Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Brenda as our 2018 Good Neighbor Honoree for the Events and Fundraising.
Brenda Billings learned about the Community Living Campaign after her father’s heart attack and she became responsible for his mother’s care. After moving grandma to a home in Burlingame, Brenda began looking for services to supplement the care offered by the home. “My grandmother was blind. Kate and Marie helped me find the resources that allowed my grandma to live a better quality of life; they saved my life.”
Connecting Master’s Degree to Work in the Community
At the same time she was caring for her grandma, Brenda continued to study for her master’s degree in public health at Walden University (an online graduate program). When it came time to choose a community-based agency for her practicum, there was no question: Brenda chose the Community Living Campaign. During her six months with CLC, Brenda developed a fall prevention program which she presented at the Cayuga Community Connectors. She also worked with Kate to produce an evaluation of the community connectors’ program.
Assisting with Raffle and Fundraising
Upon completing her practicum, Brenda wanted to continue her relationship with CLC. So when we needed help finding raffle gifts for the annual event, Brenda offered to solicit donations from restaurants, local businesses, and individuals. Although, as she discovered, “it’s easier when you already have a relationship with the donor,” Brenda continues to make the calls and visits that bring in donations.
“Involvement comes naturally to me. My family has always been very civic-minded,” she said. When she and her husband lived in East San Jose they started a community organization to hand out Christmas gifts to the neighborhood children and to paint over graffiti. “We were honored for that and given a grant to support our work.”
Brenda is currently studying for her doctorate in public health and has started a public health firm, Okologi. “I plan to stay involved with CLC. I love it because it’s so inclusive. I really admire Marie, Kate, Lizette, and all the people who work here.”