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Wardrobe for Opportunity opens the Concord Boutique and Training Center at a recent ribbon cutting. At the ceremony were James Sullivan, client coordinator; Hank Ramirez, program specialist of community partnerships; Concord Councilman Rob Leone; Sue Green, volunteer; Guy Hadnot, president of the board of directors; volunteers Jan de Urioste and Debra Kalan; Jeanette Striplin, the first client styled at the new Concord boutique; volunteers Carol Crowe and Wendy Dorband; Darice Jones, executive director; Marilyn Scovell, volunteer; Mahogany Charlton, manager of the Find a Job programs; and volunteer Jill Walker.

People in the Bay Area make a difference in the lives of others in their communities everyday.

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter and civic leaders from six counties in the region are joining together to celebrate everyday heroism, recognizing those individuals and organizations whose extraordinary acts of kindness and courage make them heroes.

Red Cross 'heroes'

Red Cross Bay Area is seeking nominations for the Hero Awards, which recognizes members of the community who have shown courage, dedication, and character through acts of heroism and kindness.

These people could be your neighbors, co-workers, friends or family in one of the following categories:

  • Lifesaving Hero: An adult or youth who has performed an extraordinary lifesaving act, using skills such as CPR or first aid.

  • Act of Courage Hero: An adult or youth who has performed an extraordinary act of courage.

  • Act of Kindness & Philanthropy Hero, Individual: An adult or youth who has shown an extreme act of kindness or selflessness.

  • Community Service Hero, Individual: An adult or youth who has performed great community service.

  • Community Service Hero, Organization: A business or organization that has performed great community service.


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  • Animal Rescue Hero: An animal that has protected a human in a time of need, or a person who has rescued an animal from a traumatic situation.

    All nominees must work or reside in Contra Costa County, although the heroic acts may have occurred elsewhere between Aug. 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

    The deadline to submit nominations is July 1.

    A committee of Contra Costa County community leaders will select recipients, who will be honored at the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter 2013 Contra Costa County Heroes Breakfast on Oct. 25, at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville.

    Visit www.redcross.org/CCHeroes for more details, tickets and an online nomination form. To attend and/or become a sponsor of the Heroes Breakfast, contact Roger Hancock at Roger.Hancock@goAAA.com.

    All proceeds from the events support the disaster readiness and relief efforts of the American Red Cross in the Bay Area.

    Foster youth support

    Youth Homes works to support foster youth and has really made a difference with these vulnerable children in our community.

    Youth Homes community partnership with Whole Foods Walnut Creek 5% Day recently raised more than $6,000 to help provide local foster children with expanded opportunities.

    Youth Homes residences house foster youth between ages 13-18 in a homelike setting. Aftercare services assist youth in transition, and the organization works in the community to provide family-based services to keep youth and families intact and out of the foster system.

    The two most recent programs at Youth Homes include the Promise Garden Summer Job Program, where youth spend 10 weeks learning about job readiness through two on-site organic gardens.

    Youth in transition (ages 18-21) can work to build job readiness through the TAY Labor Program providing job training to former foster youth.

    For more information, contact 925-933-2627 or visit www.youthhomes.org.

    Youth Homes Auxiliary is a volunteer group that supplements county and state funding, and provides personalized attention to foster children on their birthdays, holidays and high school graduation, as well as free clothing and supplies from the Youth Homes Thrift Shop, which they support with volunteers.

    The thrift shop is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 15 Vivian Drive, off Contra Costa Boulevard, in Pleasant Hill.

    The shop welcomes donations of good used clothing, household goods, jewelry and more. Call 925-798-5561 for information.

    Dress for success

    Wardrobe for Opportunity, based in Oakland, has opened a Boutique and Training Center in Concord.

    It offers local low-income individuals, referred by community agencies, a professional wardrobe, coaching and interview workshops to help them build a career to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Its mission is to help those in our communities "Find a Job, Keep a Job, Build a Career."

    The Concord Boutique and Training Center sees clients by appointment.

    Donations of gently used men's and women's professional attire and accessories are welcome, and accepted from 9 a.m. to noon Monday and Friday, at 1850 Gateway Blvd., in Concord.

    Call 510-463-4100 or visit www.wardrobe.org.

    Girl Scouting awards

    The Walnut Creek Girl Scouts have enjoyed another successful year of community service, travel and growth.

    The Girl Scouts Walnut Creek Service Unit celebrated with an award presentation in May, where more than 100 awards were given out to Girl Scouts earning Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, plus Super Troop awards.

    Special guest and former Girl Scout, Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva, presented Girl Scouts' Ten-Year Pins, graduating high school Senior Awards and Gold Award.

    Congratulations to all the Scouts!

    Winning design

    Students from Alhambra High School, Martinez Junior High School, and Martinez elementary schools submitted 139 T-shirt logo entries for the 11th annual Shell/Martinez Education Foundation's "Run for Education," slated for Oct. 6, to raise money for local schools.

    The foundation announced that Sabrina Swicegood from Alhambra High School won the overall award, and a $100 Visa gift card, for her design which will be used on the Run's T-shirts this year.

    Three runners-up were also selected, who each were awarded $15 Jamba Juice gift cards: Drake Chain from Alhambra High; Makayla Shields from Martinez Junior High; and Katie Gringrich from John Swett Elementary.

    Aid for tornado zone

    Dress a Child Around the World volunteers gathered for Sew Fest II, an all-day sewing session in June, at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill.

    Volunteers cut patterns and made clothing for the survivors of the recent tornadoes that caused widespread damage in Oklahoma. In the past year, Christ the King has also provided more than 1,800 dresses and 400 shorts to girls and boys in some of the most poverty-stricken areas around the world.

    Pay it forward

    Diablo Vista Scholarship Foundation, Division 52 of the California Retired Teachers Association awarded seven scholarships totaling $35,000 to students graduating from Diablo Valley College or Los Medanos College and transferring to a four-year university to finish their education.

    At least one award is reserved for an applicant who chooses teaching as a career, and another for a re-entry woman over the age of 25.

    DVC scholarship winners were Mario Eusebio (biology); Malena Herrera (developmental psychology); Jasmine Lomax (construction management at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo); Cain Sands (psychology); and Shauna Smith (anthropology).

    The Los Medanos scholars were Dayn'l Beeler (math and education at UC Berkeley); and Kelsea Weber (math and education at UC Santa Barbara).

    The foundation represents 1,100 educators from Central and East Contra Costa County. All retired educators are invited to join CalRTA. The next bimonthly luncheon will be Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant in Pleasant Hill and will include jazz and swing music of the '40s and '50s provided by In the Swing from Berkeley. Visit www.div52.calrta.org or call Joan Cunnings at 925-939-5170.

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