By Nancy Gerdt
The San Lorenzo Valley is fortunate to have a variety of community organizations that offer residents a wide array of services. For the last two years, the Valley Women’s club has had the good fortune to support some of these outstanding organizations through the VWC Community Grant Program. This program was developed to support the work of other community-minded groups by awarding modest grants that go directly to capital improvements that strengthen their programs and operations. One unexpected. rewarding outcome of the Grant Program was learning about other organizations and their dedication to providing safe and healthy experiences for Valley residents. The following organizations are the recipients for 2014:
KBCZ Boulder Creek radio station was awarded $1,000 for operational equipment. This station will be a non-commercial FM stations at 90.1 and will focus content on local history, art, music, agriculture, weather, emergency information, community events and our local economy. Find out more at their website.
South Street Centre in Boulder Creek is a family-based community space created to bring together families to relax, eat, socialize and commune in modern day village-like setting. Established in 1987 by Betsy Herbert and Estelle Fein, it is currently located at the former Redwood Elementary School. A grant of $1,000 was awarded to build a beautiful wooden table for shared meals and art projects.
Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District, established in 1959, provides a variety of programs to community members. In addition to the Recreation Hall located behind the Fire Station in Boulder Creek, they maintain three community parks located within the district: Barbara Day Park (The Dam), Junction Park, and Garrahan Park. A grant of $1680 was awarded to purchase the Air Walker Plus, an addition to their Outdoor Fitness Project located at Garrahan Park. The project is specifically designed to help people who either are confined to a wheelchair, have limited mobility, or need a low impact exercise option.
Since 1982 Valley Churches United Mission has provided assistance to community members in the form of emergency food, crisis rent, school supplies and disaster relief. They serve neighbors in the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley. Located in Ben Lomond, they were in need of new air conditioners. They were awarded $1,000.
Highlands Park Child Development Center located in Highlands Park in Ben Lomond, serves childcare needs for SLV families. It is one of six Child Development Centers run by Community Bridges. The beautiful 35 year old building, designed specifically as a child development center, was in need of paint for one of the classrooms. An award of $1,000 was given towards the project.
Senior Citizens Organization of San Lorenzo Valley, located in Highlands Park Ben Lomond is a social and education center for seniors age 50 and over. They provide on going classes, networking for health services, transportation and legal counsel, and Meals on Wheels. They were awarded $1250 to replace their 1970’s era stereo console system with a new P.A. system. Their facility is rented to other organizations for community forums and events at an affordable rate. The new sound system will be much appreciated. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Photo above)
San Lorenzo Valley Foundation for Education is dedicated to helping students in the SLVUSD achieve success. Their latest project is to provide Chrome Books to math classrooms at the High School. They were awarded $1,050 towards their goal of providing 25 computers per math classroom. Find out more at www.slvffe.org
Lompico Community Center, a non profit, was formed in 1933 and owns and maintains the Lompico Community Center Park (LCC). This organization is staffed entirely by a volunteer board of directors. The LCC serves as the sole community and emergency center for its 500 plus households. An award of $2,000 was given to repair the chain link safety fencing along three crucial sides of the children’s play area. The project will enclose the bus depot and playground that serves over 50 youth and families waiting for the bus or recreating in the park daily.
The 2014 VWC grant recipients represent a handful of the many organizations in SLV that are primarily powered by volunteers and donations. We live in a unique area of the unincorporated county. Maintaining services for residents is a constant challenge. If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community consider volunteering for a local organization, including the VWC. To explore other opportunities, talk to your friends and neighbors or check out the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County at scvolunteernow.org.