Stoked for Service

Zaneta Encarnacion

Fri December 26, 2014 11:09am

Lose weight. Exercise more. Stop smoking. Stress less. Many of us are in the process of creating our list of 2015 New Year’s resolutions. Author Vern McLellan suggests, “What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”
If that is the case, Rolling Hills Ranch resident Shauna Stokes is guaranteed to have a fantastic 2015! Stokes has lived in Chula Vista for 36 years, from southwest Chula Vista to northwest Chula Vista to Eastlake, before finally landing in Rolling Hills with her boyfriend Joel Chew.
Stokes and Chew love their neighbors, surrounding walking trails, and community amenities like Montevalle and Salt Creek recreation centers. They love the views of Mt. Miguel and Otay mountains and their living proximity to Otay Valley Regional Park Preserve. Shopping options abound with some of their favorite stores being Target, Kohls, Trader Joe’s, the variety of restaurants and Otay Ranch Town Center. But if they are looking for something our community doesn’t offer, they enjoy the easy and fast access to other areas via the SR125 toll road.
In addition, Stokes has carved a place in the heart of our community through what she brings in service and what she will continue to bring in the new year. Stokes is currently serving as president of Altrusa International, Inc. of Chula Vista, a service club with literacy as one of its main focuses; president of the Friends of the Chula Vista Library, and treasurer of the Civic Center chapter of the Library Friends — they provide needed funding to the Chula Vista public library for books and materials and all of their programs, especially the summer reading program. She is a founding member of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation and serves on the Grants Committee, which has awarded more than $100,000 to local nonprofit programs serving Chula Vista communities. 
“It is so important to be involved in your community. I learned that from my late parents, Quentin and Helen Marie Stokes. My mother was involved in many volunteer activities wherever we lived during my father’s career in the U.S. Air Force and in retirement here in Chula Vista. It helps expand your world view, set down roots, have a real impact and make a difference, feel good, and meet more people from all walks of life,” said Stokes.
Stokes and Chew encourage their friends and neighbors (and I’m certain this challenge applies to our readers) to get involved even if it’s doing just one thing! Each “doer” will get back so much when they give their time and talents. Volunteer opportunities abound at schools, non-profit organizations, youth sports and recreation teams, places of worship, community service organizations, and city boards and commissions.
“As an individual, you could donate books, DVDs, CDs and magazines to your local library; pick up trash or pull weeds as you walk your neighborhood; notify the city when you see graffiti; or put out dog biscuits for your neighbors who walk their dogs (Joel does that),” said Stokes.
Maybe we should reconsider our list of resolutions and instead begin writing lists of what service and gifts we will bring into the new year. Happy New Year to all!
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.