Five Ways To Be A Good Neighbor In January

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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, travel, bad weather, and illness. January becomes a critical month for blood banks to replenish dwindling supplies. Somewhere in America people need blood every two seconds, and more than 400,000 pints of blood are needed each year, according to FEMA. Donating blood is completely safe, and could save someone’s life. Find out more from either Red Cross Silicon Valley or the Stanford School of Medicine Blood Center.

3) Volunteer on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: This year’s day commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. is Jan. 16. Plans are underway for volunteer projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit the MLK Day of Service website, and use the search function to find a service project near you. Some of the projects planned thus far include Mitzvah Day at the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, working at Second Harvest Food Bank in San Carlos, and cleaning up a natural area in Santa Clara. Or do your own project, like a neighborhood food drive or picking up trash.
Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. Visit MLKDay.gov.
4) Hand out compliments on National Compliment Day, Jan. 24: On this day we are encouraged to hand out two to  five compliments throughout the day, and at least one of them should be to someone we normally find it hard to compliment.

5) Give the gift of a bicycle to those who need it: The Bicycle Exchange of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is always looking for volunteers to help repair old bicycles to give away to families and individuals in need. The second and fourth Saturdays of every month the group puts on repair events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Mountain View. If repair work isn’t your thing, consider donating your old (cleaned up) bike as a tax deductible donation. Children’s bikes are especially needed.