Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Civic Circles: Increasing Community Involvement

In this interview, I talk with Karen Delaney, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center about ways you can get more involved in creating positive change in our community.


Grant-funded Education and Action Events Will Feature Local Community Role Models to Empower and Activate Community on Local & Social Issues

September 27, 2021 – SANTA CRUZ – The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC), connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967, announced today it has been awarded a competitive grant from the Points of Light Foundation to implement a pilot program to inspire and activate all generations of residents to act for good in our community. The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is one of 10 communities in the US selected for the grant.

In 2020, Points of Light Foundation studied the state of civic engagement and how to convert good intentions into positive action.  The research identified a “Civic Circle” to illustrate that an individual’s contribution to doing good in the community comes in many forms (including volunteering, donating, social media sharing, learning about a cause, making thoughtful purchasing decisions, voting.)  The grant will enable VCSCC to host nine 90-minute sessions that will enable participants to learn, connect and act on each person’s power to influence their civic life and take action to support causes they care about. Panel members who are local activists or experts in each theme area will share their knowledge and experience to inform, inspire and engage participants.

The nine Civic Life Town Hall events will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting Oct. 6.  Participants will receive a guide to explore the topic prior to each Town Hall session, participate in facilitated breakout discussions focused on learning and action, and, following the session, each person will receive information about opportunities for engagement.

The theme of the first event on Oct. 6 from 4-5:30p.m.  is “Voice” will take place over Zoom and will highlight various ways to effectively advocate for a cause. Panel members include Don Lane (he/him), housing activist, former Santa Cruz Mayor and City Council Person; Nallely Martinez (she/hers), arts and cultural activist for Arts Council of Santa Cruz County; and Adam Spickler (he/him/they/them), diversity activist, Cabrillo College Trustee, first openly Trans elected official in SC County.

Additional dates and topics include:

Via Zoom:

October 27, 4-5:30p.m.
Service (life of service from local, national, international panelists)

November 17, 4-5:30p.m.
Donate (donations that make a difference)

December 8, 4-5:30p.m.
Purchase Power (how to make decisions to affect good)

*Zoom or in-person TBD:
February 9, Work (employers who give back)
March 2, Listen & Learn (diplomacy among those who don’t agree)
March 23, Social Entrepreneur (businesses who give back)
April 6, Volunteer (lifelong volunteers)
April 27, Vote (make a difference at the ballot box)

*The first four sessions will take place via Zoom. VCSCC will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines to determine if 2022 sessions will occur via Zoom or in-person.

“These new town hall events are a unique opportunity for the Volunteer Center to give participants new tools for a path to do good in our community and connect them to people who share their passion for a better world,” said Trea Robinson, director of community engagement, VCSCC. “We encourage everyone to join us for one or multiple sessions to learn about issues and opportunities to make a difference in Santa Cruz County.”

For more information call (831) 205-9161
or visit


The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC) has been connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967. VCSCC engages with community partners and thousands of volunteers who connect meaningfully to help residents in need. In addition to volunteer engagement and placement, VCSCC currently administers 19 programs to support community need, seniors, families, youth, COVID-19 response, disaster response and government partners to make Santa Cruz County a happier, healthier place to live. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.