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Assistance League of Diablo Valley president Veronica Gant, left, and vice president of Philanthropic Programs Sally Ryan, right, welcomed June luncheon speaker and chapter advisor Rose Lock, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District assistant superintendent.

Caring partnership

The Volunteer Center of the East Bay "Week of Caring" has a new name, "Corporate Caring Volunteer Week," now sponsored by Chevron USA in conjunction with United Way Bay Area.

The Volunteer Center matches corporate volunteers with local nonprofits in need of hands-on help for a week each fall, this year Sept. 8-13.

Business groups begin to select volunteer projects on July 21.

Nonprofit agencies are now submitting their impactful, one-time projects to be included in the Volunteer Center's database for selection. For more information visit www.volunteereastbay.org.

Student support

Assistance League of Diablo Valley is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving lives in our community through hands-on programs, many serving Contra Costa County students.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Rose Lock presently serves as one of eight ALDV chapter advisers, and speaking at a June meeting, praised the chapter's positive impact on district students.

Lock commended Assistance League of Diablo Valley Buena Vista Auxiliary for raising funds for individual student tutoring, and Assisteens Auxiliary for encouraging youth to get involved in community service.

Assistance League of Diablo Valley student programs include R.E.A.D./Listen, where members read or listen to second-graders and the chapter donates new books to school libraries and classrooms each year.

The Kids on the Block is a nationally acclaimed program that provides life-size puppets, directed by chapter members, to address such issues as learning differences, physical challenges and bullying.

Operation School Bell is another nationally acclaimed student program that provides new uniforms, clothing and shoes for elementary school students.

Secondary level, college and foster students benefit from the chapter Scholarships program.

Teacher grants enable district teachers to enhance their curricula to benefit students.

Learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley at diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.

Program funds are raised through proceeds from the league's Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, 3521 Golden Gate Way in Lafayette, and through individual and corporate donations, grants and bequests. Chapter offices are located at 2711 Buena Vista Ave. in Walnut Creek.

Sculpture garden

The Ruth Bancroft Garden annual sculpture exhibition will also feature local artists painting the surrounding beauty.

And visitors will be able to hear the sounds of live jazz music by Dogbone play from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 11, at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek.

The cost is $15 in advance and $25 at the door.

Refreshments will be available, but not included in admission.

For more information, visit www.ruthbancroftgarden.org or call 925-944-9352.

Port Chicago at 70

In July of 1944, the largest U.S. mainland explosion of World War II destroyed the Navy's Port Chicago Magazine (now the Concord Naval Weapons Station), instantly killing 202 African-American sailors working in a segregated munitions loading crew. An additional 118 merchant mariners, other military personnel and civilians also died. Hundreds more were wounded.

The subsequent refusal of 50 of the surviving sailors to resume loading munitions until their safety could be assured resulted in the most significant mutiny trial in our history.

Their cause, supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall, contributed to the desegregation of the Navy and later the entire military.

The National Park Service and the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial will present two events commemorating the tragic disaster in Concord during World War II that led to the desegregation of the United States military.

The first event is a free symposium to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

It will be moderated by John A. Lawrence, former chief of staff to Speaker/Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Robert Allen, retired adjunct professor of African American studies at UC Berkeley.

The symposium is free, but registration is required. Call 925-695-7678.

The symposium is sponsored by Diablo Valley College, The Burroughs Fund at Coastal Carolina University, and Bingham McCutchen LLP.

Presenters at the event will include: Allen, author of "The Port Chicago Mutiny"; Leon Litwack (professor emeritus of history at UC Berkeley, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for "Been in the Storm So Long: the Aftermath of Slavery"); Maggi Morehouse (associate professor of history at Coastal Carolina University, author of "Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II"); Carolyn Johnston (professor of history and American studies at Eckerd College, author of "My Father's War: Fighting with the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II"); Steve Sheinkin (author of "The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights"); and J. Vern Cromartie (professor of sociology at Contra Costa College).

The second event, a public commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago disaster is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 19, at Shipyard #3 of the historic Kaiser Shipyards, where the S.S. Red Oak Victory Ship is permanently moored, at 1337 Canal Blvd. in Richmond.

The Red Oak Victory is of the same class of ship lost in the Port Chicago explosion in 1944.

In addition to ship tours, the July 19 event will feature Port Chicago films, and presentations in commemoration of the disaster and its aftermath.

The commemoration is free and open to the public.

Visitors will be able to board and tour the Red Oak Victory, but the ship is not accessible to people with mobility limitations.

Visit http://portchicagomemorial.org for details.

SIRs meet

Las Trampas Branch 116 of the Sons in Retirement luncheon speaker at 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 21, will be Wayne Korsinen, who will discuss how Port Chicago was badly damaged by -- but survived -- the wartime explosion.

The meeting is at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge, 1475 Creekside Drive in Walnut Creek.

Cost is $15, and reservations are needed by July 16.

For more information, call 925-322-1160.

Girl Scout awards

The Walnut Creek Girl Scout award ceremony was recently held at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek.

Special guest speaker Ginger Wadsworth, author of "First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Low," shared her thoughts with more than 275 Girl Scouts at the event.

Scouts received Super Troop, Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

The Walnut Creek Girl Scouts Service Unit Team oversees activities for approximately 1,000 Girl Scouts in Walnut Creek, made up of approximately 100 troops.

Cancer Survivors Day

Cancer survivors and their families were treated to lunch, live music, a yoga class, and a Q&A with physician leaders about cancer survivorship, at Cancer Survivors Day at the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center.

Support and resources were shared by representatives from health education, dermatology, nutrition, oncology/clinical trials, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Support Community and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This fall, the Commission on Cancer will survey the Walnut Creek medical center for accreditation by the American College of Surgeons, awarded to sites that dedicate resources and provide the best treatment and support to cancer patients.

Oncology nurse Anne Bone said, "This is just a special day. It is wonderful to see so many patients here -- many have hair now that they have completed their treatments," she said smiling. "I really have one of the best jobs ... I get to meet amazing, strong people, hear their stories and be a part of their lives."

For more information, visit kp.org/share.

Funds for Shelter, Inc.

SHELTER, Inc. was under budget and needed to raise funds in order to meet its expenses for providing support to homeless families by the end of the fiscal year in June.

Our community responded with $94,000 raised in one day to support homeless families at the Mountain View Emergency Family Shelter in Martinez, thanks to The Quest Foundation, which offered to match donations up to $23,000 from individuals, businesses and organizations.

SHELTER, Inc. seeks to prevent and end homelessness among low-income residents of Contra Costa County by providing resources that lead to self-sufficiency.

Last year, they assisted 1,552 households requesting assistance to prevent homelessness.

Funds are always needed to support our neighbors struggling with unemployment, health expenses and other financial concerns.

For more information, visit www.shelterincofccc.org.

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