You can send a card to members of the U.S. Armed Forces this holiday season through the American Red Cross.

On Friday, Kern County's chapter of the Red Cross is holding an event at Valley Plaza Mall where members of the public can sign a card, write a note or color a picture, according to a Red Cross news release. The Red Cross will be at the mall from 2 to 7 p.m. at the main entrance near Starbucks.

The deadline to donate a card is Dec. 7, according to the news release.

at an event hosted by the American Red Cross.

From 2 to 6 p.m. at the Circle K at 5634 Stine Road, people can stop by to learn how to build an emergency preparedness kit, create an evacuation plan and learn hands-only CPR, according to a Red Cross news release. The event is free, and participants can enter to win preparedness kits, emergency radios and first aid kits.

More than 200 disadvantaged children from Delano will get a new pair of shoes as part of the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic's holiday shoe giveaway.

At 9 a.m. Dec. 7, children in kindergarten through fifth grade in the Delano Elementary School District will be taken to Payless ShoeSource, where they will get the shoes, according to a news release from the clinic.

All referrals for children needing shoes must come from the school district, according to the news release.

Great Valley Center has appointed Benjamin Duran as its new president and chief executive officer, the center announced Thursday.

Great Valley Center works to increase the long-term sustainability of the Central Valley by informing citizens, training leaders and running programs.

Duran earned his bachelor's degree from Cal State Stanislaus, his master's from Chapman University and a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California. He spent 40 years in education in Merced County, holding roles as a high school teacher, vice principal, assistant director of the county's migrant education program and superintendent of school.

The Junior League of Bakersfield has extended the deadline to apply for grants to Dec. 13.

The grants are meant for nonprofits that benefit women and children. Applications must be postmarked by Dec. 13 or delivered in person before 2 p.m. Dec. 13 to the JLB Community Center, 1928 19th St. To download an application, visit

The Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for locals' photos to use in the 2013 official Bakersfield Visitors Guide.

The bureau is printing 30,000 copies of the guide to be distributed throughout the country to promote Bakersfield, according to a news release from the bureau. The person whose photo is selected for the front cover will win a $100 Visa gift card.

Cover photo submissions are due Dec. 14. All other submissions are due Jan. 4.

For information on how to enter, visit or call 852-7282.

A foundation is offering scholarships to Kern County high school juniors and seniors who are enrolled in French class to attend a month-long summer French program.

The H. Dennis and Anne Beaver Foundation will send students to Middlebury Monterey Language Academy at Cal Poly Pomona from June to July. During the program, students are immersed in French and promise to avoid using English.

The foundation will select students based on their financial need and ability in spoken and written French. For more information or to apply, call 323-7911 or email or Applications are due Dec. 14.