Another ‘Beautiful’ Weekend in the South Bay Thanks to Volunteers


After a weekend of painting, sawing, hammering, raking, weeding, cleaning, and much, much more, the South Bay is shining just a little brighter this week, thanks to the work of an estimated 3,500 volunteers working through the nonprofit group, Beautiful Day.

Many volunteers worked multiple shifts from Friday to Saturday, helping to fill up to 4,600 positions at 26 sites from Milpitas to Morgan Hill, with most of the work centered in San Jose. Last year the event attracted approximately 2,400 volunteers.

Beautiful Day is a faith-based nonprofit that came out of Westgate Church in San Jose in 2004. The group partners with the City of San Jose, secular nonprofits, businesses and other churches to organize a massive regional service event each spring, as well as a smaller event in the fall, along with other projects.

This spring’s event actually got started a week earlier, when volunteers helped prepare some sites for the larger number of volunteers to come. One shift of volunteers worked Wednesday at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale.

From work that required a lot of elbow grease, to more personal jobs working with senior citizens, disabled youth and homeless people, Beautiful Day volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs, gave of themselves all week. [Read more…]

Still Time to Volunteer For Valley’s Largest Service Event


Sign ups are strong for this weekend’s Beautiful Day service event, but there are still openings for last minute volunteers who want to join Jim Buchanan of Beautiful Day costructs on all the community beautifying action.

At 26 sites around Santa Clara County, project leaders are busy with last-minute preparations before more between 4,000 and 6,000 volunteers show up for various shifts through Sunday.

Project leaders Jim Buchanan and Bob Froese on Thursday were hard at work constructing scaffolding on the back of a handball court at Biebrach Park in the Gardner Neighborhood, where volunteers will repaint an older mural of an Aztec calendar that is much beloved by residents.

The two men are overseeing refurbishing projects all over the Gardener and Burbank neighborhoods on Saturday and Sunday. They said sign ups are strong so far, and they’re expecting last-minute sign ups, as well as people who simply show up.

Other Beautiful Day projects in need of volunteers include a school beautification event at Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill, sprucing up different elementary schools in San Jose, and many others dotted around San Jose. Complete information and registration forms are available on the Beautiful Day website. [Read more…]

Thousands of Volunteers Converging in Silicon Valley This Weekend


Roll up your sleeves, Silicon Valley. This weekend, April 27-29,  is possibly the biggest weekend for volunteer service projects, with an estimated 7,000 people expected to donate their time talents for local nonprofit organizations.

Volunteers are refurbishing, renewing and refreshing dozens of homes, neighborhoods, schools, and parks, as well as packaging food for the hungry and more, for groups like Beautiful Day, Rebuilding Together, 4Others , and Youth Community Service.

Add to those events the National MS Walk in San Jose on Saturday, as well as numerous other smaller events, and this is turning out to be a huge weekend for volunteerism in the valley. Continue reading for more information on how to get involved. [Read more…]

Wow! Beautiful Day 2012 Statistics


The folks at Beautiful Day released some statistics today about next week’s service event. If you’re interested in one of the 4,624 volunteer opportunities, see the Beautiful Day website.

San Jose Council Recognizes Beautiful Day On Eve of Volunteer Event


In recognition of next week’s large-scale Beautiful Day service event in all 10 districts of the city and neighboring communities, the San Jose City Council unanimously awarded the group a special proclamation at its meeting on Tuesday.

“I really think San Jose has the best cadre of volunteers in the whole country,” said Councilmember Rose Herrera, as she presented the proclamation to Beautiful Day Executive Director Jon Talbert and his team in honor of National Volunteer Month.

Herrera encouraged residents to sign up as volunteers for the dozens of Beautiful Day projects around San Jose and the Silicon Valley, most of which take place Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29.  A few projects are available this weekend, April 21-22, and the week that follows. Thousands are expected to participate. [Read more…]

Fourth FUHSD School Adds Kindness Award


CUPERTINO — A fourth school in the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) is offering the Sandlot Award, a unique award that recognizes graduating seniors for their kindness and altruism.

“I personally love this award because it recognizes our students who wouldn’t normally be recognized,” said Homestead High School College Advisor Kellee Markos.

She said the Sandlot Award, “embodies a lot of what Homestead prides itself on,” things like the “kindness factor” and an “appreciation for diverse backgrounds.”

Some of the school’s high achieving students in academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities, tend to get recognized over and over again, because so many awards have similar criteria, Markos said. The Sandlot Award, however, is for the students who often go unnoticed for their acts of kindness toward their peers and the community.

Homestead now joins Monta Vista, Cupertino and Lynbrook high schools in offering the Sandlot Award. The deadline for Homestead students to apply is April 25. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: April 8-14


Some of the Bay Area’s best neighbors are tweeting all sorts of positive and interesting information. We keep track on our Twitter lists, “Silicon Valley Heroes” and “SF Bay Area Heroes”. If you’re on Twitter and spreading good news, let us know. We might list you in an upcoming “Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week” list.

Here are some top tweets for last week.

Sunday, April 8

Homeless Connect SF ‏ @PHCSF

We need baby shampoo donated for our Family Connect toiletry kits. Know anyone who could help? #PHCdailyneed

Bay Nature ‏ @BayNature

Urban coyote spotted in Golden Gate Park. Nice photos!

Monday, April 9

Habitat Greater SF ‏ @HabitatGSF

Best way to prevent recessions: Teach money-management early @vcstar

Make a Birthday Wish ‏ @MakeaBdayWish

wrapping gifts! 🙂 [Read more…]

Master Organizer Puts Tools Into the Hands of Thousands of Volunteers


Get ready Silicon Valley. You’re about to get a makeover, thanks to more than 100 gallons of paint, 441 pieces of lumber, 113 pounds of nails, and a lot of sweat and elbow grease from thousands of volunteers.

It’s all a part of the large-scale April 21-29 service project called Beautiful Day, coordinated by the nonprofit group that goes by the same name. Organizers are working to recruit up to 6,000 volunteers to refurbish homes, neighborhoods, parks, creeks, freeways, an elementary school, and much more. Most of the projects will take place the final weekend, April 28 and 29.

As the recruitment effort goes on, one team within Beautiful Day is working to put the materials and tools into the hands of the volunteers. The Acquisitions Team is lead by a volunteer affectionately known as the “Master Shopper”, Wendy Laugesen.

Laugesen laughs at the reference, and adds that she likes to call herself the “Master Organizer”.

Master Organizer, indeed, as she and her team pull together more than 600 items on a master inventory list. Each line item may have multiples of each item, translating into thousands of materials and tools needed during the week.

From nametags to napkins, to tanbark and tetherballs, Laugesen has it on her list. [Read more…]

High School Kindness Award Deadline Approaching


CUPERTINO — The deadline for Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) seniors to apply for a special award recognizing kindness and altruism is this Sunday, April 15.

The Sandlot Award recognizes students at Monta Vista, Cupertino and Lynbrook high schools who display kindness to others. It was originally launched in 2009 at Monta Vista as the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award in memory of former student Justin Perkins, who died of cancer in 2008.  An effort is ongoing to bring the award to all five FUHSD schools.

Award coordinators say that while other school awards measure academic, athletic, and extracurricular successes, the Sandlot Award measures altruism that is not necessarily well known.

The award shines the light on “invisible students” who don’t always get recognized for their efforts, said Lynbrook Associated Student Body President Kevin Tu. It’s about students who are, “doing something good, not just for the title and recognition; it’s people serving for the heart of serving,” he said.

“It’s what’s unique about this award, and something Lynbrook needs a little bit more of,” Tu said. “I really support what this award encourages and fosters. And I believe that if everyone would be more like a sandlot hero our school would be a better place.” [Read more…]

Volunteers to Beautify Santa Clara School April 28-29


The children and staff of Pomeroy Elementary in Santa Clara will leave their well-worn campus on an upcoming Friday to return on Monday to a brighter, fresher school, thanks to a full weekend of volunteer labor.

More than 300 volunteers are expected to descend on the campus in the Santa Clara Unified School District on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, to clean, paint, build, and garden, in a project called “Beautify Pomeroy”. The group Beautiful Day is signing up people from all over Silicon Valley who want to invest in the children’s futures through the service project.

“Beautify Pomeroy” is part of an even larger community-wide annual Beautiful Day event that is expected to utilize approximately 6,000 volunteers between April 21 and 29. Projects include cleaning area freeways, refurbishing homes, cleaning parks and neighborhoods, helping the homeless, and more.

By the end of that weekend at Pomeroy, the teachers’ lounge will have a new look, as well as a refrigerator that actually works, replacing the old broken one. The school’s community garden will have new planter boxes and a solar-powered water feature. The playground will have some new equipment, as well as a recycling center to collect empty juice boxes and water bottles. And around campus some walls will sport fresh paint and murals.

“I think it’s just exciting to think about what you’re doing for the next generation,” said Lori Dabak, one of the project’s coordinators. “You don’t know how this investment will affect something down the road.” [Read more…]