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Los Altos Rotary Raises Money for Vets' 'Smart Pens'

The pens not only record but also bring back, with clarity, the moment in the lecture notes were being taken, giving valuable aid to transitioning veterans.

  Making the transition from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan to the bucolic classrooms of Foothill College can be a challenge, but now there's one piece of equipment that vets can now put in their backpacks that give them a technical advantage—a LiveScribe pen. The Los Altos Rotary raised $15,000 this month for the Veterans Resource Center at Foothill College for the so-called smart pens that capture voice and handwriting and digitizes them for easy retrieval and sharing. The pens, which cost $150, assist with note-taking in a way that can bring students back to the moment in the lecture that a concept was being explained, and help make sense of scribblings that may have looked clear during the lecture. The smartpen has proven popular with students with special needs and veterans with injuries or conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Besides using the pen to record lectures and take notes, they can send emails or illustrations to Facebook or other sites.  The fundraising kicked off with a party Nov. 2 at Nature Gallery, run by merchant Carol Garsten in downtown Los Altos. With live music, by Rotary President John Sylvester's "Jazz Connection" band and refreshments provided by Nature Gallery and Go-Go Gyro restaurant, the event included a special demonstration of how the LiveScribe smartpen works. The Rotary is still accepting tax-deductible donations towards the pens in any amount. Send donation to the Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 794, Los Altos, CA 94023-0794. Write “Smart Pens for Vets” in the memo line. Donation drop-off locations include Go Go Gyro, 4546 El Camino Real, Los Altos, and Nature Gallery, 296 State Street in Los Altos. Donations also may be made at weekly Rotary Club meetings each Thursday at Noon at the Garden House in Shoup Park, 400 University in Los Altos.

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