September 27, 2010

Spotlight on Community Projects: First Teachers

Edited by Summer Brill

First Teachers is a project of the Bring Me a BookTM Foundation, which was founded in 1997 by Judy Koch. The organization envisions a read-aloud culture where all families place a high priority on literacy and are actively involved in their children's education. League members on the First Teachers committee, together with the Bring me a Book Foundation, will host 20 training sessions in the community this year.

Only 50% of children in low income areas are read aloud to on a daily basis, compared to 70% of higher income children. With study after study linking brain development and literacy skills later in life to this activity in young children, the importance of reading aloud is even greater today than ever.

On August 28th, the First Teachers committee spent the day at Bring Me A Book learning how to teach parents the importance of reading aloud, how to setup a regular reading routine, how to overcome obstacles to sticking with the routine and, most importantly, how to make the activity more interesting for the children (AKA, keep their attention). The vision of the training sessions the committee will be facilitating are to empower parents and caregivers to be their child’s “First Teacher”.

Stay tuned for the fall issue of the Piper (mailed November 1st) for a suggested reading list. For more information on the Bring me a Book Foundation, including Reading Aloud Tips, visit

September 11, 2010

Spotlight on Community Projects: Done in a Year Shelter Network

Edited by Summer Brill

The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, Inc. (JLPA•MP) will be partnering with the Shelter Network of San Mateo County to fulfill its "Done in a Year" Project. The mission of the Shelter Network is to provide housing and support services that create opportunities for homeless families and individuals to re-establish self-sufficiency and to return to permanent homes of their own. The JLPA•MP Project Committee will sponsor Lifeskills workshops throughout the year at the Shelter Network's Menlo Park and San Mateo emergency shelters. These workshops will assist homeless clients in the shelters to gain employment, if jobless, and/or help them to find a new or better-paying job if they are in transitional housing.

Working with Shelter Network staff, League volunteers will deliver life skills workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to Shelter Network clients at the Haven House in Menlo Park and First Step for Families in San Mateo.
Carla Cravalho and Amy Hamilton are the Co-Chairs for the Done in a Year Shelter Network community project this year. They are planning workshops on the following topics: Interviewing Skills, Financial Management, How to Keep a Job and Time Management.

The next Shelter Network workshop is September 22nd, check back for an update on their wonderful workshops!

My New Red Shoes Gives Children New Hope

By Mandy Conner

The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula (JLPA•MP) kicked off the 2010-2011 League year with its first Done in a Day (DIAD) offering and proudly partnered with My New Red Shoes for their Pack for Pride Event on July 18 at the Nvidia warehouse. Volunteers packed nearly 3,000 gift bags filled with new shoes, school supplies, gift cards and personalized notes for underprivileged children.

Megan Olesek shared the following comment about her family’s experience volunteering with the My New Red Shoes Done in a Day project:

“It was such a great opportunity to educate my son about those less fortunate. Even though he attended a birthday party later in the day, when my husband asked at the end of the day ‘what did you do today?’ the only thing he talked about was giving new shoes to kids who didn't have them. It definitely made a big impression!”

The bags created at this Done in a Day event will be delivered to children at Bay Area homeless shelters. This event was a great opportunity for League members to include their families and to provide resources to children in need.

Amy Truel led the team of volunteers, including Michelle Altick, Kate Bowerman, Ella Duncanson, Noelle Gonsalves, Jackie Lyandres, Megan Olesek, Joy Peacock, Lisa Tayeri and Mia Wyant. Many thanks to all for their hard work!

Edited version, read the full article in the next Piper magazine November 2010.