Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor in April


It’s April, which means spring is now in full swing. Opportunities to be a good neighbor around Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are sprouting as fast as seedlings in the warm sun.

Here are five ways to do good for others (and yourself) this month.

1. Drive Focused: April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Highway Patrol and other local departments plan on cracking down on distracted driving all month as a way to bolster public awareness of this dangerous problem. Using a cell phone while driving—hand-held or hands-free—delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent, according to one university study. And text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Find out more at In the meantime, officials want everyone to take the pledge to drive distraction free, and to encourage others to do the same.

2. Knit for a Cause: A group of people who love to knit and crochet get together regularly to create hats and scarves for Sacred Heart Community Services. Called One Brink Knits, it’s a part of the One Brick Silicon Valley group that helps connect volunteers with service projects. Don’t know how to knit or crochet? That’s O.K., there are patient folks who will teach you. The group is meeting from 6:30 to 9 p.m., on Tuesday, April 10, at Panera Bread at 118 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale. Go to the group’s event page on the One Brick website to find out more and to RSVP.

3. Thank a Volunteer: National Volunteer Week is April 15-21. The week was established in 1974 and continues to grow as a time to inspire, recognize and encourage people to engage with their communities. If you know someone who is making a difference in our community, say thank you! If you are an organization and need some ideas of how to celebrate your volunteers, you can download a resource guide from the Thousand Points of Light Institute, the sponsor of National Volunteer Week.

4. Be Kind to the Earth: Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, and there are tons of educational and volunteer activities planned around the Bay Area that weekend. A popular event in Silicon Valley is Cupertino’s Earth Day and Arbor Day Festival, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. The free event, held at the Cupertino Civic Center Plaza, 10300 Torre Ave., includes free bicycle tune-ups, a farmer’s market, live music and entertainment, arts and crafts for all ages, food, and displays from more than 75 organizations and businesses. Or visit the Earth Day Peace and Social Justice Fair on the actual Earth Day, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto.

Once you’ve caught the green fever on Earth Day, take the Drive Less Challenge, which kicks off Earth Day and continues through May 5. Organizers are encouraging Bay Area folks to pledge to drive less by setting personal goals for biking, walking, carpooling or taking transit, creating teams to band together in the effort, and tracking and comparing results on the Drive Less website. Participants can even win prizes.

5. Create a Beautiful Day: Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the single largest volunteer service event in the Silicon Valley. Beautiful Day is happening Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29. Most of the projects take place Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29. The organization is recruiting 6,000 volunteers do everything from community clean-ups, to house repairs, to school spruce-ups, to gardening projects, and more. There are also opportunities to work with homeless and disabled people, as well as senior citizens. See the Beautiful Day projects page for more information. Good Neighbor Stories wrote about the event in March, and you can also check out our stories from last year.

For more ideas, see our Ways to Be a Good Neighbor Page.