Newsletter – March 2010

Governor’s and First Lady’s Medals For Service

Governor’s and First Lady’s Medals For ServiceNominations for the second annual Governor and First Lady’s Medals for Service Awards are due on March 31. The Governor & First Lady’s Medals for Service are designed to distinguish individual volunteers, business volunteer programs and nonprofit leaders whose innovation in the field of volunteerism have had a tangible impact on their community, region and the state of California. Shining a spotlight on the state’s commitment to service, the awards demonstrate how simple acts can create big changes in communities across California.

We encourage and invite you to nominate those in your community who are creating ripples of positive change. The categories for the Governor & First Lady’s Medals for Service are as follows:

  • California’s Volunteer of the Year
    Honoring an outstanding Californian whose volunteer service is exemplary and inspirational
  • California’s Small Business* Volunteer Program of the Year
    Honoring an outstanding California small business with an innovative, high-impact employee volunteer program
    * A California small business is defined as having less than 500 employees with primary business operations in California
  • California’s Business Volunteer* Program of the Year
    Honoring an outstanding California business with an innovative, high-impact employee volunteer program
    * A California business is defined as having more than 500 employees with primary business operations in California
  • California’s Nonprofit of the Year
    Honoring a California nonprofit that has shown an extraordinary ability to leverage volunteers in service to their organization
  • California’s Service Group of the Year
    Honoring a California service group / club with a demonstrable impact and unwavering commitment to their community
  • California’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year
    Honoring a California AmeriCorps member who has demonstrated AmeriCorps values, has made a significant contribution to their community, and is committed to a lifetime of service

Nominations must be received by CaliforniaVolunteers by 5:00PM Wednesday, March 31. For additional details, including eligibility, nomination packets, event date, etc., please see the Official Rules & Guidelines or visit

California Earthquake Preparation Survey

Get Ready! Create Your Family Disaster Plan Today. Personalize a Free Book for Your Child.On March 5, CaliforniaVolunteers, in partnership with CalEMA, unveiled the findings of the California Earthquake Preparedness Survey citing an overall lack of disaster preparedness knowledge among California households. Although state and local agencies have made great strides and are better prepared than ever before, similar investments have not been made in California households. Some of the key findings include:

  • Only 40 percent keep the recommended minimum of three gallons of water stored per person.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of households have structurally reinforced their homes or had their homes inspected for earthquake resistance.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of California households have purchased earthquake insurance.
  • More than 80 percent of households have first aid kits, flashlights and batteries in their house but only 40 percent of Californians have made family disaster plans.
  • Hispanic respondents were the least likely among all racial/ethnic groups to prepare.

In response to the survey findings, Secretary of Service and Volunteering, Karen Baker made the following statement: “It is important for Californians to prepare for all types of disasters by having a plan and being ready to take care of ourselves, our families and our communities. Personal preparedness allows disaster workers to focus on critical areas to protect our state and everyone can take steps to prepare.”

Secretary Matt Bettenhausen of the California Emergency Management Agency added the following: “The recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti are unwelcome reminders of the devastating impact earthquakes can have on people and communities. It calls attention to the need for Californians to do even more to prepare for the big one. This study confirms that Californians need constant reminders and a steady stream of earthquake preparedness information to motive people to act. We continue to urge Californians to prepare now.”

A variety of free online disaster preparedness resources such as a customized family plan, personalized children’s book and disaster preparedness tips are available on For complete report information, please visit:

We Connect

We ConnectFriday, March 19 will kick off the first of two consecutive “WE Connect Weekends”. The WE Connect Weekend events are designed to help families take full advantage of valuable existing resources available to them – such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – by bringing together local, state and federal public and private partners all in one place. The events, which are presented by the California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women will be held in Fresno and Los Angeles respectively.
For more information on both WE Connect Weekends please visit the WE Connect Web site.

NOTE: The WE Connect Weekend taking place in Fresno will include a family service project. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, please visit the Hands On Central California Web site.

Numerous California Universities named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor RollThe Corporation for National and Community Service announced the annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award recipients, recognizing more than 700 colleges and universities for exemplary, innovative, and effective community service programs. California is home to 32 universities selected to the Honor Roll and an additional 16 were selected with distinction. The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

To view the full listing of awarded universities please visit the Learn and Serve Web site.

The 21st Annual National Service-Learning Conference

The 21st Annual National Service-Learning ConferenceTo be held March 24-27, 2010 in San Jose, California, the 21st Annual National Service-Learning Conference celebrates service-learning as a force that spans cultural and national boundaries, builds communities, and strengthens young people.
The conference is the largest gathering of youth and practitioners involved in service-learning, drawing approximately 2,500 attendees from across the United States and many other countries each year. Through three days of general sessions, thought leader series, service-learning projects, and networking, the conference engages participants in local, national, and global issues that service-learning addresses. The conference will include more than 100 exhibits, and nearly 150 hands-on workshops and service-learning projects.
The 2010 conference will feature speeches by Karen Baker, California Secretary of Service and Volunteering; Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in creativity, innovation and human resources; Talia Leman, CEO and Founder of RandomKid; Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Education for All/Fast Track Initiative; Harumitsu Inouye, CEO of the Shinnyo-en Foundation; Kathy Payne, Senior Director of State Farm’s Education Excellence; and Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, and Judy Bernstein, authors of They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan.

To find more information please visit the National Service-Learning Conference Web site.

Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez photoAlthough many remember Cesar E. Chavez as a tireless advocate for California’s migrant field workers, it is important to remember that he was also one of the most vocal leaders for service and community involvement. To help honor his life and legacy, CaliforniaVolunteers ( encourages you to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day by volunteering in your community. To find an opportunity that fits you, please visit

A Free Day at the Museum

The California MuseumOn Thursday, March 4th, California First Lady Maria Shriver and The Women’s Conference partnered with The California Museum in Sacramento to celebrate National Women’s History Month with an extraordinary all-day free event — Day at The Museum. Thousands of Californians passed through the California Museum doors for a free day of education, inspiration and empowerment. In addition to a number of resource booths, the Museum hosted a number of special guests including astronaut Sally Ride, environmental activist Erin Brockovich, and Iron Chef Cat Cora.

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