heart to heart by lonyoo


									heart to heart
FA L L 2 00 7

Every child counts!
The Angel Tree is an exciting and rewarding holiday program for donors and recipients alike. Angel Tree gives a foster child the experience of opening a present that he or she has actually wished for. It could be a new doll, a new basketball or even a gift card to use towards a pair of shoes or a jacket they really want, but can’t afford. These gifts are so meaningful for foster children because they carry the message that someone cares. Being an Angel Tree recipient can be even more important around the holidays when a child in foster placement sees people in the streets carrying packages for their loved ones. The Angel Tree program reflects the spirit of the holidays and family: love and giving. Unfortunately for children in foster care, the foster family might not have the means to buy what the child really wants. The child might be placed in a new home where the foster parent doesn’t know the child very well, or they could be in a group home. Most of the time, children are not placed with relatives who may know the child’s likes and dislikes. The foster parents might not be able to fulfill the child’s holiday wishes. It is then that we turn to our community for support. “They are so surprised, happy and appreciative of the gifts!” says Adrienne Brooks, Social Work Supervisor with Children & Family Services. continued on page 6

Holiday Helpers Warehouse is coming to town…

A new holiday season is around the corner. In the spirit of the season, perhaps instead of thinking of what we want for Christmas, we should think of what people in need want for Christmas. Certainly, things like warm clothes, toys, books and a plate of good food are going to be on their minds. But, we cannot leave them to celebrate with just imaginary wishes. Now is our time to donate gifts and goodies to make their dreams become real. The best way to know what to donate is very simple: Ask your own kids what they want for Christmas. No Kids? Don’t worry. You can ask other children, or make the easy choice and buy a gift certificate or gift card. Gift cards are always welcome, especially by preteens and teens who like to choose their own gifts to fit their personal style. Volunteer & Emergency Services has continued on page 3

VESTIA Programs County-Wide
November… Volunteer Recognition Brunch November… Thanksgiving Food Programs December… Toys for Our Tots Luncheon December… Angel Tree Program December… Holiday Helpers Warehouses For more information: Anne Struthers: astruthers@ehsd.cccounty.us • (925) 335-2193

Presidents’ message

Board of Directors
Carole Allen, Co-President Carolyn Harley, Co-President Yvonne Bullock, Treasurer Elsie Swift, Secretary Michelle Barnaba Matt Barnes Shelba Burke Ron Micuch
eScrip Program
www.escrip.com VESTIA Group Number 500001484

Where did this year go? It seems impossible that we are writing about the holidays already! Our volunteers have been working hard to bring joy to needy people all over Contra Costa County. The Angel Tree program and the Holiday Helpers programs are in full swing. We are planning to assist over 2,000 foster children and 500 families! Donations are beginning to flow in. More help though is always needed so that VESTIA can serve those individuals and families who would not have a turkey dinner or a gift under the tree, were it not for our wonderful donors and volunteers. Angel Tree gifts are due on December 6, and our Holiday Helpers donations are due prior to December 18, in the Martinez VESTIA office at 30 Muir Road. Our Volunteer & Emergency Services staff is always happy to accept donations and volunteers to help during the holidays (and year-round). For a complete list of toys and items we need, please see the articles in this edition of Heart to Heart. If you would like to join in this rewarding endeavor, either by volunteering or donating, please call Anne Struthers at (925) 335-2193, or our main line at 335-2190.

Happy Holidays to all,
Carole Allen & Carolyn Harley VESTIA Co-Presidents

To donate to VESTIA
VESTIA, Inc. 30 Muir Road Martinez, CA 94553 To donate your time call Anne Struthers (925) 335-2193

Your community really needs you this time of year
Welcome to our Holiday Edition of Heart to Heart. This time of year brings many joys and challenges, as well as the annual struggle to get everything done, while simultaneously enjoying our families and the season! We at VESTIA also experience the rush and energy that the holidays and cold weather bring as we enter this, our busiest time. This year we have been combining our resources to make all of our programs at VESTIA function county-wide, including the Holiday Helpers Warehouse. We will have two Holiday Helpers Warehouses this year—one in Martinez and one in Richmond. We anticipate Anne Struthers serving over 500 families in need at the VESTIA Coordinator warehouses. The economy, the downturn in the housing market, and increased expenses brought on by higher gas prices all add up to greater need this season. We want to thank you in advance for your generosity in helping other families in your community make it through these difficult times. Your donations, now more than ever, will be going to families and children in extreme need. I want to take this opportunity to thank our VESTIA board members for their support this year in consolidating the VESTIA administration and supporting our new staff as they take on the management of all of our VESTIA programs. We are also seeking more board members, especially those who can represent the western portion of Contra Costa. If you would like to contribute to VESTIA in this very important way, please contact me at (925) 335-2193. I wish you the best in this glorious time of year and I look forward to working with you, and keeping you informed as to how our programs are progressing.

County Offices will be closed on the following holidays in 2008:
January 1 • New Year’s Day January 21 • Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Day February 18 • Presidents’ Day May 26 • Memorial Day July 4 • Independence Day September 1 • Labor Day November 11 • Veterans’ Day November 27 • Thanksgiving November 28 • Day After Thanksgiving December 25 • Christmas


Holiday Helpers Warehouse is coming to town…
continued from cover been working with more than 200 volunteers for over 10 years providing gifts, food and warm clothes to thousands of people in need. You can help us to continue our happy task of providing joy to families, especially children, at the holidays.

Girls 4–5
LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnets American Plastic Toys My Very Own Kitchen Barbie Tawny Horse Baby Stella Doll–Beige Skin Barbie Store It All Case

How can you help?
Donations are due prior to December 18 this year. You can donate new, warm clothes for children from age infant to 18 years old, toys or gift cards, and food certificates. To help you with your holiday shopping, here is the list of our most needed items for the Holiday Helpers Warehouse (aka Santa’s Workshop) 2007:

Boys 6–7
Hasbro Transformers Cyber Stompin’ Bumblebee Transformers Real Stompin’ Optimus Prime LEGO The Krusty Krab National Geographic Moon in My Room LEGO General Grievous Starfighter

Most Requested Toys:
Footballs Soccer Balls Basketballs Dora the Explorer dolls & merchandise Bratz dolls & merchandise Art & craft kits CD & MP3 players Gift Certificates ($15 amounts)–Target, Best Buy, WalMart, etc. Food Certificates ($10 or more)–Safeway, Lucky

Girls 6–7
Disney High School Musical 2 Twister Moves Barbie Wizard of Oz–Dorothy Hannah Montana Game Melissa and Doug Butterfly and Flower Power Jewelry Set Princess Project & Draw

Boys 8–9
National Geographic Telescope 18-180x Magnification Transformers Megatron National Geographic Microscope 103-pc. Set with Carrying Case Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Carl Van

Boys 2–3
Mega Bloks Mega Fire Truck Fisher-Price Little People Lil’ Pirate Ship Tonka Mighty Loader Mega Bloks Mega Wagon Disney/Pixar Cars Spiral Speedway Go Diego Go! Jeep Little People Lil’ Movers Bus

Girls 8–9
Aquadots Super Studio Rubik’s Revolution Handheld Electronic Game Disney High School Musical–Sharpay Bratz Magic Hair–Yasmin

Girls 2–3
Playskool Dusty the Talking Vacuum Cleaner Mattel Little Mommy Giggle with Me Doll Fisher-Price Time-To-Learn Preschool Alex Tea Set in a Tin Thinkativity Cookie the ABC Crocodile

Boys 10–12
Hot Wheels Radar Gun Air Hogs Boeing Delta Rocket Nerf Big Bad Titan Plug ‘N Play Controller with 75 Games Erector Multimodels 7-Model Set

Girls 10–12
Curiosity Kits Swirl Master Barbie Wizard of Oz Doll–Glinda, the Good Witch of the North Colossal 315-pc. Art Kit An Evening of Murder Game: A Feast to Die For Party Game Alex Yarn Craft

Boys 4–5
Little People Lil’ Movers Airplane Go Diego Go! Jeep Little People Lil’ Movers Bus Tonka Toughest Mighty Crane LEGO Fire Truck

Please bring your donations to 30 Muir Rd, Martinez, California 94553 prior to December 18. May your holiday generosity give you fulfillment in your soul, knowing that at least one child is going to have a happy holiday because you have a giving heart. Please contact Alvaro Florez at 335-2192 or 335-2190 if you have any questions.


I T ’ S


R E A D Y - T O - W O R K


Volunteer & Emergency Services Welcomes Victoria Galbert!
Victoria Galbert is one of our newest Volunteer Program Specialists with Volunteer & Emergency Services. She brings 14 years of social service experience to her position. Victoria received her master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State East Bay. She was recently the Outreach Personnel Specialist for Laney Community College, collaborating with community based organizations in identifying potential recruitment sources, and developing appropriate strategies toward increasing both the number of financial aid recipients as well as overall college enrollment. She also collaborated with other campuses in the Peralta Community College District to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness in their outreach efforts. When she isn’t working, Victoria enjoys spending time with her beautiful and delightful daughter Shania. Victoria is also the track and field coach for the Berkeley East Bay Track Club. During her school days, Victoria ran track for over 15 years and even received a scholarship to the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!). She still holds the track records at her high school in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters relay. Victoria will be coordinating the Ready-To-Work (RTW) Clothes Closet, and will be part of the assessment team for Season of Sharing. She is also working with other VESTIA programs, including the Holiday Helpers Warehouse. If you want to volunteer or have questions for Victoria, please contact her in Richmond at (510) 412-3114.

Let’s dress up! Make-up! And stand up!
The Ready-To-Work Clothes Closet is going through an internal and external make-over. After many years of providing clothing to Welfare-to-Work participants, it was time for us to look at the service we provide, and evaluate how we can do it even better. RTW provides new and gently used clothing for women who are entering the workforce for the first time, or re-entering the workforce after a time away. Our goal is to build self-esteem and confidence by providing participants with clothing that will impress any potential employer. Our new focus is on providing clothing for that last minute “emergency interview,” as well as giving encouragement to look your best and get the job you want! We provide individual dressing appointments at our Richmond facility, and mentoring on professional comportment for the workplace. RTW also provides useful seminars and workshops to help clients understand business and professional environments, and how to function at their best at work. As we enter the rainy winter months, RTW is in need of business suits, coats and tailored sweaters for both men and women. Because we only want to offer the best, most appropriate outfits to our clients—sometimes for an interview that same day—we can only accept clothes items that are “ready to go.” We ask that donations be professional, stylish, clean (laundered or dry-cleaned), pressed and on hangers. We particularly need largersized (size 16 and up) clothing for women. By donating to the RTW Clothes Closet you will be helping someone be ready to work, both physically and mentally, in appropriate attire.

If you would like to donate clothing at our Richmond or Martinez locations, please contact Victoria Galbert at (510) 412-3114 or vgalbert@ehsd.cccounty.us to schedule an appointment to bring in your donations.

A special thanks to our most recent
Victoria Galbert, Program Specialist/Coordinator Ready-To-Work Clothes Closet.

RTW donors: The Daughters of Penelope (Margot Drossos) and the Hospice Thrift in Alamo (Sandy and Laura). We appreciate your generosity.


H E S


Toys for Our Tots Luncheon
On Wednesday, December 5 from 12 noon–1:30 p.m., VESTIA kickstarts the holidays with our festive luncheon and toy drive at the County Employment & Human Services office at 30 Muir Road in Martinez. This popular, heartwarming luncheon is one of our “feel good” events for everyone involved. Our generous attendees donate over 100 new toys that are later distributed to needy children in Contra Costa County through our holiday programs. This luncheon has long been a tradition of the holiday season, supported and catered by the “Mrs. Santa Clauses” of the Orinda Women’s Club. What better time than during the holidays to reconnect with one another? Meet some county social workers, eligibility workers, donors and volunteers who also look forward to this gathering. And do something you all do so well—Giving! Join our own Employment & Human Services Director, Joe Valentine, and the Volunteer & Emergency Services staff in celebrating the season at this very special event. We encourage you to share in the spirit and fun by bringing a new, unwrapped gift appropriate for a child (minimum value $15), a $15 Target Gift Card or a $12.00 donation, for admission to the luncheon. Reservations are required, as we “sell out” each year! If you can join us on December 5, call the Hotline at (925) 335-2198 no later than November 28. Please leave your name, phone number and the number of people attending. We will have numerous door prizes again this year for the lucky attendees, so don’t miss out—call us today!

Let style nourish our minds

Toy Giveaway
Grannies Anonymous will hold their annual Christmas Toy Giveaway for children from infant to 12 years old who are residents of our East County communities. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to12:00 noon on Saturday, December 8, 2007 at the Contra Costa County Fair Grounds in Antioch. Parents must have a picture I.D. and proof of residence (phone bill or PG&E bill). Children must also have I.D., which may be one of the following: Medi-Cal card, school I.D. card or Social Security card. Please contact Fran Confetti of Grannies Anonymous at (925) 439-8958 if you have any questions about this event.


OUR MISTAKE In the Summer 2007 issue of Heart to Heart, we featured a picture of one of our community partners, Wendy Schmitz, with ILSP Coordinator Don Graves. Our apologies to Wendy of The Assistance League of Diablo Valley, whom we incorrectly identified as Gwen Levine.

Every child counts!
continued from cover We are so grateful for our wonderful donors, who year after year make the holidays a little more meaningful for foster children. All the gifts are so well received by the children. Angel Tree donors give, aware that they probably will never meet the recipient, but with the knowledge that they are giving to a child in need. At any given time there are approximately 2,000 foster children in Contra Costa County, ranging in age from infant to 18 years old. All of these children can be referred by their social workers to the Angel Tree program. If you would like to “Adopt an Angel” and participate in this program, you can donate gifts for an individual child for the holidays, or you and your coworkers may choose to provide gifts for several children. Please contact Eugenia Hidalgo-Malacas at 335-2196 if you have questions. All Angel Tree gifts from donors must be received by December 6 and will be distributed by Children & Family Services social workers in time for the holidays.

VESTIA, Inc.—Helping to make Contra Costa County a better place to live
VESTIA, (Volunteer & Emergency Services Team In Action) is a non-profit charitable corporation, established in 1986. Our mission is to assist the most deprived children, families, individuals, and frail elderly in our community. VESTIA also provides a conduit for citizens, community groups, businesses, and foundations to donate money, time, and goods to assist their less fortunate neighbors. We provide aid when no other resources are available to help in a crisis or provide fundamental life-enhancing services. VESTIA works in partnership with Contra Costa County’s Employment & Human Services Department. Your name is confidential! We never give or sell the names of our donors and volunteers to other individuals or organizations. Your information is safe with us!


Project Ready to Learn

Thank you for your generous contributions!
Barbara Abbott • Edla Allbee • George Allen • Marilyn Allen • Frank & Mary Beth • Almeda Alotta Enterprises Int’l. • Patricia Askew • Sam Awad • Dennis & Gail Barbieri • Nancy & Michael Barnes • Robert & Alice Beaton • June Bechtel • Kathleen Bjork • Floy & Jerry Blair • Ruth Blakeney • Krista Bockoven • Donna Borden • J.L. Bostick • Marcheta Bowdle • Karen Bowen • Jeanne Boyd • Denise & Gary Brown • Carlene Brown • Michele Buda • Elizabeth & Terry Burch • Joseph & Susan Callaway • Winifred Camacho • Elizabeth Campbell • Lisa Checchi • William & Carol Chiasson • Marilyn & John Christenson • Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints • Clayton Valley Business Association • Sheldon Coad • Isma Cochran • Gary & Janice Coggiola • James Conneally Sr. • Contra Costa Times • Betty Lou Cook • Winifred Corniea • James & Tullie Costa • Joan Culver • Dorothy D’Ambrogia • Carolyn Ann Davis • K. Desai • Carol & Edward Dewey • Ellen Docili • L.L. Dohr • Elisa Dowd • Margaret Dowd • Dowd and Guild Inc. • Joanne Dunn • Elizabeth & Stephen Eckl • El Sobrante United Methodist Church • Employee & Benefit Solutions • Dina Eppley • Cheril Fagan • Jerry Falgien • Anthony & Diane Farley • Gerald & Diane Fay • Mary Ellen Fennessey • Marysol Flores • Food Bank of Contra Costa • Susan Fossan • A.D. Fox • Ruthann Frank • Elaine Freeman • T. French • George & Virginia Fries • Julie Furrer • Beryl Gaidos • Mary & Kevin Gilliatt • Mary Gingrich • Kathryn Glynn • Louise & Mark Goldsmith • Sara Grajek • Charles & Ginger Guthrie • Kathleen Harrison • Carol Held • Donald Helsley • Mary Hernandez • John & Linda Herron • Laura Hoffmeister • Marilyn Hogg • Peter Holloway • Connie Horn • Richard & Christine Horvath • Mary Ann Hosington • Eldora & Robert Hoyer • Francine Hughes • Gina Hull • John & Carol Hunter • William & Cathleen Jacobus • Jon & Catherine Jacques • JanSport • Barbara Jardine • Harold & Joan Jeffrey • Hiram & Shirley Jennings • Jane Joba • Margory Joehnk • Patricia Johnson • Robert Johnston • Howard Kaplan • Frances Kaputof • Patrick & Lynda Kelly • J.O. Kirby Marty & Cindy Koll • Kenneth & Marilyn Kratz • Margaret & Howard Kushner • Kay Lane • Alfred & Gwendolyn Langosch • Lyn Lazar • Susan Leeper • Marjorie Lesage • Arlene Lewandowski • Beverly Lewis • Constance & John Linneman • Gregory & Shirley Llafet • Kathleen Loss • John & Kathy Macchi • Thomas & Sandra Magill • Jane Manning Robert & Carol Marshall • Mark & Julie Marshall • Donna McCarter • L.V. McKendell • Caroline McLaughlin • Noreen McLaughlin • Edward & Patricia McMillan • Soyara Medina • Sally & Robert Mehaffey • Susan Miller • Roger & Joan Miller • Bonnie Mills • Mary Montgomery • Sandra Moriarty • Glenn & Gloria Morrison • Doris Morteson • Ronald & Deanna Munk • Jay & Barbara Myers • NCL–Diablo Chapter • NCL–Rollings Hills Chapter • Jennifer Neale • Carl & Kathy Nielsen • Genevieve Nygaard • Jane Oberholzer • Marvin Okanes • Carol Ozanich • Patricia Palacios • Deanne & Frank Pedroni • William Pelter • David & Doreen Penn • Carole Person • Peter & Carol Peterson • Tom & Elizabeth Piatt • Judi & Roger Pillon • Kathleen Plambeck • John & Pat Pollock • Diane Porter • Edward & Carol Prenot • Patricia Radez • Kenneth & Katherine Reeder • Michael Regan • Donald & Jeanne Reid • Residential Builders • Donald Richmond • Gayle Rivers • Gerald Roberts • Kenneth & Pamela Rogers • Joan Russell • Suzan Ryder • William & Enid Satariano • Harriet Saunders • William & Nancy Schreeder • Jim & Shannon Seven • Margaret Shiffer • Walter Shipp • Susan & Dennis Simkin • Laurel Singer • SmithBarney • Sheenalyn So • Sobotka Air Systems • Sharon Spilman • Jo Anne Stafford • Julie Stakenburg • Marilyn Stewart • Virginia Surber • Patricia Thiele • Jo Anne & Frank Thomas • Sarah Turner • Virginia Tyson • Karen & Jeffrey Vesely • WalMart –Martinez • Janelle Wang • Wendy Warren • Sandra Watson • Marshall Wells • Wells Fargo Bank–Concord • Roberta Whitman • Richard & Vicki Wildman • Paula Williams • Joyce Willis Jeffrey & Stephanie Windle • Ann Wingren • Ramona Wood • Anne Woods • Norma Wu • Carol & Mark Yonke • Robert & Betty Young • Howard & Maureen Zugman • Frances Zurilgen Hardworking volunteers from the National Charity League–Diablo Chapter take a break from packing and preparing Ready to Learn backpacks. We were able to provide 1,700 backpacks to children of CalWORKs recipients. Thank you for fulfilling a very important need for these kids. But most of all, THANK YOU for caring enough to see the children succeed!


How can you help your community
Make a donation
Here’s how your donation could help… • • • •


This Holid ay Seaso n ple reach ase out a carin hand g to yo ur neigh bors.

$25 Provides new shoes for two children $50 Purchases new warm clothing for a low-income child $100 Provides for emergency needs during winter months $150 Helps provide a low-income family with food, gifts and warm clothing for the holidays

Volunteer the gift of time
Or, if you would like to volunteer for any of our programs in Contra Costa County, please contact us at (925) 335-2190. Thank you for helping to make Contra Costa County a better place to live!

VESTIA donations are used county-wide in the areas of greatest need to help children and families in crisis. If you would like to help, please donate to any of our programs or to our VESTIA Emergency Fund by sending your donation to our administrative office at: VESTIA, 30 Muir Road, Martinez, CA 94553

VESTIA, Inc.– is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit under IRS code 501(c)(3). This
means donations made to VESTIA, whether cash or in-kind goods and services, qualify as tax deductions. This also applies to your State of California tax filing. VESTIA, Inc. is recognized as nonprofit by the Franchise Tax Board under Revenue and Taxation Code Section 23701D. VESTIA’s tax identification number is 94-3017952.

40 Douglas Drive • Martinez, CA 94553 www.ehsd.org

PRSRT Standard U. S. Postage

Permit #89 San Ramon, CA

Toys for Our Tots Luncheon Dec. 5…see page 5 for info Angel Tree Donations due Dec. 6…see article on cover Holiday Helpers Warehouse donations due prior to Dec. 18…see page 6 for list of donation ideas

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