Epicurean Group supports community service efforts

Epicurean Group, the Los Altos-based sustainable food-service management company, recently sponsored the second GreenTown Los Altos Farm-to-Table Dinner. The benefit raised nearly $30,000 for GreenTown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education.

Epicurean Group is an independent company that provides restaurant and catering services to corporations, campuses and fine-arts facilities throughout Northern California.


CSMA program sparks creativity in students with special needs

Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Students and assistants get crafty during a Community School of Music and Arts Artistic Excellence class.

• Mission: Mountain View’s Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) promotes art and music education for people of all ages and abilities. Through the organization’s Artistic Excellence program, approximately 70 teens and adults from two Silicon Valley special-needs educational centers, AchieveKids and Morgan Autism Center, participate in music, art and dance classes at CSMA. There are 12 Artistic Excellence classes in the fall and 12 in the spring. Art students recently collaborated on a collage created on a massive painting canvas.

“Each of the classes – the music, art and dance – are really amazingly a point of connection for the students with the community, with each other, with their own sense of creativity,” said Linda Covello, CSMA art school director. “It’s pretty great to watch.”


Community Briefs

All Horizons Travel collects Toys for Tots

All Horizons Travel at 160 Main St. in Los Altos is scheduled to collect items for Toys for Tots this holiday season.

Local residents can drop new, unwrapped toys in the barrel in front of the business through Dec. 15.


DCP Alum Rock opens new facilities, prepares students for college

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Downtown College Prep Alum Rock serves sixth- through eighth-graders, aiming to create a familylike atmosphere among teachers and students.

• Mission: Downtown College Prep Alum Rock prepares students who will be the first in their families to attend college and equips them to thrive at four-year universities. The singular goal for all students is that graduates be accepted to and enroll in four-year colleges. The Alum Rock Middle School community has created a learning environment that helps students and their families chart a course for college beginning in sixth grade.

• 2015 update: The Alum Rock Middle School campus relocated to a new long-term home this year as a result of a partnership with Downtown College Prep, the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District and the Income Investment Fund. The new campus includes classrooms, administrative offices, an outdoor amphitheater and a lunch shelter. School officials are working on plans to add a 7,500-square-foot STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) center and multipurpose space. The lease for the new space extends more than 40 years, allowing program officials time to refine the academic program at the middle school. Teachers on campus are groomed to teach in the Downtown College Prep style, with training and assessment models that eventually will be tied to teacher pay.


East Palo Alto nonprofit provides gathering place for lifelong learning

Photo Courtesy of Bayshore Christian Ministries
Bayshore Christian Ministries last summer launched CREATE Academy, a four-week program that delivered Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics education to 42 middle school students.

• Mission: Bayshore Christian Ministries (BCM) seeks to equip east-of-Bayshore youth to grow spiritually, gain life skills and develop as leaders so they have hope and a future.

• 2015 update: With a focus on relationships and continuity of care, BCM served 353 children in 2015 through its summer programs, afterschool tutoring, Bible studies, youth groups and leadership training.


Help One Child supports families that serve children in foster care

Photo courtesy of Help One Child
Help One Child families enjoy activities during “A Day at the Farm” last April at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, above, left and far left. Help One Child teamed with Hidden Villa for the event, which drew hundreds of at-risk children from foster care and group homes.

• Mission: Help One Child recruits, trains and supports those willing to open their homes or offer volunteer services to at-risk children and youth.

• 2015 update: Known for its support of foster and adoptive families, Help One Child this year has placed greater emphasis on prevention, according to Executive Director Susan Herman. The organization is now the regional hub for the national Safe Families for Children program, designed to deflect children from foster care. Help One Child also organized what Herman hopes becomes an annual tradition – “A Day at the Farm.” Held in April at Hidden Villa, the outdoor event featured an array of fun activities and food for hundreds of at-risk kids ages 3-18, including those from foster care group homes.


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