Helping Works

Helping Works from Anna Webb: 36th annual Table Rock Challenge to aid fire prevention

Anna Webb.
Anna Webb.

The Treasure Valley Fire Prevention and Safety CO-OP hosts the 36th annual Table Rock Challenge, 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Whether you’re a walker or a runner, this 9-mile race gives you the chance to help a worthwhile and timely cause: fire prevention education in the Treasure Valley.

The race begins at Fort Boise Park, winds up Shaw Mountain and Table Rock roads (gaining 1,000 feet in elevation) and continues back down the hill to the park.

Runners and walkers will find water stations staffed by firefighters along the route. Smokey Bear will greet participants at the top and pose for photos.

Multiple events include a fun walk and a first-ever dog walk/run. Healthy snacks, cake, trophies and prizes are also in the mix.

Those who register early will also get a Table Rock Challenge shirt.

Cost is $25 to preregister and $30 the day of the race. All active firefighters and military will receive a $5 discount.

All proceeds go to the cause. Register online at

For more information on wildfire prevention, fire restrictions and general fire information check out the Idaho fire information blog at

Idaho Nonprofit Center: Excellence nominees announced

The center hosts its annual conference Sept. 15-16 at Boise State University. Keynote speakers include Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau, Wise Giving Alliance; Cindi Phallen, author of “The Impact Triangle”; and Atul Tandon, entrepreneur, fundraiser and humanitarian. The conference offers numerous breakout sessions as well as the annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards.

The public nominated 135 large and small nonprofit organizations from across the state. Center staff will recognize all of those who were nominated at a special dinner and present awards to six nominees.

Register and find a list of the nominees at Contact Janice Fulkerson at 424-2229 for more information about the awards.

Historical Society welcomes applications for 2016 grants

The Idaho State Historical Society’s Community Enhancement Grants program provides funding for a variety of projects including exhibits, publications, educational programming, events and conservation supplies. Grants of up to $2,500 are available to help historical and cultural organizations preserve, interpret and protect Idaho history and culture.

Grant recipients must provide matching funds. Idaho nonprofit organizations whose missions include history, historic preservation or education, as well as tribal, city and county governments are eligible to apply. Projects that receive funding must be completed by May 31, 2016.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 28. Download an application at

Idaho Genealogical Society in search of officers

The society is struggling to find people interested in filling the roles of president and vice-president, said past president Juvanne Martin. The nonprofit was founded in 1958, but if it can’t fill its leadership roles, it will disband. Any money in its treasury will go to the Idaho Historical Society.

If you’re interested in helping or learning more, email the organization at

Also note, the society will host its annual genealogy conference Oct. 10 at the Hampton Inn in Boise. History writer Steven Branting and Steve Barrett, an archivist with the Idaho State Historical Society, will speak on writing family histories.

Find more details online at

Thanks for your volunteer tales

I recently ran a solicitation in this column asking for readers’ experiences as volunteers for our local nonprofits. I’ve been collecting what I like to call “capsule tales” ever since. My plan: running a tale or two each week in this column for as long as readers keep sending them.

So here’s the first one, from Ed Lenhart. It’s a different kind of nonprofit story, since Ed isn’t working through an agency, but has taken it upon himself to become a one-man, anti-goat head crusader. He’s in his 70s, yet roams tirelessly through the Treasure Valley collecting this infamous spiky seed — the bane of bike tires, dogs’ ears and bare feet.

Lenhart started finding goat heads, aka puncture vine, about two years ago when he was out riding the Greenbelt. He started cutting the vines and throwing them in the trash. He got in the habit of carrying a kitchen knife and trash bag when he rode. He reports big patches of weeds to Ada County, but prefers a hands-on approach. He now travels throughout Boise, as well as Nampa and Caldwell, looking for goat heads in need of removal.

“I really want to get a few teams together to remove goat heads wherever they might be,” said Lenhart. “I would be willing to share my notes of locations of the goat heads and would continue to find other locations.”

Do you hate goat heads as much as Ed? Want to help the cause or just say thanks? Drop him a line:

Reader Nancy Heldt wrote about volunteering for Ride for Joy, a nonprofit program that provides equine, or horse riding, programs for children with a range of disabilities as well as for veterans contending with mental and physical injuries.

From Nancy:

I’ve been volunteering at Ride for Joy for several months now. I’ve been very impressed with the organization and the staff. They are well organized, communicate often to their volunteers via email and have clear processes. As a business person at HP, I appreciate a well-run organization!

They provide regular training for volunteers, which must be completed annually. They teach us how to be a side walker (as a spotter or holder for the rider) and horse lead. They explain our role as we perform these duties, how much talking we should do, or not do, how to handle an emergency dismount, what to say on the phone to 911 if that is ever required, etc.

I have assisted in their summer camp and the lessons for children thus far. In September, an eight-week veterans’ program will start and I’m most anxious to participate in that to see how it differs from the children’s program. Ride for Joy holds an annual Volunteer Appreciation Day and Riders Showcase at their “Harvest Party” in October.

Ride for Joy is very appreciative of their volunteers. I hear “thank you” from the staff, and even other volunteers, several times on each visit. I can’t think of anything Ride for Joy could do better for their volunteers. I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity.

Contact Ride for Joy online at or call 365-0671.

To share your volunteer story with Helping Works readers, email The more specific you can be about your volunteer tasks, the more details you can share, the better.