Los Altos Community Foundation officials have challenged local seniors to volunteer.
The foundation, whose mission is to strengthen the community by stimulating local philanthropy and civic engagement, offers a number of volunteer opportunities suited for older adults with time on their hands and expertise to spare – and share.
“We’re about trying to make the community more compassionate, more caring and involved,” said foundation Executive Director Joe Eyre. “The Community Foundation is often the first to recognize and address needs.”
The following foundation programs are recruiting volunteers.
“There’s lots of opportunities for people to get involved in the community,” Eyre said.
• Block Action Team (BAT). BAT leaders are trained to help their neighborhoods connect, care and prepare in the wake of an emergency or natural disaster. Leaders define their neighborhoods (typically 15-50 households), communicate with residents, develop a neighborhood roster, disseminate emergency response information, organize a neighborhood watch and encourage social events.
• MVLA Scholars. MVLA Scholars helps local high-potential, low-income students achieve their dreams of earning college degrees and attaining professional positions by providing scholarships, mentoring and sustained community support. College Prep Mentors at Los Altos and Mountain View High schools help juniors and seniors create college lists, complete applications, edit essays and apply for scholarships and financial aid. College Mentors serve as gatekeepers for students’ scholarship funds, monitor students’ progress, serve as a source of support and advice, and assist in the job-search process.
• Leadership Education Advancement (LEAD) program. The annual LEAD program enables residents to learn more about Los Altos and Los Altos Hills local government, education, nonprofit organizations and business groups. Community leaders from education (superintendents and trustees), health-care CEOs, nonprofit executive directors, elected and appointed city government officials (mayors, city managers, commission chairs), business representatives and social innovators participate in interactive conversations during 11 class sessions. Graduates of the program are equipped to serve in a variety of capacities citywide.
• Los Altos Forward. The all-volunteer group aims to promote vibrancy in downtown Los Altos by sponsoring fun, community-building social events like First Fridays and Club 55.
Transitioning into retirement
Laurel Iverson, the foundation’s communications coordinator, said they also could use some help around the office.
“We have need for help with events sometimes, fundraising mailings, different committees – investment, finance – we’re always looking for help,” she said. “If you know any seniors with marketing or PR experience, send them our way. We could also just see where there’s a fit.”
Iverson added that Los Altos Community Foundation is the ideal venue for seniors transitioning into retirement but who still want to remain active.
“They have the bandwidth, and we’re the launchpad,” she said. “If you had your head down in the working world, the LEAD program is a great way to find out about the opportunities and find something fulfilling to do.”