Published in Morgan Hill October 12-25, 2016

We’re learning from our young residents that compassion and generosity begins at home. Two boys — 8-year-old Brandon Rios of Gilroy and seventh-grader Dylan Yearton of Morgan Hill — in separate endeavors have shown that even at a young age they can give of their time and energy to make the world a better place.

Rios keeps three jars on his dresser, Kel Kanady, public relations officer at Saint Louise Regional Hospital told us. One is marked “save,” one “spend,” and one “give.” About a year ago, his mom, Cecilia Rios began teaching Brandon the importance of compassion and the joy of giving. “Most of his allowance goes into his ‘spend’ jar but each week, he also contributes both to the ‘save’ jar and to the ‘give’ jar,” she said.

A year later, Brandon had enough money to start thinking of a project that would “make a difference.” With his mom’s help, he decided to make gift bags for children in the hospital. Brandon decided that stickers, activity books, crayons, and a small toy would cheer up hurt or scared children. He also contacted a local dentist and received a donation of toothbrushes that he included.

Brandon and his mom put these items in colorful gift bags and brought 50 to the hospital where he was warmly welcomed by executives, staff and a few patients. Robert Schambach, director of the emergency department thanked Brandon and told him, “these donations will really be appreciated. When a kid comes into the emergency department, injured, scared, or in pain, these gifts will be a great distraction.”

Dylan Yearton

Dylan Yearton

Yearton is dedicated to helping animals through the Air For Paws organizations founded by Morgan Hill real estate agent Terry Moriyama.

“I have been collecting plastic bottles to recycle and have had help from friends,” he told us. “My dad and I took them to the recycling center and were able to raise a lot of money. With this I was able to buy several oxygen masks for animals that will go to local fire stations. I love being able to contribute to this worthy cause.”

With young leaders like Brandon and Dylan showing the way, our future in the South Valley will be bright.

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Tennis training anyone? Our friend Jon Mockabee, president of the Morgan Hill Tennis Club, let us know the club held a Sept. 18 skills “clinic” taught by former tennis professionals and collegiate All Americans. Thirty-two members participated in building their game with help from Kenny Marques, All-American from Cal Poly, USTA National Championship player and Morgan Hill Club teaching pro; Marcus Hughes, a former pro tour player in Spain and Yugoslavia who has ran tennis programs in Bahamas, Mexico, Florida, Tahiti and Canada; and William O’Shea, University of San Francisco, USTA NorCal Open doubles player of the year in 2011 and 2012.

“It was a great day for tennis — and national recognition in the Morgan Hill community,” Mockabee told us.

• • •

gavilan-college-logoFeeling as if you’d like a little help understanding this wild and weird presidential election season? Then come and hear three Gavilan Community College social scientists use their disciplines to bring some clarity to the chaotic process of modern democracy leading up to Nov. 8.

Called “How Did We Get HERE?,” the two-hour discussion looks at the 2016 presidential election through anthropological, sociological and historical lenses. It will take place 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse. The talk is supported by the college’s Civic Engagement Title V Grant, the Gavilan College Morgan Hill site staff and the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Debbie Klein, a professor of anthropology, will identify some of the recent conditions that produced these candidates, analyze where they fit into U.S. presidential culture and identify some narratives about the election and candidates produced largely by mainstream American media.

Dr. Nicholas Park, a professor of sociology, will discuss how our gender system shapes the way we perceive this election. He’ll also explore theories about Donald Trump’s rise to popularity.

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Leah Halper, an oral historian with interests in social and women’s history, will discuss the history of populist candidates, women’s barriers to political participation in America, and campaign contributions as historical and relevant forces in this election cycle.

We applaud the Gavilan professors for attempting the brave task to explain this year’s presidential election.

• • •

Happy to share that the Morgan Hill Planning Commission approved a four-story project on the corner of West Second Street and Monterey Road (where the current pop-up park is). The plan is for the structure to house a fine art gallery and wine bar on the first two floors and a restaurant on the third floor with a rooftop lounge. The design is spectacular and this project will complement the proposed boutique hotel across the street. So proud of the redevelopment and revitalization taking place in downtown Morgan Hill.