Helping Works

Get to know your town: WalkAbout Boise begins a new season

The Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Boise is one of many beloved city icons that will be part of Preservation Idaho’s WalkAbout Boise program.
The Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Boise is one of many beloved city icons that will be part of Preservation Idaho’s WalkAbout Boise program. Idaho Statesman file

Preservation Idaho welcomes local history buffs to be part of the third annual WalkAbout Boise program. The organization offers walks through Downtown Boise with local experts sharing their knowledge about Downtown’s history and growth since pioneers platted the city in 1863. Walks will take place at 11 a.m. every Saturday beginning on April 9 and continuing through October 29.

Tickets are $10 ($8 for Preservation Idaho members), available online at preservationidaho.org. Walkers should buy their tickets ahead of time so guides can prepare for the size of the group. No minimum attendance is required. Maximum group size is 25, but Preservation Idaho can accommodate larger groups with advance notice.

Walks will start on Grove Street and last approximately 90 minutes. They’ll feature local icons from the city’s transition from gold rush boomtown, to urban renewal eyesore, to a revitalized place with a vibrant street life. Highlights will include the oldest and newest buildings Downtown; buildings associated with Boise’s historic Basque, German, Jewish and Chinese communities; the Idaho State Capitol and Boise City Hall; buildings designed by early pioneers and nationally known master architects and the beloved Egyptian Theatre. The program is supported by the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. Find more info on WalkAbout Boise on Facebook.

United Way to host second annual statewide Children’s Book Drive

Last year’s drive collected 70,000 books for kids in low-income households. More than 50,000 of those donations came from the Treasure Valley. This year’s drive runs through April 8. Donation boxes are set up at all U.S. Bank branches in Idaho and all Albertsons stores in the Treasure Valley. The Idaho Statesman lobby (1200 N. Curtis Road) is also a public donation site. Find a complete list of drop-off locations online at UnitedWayTV.org.

“According to our partners at Book It Forward Idaho, only one in 300 children in low-income households have books,” said Nora Carpenter, CEO and president of United Way of Treasure Valley. “We can change those odds. So many people have old children’s books stuffed away in closets. We are asking you to dust those off and donate them to children in need at any drop-off location in the Treasure Valley.”

One goal of the project is to distribute books to kids before they leave school for summer break, Carpenter said. Studies have shown that a lack of reading materials is one contributor to “summer learning loss.” According to the Idaho Department of Education, 81 percent of low-income Idaho kindergarteners were reading at grade level in the spring of 2013. When they returned to school in the fall, only 56 percent were reading at grade level.

Local book drive sponsors include U.S. Bank, Kendall Ford of Meridian, West Valley Medical Center, Albertsons, The River 94.9, Channel 6 On Your Side, Book It Forward Idaho, Easter Seals Goodwill, the Idaho Statesman, St. Luke’s and the Sundance Company.

Are you a big talker? Put that talent to use by volunteering with Global Talent

Global Talent Idaho, the organization that helps refugees translate their professional training into new jobs in the local community, is preparing for the upcoming Career Summit on April 22. The organization needs volunteers to help refugee job seekers practice their interviewing skills in preparation for real job interviews. Global Talent Idaho will provide all materials, questions and information volunteers will need.

The program will start with a catered lunch and 20-minute training/orientation for volunteers. The rest of the day will consist of practice interviews, sharing feedback with job seekers and program organizers and more. It takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at The College of Western Idaho in Boise, 9100 W. Black Eagle (at Maple Grove) in the Mallard Building. Register to volunteer online or call Global Talent Idaho at 208-336-5533, ext. 236.

Boise Bicycle Project launches new program, ‘Shifting Gears’

The always community-minded organization’s new program, Shifting Gears, will train inmates at the Idaho Department of Correction’s women’s facility to repair bikes that will be donated to kids in need. BBP mechanics will lead weekly training sessions at the prison. Director Jimmy Hallyburton said that the program will “help make some dreams come true for kids throughout the Treasure Valley.”

Idaho’s Bounty, a local distributor of farm-to-table food, will deliver 15 kids’ bikes to the prison each week. Once they’re repaired, bikes will be brought back to BBP and distributed. After an inmate fixes her 15th bike, she will earn a voucher to collect a bike for herself when she’s released. In a press release, Hallyburton said that the program will benefit a lot of people in a lot of ways. It will double the number of bikes BBP is able to repair thanks to an increased labor force, will cut down on bike storage needs at BBP’s Lusk Street headquarters and will help give the women useful skills.

REI offers free program on Minidoka National Historic Site

National Park Service representatives will be on hand to speak about the Minidoka National Historic Site through REI’s “Find Your Park” outdoor lecture series. The site, located near Jerome, was used as an internment camp for Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens from 1942-1943. The program takes place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11, at the Boise REI, 8300 Emerald St. The program is free, but space is limited, so reserve your spot online now at rei.com.

The presentation will highlight the history of the camp, recent developments at the site, opportunities to experience the site and its relevance to current events. This year is the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, so speakers will also touch on other “sites of conscience” within the National Park system.

Artisans for Hope gets thrifty, helps shelter pups stay warm

Artisans for Hope is a community-based, volunteer-driven nonprofit that helps refugees hone new language skills while using their existing skills to make hand-crafted items, including clothes, handbags, hats and more, to sell to help support themselves and their families.

The organization relies on donations, so doesn’t let anything useful end up in the waste bin. When leftover fabric is too small to make products to sell, the Artisans for Hope crew makes pillow sleeves. They stuff them with fabric scraps and — voila! — dog pillows. The group recently dropped 16 pillows for pups at the Idaho Humane Society.

Want to get involved with Artisans for Hope? You can donate materials, volunteer to teach sewing and other skills, hire a refugee seamstress, sponsor a participant and more. Find more online at artisansforhope.org. Email the organization at info@artisans4hope.org or stop by the workshop, 723 N. 15th St. in Boise.

Big donations for Idaho Humane Society, Ride for Joy

The animal shelter and equine therapy program are $20,250 and $11,000 richer, respectively, thanks to a donation from Larry H. Miller Subaru Boise. The dealership made the donation through its Share the Love program. Customers voted on their favorite charities. The animal-related organizations came out on top. Share the Love ran from November 2015 to January 2016.

Finally...it’s Black Dog Walk time again

Your friends at Spay Neuter Idaho Pets, aka S.N.I.P., host a free Black Dog Walk at noon on Sunday, April 10. The walk begins on the grassy area in front of the east parking lot at the Boise Ram, 709 E. Park Blvd. The walks are meant to raise awareness of black dog (and cat) syndrome that often makes adopters overlook them in animal shelters. But dogs of all colors are welcome. The walk is free, open and leisurely, and participants can take part in a raffle with cool animal-related prizes.

A reminder: Friends of Boise Public Library Spring Book Sale fundraiser

The always-popular sale takes place April 7-10 across from the Main Library in the warehouse at 762 River St. The sale includes books, music, movies, magazines and more.

Public sale hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. On Wednesday through Saturday, additional books are stocked throughout the day. All merchandise is half-price on Sunday. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted for payment ($5 minimum), as well as cash and checks. A members-only preview sale is on Wednesday, April 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. You can join or renew your membership at the door for $10 and up. Note that electronic scanning is not permitted at the preview sale.

To learn more about the Spring Book Sale, donating books or joining the Friends organization, call 208-972-8247, or visit the library’s website at boisepubliclibrary.org.

Here are a few sale “survival tips” from your friends at the library:

▪  There are two sale sections, individually priced items and “books by the bag.” In the latter, hardbacks are $1, paperbacks are 50 cents or you can fill a grocery bag for $9. Bags will be available. This is the only sale where LPs are available for 50 cents apiece.

▪  Fill your bag with hardbacks first. Get the higher priced stuff in the bag, then if you have a couple that won’t fit in the bag, they will be the cheaper paperbacks.

▪  New stock will come out throughout the sale. Some categories may be totally changed from day to day. Shop early, shop often.

▪  Best times and days: Saturday is least crowded, especially later in the day.

▪  Let customer service help you out: Have your books held while you shop, or enlist customer service folks to help get books and other items to your car. Note the loading zone right outside the warehouse.

▪  Parking is tough, no question. The Downtown parking garages are not far away and reasonably priced. Julia Davis Park has two-hour parking.

▪  Leave your strollers at home. The children’s area is normally very crowded.

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