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The Alvarado Elementary School PTA is at it again, raising money for Alvarado's outstanding creative arts program. You can help the budding artists by donating items for the Silent Auction, the school's biggest fundraiser of the year.
The auction will be held on March 14 this year, so get your items in as soon as possible. Last year, the Alvarado PTA auctioned off more than 150 items, ranging from antiques to zippers. The spoils even included trips, massages, videos, and food. One lucky bidder got a weekend stay at a house in Bolinas. Another won a catered dinner party for 10.
All donations are tax deductible. Send items directly to the school at: Alvarado Silent Auction, 625 Douglass St., San Francisco, CA 94114.
Or call to have your donation picked up in person by PTA members Rena Gummere, 861-0882; Wendi Grasteit, 641-4322; or Kendall Welch, 824-9041.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month, and the San Francisco Public Library is brimming with activities for folks of all ages to commemorate the event.
The Eureka Valley Harvey Milk Library will feature a celebration of the African-American oral tradition, with storytelling by Awele Makeba, on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 10:30 a.m. Children 5 and up are especially invited to attend. The library is at 3555 16th St. (near Market). Call 554-9445 for more information.
Another event will take place at the Mission Library, on Saturday, Feb. 20, starting at noon. "African-American Storytelling with Poet and Dancer Tureeda Mikell for All Ages" will be held on the fifth floor at the Mission Branch, at 2601 Mission St. Call 695-5090 for details.
Both of these programs (and many more at branches around the city) are presented in conjunction with an art exhibit at the Main Library running through March 21. The exhibit, called "Building Bridges: The Art of Jerry Pinkney," features 41 paintings that were later reproduced in children's publications. Pink-ney's art is renowned for its multicultural themes and beautifully detailed representations of African Americans. He has illustrated more than 75 books and has received three Caldecott Honor Medals and four Coretta Scott King awards.
Call 557-4400 for Main Library hours and a list of other events celebrating Black History Month.
Looking for a Preschool?
Preschool Preview Night '99 -- the seventh annual event hosted by Parents Place and San Francisco Peninsula Parent Newsmagazine -- can simplify your life with one-stop shopping. Parents can meet with representatives from more than 80 private, public, and parent-cooperative schools, and get applications and brochures all at one time and place, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.
A presentation on "Choosing a Pre-school for Your Child," by education consultant Lee Ann Slaton, will offer tips on what to look for when visiting a program and what questions to ask.
Admission is free. Find out more by calling Parents Place at 563-1041, ext. 130.
Stravinsky at the Ministry
Noe Valley Chamber Music, recently named Best Chamber Music Presenter by San Francisco Magazine, continues its sixth season of presenting chamber music at the Noe Valley Ministry on Sunday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m.
This time the program features Marty Simonds, violinist, and pianist Karen Rosenak performing works by Brahms and Stravinsky. They will be joined by cellist Victoria Ehrlich for a performance of Beethoven's Piano Trio Opus 1, No. 1. Simonds and violinist Paul Ehrlich will also perform Martinu's Three Madrigals, and Simonds will do a solo violin piece by Hindemith.
The concert series, held in the sanctuary of the Ministry at 1021 Sanchez St., gives audiences a chance to hear chamber music the way it was intended -- in a smaller, more intimate setting -- and to meet the artists following the performance. Tickets are $10 general, and $5 for seniors or students. For reservations, call 333-9444.
Shanti Needs Volunteers
...because people still have AIDS. Shanti volunteers help run errands, shop, clean, cook, laugh, cry, talk, go for walks, share, hope, and listen -- in other words, provide all kinds of emotional and practical support to people with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.
The next training for Shanti volunteers will take place in San Francisco over two weekends, Feb. 19 21 and Feb. 27 28. Contact recruitment specialist Maureen Smith at 674-4722 or e-mail msmith@ shanti.org to get the scoop.
Study on Alcoholism
U.C. San Francisco researchers studying the genetic basis of alcoholism are looking for volunteers to participate in a study that will focus on family traits. Called the "UCSF Family Study," the project will investigate the links between behavior, personality, and biological factors associated with alcoholism, by studying families affected by the disorder.
The project team, which includes researchers from the Gallo Center and the UCSF Department of Neurology, is especially interested in recruiting siblings and parents. Study participants must be 18 years of age or older, and alcohol-dependent, or the sibling or parent of someone who is alcohol-dependent and also volunteering for the study. Participants must also be free of addiction to other drugs, except nicotine.
Study volunteers will take part in an in-person or telephone interview about their use of alcohol and other drugs, complete a pencil-and-paper personality test, and provide a blood sample for genetic analysis. All information will be kept confidential, and each person who completes the study will be reimbursed $30 to $50. Call 1-888-805-8273 to apply or to get more information.
The Flap Over Wild Parrots
Regular Voice readers will remember our November 1998 story on the wild parrots of San Francisco, and the film Judy Irving at IDG Films is cooking up to increase awareness about the birds and their need for protection.
A fundraiser for the movie will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the newly reopened Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St. (where the Gateway Cinema used to be). The event is sponsored by the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (hotline: 255-6799), a community group similar to Friends of Noe Valley. Admission is free.
Mark Bittner, friend of the parrots, will give a slide show and flock update, and Irving will show a few minutes of footage from the movie-in-progress. This may be Bittner's last show, since he has to move out of his place on Telegraph Hill in April and his relationship with the North Beach flock may end.
Help the Homeless #1
Dolores Street Community Services has just celebrated its 15th year of providing housing, food, and other services to more than 2,000 homeless and at-risk individuals. Funding is a perennial problem, and just recently the program narrowly missed having to shut down one of its shelters, putting 30 people back on the streets.
In addition to cash, Dolores Street's "wish list" includes skilled carpenter/ electrician service hours, gift certificates for men's clothing, bus tokens, bulk coffee and a BIG coffee grinder, blankets, an industrial-strength blender, and a Pentium computer.
There is also a need for personal supplies such as towels, toiletries, and socks. Donations can be sent to DSCS at 938 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110, or contact the group at 282-2826.
Help the Homeless #2
The One at a Time Foundation needs volunteers to provide one-on-one mentoring for highly motivated individuals who have been or are currently homeless. The program has been in place for four years, and has already fostered 45 mentor relationships.
Prospective mentors can attend an Open House to meet other mentors and their clients on Wednesday, Feb. 3, in the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce's Wells Fargo Room. Call Tracy Rice at 974-8976 for more information.
Looking for a way to spend some quality time with children? Join Rolling Readers, California's largest nonprofit early literacy organization. The group is now working with the San Francisco Unified School District, and is already established in 20 elementary schools in the city.
There are two ways to help: You can read aloud to an entire class in English, Spanish, Chinese, or Filipino for 30 minutes one day a week. Or you can tutor a child in English for one hour, one day a week, to help him or her become an independent reader.
If you would like to receive an application, call Rolling Readers at 469-4784.
Celebrate Your City
The S.F. Neighborhoods Alliance for Political Awareness invites all San Franciscans to participate in "A Bridge to Understanding Our City" on Saturday, Feb. 6, at City Hall. Festivities include an international food court and dance pavilion, and an open house at City Hall, where you can meet with city officials and tour the newly refurbished landmark.
The free event will be staged from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 2:45 p.m., there'll be raffle drawings to win lunches with Mayor Brown, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, City Attorney Louise Renne, District Attorney Terence Hallinan, and Rec and Park Director Joel Robinson. Participants are asked to enter on the Van Ness side of the building, and exit on Polk Street.
For more on the party, call Noe Valley's Dave Monks at 821-4087.
My Furry Valentine
Cats and dogs are warm, loving, and never take a job out of town. This Valentine's Day weekend (a three-day weekend allowing extra time for bonding) is the perfect time to add to your family in the canine or feline way.
The animals at Maddie's Pet Adoption Center at the SPCA are holding a party on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., for potential adopters and friends. Pink lemonade, cookies, and candy will be available for the human guests.
All animals adopted on Valentine's Day weekend will come with a special package of goodies: heart-shaped I.D. tags, collars, and a small bag of treats. The whole package costs just $28.
The Adoption Center is located at 250 Florida St. at 16th Street. For more information, call 522-3500 or check out the web site at www.sfspca.org.
Throughout February, the SPCA is also running its annual Protect-A-Pet Vaccination Clinic, treating dogs and cats of limited-income people to veterinary exams and immunizations for a mere $2. To make an appointment, call 554-3030.
The American Cancer Society is recruiting volunteers to spread flowers -- and hope -- this spring during its annual fundraising event, Daffodil Days. Volunteers will sell fresh-cut blooms to co-workers, clients, friends, and family members to raise money for cancer research, services to patients, and education programs. Orders will be taken from Feb. 1 to March 10, with delivery during the week of March 22 (volunteers are also needed to deliver the flowers).
To order flowers or to become a Daffodil Days sales rep or delivery person, call the local American Cancer Society office at 394-7100, ext. 326, or the national office at 1-800-ACS-2345.
This month's Short Takes were compiled and written by Victoria Colgan.