

Calling all princesses

The Princess Project collects dresses through local dress drives and holds giveaway events where they give girls who otherwise couldn't afford one, a prom dress along with an accessory, for free.

The public prom dress giveaway for girls will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 9, 10 and 16, at 2099 Market St. in San Francisco.

To receive a dress, a girl must be a currently enrolled high school student with a valid student I.D. For more information, visit www.princessproject.org.

Local businesses collected dresses for the event, including Bar Method, 3211 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon and 1946A Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Walnut Creek; G.R. Doodlebug, 3626 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville; Renaissance ClubSport, 2805 Jones Road in Walnut Creek; Selix, 951 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill and Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton; and The Savvy Shopaholic, 411 Hartz Ave. #G in Danville.

Work party in garden

At the Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden, a group of volunteers, led by Monika Olsen, teacher and Contra Costa County Master Gardener, handled monthly cleanup duties at the garden, weeding, pruning, and transplanting and trimming plants.

Leaves were raked out of the streambeds, and river rock from the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District property was moved into them. The district land is to be graded for a parking lot in the spring, and volunteers began to put up barrier fencing to prevent damage to the garden beds during construction.

Regular watering has been ongoing due to less rainfall, but Olsen noted that it is beginning to look like an early spring with manzanita, ceanothus, daffodils, grevillea and other plants blooming throughout the garden.

General tasks may include ongoing newspaper, cardboard, lawn clipping collection for compost; mulching; weeding, pruning, painting and garden maintenance. Other projects are designing and construction of fences, lighting and pathways; and larger plans to build a small greenhouse for plant propogation and a plant nursery.

Individual and group volunteers are welcome, and should bring water, a hat, gloves and regular garden tools to use. Email phigarden@gmail.com or contact Monika Olsen at 925-482-6670.

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