Community

Which Words Describe You?

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December 7  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . What words best describe you?

For many of us, the holidays can be a time for reflection, rest and renewal. For others, it’s a hectic hustle and hassle.

As 2016 becomes something to glance at in our rearview mirror, and we look forward with either delight or dread at 2017, take stock in yourself. Are you the person you hope to be?

Take pen to paper and write down five words you believe best describe you.

Then ask five friends, family members or co-workers to do the same. Pick people that will write five words about you that truly reflect your character; people who care enough about you to be truthful with you.

What words did you pick to describe yourself? What words did others select for you and about you? Do any of the words match up? Are they words that soothe or sting?

For me, the first five words that come to mind are caring, compassionate, obsessive, messy and driven. I plan to seek some changes in 2017, to be less obsessed, a bit more organized and find more balance in my life.

My kids need to see their daddy more often. My wife could use a helping hand more consistently. My colleagues at work would probably prefer to see me less intense and smiling more.

How about you? Who do you want to be? Equally important, who do you want to become? The New Year starts soon. A New You can start even sooner.

Let’s Talk Turkey. Turkey Trot, That Is.

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November 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

ttrotcarlHere’s food for thought . . . Let’s talk turkey.  Turkey Trot, that is.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.  If you have a roof over your head, food on the table and a steady job or income, then let’s face it . . . you are blessed.

Sadly, there are several hundred thousand people in Silicon Valley – often our own neighbors – who are not so blessed.

We live in a Valley in which any given night nearly 10,000 people – including women and children – live on the streets or in our creeks.

We live in a Valley in which seniors, parents and kids make the awful choice on whether to pay their rent or afford food on any given day.

We live in a Valley in which health care is deferred or coverage is denied, as a luxury rather than the necessity that it is.

That’s why this Thanksgiving morning, I am asking you to join the Guardino family for our 12th Annual Applied Materials “Silicon Valley Turkey Trot” in downtown San Jose.

For some it’s a race, a run or a walk.  For others, like me, it’s about building community and helping those in need. Whatever your motivation, sign up today.  Together, if we meet our goals, we will contribute $1 million to local families in need.  Go to svturkeytrot.com to register and know you have taken a step forward in helping others.

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Santas and Reindeer, Doers and Donors

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December 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Thank you to the slightly more than 1,800 “Santas” and “Reindeer” that endured wind, rain and hail on Sunday at the 4th Annual TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley” to benefit Christmas in the Park, Downtown Ice and Reading Partners. I’m always amazed and inspired by the spirit of community we are collectively building in Silicon Valley, especially the commitment of all the Santa Run participants, including the 150 children in the SunPower “Kids Reindeer Run,” which was new this year. Together, in just four years, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation has been able to donate nearly $400,000 to support these time-honored holiday traditions that attract 500,000 people to downtown San Jose. Some communities are filled with talkers and takers. Silicon Valley is populated with doers and donors.

Carl Guardino
President & CEO Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News Readers’ letters: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_29257538/readers-letters

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TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley”

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December 2  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino
Santa Run shirt 2015

2015 TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley” race shirt

Here’s food for thought . . . When a door is closed, a window might be open.

Five years ago, the Governor and state Legislature took away “Redevelopment Agencies” from local jurisdictions, including cities like San Jose.

Right or wrong, this state action almost cratered two of Silicon Valley’s most time-honored, holiday celebrations: Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.

In the 6-week run of Christmas in the Park, 500,000 people pour downtown to enjoy the displays, rides, ice skating or hot chocolate that goes with our crisp yet clear winter nights. To benefit the on-going success of Christmas in the park and Downtown Ice, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, member company TiVo and Mayor Sam Liccardo stepped forward to build additional revenue while building a fun new tradition for the community – with our TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley,” on Sunday afternoon, December 13.

You have never truly smiled until you have witnessed nearly 4,500 people dressed up like Santa Claus, running or walking a 5-k, as they chase “the Grinch” – our own County Assessor Larry Stone – in a ZipCar through downtown San Jose. With a finish line decked out with a snow machine, each “Santa” is greeted at Christmas in the Park with the same warmth Saint Nick receives when coming down the chimney – with milk and cookies appropriate for his arrival.

Fun aside, “Santa Run Silicon Valley” further ensures that each of us, as members of this community, support and strengthen holiday favorites like Christmas in the Park. Join us. Let’s show our state that when they remove government agencies that help fund key programs in our local communities, that we can rally – year after year – to keep this season of giving fun and festive for tens of thousands of families.

When the doors close, check the windows. Or do what Santa does and come down the chimney.

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Silicon Valley Turkey Trot: Eleven Years Later

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November 18  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino
race dir of the year

Carl Guardino named 2015 MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Race Director of the Year.

Here’s food for thought . . . Most of us don’t give a second thought to where our next meal will come from.

But for a quarter million people who live in Silicon Valley, affording food, or shelter, or health care, is a daily concern.

To help those in need, and build community and begin our holidays in a fun and healthy way – 11 years ago my wife Leslee and I did something many entrepreneurs do in Silicon Valley . . . we took a risk: We founded the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which I direct.

First, we found our form of venture capital. Thanks to Joe Pon and Applied Materials, we secured a title sponsor who shared our vision.

Second, we created advisors, with an executive steering committee of sponsors and partners who believed in the mission.

Third, we marketed to potential customers – race participants – who would carve out time on Thanksgiving morning before carving their turkey, to participate in our 5K, 10K or Kids Fun Run.

Four, we looked for successful charities serving our community that would benefit from the proceeds of the Turkey Trot – charities that help with health, hope and a home.

That first year was scary. A week before the race we had only a couple of hundred registrations. Then, on race morning, we were deluged with hundreds of walk-on registrations, and ended up with 1,900 paid participants, raising $88,000 for local charities helping neighbors in need.

Since 2012 – year 9 of our Turkey Trot – we have been the largest timed Turkey Trot in the world. This year, we are stretching ourselves to attract 28,000 paid participants, so that we can donate $1 million to help even more in need in our Valley.

You and your family can help us achieve that goal. All you need to do is sign up, and show up. Please start with step one today, sign up at svturkeytrot.com.

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San Jose Works: Both for Kids and Our Community

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September 2  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . San Jose Works – By building resumes rather than rap sheets.

Under the creative leadership of Mayor Sam Liccardo and his Council colleagues, the innovative program known as “San Jose Works” has just completed its first summer with measurable success.

How encouraging to see results rather than rhetoric:

In all, 247 young people – all from at-risk neighborhoods in which crime and gangs are prevalent – participated in San Jose Works this summer.

  • Ninety-five percent of the kids who began the program completed the program.
  • Jobs included public sector posts like libraries and community centers.
  • San Jose Works also provided private sector jobs in retail and back office administrative work, as supportive employers like Lowe’s and Target stepped forward.

So why has the San Jose Works program succeeded where similar programs often fail? Follow-up.

With San Jose Works, at-risk teens aren’t just provided with a job, they are provided with job skills, coaching, mentoring and supportive services:

  • Through a Citibank grant, the teens were provided with financial literacy courses.
  • Coaches helped teens prep for their jobs, guided them through the entire summer, and checked in with employers to make sure each kid was meeting expectations.
  • Through non-profits and faith-based groups, services like tattoo removal and counseling were provided for kids who needed a leg-up, rather than to be left-out.

Yes, “San Jose Works” because San Jose leaders – from Mayor Liccardo and the Council on down – cared enough to design a program that offered more than a job. They provided a path to success which will last much longer than a summer’s worth of employment.

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Raise Yourself Up Without Tearing Others Down

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May 27  |  Community, Federal Issues, Government Relations  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought … You can raise yourself up without tearing others down.

On the same day, I recently found in my mailbox two separate letters. One from a prominent Democrat member of Congress and one from a top-tier Republican presidential candidate.

Along with the expected appeal for money, both envelopes contained rather lengthy letters that seemed to spend as much ink tearing down the other political party as it invested in praising their own.

From the Republican presidential candidate, I read such red meat as the following:

“I know what the liberal Democrats are capable of, because I understand how desperately they crave power.”

And “Content with the status quo and willing to accept mediocrity, the Liberal Democrats are running our country into the ground.”

From the congressional Democrat, I read such lines as:

“We face a radical Republican Party with … a willingness to do or say whatever it takes to advance their far right-wing agenda and obstruct any and all of our progress.”

Oh my.

Instead of ripping into the purported evils of the other party, why not focus on the solutions your own party has to offer?

I seem to recall our Founders writing eloquently about the “United” States of America, not the divided and divisive parties that would burn bridges down rather than build them.

A note to leaders of both our major political parties: Give the American people credit. We are smarter than you might think. We crave solutions to our nation’s problems, not personal attacks and political ambition.

Candidates, please – run on your ideals and ideas. Lift us up, without tearing others down.

 

Building Community by Building Bridges

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March 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . We can build community by building bridges.

It was at Independence High School in the heart of East San Jose that new San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo held his inaugural State of the City address.

Whether it was his comments about building all four BART Stations in San Jose, bringing all sides to the bargaining table to refine Measure B’s pension reforms, seeking summer jobs for at-risk youth or engaging caring adults in our “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” tutoring initiative, the Mayor’s messages were spot-on. We are best when we build – our Valley, our City, our communities and our neighbors.

No issue looms larger for San Jose than public safety. Even though the objective FBI data clearly show crime is down, we all know we are best served with more police officers patrolling our streets. That means thoughtful adjustments to pension reform. The most important step the Mayor and city unions can take is the step toward each other, at the negotiating table.

Yet reducing crime isn’t all about police protection, it is also, as the Mayor eloquently stated, about “replacing a rap sheet with a resume.” That’s why his summer jobs for at-risk youth program is an imperative, and why our “1,000 Hearts” tutoring initiative for K-8 students is essential.

We have a Mayor who is moving San Jose in a positive and productive direction. Engage with him. Great cities are made from the ground up – by good people taking the time to get involved. To build bridges that build a community.

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Storm of the Century

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February 4  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Heart_Soles5KHere’s food for thought . . . “Storm of the century!”

How many times have we heard well-meaning weather reports with that headline?

In drought-ridden California, any time a single raindrop might fall, we are warned of a major storm on the horizon.

Well, don’t let the latest weather report dampen your enthusiasm to join us – rain or shine – this Saturday morning at Hellyer Park in San Jose for the Second Annual Lam Research “Heart & Soles 5K” run or walk for healthy school lunches.

With your help, we will raise enough to achieve our goal – funding 64 more salad bars in local public schools, serving nearly 42,000 students. Combined with the results from last year’s effort, this brings our two-year total to 120 salad bars serving 78,000 school kids throughout Silicon Valley.

Yes, there may be a drop or two of rain – but that is only a drop in the bucket compared to what we will accomplish together for local schools. Come. Join us. Register at heartandsoles5k.com.

If you need to . . . bring an umbrella.

See you Saturday morning at Hellyer Park.

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A Cause for Claus

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December 3  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

CG_SL_SWHere’s food for thought . . . “A cause for Claus.” Santa Claus, that is.

Four years ago, Governor Brown and the CA Legislature dissolved redevelopment agencies. Right or wrong, the loss of that local funding source placed at peril amazing community initiatives like the popular “Christmas in the Park” celebration and “Downtown Ice” in San Jose, which runs from Thanksgiving past New Year every year. Christmas in the Park is cherished by residents throughout our region, with more than 500,000 people enjoying this wonderful tradition with their families.

Enter Mayor Chuck Reed and downtown city Councilman Sam Liccardo, now the Mayor-Elect. Seeking help from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we secured support from business leaders to save Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice. To establish a longer-term funding source, we launched the TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley” three years ago, a family-friendly 5K run or walk through downtown San Jose ending at Christmas in the Park.

Now picture this . . . 5,000 people, all dressed like Santa Claus, running and walking to fund Christmas in the Park. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, as you cross a “snow machine” finish line greeted by milk and cookies; the reward of Santas everywhere as they come down the chimney.

Join us – let’s strengthen Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice, build community and benefit the needy – all with three miles of festive smiles. Register today at SantaRunSV.com. For a small additional fee we’ll include a 5-piece Santa suit.

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