New Resolutions To Hope For


Before we get ready to close out January, here’s a list of “resolutions” that if we all followed, this would be a better world. These are actually a list of hopes from Shane Claiborne, an "Hope" by Pol Sifteramazing young man who helped found The Simple Way community in Philadelphia. Shane and other members of the community live in a challenging neighborhood sharing life with, and serving, the poor.

If you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolutions, adopt these for the coming year:

12.  Do something really nice – that no one knows about.

11. Spend more money on other people than I spend on myself. Love my neighbor as I love myself. And love myself as I love my neighbor.

10. Laugh often… especially at advertisements that try to convince me that I must buy more stuff in order to be happy. [Read more…]

Share Your Story: A Tale of Two Incorporators


Stewart Hyland of East Palo Alto shares this story below. If you have a story to share, visit our “Share Your Story” page.

Robert ‘Bob’ Hoover has been an institution in East Palo Alto starting in 1959 when he and his wife had come to Stanford but were not allowed to rent a home in Palo Alto so they moved into East Palo Alto. Carlos Romero went door to door in 1981-83 to advocate for residents to incorporate from a county municipality to a city. Both men served together to incorporate EPA.

In 2011 Mayor Carlos Romero convened two retreats to design a better funding strategy for Measure C Crime Prevention Parcel Tax. Making It Happen for Our Children President Bob Hoover, advocated for cross-service sector coordination as described in the Kania & Kramer’s ‘Collective Impact’ ( Both men have made lifelong commitments to a multicultural and changing East Palo Alto. [Read more…]

Happy Lunar New Year!


Good Neighbor Stories wishes everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year a very happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!Chinese New Year Dragon by Robert Raines

The celebrating launched this weekend in the Bay Area and will continue for three weeks. has a handy list of regional activities. Even though the kick off events are now over, there are still plenty of cultural events to enjoy between now and Feb. 12, from story times and creating lanterns at libraries, to concerts, to street festivals, to the grand finale parade in San Francisco on Feb. 11.




Rooted In Justice: MLK Day Tree Planting in East Palo Alto


About 90 volunteers descended on two schools in East Palo Alto today to plant a variety of fruit trees as a way to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The nonprofit group Collective Roots organized the event at the East Palo Alto Phoenix Acadamy and the East Palo Alto Charter School. Volunteers came from all over the valley. There were high school groups, families with small children, Americorps volunteers, and residents from the neighborhood. Together they planted about 40 citrus and avocado trees around the playgrounds and parking areas of the Phoenix Acadamy, and another 25 on the grounds of the charter school, where Collective Roots operates an educational garden.

According to Executive Director Kris Jensen, the group will maintain the trees while they become established, and later will help coordinate harvesting fruit from the trees. In addition to running a creative hands-on learning program, Collective Roots also maintains the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market and the Backyard Gardener Network. [Read more…]

My Favorite MLK Quote: ‘Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate’


Editor’s Note: This is a reprise of a 2011 post to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther  King Jr. Day, I offer one of my favorite MLK quotes from his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community:   

“Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

When I think of what Rev. King and his contemporaries accomplished by combating hate with love, I am in awe. Our basest instincts when hurt are to lash out. But King, who drew upon the teachings of Jesus, called all of us to a higher way of living. He asked us to love, even when love seems like a ridiculous response.

What I love about the quote, is the contrast between dark and light. Violence and evil exist in darkness. Love shines a light on evil, exposing it for all to see, and allowing us to stand up to what is wrong in order to bring about what is right.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share the love light that shines when people help others, making this world a brighter place. We all have the capability to make the choice for love, not hate. By sharing stories of that love choice, it’s my hope we will all be inspired to make a similar choice in our own neighborhoods and communities.

The Christian Science Monitor is featuring a list of 10 favorite MLK quotes today. One quote talks about “good neighbors” so I had to share it here:

“The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” – Strength to Love

What are your favorite MLK quotes? Share them with us! Also, if you are doing anything in honor of today – like participating in a special service event, or just your own special action – please share that, too.

MLK Day of Service Events Around The Valley


Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. Visit

Although Monday, Jan. 16, is a national holiday and for many a day off, the National Day of Service organization is encouraging us to make  it a “day on” by volunteering to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are several organized volunteer events around Silicon Valley on Monday—or create your own service event right in your own neighborhood. Even something as small as picking up trash, or performing an act of kindness for a neighbor or stranger, can be your own way of remembering Dr. King.

Below is list of organized events we’ve heard about. Use our contact form or comments section if you’ve heard of other events. And if you do your own act of service, share that with us, too!

United Way Silicon Valley – San Jose

Would you like to help local children get a quality education? Want to help teachers? [Read more…]

Good News To Me: Jan. 6, 2012


“Good News To Me” is an ongoing feature that highlights good news from the media. If you see some good news, use our contact form to send us the link.Home for Holidays Pet Adoptions

Pets Go ‘Home for the Holidays’

Some good news for local animals  this week: the six local shelters trying to find homes for 1,000 pets during December as part of a “Home for the Holidays” program exceeded their goal. Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 they adopted out 1,128 dogs, cats and other small animals. One local animal shelter officer wrote a “giant thank you” to readers for the overwhelming response to the program.

Shepherd Tending Her Flock

What a treat to read about LilyAnn Brannon in the Mercury News. Brannon is 90 years old, a one-woman nonprofit who helps anyone in need in the South Bay. Her organization is called Tending The [Read more…]

Five Ways To Be A Good Neighbor In January


Happy New Year! Here’s to this being a great year for all of us. What better way to start the new year than with a resolve to be a good neighbor all year long."Fourth of July" Rose

We’re kicking off 2012 with a list of five ways to be a good neighbor this month. If you know of some more ways, please share with us in the comments!

1) “Prune!” at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden: Here in the Bay Area, January is the month to prune roses to ensure beautiful blooms this spring and summer. Doable if you have a few rose bushes in your garden, a monumental task if you are the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, which features more than 4,000 plants on 5 and a half acres. On Saturday, Jan. 7, join hundreds of people for this one-day event. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. There’s a brief training included. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and close-toed shoes. Bring gloves, pruning tools, and a filled water bottle.

2) Donate Blood: No, not at the pruning event! January is National Blood Donor Month, established in 1970. The holiday season usually means less blood donations, because of holiday schedules, [Read more…]

Our First Virtual Food Drive Is A Smashing Success!


Thank you to everyone who donated to our first virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties! Together we raised $1,390.90 in less than one month, nearly $400 more than our original goal!

Second Harvest calculates that each dollar provides two meals, which means we provided more than 2,700 meals for hungry people in the Silicon Valley! Although our virtual food drive is over, the holiday food drive continues through Jan. 20, and of course donations are needed year-round.

Holiday Food Drive