Helping Works

Anna Webb: Windfall will help keep books on the road in Garden City

A young reader ponders his choices in the Bells for Books mobile library, a project of the Garden City Public Library. The program is the recipient of a $15,000 grant.
A young reader ponders his choices in the Bells for Books mobile library, a project of the Garden City Public Library. The program is the recipient of a $15,000 grant.

A Seattle philanthropy, the Charlotte Martin Foundation, has awarded a $15,000 grant to Bells for Books, the Garden City Library’s mobile library program. Bells for Books (a.k.a. The Bus), founded by beloved Boise educator, the late Ruth Wright, brings books to under-served neighborhoods where families don’t have easy access to the library’s collection because of lack of transportation or other socioeconomic reasons.

Last year, Bells for Books connected with around 1,000 children who checked out more than 8,500 books. The bus operates year-round and is funded entirely by private grants and donations.

The Idaho Community Foundation helped connect the program with the Charlotte Martin Foundation. Martin was known as a “spirited, artistic, athletic, fun-loving and straight-talking woman whose life took her from a log cabin in Montana to the power circles of Washington D.C.,” according to a library press release.

According to the press release, when asked why she was so generous with her money, Martin said, “When the man up there calls you, you got to put your boots on and go… And there ain’t no pockets in them shrouds.”

Learn more about Bells for Books online.

Martin Luther King: Keynote panel at Boise State

The panel, at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom, will address the topic: “The fierce urgency of Now!” Members of the university’s Martin Luther King Living Legacy Committee will host the panel, which will include Bishop John R. Selders Jr., organizing pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ in Hartford, Conn., Ashley “Brown Blaze” Yates, one of the founders of Millennial Activists United and Sen. Cherie Buckner Webb from Boise’s District 19. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Learn more about Boise at Home: Aging in Place Community for seniors

Find out about this progressive idea, being able to grow older in your own home and neighborhood at a free “friend-raiser” open house on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 6200 Garrett St., Garden City, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Refreshments will be served; the public is welcome. RSVP by Jan. 21 to Sue Philley at 208-340-9450 or (RSVPs are requested, but are not required).

Creativity...for free

Good Samaritan Society Boise Village is offering free “Art Without Boundaries” sessions to people who have motor or cognitive challenges. Art Without Boundaries is a whole-brain therapy that uses music, movement, storytelling and painting in a unique combination to improve and restore verbal skills, mobility and comprehension.

“Residents are thrilled with their success! The artwork they complete usually far exceeds their expectations of their own abilities,” said Sherri Ellis, activities and volunteer director at Boise Village. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder have all participated in the art sessons.

A grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society supports the program. Classes take place on the first Wednesday of the month (Feb. 3) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Good Samaritan Society Boise Village, 3115 Sycamore Dr. near State and Collister Streets. To schedule a half-hour session, contact Mary at 208-859-6231 or

Brightest Stars Ceremony recognizes Idaho volunteers

Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, hosts a special public ceremony at 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Owyhee in Boise to honor Idahoans who volunteered in 2015.

Serve Idaho collected nominations from the public. A panel chose the recipients. Award categories include outstanding volunteer service by an individual, corporation/small business, school, student, senior and organization.

The Corporation for National Community Service recently ranked Idaho second in the nation in volunteering for the second year in a row.

For more information on the event or to find volunteer opportunities near you, visit

‘Food for Friends’ dinner to benefit American Cancer Society

Cascade Student Transportation hosts the first annual “Food for Friends” spaghetti dinner to benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and to honor the memory of two staff members, Doug Corta and Doug Bolander, who died from cancer in 2015. Food for Friends will partner with community nonprofits to host future dinners. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho is one of this year’s partners, along with the American Cancer Society, the beneficiary of this event.

The dinner is from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Cascade Student Transportation Headquarters, 50 N. Ward Ave. in Meridian. RSVP by phone to 208-229-8500 x 101 or by email at The event is free of charge.

Aspiring grant applicants: United Way is accepting letters of intent

United Way of Treasure Valley is accepting letters of intent through Jan. 22 from nonprofit organizations seeking 2016 program grant funding.

More details, including funding goals, and a link to the letter of intent application are available online at

United Way distributes program grants to organizations with programs that fit the goals of United Way of Treasure Valley in the areas of education, health and financial independence. Grant recipients must provide annual outcomes and demonstrate measurable results on indicators that have been identified by United Way’s Community Impact Plan.

Interested organizations are required to submit their most recent IRS Form 990 and independent financial audit or financial review, depending on the organization’s annual revenues.

A volunteer’s story

This is an ongoing feature in the Helping Works column. If you’d like to share your volunteer story, email Include a photograph of yourself in JPEG format.

From Steve Kehoe, Nampa

I have been volunteering at the Deerflat National Wildlife Refuge (Lake Lowell) since 2006, helping to control invasive weeds and doing general maintenance around the refuge. It is an awful lot of work and in the past year have had the help of four other retired men but we still need more help. If you like to be outdoors making a difference we could use you. If you can work four hours or 40 we can make good use of your time.

I have also been a volunteer with the Nampa Police Department for more then five years. I give tours of the police station, work with the fleet manager, work traffic control for major events, place and remove the radar trailer to different locations each week and perform other duties as requested by the department. The police department also needs more volunteers.

I currently serve on the Nampa City Planning and Zoning Commission and served six years with Ada County Planning & Zoning when I lived in Ada County. I have also served on three civic committees for the City of Nampa. Yes, they are also looking for volunteers.

Because there are 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week I have also found time to volunteer at Idaho Public Television as a camera operator for the last ten years.

I have found that volunteering has given my life self satisfaction and my doctor will tell you it has improved my health. There are many organizations in the Valley that could use your help. Make a difference. Volunteer.