President’s Message – April 2019

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‘Love is Something if you Give it Away…’

    “Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.” These are the words from Magic Penny, a song that Carole Amstutz sang to her students in her Glorietta Middle School music class to teach them the art of giving and receiving. She then gave each student a real penny to give away. This was also the song that she sang as she received the Citizen of the Year Award along with her husband, Andy, for their exceptional volunteerism.
    On March 10, at the annual Citizen of the Year and William Penn Mott, Jr. Awards gala, five distinguished volunteers were honored by The Orinda Association and the Orinda Community Foundation for their dedication, time and talents devoted to improving the quality of life in Orinda.
    Alan and Carole Amstutz were awarded the 2018 Citizen of the Year Award for their long history of community involvement with Lamorinda Village, the Garden Club and Friends of Wagner Ranch.
    William Hudson received the William Penn Mott, Jr. environmental award for his tireless work in developing and maintaining the Wagner Ranch Nature Area.
    Two other outstanding residents were presented awards for volunteerism: Andy Radlow and Bobbie Landers. Radlow was recognized for chairing the Fourth of July parade for the past five years and Landers was recognized for lifelong and ongoing service to the community.
    The gala, attended by 185 people, the largest attendance in the event’s 70-year history, had many highlights. The atmosphere was electric as friends, family members and guests mingled with each other and with city, county and state officials.
    Present were Mayor Inga Miller, Vice Mayor Darlene Gee and State Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. Everyone was excited and happy to join in paying homage to the award winners.
    One of the memorable moments of the evening was the singing and dancing by Carole Amstutz that brought a standing ovation and cheers. The song and her expressions captured the heart of the evening’s program: Volunteerism is giving back love. 
    Volunteerism has been the foundation of American culture. From the first volunteer fire department formed by Benjamin Franklin in 1736 to the great American charitable organizations, the WMCA and the American Red Cross founded in the 19th century, America has had a long history of developing organizations that help others. If one looks at successful and vibrant communities, one will find that citizen engagement and participation in organizations is a top barometer of success.
    A healthy city is one that provides interaction among its residents and allows opportunities for involvement to engender a sense of belonging. That is why so many say that Orinda’s best asset is its volunteers!
    National Volunteer Week is celebrated throughout the country from April 23 to 29. In order to keep engaging our residents, The Orinda Association will host a Volunteer Fair as part of Orinda Action Day on Saturday, April 27, 9:30 a.m. until noon. 
    Get there bright and early to register for Orinda Action Day and to get your assignments, but before you head out to help clean up Orinda be sure and check out the Volunteer Fair.
    Both events take place at the Library Plaza in Orinda. At the Volunteer Fair, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with 22 non-profit groups and explore a wide variety of opportunities. If you are new in town or if you are just interested in seeing the many organizations that are providing a variety of services in the community, please consider attending. 
    After you check out all the volunteer possibilities, it’s time to take that spirit out into the community. Our creek, gardens and Orinda streets are waiting for your cleaning and weeding good works! 
    To participate or to learn more go to www.orindaassociation.com.

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