California Volunteers
CaliforniaVolunteers Newsletter - March 2007

Cesar Chavez Day 2007 - Playground Build Initiative

Photo of Cesar Chavez This year, as part of the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning Program, CaliforniaVolunteers partnered with the First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, Youth Service California, the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and national non-profit KaBOOM! to build ten new community playgrounds:

*Kick-off was held at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee in South Los Angeles with Maria Shriver on March 24.

*Cordova Meadows Elementary School in Rancho Cordova on March 30.

*Eight simultaneous builds on the Cesar Chavez Day state holiday on March 31:
-Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School (San Francisco)
-Del Rey Boys and Girls Club (Del Rey)
-Romain Park - skate park (Fresno)
-Mecca Community Center (Mecca)
-Franklin Elementary School (Redlands)
-La Union del Pueblo Entero (Salinas)
-Mayfair Head Start (San Jose)
-MAAC Project (San Diego)

To honor Chavez’s commitment to community building and service, planning committees made up of community members, including children, teachers and parents, organized volunteer recruitment, site preparation and safety/logistics for each of the playgrounds. Planning began in February, when children from each community met with organizers from KaBOOM! and CaliforniaVolunteers to draw their “dream” playgrounds. The drawings were then used to create the final designs. During the planning process, kids in the community participated in a series of lessons regarding Chavez’s life that will culminate the day of the build. Community volunteers will also build picnic tables, benches, shade structures and take part in landscaping projects. In addition, a unique mural will be painted at each site to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day 2007.

To learn more about the playground building effort, please click here.

Maria Shriver joins Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center Playground Build

Maria Shriver helping build a playground On March 24, more than 500 community volunteers gathered at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center to build a brand new playground to honor the legacy of Cesar E. Chavez. First Lady and Honorary Chair of CaliforniaVolunteers, Maria Shriver, kicked off the statewide playground building effort during the opening ceremony. During her tour of the construction, Shriver helped build the rock wall and paint the Cesar Chavez Day 2007 mural.

“Playgrounds allow our children to stay active, inspire imaginations, connect communities and, more importantly, teach life lessons. I’m so excited that together with CaliforniaVolunteers and our many other partners, we are building 10 new playgrounds across our state,” said First Lady Maria Shriver. “Our new California playgrounds are being built in honor of Cesar E. Chavez and his courageous life-long dedication to serving others – and by building them, we continue his incredible legacy, teaching our children the valuable life lesson of service.”

Also participating in the construction were Paul Chavez, son of Cesar E. Chavez, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Chavez’s granddaughter and Michael Camuñez, Chair of CaliforniaVolunteers.

Join AmeriCorps Alums!

AmeriCorps Alums logo Are you a current or former AmeriCorps member? Or are you a friend of AmeriCorps and other national service programs? If you answered yes to either of these questions, consider joining the AmeriCorps Alums network.

AmeriCorps Alums is a national organization committed to connecting current and former AmeriCorps members and friends of AmeriCorps together to realize their lifetime commitment to service. Through both an on-line community as well as through local chapters, AmeriCorps Alums provides members the opportunity to:

*Serve their communities through local volunteer opportunities;
*Take action via advocacy and policy development at the local and national level;
*Provide support to AmeriCorps programs in their area; and,
*Learn about benefits for members including job assistance, Education Award utilization and professional networking.

To learn more about AmeriCorps Alums or find a chapter in your community, please visit www.lifetimeofservice.org.

AmeriCorps Week – May 13-20

Getting Things Done logo The first-ever AmeriCorps Week will be celebrated this spring – May 13-20 – in communities throughout the country. Sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps Week is a week-long nationwide event designed to bring more Americans into service, salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their powerful impact and thank the community partners who make AmeriCorps possible.

Beyond the national and statewide events that will be occurring during AmeriCorps Week, local communities are encouraged to organize their own celebrations. To assist in these efforts, the Corporation for National and Community Service will sponsor a series of technical assistance calls every Thursday at 11:00 a.m. PT through AmeriCorps Week. Upcoming topics include: Engaging Community Officials and Partners, Working with the Media and Sponsoring an AmeriCorps for a Day event. For more information on these technical assistance calls, please click here.

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