East Palo Alto Kids Foundation: Serving disadvantaged students

Courtesy of East Palo Alto Kids Foundation
Children enjoy a field trip to the California Academy of Sciences, funded through the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation. The foundation serves approximately 4,000 underserved students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park.

• Mission: The East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK) was formed by Faye Brown, Nicki Smith, Tricia Berke Vinson and Jacqueline Widmar Stewart, four local residents who became appalled when per capita funding for California schools plunged in the 1990s.

“Without school parents’ participation, children had no gym, art or music classes, and the library and classrooms were woefully understaffed,” Stewart said. “We agreed that the best way to benefit students in individual classrooms was directly through their teachers. Teachers were best positioned to identify their students’ needs.”

Hidden Villa Summer Camps: Getting children outdoors, no matter their background

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Children care for animals and enjoy other valuable learning experiences at Hidden Villa Summer Camps. Holiday Fund proceeds help provide scholarships for financially challenged children to attend the camps.

• Mission: Hidden Villa aims to inspire a just and sustainable future through programs, land and legacy.

• 2018 update: Hidden Villa added the Outdoor Innovators program, which focuses on engineering in the outdoors. In the one-week overnight camp for youth entering fourth and fifth grades, participants stayed in a geodesic dome, Viking tent, carousel tent or teepee and studied hands-on engineering in nature ranging from structure building to how termites construct homes with natural air conditioning.

Sunday Friends: Enabling families to break the cycle of poverty

From Sundayfriends.org
A little girl receives a new backpack during a Sunday Friends back-to-school shopping day in August. In 2019, Sunday Friends plans to offer programs during the week at one of its school sites.

• Mission: Sunday Friends empowers families to break the generational cycle of poverty by fostering positive development in children while educating and guiding parents to support their children’s life success.

• 2018 update: James McCaskill joined Sunday Friends as its new executive director. Rather than trying out new things, McCaskill said the nonprofit organization is working on investing more in the existing aspects of the program, including literacy (both reading and writing), financial literacy, health and wellness, parent engagement, digital literacy and educational opportunities.

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.

Community Briefs - Week of Nov. 14

Chapman headlines book talk, signing

Los Altos resident Robin Chapman, author of the newly released “Historic Bay Area Visionaries,” is scheduled to discuss her book and sign copies noon Nov. 15 at a luncheon in Bailey Hall at Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave.

Cost is a $15 donation.

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.”

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