The new year is a good time to count our blessings. Appreciate our family and friends. Thank our neighbors for their support and offer ours to others.

The East Coast's Hurricane Sandy could be our earthquake next year. The Newtown, Conn., tragedy could be repeated anywhere. Life is uncertain.

Surround yourself with love, support and compassion for others if you can. If you can't, talk to someone who can help.

Rossmoor scholarship

College counselors at Acalanes, College Park, Las Lomas, Northgate, and Ygnacio Valley High schools and Diablo Valley College will soon have Rossmoor Scholarship Foundation applications for 2013.

The scholarships require significant financial need and excellent grades, participation in sports, extracurricular activities and community service programs.

The foundation is hoping to award 30 scholarships of $3,000 each.

  • Special scholarships are provided by individuals or organizations, including the Neumann Award of $10,000 for a student interested in going into the foreign service.

  • Kaplan Community Service Awards of $2,500, in addition to a Rossmoor Scholarship for two students who have performed exceptional community services

  • Two medical career scholarship applicants will receive an additional $2,500 from the Hagstrom Family

  • The Stanford Club of Rossmoor provides a scholarship for a student who has been accepted at Stanford University

  • And Rossmoor Rotary has also financed several scholarships.

    All awards will be made at a ceremony in May.

    Anyone who would like to help these deserving young people can send a check to: RSF, P.O. Box 2056, Walnut Creek CA 94594.

    "There is no better way to foster solid citizens than to educate young people to take their places as positive contributors to our communities," says Mariann Kessler, foundation representative.

    Email Pat Waddell at pjwaddell@sbcglobal.net or call 925-945-6004 for more information.

    Assisteens host party

    Assisteens Auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley hosted a holiday party for students at Meadow Homes Elementary School in Concord.

    Some 45 students were presented with gifts, books, and a box of cookies that they could decorate.

    Each student enjoyed one-on-one time with an Assisteen. They played musical chairs, colored, read books, decorated cookies, and had their faces painted.

    The highlight of the two-hour party was a visit from Santa, who distributed toys to each student.

    "I always get excited to have presents to open since Santa sometimes doesn't have time to deliver to everyone," said a student at Meadow Homes.

    Assisteens love being able to give back to the community and to underprivileged kids. Teenagers from grades 7-12 can join the nonprofit organization. "It's a great way to meet people from all over Diablo Valley and give back to the community," member Noelle Woolway said.

    Information about Assisteens can be found on their website at www.diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.

    Volunteer Center

    The Volunteer Center executive director Jo A.S. Loss, recognizes the value of service in our communities as hundreds of volunteers, businesses, nonprofits, organizations and donors share a commitment to serving the East Bay through the Volunteer Center.

    Everyone on their team, including the board, staff and volunteers, bring a depth of talent combined with a commitment to volunteer service that is truly inspiring.

    Joining Loss is Lori Coles, finance administrator; Heidi Denzler-Halsey, program coordinator for AmeriCorps VIP; Sue Newman, director of development and marketing; Dolores Pita, program coordinator for KnowHowNetwork Corporation for National and Community Service; Dee Dee Robillard, program coordinator and Joan Tomasini, youth action council program director for Contra Costa County.

    To learn about all the wonderful things they do, visit www.volunteereastbay.org.

    CVWC donations

    The Clayton Valley Woman's Club held its annual winter luncheon at the Oakhurst Country Club in December. Wonderful musical entertainment was provided by the La Di Da quartet of local women who sang a cappella and holiday songs.

    Donations of nonperishable food items were collected for SHARE to be distributed to needy people in the community. Ron Hannon, representative of the SHARE organization, said it is the oldest independent, ecumenical, nonprofit organization that operates as an emergency food pantry in Central Contra Costa County.

    SHARE, established in 1986 by Thomas (Tom) Boyd, husband of club member Shirley Boyd, continues to provide food items to about 1,200 people monthly. This year, many people are in need of food and donations are down. You can help, too. Contact SHARE at 925-827-4273.

    And this fall, CVWC members also made donations of school supplies to Silverwood Elementary School in Concord for the third consecutive year. Items included rulers, pencils, scissors, notebooks, paper, art supplies, crayons and erasers, as well as Kleenex, copy paper and more.

    The Clayton Valley Woman's Club, affiliated with the General Federation of Women's Clubs, started in 1973 and is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. Members hold meetings the second Tuesday of each month except July and August.

    I have been their guest and attest that they are all exceptional cooks at their "pot luck" luncheons. For membership information, call 925-672-9448.

    Social Security plans

    The "Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income" educational workshop will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 15, at the Del Valle Education Center, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd. in Walnut Creek.

    The workshop can be an invaluable resource for baby boomers and their adult children. Frank Acojido, director of the education center, promises answers to questions like:

  • Will Social Security be there for me?

  • How much can I expect to receive?

  • When should I apply for Social Security?

  • How can I maximize my benefits?

  • Will Social Security be enough to live on in retirement?

    To help baby boomers better understand the Social Security system, the workshop will cover factors to consider when deciding when to apply for benefits.

  • When it makes sense to delay benefits -- and when it does not

  • Why you should always check your earnings record for accuracy

  • How to estimate your benefits

  • How to coordinate benefits with your spouse

  • How to minimize taxes on Social Security benefits

  • How to coordinate Social Security with your other sources of retirement income.

    Instructor George M. Noceti is a licensed financial adviser and instructor at UC Berkeley in personal financial planning. He was awarded the Tim Kochis Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011.

    Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Individuals may reserve space by calling Del Valle Education Center at 925-280-3980, Ext. 8001.

    Pleasant Hill calendar

    A 2013 calendar features 20 photographs taken by amateur photographers as part of the city's 50th anniversary celebration.

    "A Day in the Life of Pleasant Hill" took place Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. During a 24-hour period, a group of local photographers explored the people, places and character of Pleasant Hill and then submitted their best photographs as part of a competition organized by Dick Hixson of Hixson Photography during the golden anniversary.

    The 2013 calendar may be purchased for $10 at the reception desk at City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.

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