Pleasanton couple's dog a winning wiener

"In the seven years they have been together, Patrick Major has seen Sammy Davis transform from a playful pet to one of the fastest dachshund racers in the state. Even though he stands only about 6 inches tall, Sammy can pump his stubby little legs and leap through the air to catch Frisbees nearly as big as he is. And, this pooch was a doggie pinup in the International Disc Dog calendar three years running." Read More Here

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Bay Area Jefferson Award Foundation Winner 2017

Allen Martin, KPIX-TV, San Francisco visited the St. Raphael School Chess Club operated by Christopher Major, President / Founder of Novato Chess Club, a 501c(3) not for profit public benefit corporation serving the North Bay.

A Jefferson Award Foundation recipient for 2017 for community service.

Learn more about how your high school can become a Bay Area Jefferson Award Foundation participant. ‘

Email: Jodie Russi for more information on this free high school program – (


The Jefferson Awards Foundation were established in 1972 to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.
Novato Chess Club HYA/ Hayward Youth Academy (HYA), and a guest are invited to join us as we honor the KPIX 5 and KCBS Radio 2017 Jefferson Awards Foundation (Bay Area) Winners!
Wednesday January 17, 2018
Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Program begin at 6:00pm.
Reception to follow in the Green Room.
Business Attire






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Marin IJ acknowledges Novato Chess Club

By Stephanie Weldy, Marin Independent Journal

Christopher Major believes in the power of chess.

The 55-year-old retired teacher believes the game puts the hearts and minds of youth on display. Chess can show whether a child is a risk-taker, brash, or more strategic, he says, and it also builds self-esteem.

The Novato resident is the founder and president of the Novato Chess Club, a nonprofit group that teaches chess to students through a nine-week program. Through the chess club, which he launched in 2014, Major teaches chess at San Anselmo’s Golden Gate Learning Center and Saint Raphael School.

He also created and heads the Hayward Youth Academy, which provides afterschool and outreach programs to youth.

Major hopes to one day see chess boards available, as well as strategy programs geared toward the game, offered in every elementary school across Marin.

read more..


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Novato Chess Youth Nights – Extreme Pizza

Where: Extreme Pizza, 104 Vintage Road, Novato

Date: November 7, 14, 28. December 5, 12, 19.

When: Tuesday nights

Time: 6:30-7:30 pm

*Cost: $50
50% sibling discount
2 kids $75
3 kids $100
*Yes, for all 6 classes
NCC is a 501c(3) not for profit; public benefit corporation, believing chess works for all children and families. Please share with families who desire affordable and fun academic enrichment. Registration:


Jefferson Awards Foundation Winner 

As seen March 22, 2017.

Video: KPIX-CBSSF, Allen Martin, Anchor (2:16)


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2017 Jefferson Award Winner for Public Service – Christopher Major, President HYA

I nominate a man named Chris Major for consideration as a Jefferson Awards recipient.
Chris is a dynamic, motivational Bay Area native with a passion for helping youth in the Bay Area realize their potential, and encouraging them to consider the possibility of attending college.  Chris has personally started two charities in the Bay Area: The Novato Chess Club and The Hayward Youth Academy.
The Novato Chess Club is an after school program for kids that also includes an arm of public speaking and leadership training.  Chris is a former teacher who recognizes that the hours of 3-6pm are the most critical time to keep kids safe and involved in constructive activities.  So he founded the Novato Chess Club as a way to do this  as it teaches chess to students in elementary and middle schools and also offers public speaking and leadership training to youth.
Hayward Youth Academy is a program that he started 2005.  It is basically an educational consulting firm for parents and it advocates for parents and children alike.  For example, if parents are having issues with schools or a teacher, and the parents don’t understand what the teacher or school is asking, HYA will go in with the parent to help get the child on the right track.  HYA also offers bilingual guidance and help for parents who might need this to better understand the teacher or school administrator.
HYA also helps parents recognize the importance of having structured activities for their children to do after school and will help them in finding resources that are available for this.  HYA is also currently helping to build a school in West Uganda: the St. Jude Community Kamwezi School as Chris is  working with Fr. Samuel, a visiting priest in St. Isabella’s Church in San Raphael who is involved with this project in Uganda.
Finally, (and this is how I know Chris) the Hayward Youth Academy and Novato Chess Club both are involved in a program Chris developed called the College Outreach Program which he started in 2007.
Chris wanted to spark children’s motivation internally and get at-risk kids to think early on about attending college.  SO, he reaches out to students in a variety of economic situations and “regardless of race, color, creed” gets them to think about attending college while they are young!
Twice a year he raises money to take mostly middle-school youth out to St. Mary’s College to tour the campus, eat in the cafeteria with the college students, hear a motivational speaker talk to them about the importance of college, and then attend a St. Mary’s basketball game. The students experience a full afternoon of college life….and they LOVE it!
When I did the speaking this last month, Chris (in partnership with St. Mary’s College) had the baseball team athletes lead the tours around campus.  Then the kids came in and had a free dinner in the actual college cafeteria (standing in line with the college students!), and then they got to hear two motivational speakers speak about the importance of setting goals, working hard, and seeking out opportunities to attend college.   Each student received a t-shirt to commemorate the day and the experience, and then he/she got to attend a D-I college basketball game.
Most of these kids had not set foot on a college campus before in their lives….and they came that day and had a whole new world opened up to them. 🙂   (It was truly a magical experience for me, too, to be involved in this!  I LOVED it….and loved seeing the kids–and some of their parents– come and for the first time in their lives, consider the possibility of college.)
Anyway, Chris Major is the man who has made all this happen.  Because of his ability to engage and mentor both youth and parents in the Bay Area, I nominate him for a Jefferson Award! 

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Novato Chess Youth Nights – Sam’s Place

Where: Sam’s Place, 1545 South Novato Blvd.

Date: April 11, 18, 25. May 9, 16, 23.

When: Tuesday nights

Time: 6:30-7:30 pm

Cost: $50 (yes, all 6 classes)
50% sibling discount (2 kids $75, 3 kids $100)
NCC is a 501c(3) not for profit; public benefit corporation, believing chess works for all children and families.
Please share with families who desire affordable and fun academic enrichment
Maximum of 14 chess students
Business #

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Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)


What is RYLA?





Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is Rotary’s leadership training program for young adults that is offered by districts around the world. RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth.

RYLA in District 5150 is a 3-day leadership camp that is free to high school students. RYLA serves students in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. This year’s camp is April 5-7, 2013 and will be held at Westminster Woods in Occidental, CA in the beautiful Redwood forests.

Lasting Impact

RYLA provides an atmosphere where future leaders will experience learning situations that will aid them in developing sound values and positive decision-making skills. Students will engage in cooperative activities and navigate group dynamics to develop leadership skills that can be carried back to their individual high schools to enrich their academic, personal, and professional lives. RYLA introduces students to Rotary and emphasizes the importance of community service locally and internationally. Colleges and universities also look for RYLA on college applications.

This year’s RYLA will also include a fun and interactive 4 hour program designed by ShelterBox, a world renowned humanitarian non-profit organization created by Rotary. The activities proposed will be centered on the simulation of a disaster situation. This program aims to raise awareness and understanding of ShelterBox and its work in the field, while developing team work, communication, and leadership skills among the RYLA…read more


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Marin County Yard Sale Fundraiser: Rotary Club of San Rafael Harbor

A fundraiser supporting the local families, schools, and Rotary projects of Marin  County.rcsrhbanner

Your well loved giveaways may be someone else’s treasure! Accepting bags, office clothes, jewelry, casual clothes, accessories, trinkets, household items, furniture, and other great “stuff”

Date: Saturday, October 8, 2016

Time: 9-3pm

Place: 15 Debes Ranch Road, San Rafael, CA (Terra Linda)

All Marin Rotary Clubs are encouraged to donate items to this sale. Please call: 415-246-8024


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I’m a little lost: Thank You, HYA!

ugandaworkIn 2013, (HYA) made a Rotary mission trip to Jinja, Uganda for the purpose of locating fresh water systems for rural villages. The issue of sustainability ‘viability were most paramount on my mind. During that visit, I learned about Naomi’s plight….

I met Christopher Major when I was 12…

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Saint Mary’s College Intercultural Center: Black Graduate Celebration 2016

Last week, I received a request from the SMC Intercultural Center to serve as alumni pinner for the 2016 black graduation ceremony for Saint Mary’s College (CA).
My response below:
Hi Chris. My name is Cesar Ramos and I am the Coordinator of the Intercultural Center.
I was wondering if you were interested in being our alumni pinner at this year’s Black Graduate Celebration at SMC. After each student is presented to the audience, they will walk over to the alumni pinner and get pinned.
The ceremony takes place on Thursday May 19th at 6 p.m. cover-small1We’d love to have you do this as someone that has always supported SMC and the students!
Please let me know if you are available and interested. Thank you!


Cesar Ramos M.P.A., Coordinator, Intercultural Center 


 Dear Cesar,

It would be an honor recognizing the hard work, effort and determination of the students receiving their degree.

I believe a degree from Saint Mary’s College of California is an unique achievement and honor. Especially, given the difficulty in obtaining that level of education for many students, anywhere! A Lasallian education is the best education. As a proud graduate, athlete, and HP student (under the direction of Tom Brown) – it is truly an honor accepting your invitation. It should be a evening of celebration for our students of diversity. A degree from SMC opens all possible options in life. No excuses, beautiful.


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D5150 Rotary World Peace Concert: Herbst Theater, San Francisco


Leah Reich, Rotary District Governor 5150, 2015-2016

Join Brett Dennen, Crystal Bowersox and Rotary International for an evening dedicated to advancing peace, goodwill and worldwide understanding at the Rotary World Peace Concert.

As Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind,” and this special evening brings together two performing artists committed to making the world a more peaceful place through music. In addition, Rotary World Peace Concert will highlight the work of Rotary to advance peace around the world.

Brett Dennen has captivated audiences both with his vocal and guitar talent, as well as his lyrical writing, bringing forth a refreshing, positive message. He has toured with and/or played on bills with John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin, ALO, Jackson Brown, Taj Mahal, Ziggy Marley, Xavier Rudd, Corinne Bailey Rae and others.

Crystal Bowersox has a fortitude and courageous spirit that resonated with millions night after night when the 2010 American Idol runner up took the stage. Since then, she has performed alongside everyone from Harry Connick Jr., Joe Cocker, and Alanis Morrisette, to Michael Franti, John Popper and BB King.

Tickets are on sale now with three pricing levels available. Premium tickets include admission to a special pre-concert reception with the performers.

This celebration of peace, awareness and exceptional music will take place in the newly renovated Herbst Theater, the site where the United Nations charter was signed in 1945. For details and ticket information, visit online at

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