Grief Transforms to Joy Through Fostering Kittens


Jean Wilder’s broken heart over the death of a beloved cat is now overflowing with love for the almost 400 kittens she has fostered since 2001.

Wilder is a Kitten Foster Parent for Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV), saving the lives of young cats and socializing them in preparation for their new adopting families.

“It’s so rewarding to see these little kitties develop and become social,” she said. “It’s probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve done, work-wise.”

The 33-year Santa Clara resident used to be an analyst for Hewlett Packard, but now she considers it her job to make sure the kittens that stay temporarily in her home are ready to get along well with both people and other cats and become “nice family pets.”

This new volunteer job is the legacy of a beloved cat she owned 11 years ago, Wilder said.

“I had this cat named Gomer that I loved like people love their children. I was so attached to that cat,” she said. Sadly, Gomer died before he was 4-years-old. “I was heartbroken.”

After a lot of tears she said she, “knew I couldn’t just cry the rest of my life.”

She heard about kitten foster parenting, and attended a training class at HSSV. The tears were replaced with joy, as she welcomed her first litter, and then another, and another. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: May 6-12


Some of the Bay Area’s best neighbors are tweeting a treasure trove 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.

Sunday, May 6

Save The Bay (SF) @saveSFbay

When was the last time you had a really great #Saturday? Spend a morning on #SFBay with us:

Red Cross Bay Area @RedCrossBayArea

Volunteers assisted 37 people w/ food, shelter, and emotional support in today’s 4-alarm fire in San Francisco.

Homeless Connect SF @PHCSF

We need volunteer podiatrists for our May 9th event. Know anyone that can help? #PHCdailyneed

Monday, May 7

EHC LifeBuilders @EHCLifeBuilders

Did you know that EHC LifeBuilders has over 15 programs?! Read about them here: Let us know if you want to help! [Read more…]

Stamp Out Hunger: Send More Than Mail on Saturday


Mail carriers will be picking up and delivering more than mail this Saturday, May 12, as part of the  Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the largest single-day effort to combat hunger in America.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the 20-year-old program is also the largest single-day food drive for local food banks, according to officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The drive comes just as food banks are gearing up to feed area children through the summer who will lose access to subsidized school lunches.

Anyone can participate by leaving a sturdy bag of non-perishable food by their mailbox before the mail is delivered on Saturday. Food bank officials say items like peanut butter, pasta, rice, low-sugar cereal, and canned foods such as tuna, meat, stew, soup, and vegetables are needed the most. Mail carriers will deliver the food to local food banks. [Read more…]

Mural Brings New Life to Neighborhood


With each deliberate stroke of their color-laden paintbrushes, volunteers recently brought new life to a beloved landmark in the Gardner Neighborhood of San Jose, and in the process, brought the possibility of new life to the neighborhood itself.

Up until late April, that landmark was a faded spray paint mural of an Aztec calendar on the back of an old cement handball court in Biebrach Park. A young man from the neighborhood, Antonio Torres, created the mural in 1995 as a testament to the heritage of many of Gardner’s Hispanic residents.

The new Aztec calendar mural is now bursting with color, thanks to the work of more than 25 volunteers who worked through the annual Beautiful Day spring service event, held primarily over the weekend of April 28 and 29. An estimated 3,500 volunteers worked at 26 South Bay sites during the event for the faith-based nonprofit by the same name.

Reviving the mural was a dream of the Gardner Advisory Board for nearly three years, but leaders said a lack of funding kept the project on the back burner. When Beautiful Day organizers showed up with plans to revive the mural using donated materials and labor, it was an answer to prayer, said board president Rudy Martinez. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: April 29-May 5


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.

Sunday, April 29

Homeless Connect SF  @PHCSF

We need a karate instructor who can lead classes for kids at our July 27th Family Connect. Know anyone who can help? #PHCdailyneed

Habitat Greater SF @HabitatGSF

“After paying rent in February they had $4 left in the bank” – A Mission family, profiled

4others @4others

GOALLLLL! Our volunteers helped us pack 241,056 meals in our 2-day Food 4others MobilePack, exceeding our 225,000 goal! @fmsc_org #sanjose

Monday, April 30

Bay_Area_UW  @Bay_Area_UW

News You Can Use: As More Charities Promote Matching Gifts, Donors Grow Skeptical of Campaign Pleas [Read more…]

Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor in May


Every month we give you five ways to be a good neighbor. Consider them little nudges to break out of your routine and think and act positively outward toward the community around you. We love to hear your suggestions of how you’re being a good neighbor, so please leave a comment or contact us.

Here are five suggestions for May, 2012.

1. Ride a Bike!: May is National Bike Month; to celebrate there are events around the Bay Area and nationally to get more people out of their cars. Nationally, Bike to Work Week is happening May 14-18, culminating with National Bike to Work Day on the 18th. The inaugural National Bike to School Day is May 9, according to The League of American Cyclists. In San Francisco and other Bay Area communities the 18th annual Bike to Work Day is Thursday, May 10. Bicyclist organizations all over the region are planning events that day, like special energizer stations along commuting routes. Consider joining in on the fun that day as a way to improve your health, the planet’s health, and interact with others in the community. You can also form a team of up to five people for the Team Bike Challenge or Company Bike Challenge, and rack up miles all month to earn points and potentially win prizes.

2. Be Kind to Animals: May 6-12 is Be Kind to Animals Week. The East Bay SPCA is sponsoring a photo contest for photos of “Kind Kids” posing with animals. The Humane Society of Silicon Valley is conducting a class on how to raise orphan kittens on Monday, May 7 (reservations required). They also have a class on Thursday, May 10,  “Helping Homeless Cats and Your Community”, for people who want to find out more about how to help homeless kitties. [Read more…]