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The REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP), the community outreach project through which SILVAR members help seniors with household tasks they can no longer do on their own, took place this week. This year SILVAR partnered with the Avenidas Village (Palo Alto Senior Center) and offered the free service to senior homeowners who are members of the Avenidas Village Program.

On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 28 volunteers from SILVAR helped 18 senior households in Palo Alto. Some tasks RSVP volunteers performed for seniors included replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries, yard work and some light housekeeping chores.

Seniors welcome the help each year. This year marks the 17th year of SILVAR’s RSVP program, yet not all seniors know about it. Joe, who is 83, and his wife Judy, 75, only learned about RSVP this year through Avenidas Village.

“When I heard about the program, I kind of wondered about it. I asked Judy if we should ask for help and she said, ‘Why not, we could certainly use the help!'” said Joe.

The couple, whose only child lives in Chicago, needed help moving furniture and clearing things in their home. On Thursday, the team of Dave Barca, Jeff Beltramo, Pamela Ghandour and Tom Huff got to work right away. Barca and Ghandour packed books, games and other items on the couple’s bookcase in boxes and helped move furniture, while Beltramo and Huff cleaned the couple’s gutters and yard.

Many seniors are very grateful for the help. One 89-year-old senior exclaimed, “This is like a fairytale where the elves come and help!”

“My windows are cleaner than ever before!” said another happy homeowner.

READ MORE AND SEE PHOTOS HERE

 

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self-defense training

Trolan guides two members as they practice a self-defense move she taught them.

The business of real estate is risky because unlike other jobs, most REALTORS® work alone and show properties to strangers. As such, they become targets of crime. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 48 percent of all REALTORS® have felt physically threatened and uncomfortable during a showing. This is the reason why SILVAR past president and Region 9 chair Karen Trolan offers self-defense training for members every year.

“Training saves lives,” says Trolan. “Every agent, whether male or female, should know some self-defense. It’s good to learn some techniques that you can use if you ever need to.”

Trolan, who is wheelchair bound as a result of an accident many years ago, hasn’t let that stop her from self-defense training. She has a Kenpo Jujitsu 2nd degree black belt, Taekwondo 2nd degree black belt, and other high level martial art and self-defense skills, include Jujitsu, Escrima and Sword Arts.

Last Friday, assisted by her husband Steve, who has training in advanced nerve strike fighting, she taught 20 SILVAR members how to use their hands to strike a potential assailant on the upper half of their body and how to aim at parts of the body where they can do the most damage easily.

“The best thing you can do is run away screaming, but unfortunately, there have been agents that haven’t been able to get away. Talking your way out of it might work, but be ready with self-defense. Being able to fight back or getting out of a choke hold could mean life or death,” says Trolan.

“Prevention is the best self-defense,” adds Trolan.

Here are some safety tips to remember:

  • Let people know WHERE you are going, WHO you will be meeting, WHEN you will be back. WHAT to do if you don’t return and the ACTION to take if they cannot contact you.
  • Always meet a new person in a public place and get their ID.
  • Show strength in whatever you do. When you’re walking, look around; don’t look down. Always make eye contact. Speak in a loud voice because this gives the appearance of strength.
  • Refrain from announcing open houses and where you will be on social media.
  • Tell your clients not to show their home by themselves. Alert them that not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Tell your sellers to refer all inquiries to you.
  • Remind your clients that strangers will be walking through their home during showings or open houses. Tell them to hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs.
  • Pre-program important numbers into your cell phone. These may include your office, your roadside assistance service or garage, and 9-1-1.
  • Inform clients who are selling that while you are taking safety precautions, and that you’ve checked and locked the home before leaving, they should double-check all locks and scout for missing items immediately upon their return.

November 6 is quickly approaching, voter guides are going out, and lawn signs are up in full force. Local races are expected to be hotly contested, and at the federal level, we are expecting very close races. Several races in California could decide which party will control Congress.

For those who have not registered to vote, it is not too late to do so. California law allows voters to register up to 15 days before the election. That would make the deadline Monday, October 22. Registration cards need to be postmarked by that day to be eligible to vote on November 6.

You can register HERE. Click on the “Register to Vote Now” link.

 

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