STAND! Oscar benefit

Dress up like a movie star and walk the red carpet to join STAND! For Families Free of Violence for the Academy Award benefit "live on the big screen."

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at the Brenden Theatres, 1985 Willow Pass Road, in Concord. Tickets are $55.

The "Tour de Contra Costa Buffet," bottomless sparkling wine and a cavalcade of raffle prizes and auction items will pamper guests encouraged to dress like their favorite film stars.

Proceeds will support women and children at the STAND! emergency shelter, a toll-free, 24-hour crisis line. Callers are provided resources that help them find safety, and classes on parenting techniques, partner support to stop destructive behavior, and youth education for how to effectively prevent violence.

Contact Kris Jachens for more information at krisj@standffov.org or call 925-603-0138. Make a donation to give@standffov.org.

Blossoms for Barbara

Clayton Valley Garden Club's "Blossoms for Barbara" Valentine's Day outreach program volunteers decorated and delivered nearly 900 gifts of colorful blooms to individuals in local hospice care.

The four-inch pots contained tulips, Gerbera daisies, ranunculus and cyclamen, which were distributed to residents in hospice, assisted living and convalescent residences, the Martinez Veterans Affairs Hospice, specific Kaiser facilities and to Meals on Wheels in the Contra Costa area.


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Floral designer and garden club member Linda Manss Karp created this event a few years ago to honor her late mother, Barbara Manss. Karp felt it was important to bring a bit of happiness to those who are ill.

"We want to let them know that people have hearts and really do care! It's hard to believe the love and joy a flowering plant can create," Karp emphasizes.

"Our program would not have been possible at all without funds awarded by the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA), and the money and materials donated by local retailers. CVGC volunteer and monetary support are essential also," Karp stresses.

Contributions for "Blossoms for Barbara" can be arranged at www.claytonvalleygardenclub.org.

CVGC welcomes novice and master gardeners alike. Founded in 1997 as a nonprofit entity, the club undertakes maintenance of selected city plantings, supports local school and community projects, and travels far and wide on outings to flower shows, specialty growers and garden tours.

CVGC meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month (February through November) at Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St. in Clayton.

Be a CASA volunteer

CASA volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary work for abused, neglected and abandoned children in our community.

Appointed by a judge in the dependency courts, a CASA volunteer speaks up for the best interests of a child in court. Many times, the CASA volunteer may be the only consistent and caring adult presence in the life of a child in foster care.

Visit cccocasa.org or call 925-256-7284 ext. 7 to register for the next CASA volunteer orientation from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at their offices, 2020 N. Broadway, Suite 204, in Walnut Creek.

And Foster a Dream ...

Foster a Dream in Martinez provides programs and resources so every foster child can achieve their highest potential, become productive citizens and sustain self-sufficiency.

Volunteers are needed for mentoring, Young Women's Empowerment Day, Get Set Program, Operation Backpack, the Online Ambassador Group, financial and tax education classes, office work and program assistance, development committee and special events.

Prospective volunteers are welcome to learn more about Foster a Dream at an orientation from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at their offices, 628 Escobar St., in Martinez.

Contact Erin at emcdonnell@voa-ncnn.org if you wish to attend or visit www.fosteradream.org for more information.

AAUW scholarships

The Pleasant Hill-Martinez branch of the American Association of University Women awards scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to women graduating from College Park or Alhambra high schools this June.

Completed scholarship applications must be received by Friday, March 28. Applications are available from the high school counselor's office.

Middle school seventh-grade girls from Pleasant Hill and Martinez may apply for scholarships to attend the AAUW Tech Trek camp this summer, and can contact their science or math teacher for a scholarship application.

Tech Trek is math and science camp program that fosters education and seeks out girls with an interest in sciences. Tech Trek applications must be received by the end of February.

Applications for all scholarships are available or at www.aauw-pleasanthill-martinez.org.

'Extended Family'

The Extended Family program of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, in partnership with SHELTER, Inc., and Lyle Morris Family Center of Contra Costa County, recently helped move-in the 200th family into a permanent, fully-furnished residence.

"Move-In" was created at United Methodist in 1994 with a modest goal of assisting one homeless family per year by providing them with all the necessities to make their new apartment or house a home. It has grown into a sustainable mission that now provides move-in assistance to one family per month.

SHELTER, Inc. executive director Tim O'Keefe explains how the Extended Family program delivers more than just furniture and household items.

"It welcomes previously homeless families back into our communities with open arms and support.

This only strengthens their ability to be self-sufficient and helps achieve our mission at SHELTER, Inc. of ending homelessness in Contra Costa County."

The Rev. Eileen Lindsay of United Methodist explains, "Our faith impels our actions and our faith renews hope.

It is our goal through this program to give these families renewed faith and hope for a better future."

Celebration for the "Move-In" will be Sunday, Feb. 23, following the church's 9:30 a.m. service at Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave. in Walnut Creek.

Visit www.walnutcreekumc.org or call 925-934-4208.

Vets helping vets

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts from Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Clayton, Lafayette, Pittsburg, Richmond and Antioch work with SHELTER, Inc. to provide support to low-income and homeless veterans and their families.

VFW Services provides comprehensive services for male and female homeless veterans, including transitional housing, employment readiness training, transportation and links to VA benefits and other social services.

SHELTER gets grant

SHELTER, Inc. has been awarded a grant to provide case management services to veterans and their families. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a program to assist very low-income veteran families.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in applying for SSVF services, contact SHELTER, Inc. at 925-957-7579 or visit www.shelterincofccc.org.

Walnut Creek 100

2014 marks Walnut Creek's centennial celebration, and individuals and organizations are supporting the effort by planning on events throughout the year.

The Walnut Creek Historical Society is the fiscal sponsor for the Centennial Steering Committee.

"Working with the Walnut Creek Historical Society is a natural fit for the Walnut Creek 100 team," says Mackenzie Lesher, co-chair of the Centennial Committee with husband Steve.

"As the keepers of our city's history, the Historical Society is an invaluable partner as we spread the word about this exciting year and the many opportunities for Walnut Creek citizens to celebrate our city's past, present, and future. We deeply appreciate the generosity and enthusiastic support of the Walnut Creek Historical Society."

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

Culture to Culture

The Culture to Culture Foundation, based in Walnut Creek, is accepting applications for the $1,000 Mental Health Essay Scholarship for junior and senior high school students. The essay topic is "How Does Your Personal Definition of Success Affect Your Mental Health?"

Application and release forms are available online at www.culturetoculture.org, and must be received by March 17.

For more information, email culturetoculture2014@gmail.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.