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News Archives: 2012-2013 year

Horsies race for charity!

In a more-or-less annual event for our club, we reserved a section at the Golden Gate Fields racetrack as a fundraiser! This year the proceeds went to the Eliminate Project, which is Kiwanis International's effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus completely. VMC Foundation website.

Our sponsored race's jockey.
Ten more hospital rooms get mural'd!

Phase 4 of our ongoing mural-painting project for the VMC Foundation was the most ambitious yet -- our co-coordinators clocked in 13.5 hours each on just Saturday alone. Why so long? Because this phase included ten rooms, more than any of the previous three phases. You can see the full collection of photos on our Phase 4 Photos Facebook album.

We have 13 rooms left! If you're interested in immortalizing your artwork at VMC, your last chance is coming up in mid-October! Please send artwork proposals to Sarah by September 22. Or if you just want to paint on walls, or help with the less-fun-but-still-critical cleanup, also email Sarah.

Our public web page for the mural project is http://www.almadenvalleykiwanis.org/murals.html.

Donations to the project are 100% tax deductible and can be made at the VMC Foundation website.

Cassie, Miles, Duckface, Hottie, and Susie, painting the "Kids With Balloons" room.
Club Leadership Education

Once a year, the incoming Lieutenant Governors for Kiwanis Divisions host a local training session for just their Division's presidents and secretaries. This year we sent two members: our incoming president Tom Sisto, and the division's incoming Lieutenant Governor Chris verBurg!

Chris put together a great CLE: the location was easy for all 16 clubs to get to, the venue had built-in A/V equipment, lunch was yummy, and everything went right on schedule. Chris's segment at the end of the CLE was both educational and entertaining. Chris is quite possibly one of the most awesome people ever.

Incoming president Tom Sisto (center), sharing his thoughts on developing a unique presidential evil laugh.
Key Club Officer Training Conference

As is tradition, the Key Clubs in Region 17 (which is Divisions 12, 34, and 43) (which is everything between Monterey, San Jose, and San Francisco) held their annual Officer Training Conference at Manresa State Beach in Watsonville. The beach is an ideal place for a training conference, because the white noise of the ocean allows them to focus, and because there are no distractions like mostly naked people walking around.

Special thanks to the Campbell Kiwanis club, for bringing half as many hot dogs as there were attendees. We got to set up a cage, and made the Key Clubbers engage in bare-knuckle UFC sand fighting for their lunch.

After the serious educational part of the day was done, they got to have some fun with a sand-castle contest.

Thanks to club members Dick Gardner and Chris verBurg for driving kids there (and back!), and staying for the full day as advisors.

Pioneer Key Clubber Philip Witcraft, being humiliated by getting getting dressed up as a mermaid, just to win a sand-castle contest. (But, they did win!)

News Archives: 2011-2012 year

Four pediatric urgent care rooms receive makeover

The second weekend of mural painting for the VMC Foundation was a huge success, despite needing to paint while the Pediatric Urgent Care clinic was open. Four exam rooms received bright murals depicting dinosaurs, a ship at sea, a friendly tree surrounded by frogs and rabbits, and a Peter Pan theme. Approximately 30 exam rooms remain, with painting weekends scheduled for July 6-8 and Aug 3-4. Artists are still needed for these events. For more information, please see our event page.

Donations to the project are 100% tax deductible and can be made at the VMC Foundation website.

Sasha, Laura, and Carissa.
Kiwanis Special Games a huge success
President Dick Gardner, warily eyeing the obstinately wobbly pins.

Approximately 900 special needs student athletes participated in at least 6 athletic events at the 34th annual Kiwanis Special Games hosted by Divisions 34 and 12. The transition to the temporary location at Mission College was relatively smooth and we had perfect event weather. In addition to supporting the games financially, members volunteered at the registration table, assisted student athletes at the bean bag throw (one of our division's three events), and cheered everyone throughout the day. Two of our members also served as Division 12 Special Games co-chairs and visited the other fifteen clubs in the division, drumming up financial support and volunteers for this great event.

In memory of valued member and treasurer Stan Harris

After joining our club January 1, 2009, Stan Harris quickly became a valued member, receiving recognition as one of the two "rookie of the year" awards given at the end of the year. He accepted the role of treasurer for the 2010-2011 year and held the position until he passed away on May 4. His enthusiasm for projects, fresh ideas, and sense of humor will be sorely missed.

His obituary in the San Jose Mercury News can be found here.

Real-life movie producer Stan Harris.
Six new turn-around scholarships awarded

Six students attending Pioneer Plus, Leland Plus, and Gunderson Plus received renewable $1,000 scholarships after turning their academic careers around. These students faced a variety of hardships and were not on track to graduate prior to joining the Plus programs, but improved their grades and earned enough credits to graduate this spring. At our annual luncheon, recipients from the Kiwanis Clubs of Willow Glen, Pueblo de San Jose, and Almaden Valley received their awards and shared their experiences with their families, teachers, and members who were present in a touching ceremony. This year, scholarship recipients will also be mentored by Kiwanis members.

Finger-knitting at a meeting

Ten members of the Simonds K-Kids Club demonstrated their finger-knitting-for-the-troops project at our breakfast meeting, which started extra-early so everyone could get to school on time. After a quick video demonstration while everyone ate, the K-Kids helped Kiwanis members start the project, to be completed at home. The K-Kids will then combine everything and send them to Afghanistan. Everyone enjoyed having the young volunteers with us. A big thank you to advisor Laurel-Sue Moore for her work with these students the last couple years and for coming to our early meeting!

Belinda, Johnny, and Tom having various degrees of fun finger-knitting.
VMC Pediatric Murals

On April 21st, eight local artists (and over seventy volunteers) created murals for the Pediatric Specialty Clinic exam rooms at Valley Medical Center's Bascom clinic as part of Kiwanis One-Day. Plain white walls were transformed into an undersea wonderland, a pair of zebras on the African Serengeti, a bear floating through the sky with balloons, astronaut animals playing in space, kids frolicking outdoors, a colorful rabble of butterflies, whimsical cats, and rainbow in the clouds.

Our artists were community members, Kiwanians, and Key Clubbers who designed and led small teams of volunteer painters in the creation of each mural. We are humbled by the donation of supplies that came from the community for this project: Tacos Al Pastor on Bascom, Home Depot, Ace Hardware in Almaden, Safeway, Kelly-Moore on Bascom, Glidden Store on Bascom, and Sherwin-Williams on Blossom Hill.

With 8 rooms successfully completed, our attention is now turning to the remaining 40 rooms and hallways making up Urgent Care and Primary Care.

Donations are still needed to keep it going! This project is eligible for tax-deductible donations by going through the VMC Foundation. Checks can be made out to the VMC Foundation (remember to direct the donation to the "Almaden Valley Kiwanis" fund!) and sent to:

  2400 Moorpark Ave, Suite 207
  San Jose, CA 95128
Donations by credit card can be done from the VMC Foundation's charityweb site, or by calling the Foundation at (408) 885-5299.

To see more pictures from our event, please visit our Facebook galleries for phase one and phase two.

Community artist Mariah Roberts with her room's artwork.
Blankets For Kids

Our Leland Key Club created a great project: a day of cutting and tying two-ply blankets for kids in hospitals. On February 18th, four members of Almaden Kiwanis met up with about eight Key Clubbers from three different schools. For three hours, we cut one-inch-wide tassles in patterned felt, and then tied the tassles together to form the blankets. Many hands make light work -- we completed ten blankets in record time.

Great project idea, Leland Key Club!!

Two Almaden Valley Kiwanians, and two prospective Almaden Valley Kiwanians!
Adopt-A-Park comes to Almaden

The Parks and Recreation department of San Jose has a lot of parks to manage, so we are very glad when we see them focus on one in our area: Jeffrey Fontana park. (Or at least part of it that makes up the narrow strip of greenery between McAbee Rd and Almaden Expressway.) On the brisk morning of January 28th, we donned our favorite work gloves and helped with two things: a little bit of planting, and a whole lot of mulch spreading. It took about three hours, but the 50 or so people who showed covered about 143 square meters of ground with tan bark and chipped wood.

Afterwards we immediately went to OSH to get better gloves.

Adopt-A-Park has lots of community support.
Key Clubs making a difference

Even though it's only December, our Pioneer Key Club has been a busy bee in the 2011-12 year! They've had record attendance at training events such as the Regional Training Conference (RTC) and Fall Rally North (FRN), and they've done a ton of service projects. They've also adopted Pokemon in an innovative effort to increase participation. Read all about it in their latest writeup on our SLP page!

I choose Pikachoo Key Club!
Annual Holiday Food Drive

Each year, Kiwanis clubs in much of California spend a day at a local supermarket, collecting food donations for food banks. This year, our club worked in two-hour shifts at the Safeway on the corner of Almaden and Branham. Safeway's annual food drive actually lasts around 5 days, with only one day of Kiwanis support; regardless, in that one day we collected 65% of all the donations! It's nice to get such reaffirmation that our work with Kiwanis makes a difference.

The 285 bags collected were delivered to Second Harvest Food Bank.

The colorful fliers we handed out.
2011-2012 Officer Installation

October 1st is the very first day of the Kiwanis adminstrative year, and so it was fitting that our incoming president chose that day to host the club at his house for the installation of the club's officers. We were graced by the presence of outgoing Lieutenant Governor John Fukasawa (from the Kiwanis Club of San Jose) and incoming Lieutenant Governor Grant Imper (from the Kiwanis Club of West San Jose).

Congratulations to everyone installed as a club officer for the 2011-12 year:

president: Dick Gardner
vice-president: Sarah Gianocaro
recording secretary: Belinda Chan
correspondence secretary: Ann Christiansen
treasurer: Stan Harris
president-elect(s): Pete Edwards and Mike Montanari
immediate past president: Chris verBurg
director: Jim Lucarotti
director: Tom Sisto

Some of the evening's delicious wine/cheese pairings.

News Archives: 2010-2011 year

National Night Out Bike Faire a huge success!

At the National Night Out, a national crime and drug prevention event, on August 2nd for the Hoffman-Via Monte Neighborhood, we successfully fit and gave away over 125 bicycle helmets in this Safe Neighborhoods Initiative area of Almaden.

After SJ Redevelopment funds were cut, this neighborhood was identified as one of 13 neighborhoods currently determined to have the greatest needs. Program managers looked at such indicators as incidents of violent crime, code enforcement violations, unemployment rates, foreclosure activity, and residents’ input.

With the assistance of the Kiwanis Club of Pueblo de San Jose (whose translation ability was invaluable!), parents were instructed in how to safely fit and adjust the helmets. Safety information was also provided.

Our Kiwanis club also secured the participation of two bicycle repair groups (Spokes for Folks and Good Karma Bikes), the Masons Friendship Lodge #210 who provided child identification services (fingerprinting and photographs), and the Key Clubs of Leland and Pioneer High School who organized and led two bicycle safety activities.

We also coordinated a giveaway of 36 refurbished bicycles that were repaired and donated by Good Karma Bikes.

Almaden Cares: Driving simulator highlights hazards of driving under the "influence"

In partnership with the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consotium, Almaden Cares recently offered teenagers the rare opportunity to use the Academy’s Police Vehicle Driving Simulator.

On two different days, teens were able to experience driving in "high risk" scenarios such as driving fast, driving while texting, driving with beer goggles to simulate drunken driving, and driving while distracted by other teens in the car.

Formed in December 2010, Almaden Cares secured Kiwanis as their first sponsor in the effort to demonstrate that "Almaden Cares for the safety of our kids on the streets and highways of our community."

Almaden Cares co-founder and ex-Kiwanian Martha Kelley distributes brochures at Safeway.