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Salinas Valley News Briefs | Dec. 16, 2022



GONZALES — A Mental Health Forum, presented by the Monterey County Behavioral Health Department, will take place Friday, Dec. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Gonzales High School cafeteria. Learn about resources available from guest speakers Jessica Mora Ramirez, ethnic service manager and chronic disease prevention coordinator, and Maria Guerrero, senior psychiatric social worker, of the Health Department.


SOLEDAD — A toy giveaway will take place Sunday, Dec. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Soledad McDonald’s, 1215 Front St. Through the VIDA Project and the Community Foundation for Monterey County, more than 400 free toys plus McDonald’s toys and prizes will be distributed to local children, while supplies last. Toys are for youth ages 0 to 12, and children must be present to receive one toy each. There will also be free Covid-19 testing and resources, and masks are encouraged.


SALINAS — Youth Orchestra Salinas (YOSAL) is currently hosting auditions for Mariachi Banda. This fusion educational program in conjunction with YOSAL’s Youth Symphony will start on Jan. 17, with 4toPrestigio leader Eliodoro Vallecillo as the director of the Mariachi Banda. Interested students can audition until Monday, Dec. 19, via the website or by appointment through emailing


SOLEDAD — Pinnacles National Park is kickstarting volunteer opportunities this December. Park staff will host the first of many drop-in volunteer events on Saturday, Dec. 17, on the west side of the park, near Soledad. For more information on volunteer opportunities, email