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The Clayton Valley Garden Club delivered 100 flowering plants to Hospice of the East Bay as valentine gifts to brighten patients' day.

John Muir changed the world by inspiring people to protect natural places. Inspire others by volunteering to be a docent at the John Muir National Historic Site, his historic home in Martinez.

"I respect and admire John Muir so much," said volunteer Keiko Hase. "I live so close, so I decided to volunteer. I feel I'm helping John Muir's mission a bit more."

Sounds like fun, too!

Volunteer docents are needed at the John Muir Historic Site in Martinez to assist with visitor center operations, lead tours and help with special events. Free training sessions will be led by the National Park Service staff beginning in March. Docents volunteer at least eight hours per month thereafter.

Volunteers must be available to attend one date of each training unit:

  • Introduction to the National Park Service: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 15, or Saturday, March 16, at 4202 Alhambra Ave., in Martinez.

  • John Muir and the John Muir National Historic Site: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 22, or Saturday, March 23, at 4202 Alhambra Ave.

  • Tour Tips: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, or Friday, April 26, at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park Education Center, 2566 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

    To apply, or for more information, call 925-228-8860 ext. 6420, or visit www.nps.gov/jomu/.


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    Volunteer at Hospice

    The word hospice originated in ancient times to describe a place that offered rest and safety for weary travelers. Hospice of the East Bay is a not-for-profit agency that helps people cope with end-of-life by providing medical, emotional, spiritual and practical support for patients and families, regardless of their ability to pay.

    They are seeking volunteers to assist Hospice patients and their caregivers. There are opportunities for licensed hair stylists; certified massage therapists; mobile notaries; bereavement support volunteers to provide support to family members after their loved one has died; and patient support volunteers to provide companionship and practical assistance.

    Training volunteers to be confident and effective at whatever services they provide is free.

    To apply, visit Hospice of the East Bay, at 3470 Buskirk Ave. in Pleasant Hill, call 925-887-5678 or email volunteers@hospiceeastbay.org. To learn more, visit www.hospiceeastbay.org.

    Donations for baby

    AAUW, the American Association of University Women, is a national organization which advances the equity for all women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

    The Pleasant Hill-Martinez branch is offering college scholarship and Tech Trek camp awards to area students.

    Scholarships of $1,000 will be given to women graduating from College Park or Alhambra high schools in June.

    Applications must be received by Tuesday, March 12, and are available from a school counselor's office or may be downloaded from the Pleasant Hill—Martinez AAUW website at www.aauw-pleasanthill-martinez.org.

    Tech Trek is a math/science camp program that fosters education and seeks out girls with an interest in sciences.

    Seventh-grade girls from Pleasant Hill and Martinez interested in attending the AAUW Tech Trek camp this summer can request a scholarship application from their science or math teacher. Applications are due before Feb. 28.

    The AAUW chapter also donated baby gifts to the Hillcrest Church Social Service Program Layette Shower in January.

    Items included handmade quilts, afghans, receiving blankets, hats, adorable baby clothes, toys and diapers.

    'Festival of Tables'

    The Clayton Valley Woman's Club will present the "Festival of Tables and Fashion" on Saturday, April 27, at the Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West St. in Concord.

    Fashions are presented by Draper's and Damon's, and will be modeled by members. Cost is $35, and seating is limited. The event sells out, so early reservations are recommended.

    For information, contact Kathy Olson at 925-524-0641.

    Help CCRMC

    Volunteers are needed and always welcome at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, 2500 Alhambra Ave., in Martinez.

    Opportunities are tailored to volunteer interests, talents and physical abilities in patient services, the gift shop, or at the information desk.

    Call the volunteer coordinator at 925-370-5441 to apply.

    And the medical center is always in need of reading material for visitors at the hospital. Residents can drop off their magazines and paperback books at the gift shop or information desk for distribution to the 14 waiting rooms at the facility.

    Garden welcome

    The Gardens at Heather Farm invites visitors to join garden director Patrice Hanlon, who holds a certificate in horticultural therapy, and Jackie Jordan, certified ecotherapist, for an outdoor narrated monthly walk to relieve the winter doldrums from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at 1540 Marchbanks Drive in Walnut Creek. The cost is $5.

    Walks are designed to provide a respite from the darker days of winter by observing the subtleties and beauty of the winter garden. The walk is held rain, or shine, and participants should dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes.

    Each walk will end with guided meditations, reflection and writing in a personal journal. Keeping a nature journal is a wonderful way to improve observation skills and memory.

    Monthly themes include: The Bones of the Garden, The Subtle Beauty of Trees, Ferns and Fungi in February. On March 22, the topic is Spring Equinox and Bud Break: The Gardens Awaken; and on April 19, it is All Things Green and Wonderful.

    Relay for Life

    "Luminaria," a tribute to people who have cancer, had cancer, or have lost their battle with cancer, will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 4, as a forerunner to the Pleasant Hill Relay For Life, a local fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    The public is invited to the free event held at Devino's Pizza and Pasta, 2221 Morello Ave. in Pleasant Hill.

    A luminaria is a small paper bag decorated with words and artwork and dedicated to a loved one with cancer. Inside the bag is a glow stick that illuminates the bag in the dark.

    At the March 4 event, people may purchase luminaria bags ($10 suggested), decorate them (materials will be provided) and/or participate in a brief luminaria ceremony from 7 to 7:15 p.m.

    Children are welcome to attend and decorate luminaria bags.

    If people wish to order a pizza or other meal during the event, 15 percent of their food purchase will be donated to Relay For Life. For more information, go to www.RelayForLife.org/PleasantHillCA, e-mail relayforlifeph@yahoo.com or call 925-944-4898.

    The relay is not a race or run. Teams form before the event and raise money. At the relay, the teams keep at least one member on the track for a full 24 hours to signify that cancer never sleeps, and neither does the fight against cancer.

    The fourth annual Pleasant Hill event will be held June 1-2, at Pleasant Hill Middle School. Other events are: July 13, at Bancroft Elementary School in Walnut Creek, and at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord; July 27, at Martinez Junior High School; and Aug. 3, at Clayton Community Park.

    For young writers

    The Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club is offering a free Youth Humor, Mystery and Suspense Writing Workshop for middle school students in preparation for the group's annual Young Writers Contest.

    Students in grades 6-8 who are eager to write a funny thriller or a scary whodunit with quirky characters, will get tips, play a game and have an opportunity to ask questions about books, the craft of writing, the Young Writers Contest and the publishing world.

    Children's authors Sarah Wilson and Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff will hold the workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2, at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway.

    The workshop is free. Call 925-977-3340 to register or visit http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.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.