When you think of a family reunion, what comes to mind? A roomful of aunts, uncles and cousins together with your grandparents and nuclear family, perhaps? Well, then, you're definitely not a member of the Aranda family tree.

On a recent Saturday, as many as 200 relatives of patriarch Santos Aranda, of Gomez Farias, Mexico descended upon Emerald Glen Park for some very extended family bonding.

"Family is everything, and we have such a great time seeing everyone," says Carolina Drush, who along with husband Michael traveled from Albuquerque for the reunion.

Relatives are scattered far and wide, with many in California, but others who traveled to the barbecue and picnic from as far away as Alaska. A large multipage chart displays the Aranda family tree, which inevitably needs to be updated each year, as new members join through marriage and birth, and a few individuals pass away.

Tina Marie Aranda-Garcia of Dublin, who's a number of generations from Santos Aranda, organized the event, which was complete with color-coded T-shirts to help identify the different branches of the tree.


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"I started (planning) last August with a Facebook page," she says. "I went ahead and booked the park and just waited for the RSVPs." There were no big -- at least formal -- games or sporting competitions on this day hotter than 100 degrees. This event is all about spending time with family members who you know and meeting others whom you don't. Tina estimates that about 50 percent of the attendees were relatives she did not know.

"It's important to know where you come from," she adds. "My dad (Rio Aranda) is really into the whole family thing."

In fact, Tina says her first Aranda family reunion was in 1987 when she was 10. Knowing the family tree isn't just a great genealogy project, either. With a family as large and diverse as the Aranda clan, there's a practical reason too, says Tina's mom Mary Aranda.

"With the girls, the names change when they get married, so somewhere down the line, they may fall in love with someone who could end up being their cousin."

Summer Enrichment: Janet Lockhart knows a thing or two about making the best use of a tight budget. The former mayor of Dublin and now director of Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE) has worked hard to make the best use of the funding they receive from individuals and companies.

"The economics of the past few years have taught DPIE a good lesson in being flexible. The board understands that money is harder to come by and that programming has become a powerful tool for supporting the students of the Dublin Unified School District."

That flexibility, she adds, allows the organization to determine whether a program is most beneficial by working directly with 30 students or having 10 teachers reach 300 students with their support.

That support was bolstered this past week with a $10,000 donation from Wells Fargo, which is just one of many companies that appear to recognize the value of investing in future employees via DPIE.

DPIE is also in the second year of its Summer Enrichment Academy, which helps students complete advanced work during the summer so they can free up their fall schedule to take extra classes or make room for band and other activities.

"This academy has expanded to include a Middle School Enrichment program as well," adds Lockhart. "This year we are offering automation and robotics to middle school students who do not have room for it in their fall schedule."

Like all good nonprofits, volunteers are key to DPIE's success. In fact, Lockhart says she is looking for a few new board members, so if you're an individual or a corporate employee who is interested and motivated to work in support of education, send an inquiry to info@dpie.org.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.