Newsletter – December 2008

Obama solicits donations for California wildfire victims – Web hits spike

President ObamaPresident-elect Barack Obama used the fundraising power of his campaign Web site to solicit donations and volunteers for wildfire relief efforts in Southern California.

The home page was transformed into a plea to help victims of the wind-swept fires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes in Southern California.

“Together we can help the victims of the Southern California fires,” the site said, using the same text and graphics for Obama’s campaign slogan of “Yes, we can.” It included a link to, where people were able sign up to volunteer or make a donation.

“Throughout the campaign, we saw time and again that when ordinary people act together, they can make a huge difference,” Obama’s site said. increased its viewership 10-fold as a result of being linked to the President elect’s Web site.

Rita Holiday Appointed to CaliforniaVolunteers Commission

Rita Holiday, of Stockton, has been appointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission. She has worked at Intel Corporation as community relations and grants program manager since 1999 and previously was project coordinator from 1997 to 1999. Previously, Holiday served as operations manager for NorCal Waste Systems from 1996 to 1997. She was marketing manager for PageNet from 1993 to 1996. Previously, Holiday worked for Olsten Staffing Services as branch manager from 1991 to 1993 and as staffing coordinator from 1984 to 1991. She is a member of the Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Board and co-chair of the Corporate Community Relations Consortium.

77th California State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

Photo of Capitol buildingGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver kicked-off the holiday season with the 77th annual State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, themed ‘WE Celebrate,’ on the West Steps of the State Capitol on Tuesday, December 9. Festivities for the evening began at 4:30 p.m. and the official tree lighting ceremony took place at 5:15 p.m. This year’s event featured Extra’s Mario López as Master of Ceremonies.

“This holiday season, we recognize and honor California’s bravest and most amazing men, women and children,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “These are people with a unique spirit, the kind of giving spirit that we celebrate in the holiday season. That is why our theme this year is ‘WE Celebrate,’ embodying the strength and perseverance of California’s people.”

In the spirit of giving, Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, in partnership with CaliforniaVolunteers hosted the WE Can Holiday Food Drive during this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Many California families are in need this winter and food item contributions will help make a huge difference throughout the Sacramento region. Community volunteers were on hand to collect food items at the West Steps of the Capitol on the day of the Ceremony. Future donations can be dropped off at the North Entrance of the Capitol.

“I’m a big believer that here in California, ‘It’s Up to WE’ and that together we not only celebrate, but unite as one big family. And this holiday season, it’s more important than ever that we support one another so that everyone can feel hope during times of hardship,” said First Lady Maria Shriver. “Many people throughout our country are losing their jobs, unable to bring dinner to the family table, and feeling in despair. It’s up to WE to bring holiday spirit to our neighbors, our community and all who need our help.”

The WE Can Holiday Food Drive encouraged families and individuals to bring non-perishable items to the West Steps of the State Capitol to support needy families and individuals throughout the region during this holiday season. More than 100 pallets of food totaling approximately 100,000 pounds has been collected to date and will be distributed to more than 150 area food banks and agencies.

2009 AmeriCorps grantmaking

AmeriCorps LogoCaliforniaVolunteers, in its role as the state service commision, awards AmeriCorps grants to eligible organizations to recruit, train and manage AmeriCorps members who address identified community needs.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) allocates AmeriCorps*State funds through two mechanisms: formula allocations to state service commissions based upon the population of the state and through a national competition in which all state service commissions have the opportunity to submit applications. In past funding years, California received approximately $9.7 million dollars in formula funding and $15 million from the national competition.

Initially, 29 applications were under consideration for either AmeriCorps operating grant funding or education award program funding. In November, the AmeriCorps Committee convened and voted to move 13 applicants to represent California for potential competitive funding while 14 applicants were ranked and placed on a wait-list to receive formula funds. The following two lists below represent the AmeriCorps Committee decisions in the 2009-10 grantmaking process to date:

2009-10 Competitive Submissions:
Bay Area Youth Agency Consortium (BAYAC)
Silicon Valley Health Corps
Learning Highways Tutoring
Wildlands Recovery Program
Forest Aid Corps
Get Fit Now!
Heart of Eden
First Five Service Corps
California Library Literary Services AmeriCorps Initiative (CLLS AmeriCorps Initiative)
California Safe Corps
Justice Corps

2009-10 Formula Wait-List:
Oakland Community After-School Alliance (OCASA)
Sierra Nevada Alliance
Destination College
Project Reach/Project Apple
UCLA Bruin Corps
Youth Serve
University Eastside Community Collaborative AmeriCorps Project (UECC/AmeriCorps)
Backcountry Trails Program
AmeriCorps Promote
Monterey County United for Literacy
Bridging Borders AmeriCorps
Volunteers in Service to the Environment
Lake County AmeriCorps
Early Learning and School Readiness AmeriCorps Program (ELSRAP)

The 27 proposals request approximately 12.5 million federal AmeriCorps funding. Funding is contingent on congressional appropriations yet to be determined. Grant award announcements affecting both lists will be made in late May 2009.

Another round of grant opportunities will be available next summer to support AmeriCorps programming in 2010-11.

For more information, please visit

Students at 21 O.C. schools surprised with new backpacks, toys

Teacher helping studentBy FERMIN LEAL and NIYAZ PIRANI
The Orange County Register

Students from Linda Csigi’s first-grade class at College Park Elementary lined up at the door before class today for a surprise waiting for them inside.

Each student was given a new backpack stuffed with crayons, scissors, erasers, glue sticks, pencils, notebooks, reading books, and paddle balls, dolls or other toys.

More than 2,500 first-grade students at 21 elementary schools throughout Orange County arrived for school today to find new backpacks filled with school supplies and toys.

The backpacks and other items were provided through the annual Spirit of Giving, a holiday event organized by the Volunteer Center Orange County. The schools that were chosen each have high concentrations of low-income students.

“The backpacks are a gift to these students whose families cannot afford the most basic supplies for their education,” said Dan McQuaid, president of the volunteer center.

This is the eighth year the center has given backpacks and supplies to students in the county.

Teachers also received a box full of additional supplies for the classroom and gift cards to Target.

More than 2,100 volunteers worked during the past week to collect the supplies and stuff the backpacks…

To read the full text of the article, click here.

2009 Service-Learning Leadership Institute

Leadership Institute logoThe Institute is sponsored by the
Youth Service California and the
California Department of Education.

The Changing Face of California: Youth Service Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond

Over a third of California’s students drop-out before graduation from high school. The drop out rate is nearly 50 percent for Latino, African-American, Native American and Southeast Asian students in low-income urban and rural areas. Demographic data spotlights that this fast growing minority population will become the majority of students by 2020.

The 2009 Institute focuses on expanding service in schools and communities because research confirms that service has the power to motivate youth from all levels of ability and social backgrounds to become active and positive contributors to society.

The 2009 Institute Program offers almost 60 different professional development opportunities to help prepare for the challenges ahead. Interactive presentations and workshops are designed to provide support for district implementation of service-learning as well as to strengthen connections among organizations involved in youth service.

Program Highlights and Opportunities:

58 professional workshops, including:

– Creating Successful Youth/Adult Partnerships

– Using Service-Learning to Build Strong Community Partnerships

– Building Service-Learning Connections with Youth Centered Organizations

– Project Citizen-Preparing Youth to Become Agents of Change

Three Keynote Presentations:

– Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California:
California’s Changing Demographics

– Shelley Billig, RMC Corporation:
Using Research to Make the Case for Service-Learning

– Mark Batenburg, Youth Service California:
Meeting the Challenges of the Changing Face of California

How to Learn More and Register:

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