LACF awards grants to local nonprofits

The Los Altos Community Foundation recently completed its second grant-making cycle this year, awarding nearly $40,000 to 10 nonprofit organizations that serve Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.

The project and operational grants benefit the communities in areas such as youth, education, seniors, arts and culture, assisting vulnerable populations and community building.


Foothill veterans program supports students' college, career goals

Foothill College Veterans Resource Center student Daniel Muse, above, attends classes with his service dog, Princess.

• Mission: The Foothill College Veterans Resource Center seeks to help veterans achieve their educational and career goals in a supportive environment through academics, camaraderie and wellness. The center provides drop-in counseling, workshops, scholarships and a space for veterans to gather on campus. Carmela Xuereb, the school’s veterans program specialist, estimates that the program serves approximately 275 veterans.

• 2015 update: Through donations, the Veterans Resource Center this year purchased 40 laptops to loan to students. The Rotary Club of Los Altos, a dedicated supporter of the program, raised nearly $40,000 at its annual dinner event, funding scholarships and book vouchers.


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.


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