Valley Christian High School Cleanup

With over 200 public parks in San Jose, maintenance is a complex but necessary task. However, during the pandemic, the number of available park employees has decreased, and many parks have been left unmaintained. The help of proactive volunteers is more valuable than ever to ensure that the parks in our community are safe and well-kept. Members of the Valley Christian High School chapter recognized this and have sprung to action as of late.


Mount Pleasant Park

Over 20 Student Corps members of Valley Christian High School and their parents gathered to clean up Mount Pleasant Park on this Saturday. After being left alone for months, the park was clearly in need of maintenance. The grass was littered with all sorts of trash, weeds were overgrown, and the playground’s mulch needed a change. Luckily, we volunteers were eager to help. For three hours, we worked tirelessly to transform the park. We picked up all of the trash, repainted the benches and tables, replaced the mulch, and pulled weeds. Through these various tasks, we were able to restore the park to its former glory. Now, the neighborhood can enjoy the newly restored Mount Pleasant Park! 


Coyote Creek Park

On a beautiful Saturday with clear skies and a shining sun, various Student Corps members from different branches descended on the trail and creek near Tully Ballfields, which was filled with all types of trash, from shopping carts to shattered glass bottles. For 3 hours, we busied ourselves with shoveling all of the litter into our bags and carrying larger pieces of garbage up to the pickup site. In the end, we managed to remove 3680 pounds of trash, giving everyone a profound sense of accomplishment. There’s still plenty of work to be done, though, so let’s continue to make our community cleaner!


Almaden Winery Rose Garden

On August 14th, 2021, Student Corps members from three different schools (Valley Christian, Archbishop Mitty, and Evergreen Valley) united to clean up the Almaden Winery Rose Garden. The garden is in the heart of a neighborhood, and people often come to enjoy the beautiful roses. We worked together to deadhead flowers and trim bushes. We also removed moss and leaves to create a cleaner space for the roses to grow and visitors to walk through. By the end of our work, the rose bushes looked well-kept, the pathways were clean, and the soil was clear of unwanted plants. Of course, we were only able to complete all the tasks thanks to our group mindset! This volunteering event was the perfect opportunity to give back to the community, all while fostering social connections and building a network of motivation. We were also joined by Matt Mahan, the city council member representing San Jose’s District 10. He encouraged us to continue to serve the community and explore more community service projects. We appreciate his support and hope to connect with him and the city council again in the future!

Tri-Valley Food Bank

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano has experienced a 50% increase in food needs through the ongoing pandemic, serving 270,000 people a month instead of the usual 178,000. Nonetheless, the Food Bank has never failed to disappoint as they took on the pandemic with an expanded warehouse (over 100k sq feet!), increased advocation on food insecurities, and volunteers like you and me to help the community. With the food bank’s outstanding efforts, it was clear to the Tri-Valley Chapter of NorCal that this food bank deserved all the help it could get. Especially since they support over 240 nonprofits, they not only help out their neighbors but also their local charities! 

On June 16, 2021, seven members of the Tri-Valley chapter arrived at the food bank and went right to work. Within the warehouse were pallets stacked high with all kinds of canned goods such as corn, beans, and tomato sauce. These canned goods were all wrapped in large amounts of plastic wrap, so our job was to cut away all the plastic and transfer the food to an empty wooden pallet. In addition, with our donation to the food bank of $500, we will have provided an additional 1000 healthy meals to people in need! The food bank is a multi-level process with many moving parts, and we were able to contribute to something that helps hundreds of more people!

Fremont Chapter Park Cleanup 5/29/21

Written by: Steven Wang

This past Saturday, the Fremont chapter of NorCal Student Corps went out for both a park cleanup and a check delivery at Coyote Creek, hosted by KCCB (Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful). Bringing a 500 dollar check with them, which would, in the words of KCCB, “make a world of difference” for the organization, our volunteers all have taken time out of their day to contribute to the community.

Presentation of the check occurred in front of a mural with an interesting backstory. The wall on which it was painted belonged to an elementary school and had been graffitied repeatedly, so the city and the school got together and took input from various sources on what should be done. A mural was decided to be most effective. The content of the mural was largely decided by students of the school, and it makes a strong statement regarding environmental conservation and restoration – fitting for the day’s theme.

NorthCal Coyote Creek Park Cleanup

Written by: Steven Wang (Fremont Chapter President)

On April 10th, 2021, over fifteen Student Corps members and their parents from four different NorCal chapters descended upon Coyote Creek in a coordinated, socially-distanced effort to clean up sections of the creek and their surroundings. Through the local nonprofit Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, the team of over twenty volunteers filled twenty-six 55-gallon trash bags, retrieving the most “large items” among the month’s participants.

On behalf of all of the participants that came this weekend, I can proudly say that this experience and event was the most satisfying I, the author, and the others have had in a long time. Minimizing the human footprint has become one of the foremost issues facing society today, and I seek everyday to play even the smallest role in the fight against environmental problems such as climate change. The physical effort of scouring an area for trash, repeatedly hauling heavy trash bags to the curbside, and bringing bulky items up from the creek brought smiles among all of the Student Corps volunteers; the difference we were able to make upon nature and its elements left positive and lasting impressions.

Thank you to all of the NorCal students that took the time to come out this weekend and continue volunteering through these difficult and harsh times. I applaud and encourage everyone to continue doing great work for the community. Shown below is a video collage of the pictures we took this weekend.

Stories from Weston Fessenden Chapter

Today, we are excited to highlight stories from three members of our Fessenden Chapter, which has done great work this year. Keep up the wonderful efforts, Daniel, Teddy, and Quinten!

Daniel Tang | President of Weston Fessenden Chapter

For me, volunteer service is not only a public benefit activity that needs to be persevered, but also an additional way for me to serve others, give back to the society, and realize the dream of delivering love.
My teaching method is not only popular among students, but also fully recognized by parents. I love seeing smiling faces of students finding the answer after receiving the help of enthusiastic student teachers. This is a symbol of love and care in the community! I am determined to keep going and hopes to influence more friends to join the volunteer team, to dedicate ourselves to passing on love!

My story inspired others and with the support of them, we started to raise money for child burn survivors. An article about my volunteer work was read 7,780 times and received over 1,200 comments, including from my students, my parents, and my friends and family. They mobilized and promoted Student Corps volunteer activities and raised a total of $1,627 to help burned children in the community.

Teddy Zhang | Vice President of Weston Fessenden Chapter

For me, tutoring is an amazing experience as you get to teach other people things they don’t know. My favorite subject is history because it’s a really deep subject from all of the information you learn in history. I like to think of history as a mirror that you use to observe to learn to not make the same mistakes over again. Besides tutoring history I also 3D print face shields for the frontline workers.
My 3D mask charity sale raised $100 which I donated to the help child burn survivors in the community.

Quinten Jin

My name is Zikun Jin and I also go by Quinten. I am currently a 9th-grade student at The Fessenden School.

There is a Chinese proverb, “Gifts of roses, hands there are lingering fragrance.” When I was young, my mother taught me to help others as much as possible within my abilities. I am thrilled to join the Fessenden Chapter, a lovely and united team. Every time I participate in activities, I will have many different feelings and gains.

I have been doing paper-cutting with Beijing paper-cutting artists since I was six years old. I held a personal paper-cutting art exhibition at The Fessenden School in May 2018 and a personal paper-cutting art exhibition at the Newton Free Library in August 2019. In September 2019, two of my artworks were selected for the 100Market Gallery Art Festival in NH! When I joined the Fessenden Chapter team, I planned to give full play to my expertise, so I did a few open paper-cutting classes in Newton Free Library and Belmont Library, which won many people and residents’ praise and increased popularity!

At the beginning of 2020, during the Chinese New Year, I was invited by the Belmont Chinese Association to participate in the lunar new year event. On the day of the event, I performed live paper-cutting and raised funds. My Fessenden Chapter teammates and I entered the venue in advance to set up our booth. In order to attract more people, we hung two paper-cuts of traditional Chinese mascots above the booth and designed several activity plans: live talent show, live paper-cutting Teaching, and paper-cutting crafts production, etc. At the same time, there is a donation box set up on the spot. Each person is responsible for different tasks. Some are responsible for paper-cutting, some are responsible for making paper-cutting crafts, and some wearing ancient Chinese costumes are responsible for publicity… Fully, our booth was full of people and became the busiest place in the audience. A kid bought paper-cut crafts twice by himself and brought a few friends to buy together. In the end, we raised $172 for charity. Everyone is extremely happy and excited. Several of my works were also presented as gifts to Adam Dash, Vice Chairman of Select Board in Baytown, Roy Epstein, Member of Select Board, Senator William N. Brownsberger of Massachusetts, and Congressman David M. Rogers for Fessenden Chapter won praise.

Volunteering is to help others and to be happy about yourself being a contributive person. Let us learn happily, grow, enrich one’s self, and improve in every activity. I gain a lot of knowledge off-campus. We strongly invite you to join our team!