WomenSV: Serving victims of domestic violence abusers

Courtesy of WomenSV
WomenSV supporters attend the organization’s annual Gilded Cage fundraiser earlier this year. Pictured from left are Ed Taft, Sheriff Laurie Smith, Ruth Patrick, Kavita Tankha, Julia Miller and Damon Casatico.

• Mission: WomenSV aims to empower victims of affluent abusers by providing education, support and resources. The nonprofit organization serves to inform the public and professional communities about the prevalence of domestic violence and equip providers to better serve their clients and patients.

• 2018 update: WomenSV helped 140 survivors, including 28 in Los Altos and 24 in Los Altos Hills. In the past year, the organization gave presentations to the Los Altos Police Department, the Atherton Police Department, the Los Altos History Museum, the Los Altos City Council, Google Inc., Kaiser, the Sacramento County Bar Association, the Santa Clara County Superior Court and more. Representatives also presented at the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals International Conference in Anaheim and the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council’s Domestic Violence Conference.

Morning Forum speaker views comedy as bridge to different perspectives


The Morning Forum of Los Altos continued its season last month with a lively presentation, “Comedy Is Translation,” by Chris Bliss.

Bliss, a juggler and standup comedian, has performed on “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Rotary speaker highlights innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics


Attorney Stephen Wu of the Silicon Valley Law Group discussed artificial intelligence and robotics at a Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting Nov. 1, noting that their impact “will be so profound, we can hardly comprehend it.”

Wu’s presentation, “Artificial Intelligence: The Impact on Our Jobs, Community, Nation and World,” opened eyes – and made some blink – at current and future examples of how dramatically innovations are already changing people’s lives.

Bay Area Furniture Bank: Transporting cast-off items to people who need them

Bay Area Furniture Bank was founded in 2015 by Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, left, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive. 

Editor's note: Some information has been updated from the print version of this story.

• Mission: The Bay Area Furniture Bank provides furniture and household items to the underserved in the community – an estimated 170,000 families in Santa Clara County qualify for housing and living assistance.

The Furniture Bank was founded in 2015 by Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive. Piontek’s compassion and dedication are evident, but his business acumen results in an efficient, streamlined organization in which more than 97 percent of revenue generated goes directly to client services. Piontek himself still participates in much of the physical labor involved in transporting the furniture.

Los Altos-founded Music for Minors: Bringing harmony to elementary schools

Courtesy of Music For Minors
Music for Minors docent Lydia Ruiz, above, leads a music class.

• Mission: Music for Minors aims to nurture in children a lifelong love of music by providing music education programs in elementary schools.

• 2018 update: Founded in 1976 in Los Altos, Music for Minors was originally a stop-gap solution when public funding for in-school music programs was cut in California. More than 40 years later, the nonprofit organization continues to fill the growing need for quality foundational music education throughout Silicon Valley. Each week, Music for Minors teaches more than 25,000 transitional kindergarten through sixth-grade students in an estimated 900 classrooms in 68 schools in 13 districts.

Help One Child: Providing homes for at-risk children

Town Crier File Photo
Help One Child recruits, trains and supports those willing to provide a home or volunteer services to local at-risk children, above. 

• Mission: Help One Child recruits, trains and supports those willing to provide a home or volunteer services to at-risk children in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

• 2018 update: Founded by Los Altos Hills residents Mark and JoAnne Morris 25 years ago, Help One Child welcomed a new executive director in Valerie Crane, promoted from director of operations in January after Susan Herman retired. Crane said it’s been a “fun, exciting and busy year.”

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