Local volunteer contributes time, expertise to charity league

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Los Altos resident Ellen Saliba, a longtime community volunteer, credits her mother, who served on the library board in Norwood, Mass., as inspiration.

Saliba, who has three daughters, has followed in her mother’s footsteps, participating in a variety of organizations and activities.

The project she enjoyed most was manning the Pumpkin Patch at Los Altos High School, a fundraiser for the Athletic Boosters Club.

“Selling pumpkins is very labor-intensive,” Saliba said.

During the two years Saliba oversaw the Pumpkin Patch project with a friend, they raised more than $15,000.

Her involvement with the school doesn’t stop at pumpkins. Saliba has served as treasurer for the annual Grad Night event. Her prior experience as an accountant in Sun Microsystems gives her an edge where finances are concerned.

Now an empty-nester, Saliba currently serves as president of the National Charity League’s Stanford Hills Chapter.

The mother-daughter service organization proved the ideal fit or her. The chapter serves a wide range of philanthropies and nonprofit organizations, including the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital, Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills and the Community Services Agency in Mountain View.

“Fun community things take a whole village to do,” Saliba said. “It is important for our own kids to know that we care about them.”

The Ticktockers, as the younger members are called, read to sick children, weed vegetable gardens, feed animals, file and collate, and sort clothing and toys.

“We are all about hands-on work – we are not about fundraising. It is all about hours, mothers and daughters working together to help the community,” Saliba said. “You experience real life together.”

Saliba said that in this day and age, people are multitasking, which can add to stress. But there should always be time to do something with your daughter, she noted.

“Sometimes the most rewarding moments are when you are driving in the car to or from a charity with your daughter, and there is conversation between the two of you,” she said.

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