October 4, 2008

Event Highlights Careers With Cars

By Chris Treadway

Auto body repair may not be on the radar of high school students looking ahead to their careers, even though experienced technicians can earn well over $50,000 per year plus benefits.

Careers with Cars is a free event Saturday at Contra Costa College in San Pablo that will show high school students the opportunities available and the skills needed for automotive collision repair.

Students will be able see and take a turn at procedures such as welding and painting in a simulated "collision repair environment" and learn about career opportunities. The four-hour event is sponsored by the college, the East Bay Chapter of the California Auto Body Association and local businesses, with the help of about 80 volunteers.

"The last event, held in 2006 in Concord, attracted over 200 high school students along with parents and faculty members," said Peter Lock, of the Automotive Collision Repair program at CCC. "We are looking for similar or even more students at this event."

Sponsors will provide free food, prizes and refreshments, as well as T-shirts for the first 150 attendees.

Students must pre-register at www.careerswithcars.com. See the Web site for more details or call Lock at 510-235-7800, ext. 4297, or Greg Decker at 510-562-8812.

PANTRY STILL OPEN: The emergency food pantry run by the Salvation Army of Richmond is still open, thanks to community response last week to a plea for donations.

"So far we've received about $1,000 worth of food that will last a couple of weeks," said Capt. Frank Desplancke of the Salvation Army. "Also some checks that will take it a little longer than that. It warms my heart to know so many people care."

The pantry faced the possibility of halting operations after funds were exhausted and supplies of food had dwindled. The small operation is open three days a week and typically supplies nine clients each day with emergency food boxes stocked with enough to feed a family of four for a week.

As the general economy has worsened, demand for its services has grown even as donations have decreased. Even with the recent donations, the pantry's shelves are only a quarter full, Desplancke said.

"We need more than that," he said, "but what we got is a true blessing. We were in dire straits."

Needed items include soup, stew, cereal, canned corn, spaghetti noodles and sauce, canned fruit, canned meat, and macaroni and cheese. Noncanned meat items that can be frozen also are needed. Donations can be brought during weekday business hours to the pantry, 4600 Appian Way in El Sobrante.

AROUND WEST COUNTY: The first Albany triathlon, held last weekend as part of the city's centennial celebration, attracted 75 entrants who biked and ran circuits around Memorial Park and Albany High School and swam in the Albany Pool. The winner of the inaugural event, a fundraiser for the Albany High School Athletic Boosters, was Miguel Mejia, a member of the school's mountain bike club and cross country team.

-- Little Ceasar's Pizza at 454 Appian Way, Suite A-1, in El Sobrante will donate a percentage of sales made from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday to help Boy Scout Troop 127 with camping fees, equipment and advancement awards.

Reach Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or [email protected]

Originally published by Chris Treadway , West County Times.

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