Los Altos Students Deliver Aid In Haiti

Posted on August 31, 2010 by  
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It is always heartwarming to hear about how our local youth continue to step up in making the world a better place.  Just this past week, the Los Altos Town Crier ran an article about the humanitarian efforts of group of students.  Once you have read the article, I encourage you take a moment and visit the web site listed at the bottom of the story…

Sleeping in tents, meeting representatives from grassroots organizations, playing soccer with the locals and helping rebuild a school are just a few of the activities a group of local students managed to fit in over their summer trip.

A delegation of 15 high school and college students, including seven from Los Altos High School, teachers and one parent embarked on a good-will mission to Port-au-Prince. Their goal was to bring aid to Haitian community organizations and pitch in to rebuild a Haitian school following the devastation caused by the 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12.

Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based non-profit group, organized the trip. Los Altos High teacher Seth Donnelly, who has visited Haiti eight times, initiated Los Altos High’s participation after students approached him expressing interest in assisting Haiti firsthand.

“It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life to see how our delegation just game to life while bonding with Haitian peers and activists,” Donnelly said.

Several students who traveled to Haiti volunteered with the Los Altos High-originated One Dollar for Life (ODFL) organization. ODFL-participating high schools raised approximately $20,000 for Haitian relief. Half of the money was delivered via the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, a Bay Area organization that collaborated closely with Haitian grassroots organizations, schools, farming co-ops and women’s groups even before the earthquake, Donnelly said.

The students distributed the remaining $10,000 this summer to various Haitian groups through the Haitian Emergency Relief Fund.

“One hundred percent of the money from the ODFL drive was given to grassroots organizations, unlike a lot of large aid,” Donnelly said. “Students were able to see dollar for dollar that everything they raised went to actual organizations in Haiti.”

Donnelly said that during the students’ stay in Haiti, they witnessed how little of the major aid – pledged by governments and raised by nongovernmental organizations – seems to actually reach the people of Haiti.

“You need to give in a sustainable way,” said Ian Glasner, a Los Altos High School senior who participated in the venture. “You know that you are going to make a difference, but you cannot see it right away.”

While distributing the $10,000, students witnessed the courage, ingenuity and tenacity of Haitian leaders active in women’s groups, schools and other community organizations, who are trying to rebuild their country against the odds, Donnelly said.

“The earthquake happened six months ago, and there is still rubble everywhere,” Glasner said. “The streets are torn up, and the government has done nothing.”

In addition to distributing money, Donnelly said the group:

• Established deep ties of friendship and solidarity with Haitian activists and youth.

• Distributed medical supplies, donated by an Oakland nurse, directly to the Aristide Foundation, which operates mobile medical teams that serve people in the camps.

• Participated in the construction of a new Haitian school.

• Distributed approximately 200 solar-powered lights, donated by One Million Lights and World Centric, to Haitian community organizations.

• Distributed food and dental supplies to youth in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest areas in Port-au-Prince.

Glasner said he felt differently about life when he returned from Haiti.

“When I came back, my friends were like, ‘You missed so much,’” he said. “I couldn’t care less. People were dying in Haiti. Television is boring. I couldn’t care less about seeing the latest movie or sitcom.”

Glasner said he hopes to accompany Donnelly on another trip to Haiti.

For more information on One Dollar for Life, visit www.odfl.org.


Good News & More Good News

Good News #1 … 2010 is shaping up to be a banner year for real estate in Los Altos.  Comparing the first six months of 2009 with the same time period for 2010, there were 58% more homes sold.  Additionally, we saw an increase in the sales prices of comparative homes year-over-year.

Interestingly, however, the average “days on market” for a home has increased to 87 days.  That is a significant increase for homes which last year were sold in less than 60 days.  So, what gives?

Clearly, lenders are taking a slightly longer to work through the average transaction.  But it’s still feasible to close a transaction in 30-45 days.  Anticipating market demand, for any one home, is still an imperfect science.  However, we have been seeing well priced homes snapped up without dely.

Good News #2 … our last two listing sold in less than a week, and we are confident we can achieve similar results for you.  How did we do it?  We put together an effective plan, executed on that plan in partnership with our clients, and developed an outreach campaign to attract the maximum number of agents and interested buyers.

In all, over 230 Real Estate Agents stop by these two homes on Broker Tour when they first came on the market, in sequential weeks.  Buyer traffic through the properties was consistent from the time 465 Benvenue Ave & 595 Los Altos Ave hit the market.  An average of 270 potential buyers visited each home through open house, while even more buyers came by via private showings.

So, the market remains strong, but inventory is relatively low.  There are a number of buyers looking to move into Los Altos, but they are strategically examining the available options.  With a strong real estate team in place, a seller or buyer could have a tactical advantage, if they utilize the right tools for today’s market.

If you are looking to move into Los Altos, or simply move across town, we are confident that we can help you.  Call us today at 650-823-1434.  We would love the opportunity to earn your business.