Wow! Beautiful Day 2012 Statistics

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The folks at Beautiful Day released some statistics today about next week’s service event. If you’re interested in one of the 4,624 volunteer opportunities, see the Beautiful Day website.

San Jose Council Recognizes Beautiful Day On Eve of Volunteer Event

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In recognition of next week’s large-scale Beautiful Day service event in all 10 districts of the city and neighboring communities, the San Jose City Council unanimously awarded the group a special proclamation at its meeting on Tuesday.

“I really think San Jose has the best cadre of volunteers in the whole country,” said Councilmember Rose Herrera, as she presented the proclamation to Beautiful Day Executive Director Jon Talbert and his team in honor of National Volunteer Month.

Herrera encouraged residents to sign up as volunteers for the dozens of Beautiful Day projects around San Jose and the Silicon Valley, most of which take place Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29.  A few projects are available this weekend, April 21-22, and the week that follows. Thousands are expected to participate. [Read more…]

Master Organizer Puts Tools Into the Hands of Thousands of Volunteers

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Get ready Silicon Valley. You’re about to get a makeover, thanks to more than 100 gallons of paint, 441 pieces of lumber, 113 pounds of nails, and a lot of sweat and elbow grease from thousands of volunteers.

It’s all a part of the large-scale April 21-29 service project called Beautiful Day, coordinated by the nonprofit group that goes by the same name. Organizers are working to recruit up to 6,000 volunteers to refurbish homes, neighborhoods, parks, creeks, freeways, an elementary school, and much more. Most of the projects will take place the final weekend, April 28 and 29.

As the recruitment effort goes on, one team within Beautiful Day is working to put the materials and tools into the hands of the volunteers. The Acquisitions Team is lead by a volunteer affectionately known as the “Master Shopper”, Wendy Laugesen.

Laugesen laughs at the reference, and adds that she likes to call herself the “Master Organizer”.

Master Organizer, indeed, as she and her team pull together more than 600 items on a master inventory list. Each line item may have multiples of each item, translating into thousands of materials and tools needed during the week.

From nametags to napkins, to tanbark and tetherballs, Laugesen has it on her list. [Read more…]

Volunteers to Beautify Santa Clara School April 28-29

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The children and staff of Pomeroy Elementary in Santa Clara will leave their well-worn campus on an upcoming Friday to return on Monday to a brighter, fresher school, thanks to a full weekend of volunteer labor.

More than 300 volunteers are expected to descend on the campus in the Santa Clara Unified School District on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, to clean, paint, build, and garden, in a project called “Beautify Pomeroy”. The group Beautiful Day is signing up people from all over Silicon Valley who want to invest in the children’s futures through the service project.

“Beautify Pomeroy” is part of an even larger community-wide annual Beautiful Day event that is expected to utilize approximately 6,000 volunteers between April 21 and 29. Projects include cleaning area freeways, refurbishing homes, cleaning parks and neighborhoods, helping the homeless, and more.

By the end of that weekend at Pomeroy, the teachers’ lounge will have a new look, as well as a refrigerator that actually works, replacing the old broken one. The school’s community garden will have new planter boxes and a solar-powered water feature. The playground will have some new equipment, as well as a recycling center to collect empty juice boxes and water bottles. And around campus some walls will sport fresh paint and murals.

“I think it’s just exciting to think about what you’re doing for the next generation,” said Lori Dabak, one of the project’s coordinators. “You don’t know how this investment will affect something down the road.” [Read more…]

Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor in April

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It’s April, which means spring is now in full swing. Opportunities to be a good neighbor around Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are sprouting as fast as seedlings in the warm sun.

Here are five ways to do good for others (and yourself) this month.

1. Drive Focused: April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Highway Patrol and other local departments plan on cracking down on distracted driving all month as a way to bolster public awareness of this dangerous problem. Using a cell phone while driving—hand-held or hands-free—delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent, according to one university study. And text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Find out more at Distraction.gov. In the meantime, officials want everyone to take the pledge to drive distraction free, and to encourage others to do the same.

2. Knit for a Cause: A group of people who love to knit and crochet get together regularly to create hats and scarves for Sacred Heart Community Services. Called One Brink Knits, it’s a part of the One Brick Silicon Valley group that helps connect volunteers with service projects. Don’t know how to knit or crochet? [Read more…]

Pitch In to Take Freeways From Trashy to Beautiful

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With shrinking state coffers translating into mushrooming piles of litter along California freeways, one organization is collaborating with Caltrans to give residents a chance to pitch in and clean up at the end of April.

The nonprofit group Beautiful Day is organizing a massive week-long service event by the same name in the San Jose area April 21-29, including what organizers are calling Trash It, three days of cleaning up debris along Silicon Valley freeways.

“I hate driving on the highway and seeing all the litter there, especially when people from other states come into visit. I want to be proud of my state,” said Trash It team leader Kristy Espinoza. “I feel like I’m doing my part to be organizing such a large event to get rid of litter.”

Beautiful Day is looking for 600 adult volunteers to participate Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29. There are five total shifts that weekend, with one on Friday morning, and two each on Saturday and Sunday, morning and afternoon. Each shift is about three hours long. Volunteers will meet at one of four Caltrans yards in Cupertino, Milpitas and San Jose.

Trash It signups are underway now at the Beautiful Day website, along with signups for the group’s other projects during the service week. [Read more…]

Beautiful Day Dawning: Group Calls Out to Volunteers for April Service Week

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Beautiful Day, San Jose’s largest annual volunteer service event, is back next month with ambitious plans to serve all 10 districts of the city, plus a nonprofit farm in Sunnyvale, and miles of the area’s freeways.

With the theme of “Serving Our Community is How We Roll”, the organization is putting out a call for thousands of volunteers to take action between April 21 and 29. Most of the projects are taking place the weekend of April 28-29. The Beautiful Day website includes information on each project and an easy online registration form for those interested.

From fixing houses, to rehabilitating school campuses, to cleaning creeks and putting on a carnival and dance for special needs students, there are numerous opportunities to serve. Many of the projects are family friendly.

The faith-based group collaborates with local governments, nonprofits, churches, and businesses to pull off the large number of projects concentrated in one week. Since 2004 the event has grown from smaller clean-up and fix-up projects to the massive operation it is today. Beautiful Day organizers estimate that approximately 2,400 volunteers participated in last spring’s one-week event—and they may double that this April. [Read more…]

Beautiful Day: Retired Cops Out to Change Lives in Alviso Find Their Own Lives Changed

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Retired police officers Bob Froese and Jim Buchanan once looked upon the small low-income San Jose area of Alviso with hardened cops’

Jim Buchanan (left) and Bob Froese

eyes: a place with a few rough characters, and all the social ills that come with being a neighborhood of people living on the margins of society.

But recently, when the two found themselves leading possibly one of the largest community service projects ever in Alviso, their hearts melted and they began to see the neighborhood with softer eyes.

“After our experience here we have a passion for the people of Alviso,” Froese said. He said the stereotypes he once held for the community have completely disappeared. “Our opinions have been changed 180 degrees. We have a deep love and affection for the people now.”

With all the precision of a major police operation, the two marshaled the forces of 600 volunteers last weekend for the “Awaken Alviso” project, one of 17 projects worked on May 16-22 by a San Jose coalition of churches, nonprofits, businesses and governmental agencies called Beautiful Day. [Read more…]

A Beautiful Day in San Jose

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In the midst of the darkness of San Jose’s fiscal state of emergency as declared by Mayor Chuck Reed, a bright day dawned last week for more than a dozen neighborhoods and thousands of the city’s residents thanks to a coalition of public, private, nonprofit and faith-based interests.

Approximately 2,400 volunteers from the coalition Beautiful Day went to work from May 16-22 doing everything from donating blood to hosting a prom for disabled youth, to fixing up schools and dozens of homes throughout the city.
[Read more…]

Hey Silicon Valley, Got Some Time to Help Your Community This Weekend?

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If you’re still making weekend plans, there are some excellent options for making a difference in your community here in the Silicon Valley. 

Beautiful Day is sponsoring numerous projects around the valley this weekend, and volunteers are still needed. Some of the important tasks the group is tackling include doing repair and cleanup work at sites like a local school, a homeless encampment, transitional housing, and individual homes. There’s a blood drive on Sunday at Westgate Church, which by the way, spearheads the coalition of nonprofit and government agencies that make up Beautiful Day.

Saturday is National River Cleanup Day, and there are a bevy of project sites that are still looking for volunteers. Check out the site for the cleanup project nearest you, and contact the site coordinator to signup.