cleanup crew
CLEANING CREW - The groups of environmental stewards included (R-L) Shane Garrison, Mert Hamsioglu, Bradley Hager and Taylor-Hager. (Dinah Cotton / Los Gatan)

On Saturday morning, Los Gatos Kiwanis boardmember Nancy Pearson arrived at Old Forbes Mill with coffee and donuts in-hand, prepared to guide members of the Los Gatos High School Key Club, and other volunteers, on an environmental spruce-up. 

While embarking on this green clean, Pearson shared about other Kiwanis activities, including the Special Games held at West Valley College.

Another was the luncheon at Double D’s Bar and Grille, where the club honored local seniors who’ve pushed through adversity, bringing-up their grades to graduate in the process. Now in its 26th year, the group handed-out $25,500 in scholarships via this initiative.

This was emceed by Mike Wasserman, who’s been on board for more than two decades. Attendees included the mayors of Los Gatos and Saratoga, Town Manager Laurel Prevetti, school officials, teachers, counselors and, of course, club members—as well as awardees and their families.

Nancy Pearson
Nancy Pearson writes a welcome message in chalk. (Dinah Cotton / Los Gatan)

On Saturday, Marian Stewart joined the rest of the cleanup army, all eager to get moving. 

Stewart, who recently retired, had been looking for a community cause to participate in.

“I wanted to volunteer,” she said. “I had been always volunteering for the four years before while I was still working. It had ran its course, and I knew for sure that I wanted to do more once I retired as I would have more time.”

She explained her parents had been part of the Italian Catholic Federation and used to feed the homeless at the club near the University of Santa Clara.

“So, I volunteered there feeding the homeless for five years, in the place where they held the meetings,” she said.

Pearson noted how the Live Oak Nutrition Center has outreach programs, too.

“They do everything,” she said. “Just like our local churches.”

Just then, Shane Garrison showed up.

“Nice to meet you,” he said, politely. 

Next, Mert Hamsioglu arrived. 

“Honestly, it is kinda a community here, we are now all like friends, basically brothers,” Hamsioglu said. “One of my friends was in Key Club and he was telling me that he had so much fun—as he was in it from his freshman year.”

‘I knew for sure that I wanted to do more once I retired’

—Marian Stewart, volunteer

Hamsioglu joined midway through junior year.

“We also helped this year at the Special Games, held at West Valley (College),” he said.

Just then Taylor Hager, a recent LGHS grad and former Key Club member, and her brother Bradley arrived.

“Everyone is just like a friend to me here and spending some good time with them is great,” Bradley, a sophomore, said.

“Bradley is new and just incoming,” Pearson added. “They all do so much.”

Then, it was down to the business at hand—cleaning the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

The most interesting trash ever picked-up? Everyone agreed it was the suitcase full of strange documents, which they turned over to the police.

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