Monday, December 17, 2018

What do we do?

People are asking us what we do. Here is a short list of some of the day-to-day things we do, and our plans for the future.

Though the County sponsors the food distribution at the WVCC, there are ongoing costs and tasks covered by the Friends of Wonder Valley:
  • we go to Staters for 5 days, early in the morning, to collect the boxes for the food
  • we buy the packing tape, blades, stamps, and other tools needed for the distribution
  • we buy the donuts and coffee, and other snacks for the volunteers
  • we promote the distributions to the newspapers and radio, through the churches, on Facebook and other social media sites, and through signage at the WVCC
We've also just partnered with Twentynine Palms Community Food Pantry to keep emergency groceries on hand.

We're applying to partner with Feeding America Inland Empire, which requires a $50 application fee, a $22 food handlers license, and onsite training in Riverside. This will open a lot of possibilites for us, including the possibility of signing people up for SNAP, and providing fresh vegetable distributions once a month.

  • We have helped elderly people pay their property taxes online
  • We have helped arrange medical appointments
  • We are helping an elderly man rehome his many dogs and reduce his expenses
  • We hold hands and dry tears when people get frustrated and don't know where to turn
As we no longer have a fire department, with EMTs and Paramedics at the fire station, it's critical to get people in our community trained in basic life saving techniques. Our board secretary is licensed EMT and keeps a medic bag on hand at all times. We:
  • partner with Morongo Basin Ambulance to have CPR/AED trainings for our volunteers and other community members, and offer scholarships for those who cannot afford the training. 
  • partner with Tenet Health to bring Stop the Bleed certification classes to Wonder Valley. 16 people were trained in 2018. We need to train many more.
  • Teresa has partnered with Morongo Basin Healthcare District for several years, volunteering at the Community Health Fairs. Her volunteering and continual lobbying has been instrumental in bringing a Mobile Medical Van to Wonder Valley in early 2019.
  • We will continue inviting Lanny Swerdlow to Wonder Valley to update us on medical marijuana and the management of pain and anxiety.
To have a two-hour event at the WVCC costs a minimum of $20 in facilities fees, $80+ for event insurance, and $250 for a refundable cleaning deposit. These fees make using the Community Center prohibitive for most people in Wonder Valley.

Our MAIN goal is to make the WVCC useful to the Community and we do so by covering the fees for qualified meetings. A qualified meeting is not aligned with a political party or candidate, is nonsectarian, open to the public, beneficial to Wonder Valley, and the hosts are unable to afford the facility fees.

Over the four years that Teresa Piccolotti Sitz (our board secretary) served as the County MAC Delegate, she produced more than 55 events at the community center. Since July FOWV has directly covered the costs (facilities fees, insurance, and cleaning deposits) for 5 Artists of the Month; Weed Show Presentation with Ted Meyers; Living with Snakes, with Jane Fawke; Stop the Bleed; Owls, with Susan Doggett; A Particle of Dread, with Miri Hunter (theater); Finding Fulgurites, with Darlene Parris; and local author Catherine Connors reading from her new book,The Feminine Revolution.

In January we will start applying for grants. We hope to get a humanities grant to cover the cost of 8 to10-part series on the history of Wonder Valley; a corporate grant to cover the cost of new tables, chairs, and curtains for the WVCC; a corporate grant to cover the costs associated with expanding our food programs so that we can add additional distributions; a grant to cover the costs of joining the Highway 62 Art Tour in October 2019 -- giving local artists a low cost (if not free) venue to show their art during the tour.

We're in the process of updating the bingo equipment, and learning how to run bingo. We will be able to apply for Bingo and raffle licenses in July and will then work to add these to our event lineups.

We take our goals seriously and review them often. Every event and every expenditure must meet one of our goals. Teresa served on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles for three years - she was elected twice. She served as secretary for her last year, working closely with the Los Angeles City Attorneys office on issues of compliance. She is the secretary for the Friends of Wonder Valley and is making sure everything is by the book from the beginning. Check out our GuideStar profile if you'd like to know more.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Turkeys for Wonder Valley

Friends of Wonder Valley, a new tax-exempt 501(c)(3) with a mission of enhancing the lives of those living in Wonder Valley, is SUPER EXCITED to announce that we’re partnering with SBC Community Action Partnership to give away up to 60 Thanksgiving turkeys to Wonder Valley residents on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Sign up starts at 9 a.m., at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277.

The turkeys will be distributed at the WVCC sometime between 11 a.m. and noon. There will be UP TO 60 turkeys. Turkeys average 12-14 pounds. You are not guaranteed a turkey. This event is first come, first served.

You must be a Wonder Valley resident to receive a turkey. No more than one turkey per parcel. You must be present to pick up your turkey. The Wonder Valley Community Center will be open at 9 a.m.

If you have any questions, please call Teresa Sitz at 760-367-9880.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Finding Fulgurites, with Darlene Parris

After going on the last fulgurite hunt, last April, I saw them everywhere and started a good-sized collection.

So we're doing it again!

Darlene Parris, one of the sisters who writes the Wonder Valley column in the Desert Trail, will show us fulgurites that she has collected and tell us all about them.

Meet at the Gazebo in the Wonder Valley Park, at the corner of Amboy and Blower Roads, next to the Old Fire Station, at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. There is a $2 suggested donation.

A fulgurite is formed when lightning hits wet sand. The sand melts and turns into a melded conglomeration of tiny rocks and sand. The average temperature at creation is 10,000 degrees.

Then Darlene will take us walking in the nearby desert behind the park and show us how to FIND fulgurites. We won't be walking far -- maybe 20 feet, or so. Everyone will go home with at least one fulgurite.

You can't miss the 80' tall cell tower palm tree.
This was a great event. We had about 35 people, coming from as far away as San Bernardino and NorCal. Everyone found at least one fulgurite and there were many happy people. It was a beautiful day for an easy little walk in the desert.

Friday, October 19, 2018

What's up in October?

We're finally registered with the State of California a charity! See for yourself at:

We also now have a bank account and a PayPal account so can start taking donations.

What does friends of Wonder Valley do? We're proud to pay for the facilities fees and insurance for the event above and others like it. Our dear neighbor, and bird rehabilitater, Susan Doggett will bring her owls for everyone to see.

There are so many amazing people living here, and when we have the donations to cover the fees, we plan to showcase our many authors, artists, musicians, and other locals.

Please donate so we can continue to bring great programming, and social services, to the Wonder Valley Community Center.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Our domain is live.

Ken Sitz, our Chairperson, and IT guru, assigned the domain name "" to this site yesterday and it is now live!

We also opened accounts yesterday at U.S. Bank and are waiting for our online access. At that point we'll be able to complete our PayPal account, Amazon Smile, and others that will make it easier to donate to the charity.

It's been a long journey putting this together, but we're nearing the finish line and look forward to accomplishing some of our goals.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SBC Adult and Aging Services

Bob Dougherty, from San Bernardino County Adult and Aging Services, will be coming to the Wonder Valley Community Center at 11 a.m., Wednesday, October 17, to offer free bus passes to seniors, to process HEAP applications, and to counsel seniors on programs and services available to them. Bob will be out here four times a year. He will continue to be available at the Twentynine Palms Senior Center, and we will continue to publicize his visits.

The Friends of Wonder Valley will -- with your donations -- pay for the facility fees and insurance for Bob's visits.

Please donate to the Friends of Wonder Valley, a 501(c)(3) so that we can continue to support this program, and others that enhance the lives of people living in Wonder Valley.

Make checks payable to:

Friends of Wonder Valley
PO Box 1704
Twentynine Palms CA 92277

Your donations are tax deductible.

Thank you!

The piano is tuned!

A Wonder Valley resident donated the money to have the piano tuned, and we did just that. Our Kurtzmann piano was built sometime between 1918 and 1922. Two hammer had fallen off. The tuner retrieved them, refelted them, and then tuned the piano.

Alicia Beatty, the new French intern at The Palms, came in the other day and played it for us. It was wonderful hearing the Wonder Valley Community Center filled with beautiful music.

Many thanks to the resident who made this possible, through the Friends of Wonder Valley.