Project Linus Nearing 50,000 Mark in Bringing Happiness to Kids in Need

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“Happiness is a warm blanket,” as Linus famously says, and it’s that premise that is sending one San Jose group on its way to creating and Project-Linus-South-Bay-Chapter-San-Jose-Good-Neighbor-Storiesdonating 50,000 blankets to local children in serious need of a little happiness, or at least the warm, cuddly feeling of their very own blanket.

The South Bay Chapter of Project Linus has donated 48,840 blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or somehow in need, since its inception in 2002. Nationally, Project Linus chapters have collectively donated more than 4.3 million blankets.

Blankets and quilts have gone out to children affected by major disasters like Sandy, Katrina, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Locally the chapter regularly donates to agencies like the San Jose Family Shelter, the Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) Asian Women’s Home, Valley Medical Center, and dozens more.

“If you’ve ever seen, or had the opportunity to see, someone receive one of these quilts, it brings tears to your eyes,” said Project Linus volunteer Linda Lemos at a group sewing event in late October. [Read more…]

Eighth Grader Making Birthday Wishes Come True For Less Fortunate Kids

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Every child has a birthday wish. But some children from poor or homeless families don’t get those wishes fulfilled, which is why eighth grader Yasmine Davis decided to step in and make a difference.

Davis and her family are founders of the nonprofit  Make a Birthday Wish, which provides presents and birthday parties for more than 300 disadvantaged children and teens in the Silicon Valley.

Along with her mom, Nike McDonald, Davis shops for presents for children and teenagers, then throws a party complete with decorations and cake for all the birthday boys and girls of one month. The children and teens are matched to Make a Birthday Wish through West Valley Community Services (WVCS).

“The kids all have a wish list, so we try and get them what’s on the wish list so they’ll be happy with their presents,” Davis said. “And even if we can’t they’re still really happy with the birthday party.”

While not shopping, planning, and party hosting—a volunteer job that keeps her busy for up to eight hours every weekend and sometimes after school—Davis is a student at Kennedy Middle School in Cupertino, where she keeps up good grades and plays sports. [Read more…]