LIVING OUT THE 'DREAM' ... As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, Palo Alto is getting ready to honor the civil rights leader through community events. One of the most notable gatherings is a day of service organized jointly by the city of Palo Alto, Oshman Family Jewish Community Center and Youth Community Services. It kicks off on Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. with a three-hour block of service projects, such as creating warming kits for the unhoused and making crafts for Holocaust survivors. At 12:30 p.m., community members can join a celebration honoring King at Mitchell Park Community Center, featuring food trucks, performances and information from nonprofits. The day wraps up with a mental health art show and performances from 2-5 p.m. at the JCC with youth from the Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View and Redwood City. Stanford University is holding a virtual four-day film festival by The World House Project starting Jan. 13. The schedule includes more than 40 documentaries under the theme of "The Crisis of Democracy in the World House." The university also is holding a public worship event on Jan. 15 at Memorial Church from 11 a.m. to noon. The multifaith gathering will be with the Rev. Raymond Carr. The annual Caltrain NorCalMLK Celebration Train will be stopping at the downtown Palo Alto station at 9:50 a.m. on Jan. 16. The train's final destination is San Francisco, where the public can join a march to Yerba Buena Gardens for festivities. For more information on the events, visit paloaltoonline.com/arts.
A HELPING HAND ... Santa Clara County and the YMCA of Silicon Valley are teaming up to help families access after-school child care. The county is funding nearly six times the number of child care scholarships to families this school year compared to last, according to a statement from county Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Palo Alto. The increase in funding is "particularly timely," said Simitian in the statement, "with so many working parents still struggling financially post-pandemic, and with growing numbers of youngsters enrolled in transitional kindergarten programs." Under an expanded state law, more children under age 5 are eligible for transitional kindergarten this school year. This means that working parents and caregivers "have had to find safe, stable, and developmentally appropriate after school care for children so they can focus on employment and housing stability," the statement said. "Transitional kindergarten helps get kids ready to learn and thrive throughout their academic futures," Simitian said in the statement. "Pairing it with a supportive after school program like the Y After School Program — where learning extends beyond the classroom — helps our most vulnerable kids succeed." According to the statement, the YMCA's after school programs "have a deep and deliberate integration with partner schools where they share information about program attendance, academics and social and emotional learning development." This allows school districts, principals and teachers to more easily refer students and families who need support to YMCA programs. Learn more about the YMCA and its after-school child care programs at ymcasv.org/child-care-camps/after-school-programs.