Nine Ways to Help Your Cause

Ask An Authority: (in my case city council members, newspaper reporters and community activists) how can I make this happen. Follow the instructions they give you and be creative and persistent.  Find your champion (s) on the city council. Network and find a mentor and if possible within your circle of friends, find an accountability buddy to keep you on track with items and timing you wish to accomplish.

Find Your Allies: Ask yourself who you are serving and who will benefit? Join forces with affiliated groups. If the obvious ones don’t accept you; don’t give up. Find others that do and join them.  Be willing to help others that help you and also be willing to serve them in their cause.  Community service organizations all need more help and volunteers to stay alive, by helping others you are much more likely to get help yourself.

Create Awareness - Be Visual: We created an Immigrant House poster and put it up around town. We also wrote, produced and recording a song for the Immigrant House with children from the Peninsula Youth Theater. We also produced an Immigrant House video with the Peninsula Youth Theater children and another info/awareness video used for education and fundraising.

Get Endorsements: We put a big effort into getting endorsements letters from government agencies and community groups supporting the idea of saving the house and then sent them on to the Mountain View Mayor and City Council;  Dave Cortese – County Supervisor, The Santa Clara Human Rights Commission, History Park San Jose, OMNVA… (let me know if you would like the complete list.)

Generate Public Interest: After joining the MV Kiwanis Club we brainstormed and created a smaller scale replica of the Immigrant House for the MV family parade Kiwanis float for three years running. Later we parked the same mini Immigrant House at the Mountain View General Store property storefront on Dana Street to keep public interest alive.

We asked if MV Parks and Rec department if might have some ideas and they suggested an Immigrant House themed art show. They gave us a table at the Art a La Carte Festival and for the Plaza Palozza’s concert series. We created Immigrant House coloring sheets that the children enjoyed coloring and drawing. Themes included The Immigrant House on Bryant Street, Draw Immigrant House in the New Park and My Family Came to America From…We then presented the Immigrant House replica at the rotunda at city hall with the Immigrant House coloring sheets, International Flags and the vibrant art work gathered from MV children.

Expand Your Vision: I joined the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association and became the Sub-Committee Historical Chair. They needed a chairperson to run the annual ice cream social. So the Immigrant House Themed Ice Cream Social was born and for the past three years it has been a great success especially the Immigrant House shaped cookies for children to frost and enjoy.

Once Immigrant House was off the chopping block for demolition we created a report with superimposed pictures of different location around town where Immigrant House could be placed with a pro and con list. We then submitted it to the City Council. They didn’t go for any of the recommendations; they came up with something better!

Raising Money and Tax Deductible Donations: When we ran into the challenge of not being a tax exempt entity and having to raise $120,000.00 I was introduced to the Los Altos Community Foundation. They accepted the project and helped us by creating a Friends of Immigrant House Fund 501c charity fund so we could accept smaller donations. MV Kiwanis Club Board also agreed to hold $50,000 Google contribution until the city needs it.

Be Brave: I went to the Croatian Church in Campbell on a Sunday and spoke to the congregation after mass to rally more signatures for the Change.Org petition.

Don’t Criticize Others: Not everyone will see things your way. Instead of fighting them, (waste of energy) work on another avenue that is open. Be patient, be persistent and be determined. Always recognize others and their contributions in helping your cause.

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