CSA honors Los Altos volunteer for boosting food drive


Community Services Agency honored Eugene Fram, a CSA board member and Los Altos resident, as a Distinguished Volunteer Fundraiser at the annual Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day luncheon Nov. 8.

Fram was among 23 volunteers recognized for their leadership and service in fundraising for local nonprofit organizations.

Veteran navigates transition to college with help from Foothill center, Rotarians

Courtesy of Foothill College Veterans Resource Center
U.S. Navy vet Charles Viajar graduated from Foothill College and transferred to San Jose State. He credits Foothill’s Veterans Resource Center with putting him on a career path.

Charles Viajar knows firsthand the positive impact Foothill College’s Veterans Resource Center can have on a student veteran. The support and resources the VRC offered factored in his decision to attend Foothill and later transfer to San Jose State University.

Viajar knew that he could use the self-discipline and leadership skills he learned from his six years in the U.S. Navy in civilian life, but he also recognized that the transition out of the military might be difficult for him, as it is for many veterans.

Emergency preparedness projects showcased

Emergency Preparedness Volunteer Appreciation Night is scheduled 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at the Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road.

The event will include displays showcasing projects funded by the city of Los Altos’ 2018-2019 Community and Emergency Preparedness Grants Program.

Bay Area Furniture Bank: Helping residents transition to stability

Courtesy of Bay Area Furniture Bank
A young family relaxes on a new couch provided courtesy of the Bay Area Furniture Bank. Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive, founded the nonprofit organization in 2015.

• Mission: The Bay Area Furniture Bank recycles gently used furniture and provides it to individuals and families moving out of homelessness, as well as to other underserved residents as they work to make ends meet. The nonprofit organization aims to promote dignity and stability as people in need get back on their feet.

Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive, founded the Furniture Bank in 2015. Piontek developed a successful business model, with more than 97% of revenue generated directly supporting client services.

Music for Minors: Educating elementary schoolers through hands-on participation

Courtesy of Music For Minors
Founded in Los Altos more than 40 years ago, the nonprofit Music for Minors trains docents to teach music education in local schools. Representatives estimate that educators are teaching in more than 900 classrooms every week.

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

• 2019 update: Music for Minors provides a foundational music education program for 25,000 students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade throughout the Bay Area. The organization’s educators are teaching in more than 900 classrooms every week – in 70 schools in 14 school districts.

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation: Providing the underserved with opportunity via microgrants

Courtesy of East Palo Alto Kids Foundation
Students at Brentwood Elementary School in East Palo Alto benefit from East Palo Alto Kids Foundation grants given to teachers for supplies.

• Mission: The East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK) promotes educational opportunities and academic success for disadvantaged students by awarding microgrants to Ravenswood City School District teachers in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park.

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, educators at 13 designated schools may apply for $600 grants to fund field trips, library books and tools spanning everything from math and science puzzles to interactive white boards. New teachers also may apply for one-time, $250 grants to purchase items for establishing their classrooms.

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