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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Reach Potential Movement Parent Project proves successful


courtesy of Reach Potential Movement
Reach Potential Movement sponsors the Bookshelf in Every Home Project, advancing literacy among children.

When the directors of Reach Potential Movement (RPM) learned of The Parent Project – a training program to empower parents raising difficult or out-of-control children – they knew it would be a perfect fit for their Sunnyvale nonprofit agency, which works with low-income families throughout Silicon Valley.

“The court will often refer parents of kids who are in the juvenile justice system to this program because there is so much results-based evidence that it makes an impact,” said Christy Tonge, who co-founded RPM with Rob Schulze five years ago. “It shows some real turnaround in the youth and in the parent-youth relationship.”

But there was a problem – The Parent Project was only taught in English, and the families RPM serves primarily speak Spanish. RPM remedied that by having its bilingual director of leadership development, Aimee Lopez, become a certified instructor.

RPM first offered The Parent Project last spring. The program proved so successful that Lopez is leading it again this fall. The three-hour sessions run Monday nights for eight weeks at the Gateway Neighborhood Center, where RPM is based.

“We tell the parents, ‘Give us 24 hours of your time and we will guarantee a change in your family,’” Lopez said. “It’s not just parenting tools, but an opportunity to give them hope.”

In the first session, the 15 parents enrolled in the current program learned how important it is to show their children they love them and ways to express it. Other sessions include subjects like active supervision (paying attention to such things as who their children are friends with, what they watch on TV and how to monitor Facebook), drug use and gangs.

Lopez said feedback from participants, who receive a certificate upon completing the program, has been extremely positive.

“In the last session, we had parents in tears saying, ‘Thank you, thank you,’” she said. “It’s exciting to hear that they’re seeing changes in their homes already.”

RPM changes homes in a different way through another popular program. The Bookshelf in Every Home Project not only provides a useful piece of furniture for Mountain View and Sunnyvale families with kindergartners, but also includes reading material. Aided by scores of volunteers, RPM built more than 500 bookshelves this year, according to Tonge, and doled out a bevy of books.

For youngsters struggling to grasp the words in those books, RPM offers a Reading Readiness Program aimed at kindergartners and first-graders falling behind in class. Referred by teachers, the students are tutored by RPM volunteers after school four days a week.

“It’s gratifying and rewarding to see these kids make progress when they get individual help,” said Tonge, who added that more tutors are needed to accommodate students on the waiting list.

When these children and their classmates get a little older, they can participate in RPM’s Dream4College program. It involves taking fourth- and fifth-graders and their parents on a field trip to Stanford University.

“Many of them aren’t thinking about college,” said Lopez, referring to the students and their parents, many of whom did not finish high school. “We try to plant that seed in their heads.”

To reinforce that, Dream4College includes a parent education workshop and classroom-based college and career activities.

For more information, visit reachpotential.org.

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