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.

Sky's the Limit Fund: Transforming teens' lives through wilderness therapy


Sky's the limit fund Sky’s the Limit Fund serves teens in crisis by providing financial help to enable them to attend wilderness therapy programs.

• Mission: Sky’s the Limit Fund (STLF) aims to transform the lives of youth in crisis and their families by providing access to wilderness therapy programs, coaching services to guide families during the transition home and outreach to educate the community on the benefits of wilderness therapy.

Studies show a rise in mental health illness in U.S. teens. One in five adolescents has had a serious mental health illness, such as depression and/or anxiety, at some point. Yet fewer than half of adolescents with a mental health problem received any kind of treatment in the past year.

DVF, Wojcicki bring #InCharge movement to Los Altos pop-up


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Diane von Furstenberg, left, and Anne Wojcicki discuss the #InCharge movement Saturday at DVF’s Los Altos pop-up store.

It all began when 23andMe founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki discovered that friend and fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg was going to be in the area for a chat at Facebook offices in Menlo Park.

Wojcicki, a Los Altos Hills resident and downtown Los Altos property owner, saw the perfect opportunity to promote von Furstenberg’s current and coming DVF looks, and the fashion designer accepted Wojcicki’s offer to use a downtown storefront owned by Wojcicki’s Los Altos Community Investments.


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