Newsletter – December 2007

CaliforniaVolunteers’ Response to the Bay Area Oil Spill

Volunteer cleaning beachCalifornia’s Bay Area recently suffered a major oil spill when an oil tanker collided with the Bay Bridge. The collision opened a yawning gash in the tanker which resulted in 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel spilling into the Bay. The toxic fuel quickly reached Bay Area beaches, coating the coastline and marine wildlife with oil.

As was in the case of the recent Southern California fires, countless concerned citizens rallied to aid in cleanup and recovery efforts. CaliforniaVolunteers, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the affected local governments, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and CaliforniaVolunteers local partners coordinated the training of 2,267 volunteers and the deployment of an additional 1,007. Efforts to rescue and clean oiled wildlife were also aided by 700 trained volunteers. Volunteers were vital to the clean up effort, removing 301 garbage bags and 65 cubic yards of hazardous materials from local beaches.

As of this time, the volunteer component of the beach clean up has concluded. However, oil clean up of this magnitude can take several months. Those who are interested in volunteer opportunities should check into for the latest information on how you can become involved.

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at the State Capitol

Photo of Capitol buildingCaliforniaVolunteers would like to thank all of the generous people that made the Holiday Toy and Book Drive during the 76th annual State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony a success.

In partnership with the Governor and First Lady’s Offices, CaliforniaVolunteers hosted the annual Holiday Toy and Book Drive at the tree lighting ceremony on December 4. CaliforniaVolunteers collected new and unwrapped toys and books for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater San Diego and the Orangewood Children’s Foundation. Both organizations support children who were affected by the Southern California wildfires.

Unwrapped toys and books can still be sent to:

Boys and Girls Club of Greater San Diego
Clairemont Branch
4635 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92117

Orangewood Children’s Foundation
1575 E. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

The deadline for donations is December 24, 2007.

Governor Schwarzenegger Appoints New Commissioner and Reappoints Four to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission

Lisa Spinali of San Francisco has been appointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission. Since 2006, she has served as executive director of San Francisco School Volunteers, a non-profit organization that places volunteers in San Francisco public schools. Previously, Spinali served as an independent consultant for non-profit organizations from 2004 to 2005 and vice president of civic engagement for the Omidyar Foundation from 2002 to 2004. Prior to that, she founded and served as partner in Ripple Effect Consulting, a non-profit consulting practice from 1997 to 2002. Spinali also served as program director and senior consultant for the Presidio Leadership Center from 1995 to 1997.

Michael Balaoing of Los Angeles was reappointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission, where he has served since 2000. Balaoing has worked for the Entertainment Industry Foundation since 2002, where he currently serves as senior vice president. He previously served as program director for the California Wellness Foundation from 1996 to 2002. Balaoing is chair of the board for the Liberty Hill Foundation. He also serves as board secretary for the Council on Foundations and the Ayala Foundation USA.

Jeff Hoffman of Long Beach, was reappointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission, where he has served since 2005. Hoffman currently serves as the Commission chairperson. He has worked for The Walt Disney Company since 1978 and is currently vice president of Disney Worldwide Outreach, where he is responsible for worldwide community relations and volunteerism. He is a board member of the Entertainment Industry Foundation and the Points of Light/Hands on Network.

Paul Jacks of Sacramento, has been reappointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission, where he has served since 2006. Jacks has worked for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) in several capacities since 1985 and currently holds the position of deputy director. Prior to joining OES, he worked for the California Conservation Corps from 1977 to 1985 as an associate government analyst and conservationist.

Kenneth Martinet of Glendale was reappointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission, where he has served since 2000. Martinet has worked for Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1995, where he currently serves as president and chief executive officer. In this position, he serves over 2,000 youth and volunteers of all beliefs along with various local agencies in the development of volunteer services. From 1990 to 1995, Martinet served as president of Franciscan Communications. He is past chair for the California Coalition of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese.

Volunteer To Help Those In Need This Holiday Season

Volunteer carrying box canned goodsDid you know that 4.3 million Californians go hungry each year, and an estimated 350,000 are homeless? And a recent study of 75 food and shelter providers in California shows the number of Californians living in poverty is increasing.

With the holidays upon us, we can’t forget the millions of people in our state who live in poverty – often without food on the table or a roof over their heads. And while the problem is bigger than any one of us can solve, every one of us can make a difference by volunteering in our communities. Whether it’s serving food in a kitchen line, organizing a clothing drive for a local homeless shelter or teaching computer skills to adults looking for jobs, together WE can all give something back this holiday season.

To learn how you can help and get connected to volunteer opportunities in your community, visit our advanced search page, select the interest area most important to you and enter your zip code or county.

To learn more about volunteering in California and the challenges of hunger, homelessness and poverty in our state, view our fact sheet.

To help spread the word about the problems of hunger, homelessness and poverty in our state and how volunteering can be part of the solution, download our communication kits for both businesses and stakeholders.

To learn more about volunteer organizations in your own area, visit our local partners page

Executive Director of CaliforniaVolunteers Recognized at Southern California Visionaries Luncheon

Photo of Karen BakerThe Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) honored CaliforniaVolunteers Executive Director Karen Baker with the Graduate of the Year award at its annual Southern California Visionaries luncheon. This award recognizes Leadership L.A. or Leadership Southern California graduates who epitomize excellence and achievement in community leadership.

SCLN presents awards to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in civic leadership, and celebrates those whose vision has inspired action, collaboration and positive community outcomes.

Baker received the Graduate of the Year award recognizing the countless ways in which she has affected change in California. Baker is a 1991 graduate of Leadership Southern California Class I. She was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as the executive director of CaliforniaVolunteers in January of 2006.

Baker brings to CaliforniaVolunteers 20 years of innovative leadership in all facets of the service and volunteerism sector, including local and national non-profits and federal agencies. She served as the managing partner for Valley Vision, director of innovation at Share Our Strength, as well as serving in positions at the Corporation for National Service and Chrysalis.

Maria Shriver honored by President Bush and Featured in Benefit Magazine for her work with CaliforniaVolunteers

Photo of First Lady Maria ShriverMaria Shriver Receives National Promise of America Founders’ award

On November 13, First Lady Maria Shriver received The National
Promise of America Founders’ award for her role in promoting service and volunteerism throughout the state of California at a White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, herself one of eight recipients of the award.

Established this year by the America’s Promise Alliance, which was founded by Colin and Alma Powell, the award recognizes the tremendous contribution Shriver has made to volunteerism through her efforts towards launching,, a the largest statewide online volunteer matching network in the country that connects state residents to volunteer opportunities.

As honorary chair of CaliforniaVolunteers, Maria has brought her personal commitment and leadership to the cause of service. In the process, she has helped ensure that all Californians are only one click away from a meaningful volunteer experience.

Maria Shriver: California’s Voice for Volunteerism

By Laura Svienty
Benefit Magazine
November 19th, 2007

Maria Shriver, on behalf of CaliforniaVolunteers, encourages every resident to pitch in for the common good.

“If you do it one time, you get hooked,” California first lady Maria Shriver says of volunteering. “If you build one playground, you’ll want to come back and do it again. If you volunteer in one soup kitchen where you get to cook with your kids and see the food make a difference in someone’s life, you’ll want to come back and do that again.”

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Wanting to give is one thing. Knowing how to give is another. California Volunteers makes the logistics a breeze with the largest online statewide volunteer matching network in the country. Just type your zip code into its web site (see sidebar) and click on your area of interest (animals & environment; arts & culture; education & technology; hunger, homelessness & human services; public safety & disaster; health; and so on). A host of local opportunities will appear. Narrow your search by choosing among one time, ongoing, full time, and from home options.

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Shriver’s quintessential we-ness began when she found herself standing at a revolving door in Chicago during the winter of 1960, handing out leaflets for her uncle John Kennedy’s presidential campaign. “I think the more a president can mention service, the better,” says Shriver, noting that after Kennedy was sworn in, more people applied for the Peace Corps than for any other department in the U.S. government.

“That was a call to service from the highest level. If a governor makes a call to service, that sets an example. If the White House hires a person with disabilities, like we have here in the Governor’s office, that’s leadership. That’s a way of serving: leading by example.”

“I would love to see a federal Secretary of Service,” says Shriver. “It would be a place for all of these NGOs or nonprofits who need volunteers to come together and reach out and let people know that they can have careers in their organizations. A lot of it is marketing—just elevating the concept of service.” And that’s something that Shriver is doing daily with California Volunteers.

“Building playgrounds, being a community emergency response team volunteer, being an AmeriCorps volunteer—volunteering brings the state and the people of the state together,” says Shriver. “Regardless of political affiliation or nationality or how you got here, we’re all here and there’s something we can all do together—which is to work to help California.

To view a PDF of the article: Maria Shriver: California’s Voice for Volunteerism

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