The Coast News Group

Volunteer group gears up for biggest event yet

ESCONDIDO — Residents and Rotarians are in full swing making the city shine.

Lead by Vaughn North, the group Escondido Shines is prepping for its biggest event of the year.

On Nov. 14, the group and its horde of volunteers will take to the streets and parks from 9 to 11 a.m. to beautify the city and gather donations. After the community service, the group, along with other residents, will gather for the annual Escondido Tamale Festival at Grape Day Park, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Serve, salute and celebrate highlight the Escondido Shines initiative,” North said.

Escondido Shines, meanwhile, is a collection of residents enhancing the city’s image and encouraging others to engage in “community spirit, service and fellowship.”

The group has created numerous partnerships including several schools. North said the students, along with volunteers, aim to pass out 25,000 Shine Bags to residents Nov. 14 to use in any manner from clean up to delivering food and clothes to those in need.

The bags, North said, are a symbol of community pride.

“You see it as community pride that’s in the bag,” he added.

Escondido Shines began two years ago with North leading the charge. He recruited the Rotary Clubs in San Diego County initially to get the effort off the ground.

Their activities, meanwhile, coincide with the four seasons. So, their fall event is a cleanup event, spring brings beautification, summer centers on family relationships with music in the park and winter focuses on the youth.

“This year we are working on 10 different parks,” North said. “The Public Works Department has organized 36 work projects. These projects will be manned by volunteers from the community along with 50 or more Marines veterans.”

Over the past two years, the group has made strides in its efforts to inject more community pride to residents, especially the youth.

“There is a still a recognized need and we have a long way to go,” North said. “People are aware of it now. We now have sponsorships.”