Steinbeck scholar explains author's lasting impact at Morning Forum

Courtesy of Charline Barbano
Author Susan Shillinglaw shares with a Morning Forum of Los Altos audience the significance of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Shillinglaw is professor of English and comparative literature at San Jose State University and Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

A scholar on the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck discussed the “75th Anniversary of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’” for a Morning Forum of Los Altos audience Nov. 4.

Author Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D., is professor of English and comparative literature at San Jose State University and Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. She served as director of San Jose State’s Center for Steinbeck Studies for 18 years. The university honored her with the 2013-2014 President’s Scholar Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College in Iowa and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Mentors forge connections with students through nonprofit group

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Aldo Montes-Sanchez, left, visits with his Mentor Tutor Connection mentor, Phil Rose, on Main Street.


Hidden Villa Summer Camps provide safe place for growth

Some Hidden Villa Summer Camps reach beyond the confines of the 1,600-acre preserve. Students participating in a camp in the Sierra, left, ham it up for the camera. Courtesy of hidden villa

Visitors to Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills can find herds of deer frolicking most days, but for a few months every summer, 1,300 K-12 youth enjoy the 1,600-acre preserve as they participate in transformational summer camp experiences.

Hidden Villa Summer Camps are a tradition that continues 69 years after Josephine and Frank Duveneck opened their first camp as a social experiment to foster a more diverse and racially tolerant world.


Mini MERIT programs maximize reach to improve teacher effectiveness

Teachers from all over the Bay Area and beyond learn new strategies at the MERIT program’s two-week training session last July at Foothill College’s Krause Center for Innovation. Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

San Jose middle-school teacher Cristina Bustamante used to lecture in front of her students.

“I had my desk in front of the room where I was the focus of the lesson,” she said. “I was afraid let go and allow students to learn on their own.”


Child Advocates of Silicon Valley provides voice for vulnerable youth

Child Advocates of Silicon Valley paired Justin, left, with Mary McCusker more than a decade ago. Now 15, Justin is in high school and lives with his adoptive family. McCusker served as Justin’s advocate for nine years, until his adoption. They still keep in touch. Courtesy of Mary McCusker

The children served by Child Advocates of Silicon Valley are like all children – they dig in sand boxes, climb trees and dream up a new birthday cake flavor each year.

But some of them face trials taxing beyond even adult standards, including the court process separating them from their families and the burdens that first brought their family into court.


Sky's the Limit Fund hosts stories of tears, triumphs at annual fundraiser

Limit Fund honored Lani Sutherland, above left, with daughter Christy and husband Rick, with the Shining Star award.

The Los Altos-based Sky’s the Limit Fund recently raised more than $100,000 at its fifth annual Reaching for the Stars fundraising breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto.

Bay Area broadcaster Raj Mathai served as master of ceremonies of the event, which featured heart-rending testimonials from teens and their families about how wilderness therapy turned their lives around.


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