Smiling Student Receives Award for Kindness

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Gerardo Ochoa and Brianna Mercado

CUPERTINO—A nice guy finished first at Homestead High School at the end of the 2011-12 year, as senior Gerardo Ochoa received the school’s first Sandlot Award.

The award was created specifically to shine a light on students who display kindness to their peers and the community at large. Ochoa, described as someone who always has a smile on his face, was nominated by teachers who told the selection committee that he always sought to make himself and those around him better.

Although this is the first year for the award at Homestead, it started four years ago as the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award primarily at Monta Vista High School, named after the inspirational Monta Vista student who died from cancer in 2008. It was created by Justin’s father, Albert Perkins, and two friends, Steven Young and John Loiacano, a Monta Vista alumnus. Young is one of the founders of a nonprofit website, Sandlot Hero, dedicated to sharing inspirational stories of people making a difference. The site includes stories about past award winners. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: June 10-16

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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, June 10

Save The Bay (SF) @saveSFbay

Our Restoration Education Programs yield positive results for students and the Bay. http://bit.ly/KjzLJQ

Palo Alto Medical @paloaltomedical

Tips to Avoid Dehydration & Heat Related Illnesses in Kids http://ow.ly/btVBf #sunsafety #parenting #healthtips

SVEF @svefoundation

Want to help middle school students get on the college track? Be a tutor in our Stepping Up To Algebra (SUTA) program http://ow.ly/bsJDk [Read more…]

Sandlot Awards: Monta Vista Senior Lauded for Community Spirit

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CUPERTINO—Monta Vista High School senior Raelle Alfaro was awarded the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award recently for her outstanding community service and team player attitude.

Alfaro volunteered with numerous organizations throughout high school, such as Cake4Kids, which provides decorated birthday cakes for disadvantaged children, the Peninsula Humane Society, and Hope’s Corner, a free breakfast program for the homeless.

This is the fourth year for the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award,  named for the inspirational student who passed away from cancer in 2008 by Justin’s father, Albert Perkins, and two friends, Steven Young and John Loiacano, a Monta Vista alumnus. It was specifically designed to single out students who display kindness to their peers and the world. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: June 3-9

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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, June 3

GLIDE @glidesf

“I just think what they do is extraordinary,” Warren Buffett (on GLIDE). #BuffettAuction begins live on #eBay http://ow.ly/bkqMD

Amy Jussel @ShapingYouth

NYT: Super-sized soda “gigantic enough for a small marine mammal to do laps in” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/opinion/sunday/bruni-trimming-a-fat-city.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y Nanny state or Necessary? #kids #health

Save The Bay (SF) @saveSFbay

Test your Bay knowledge and play Battle for the Bay! http://bit.ly/battleforsfbay

Monday, June 4

The SF Foundation @tsff

We’re proud to be the first funder of @HPP_SF‘s incredible work and vision! http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/change-agents/nurse-offers-health-welfare-services/ via @TheBayCitizen [Read more…]

Repairing Bikes and Lives

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Jim Gardner

“What goes around, comes around,” is one western interpretation of Karma, and there’s probably no better illustration of the concept than Good Karma Bikes of San Jose, where those who once sought free help for their broken down bicycles are now helping others—while repairing their own lives in the process.

Under the motto, “Transportation for transformation,” the two-year-old nonprofit has grown from one laid off engineer fixing bikes for homeless people in St. James Park, to a team of volunteers that not only fix thousands of bikes each year for homeless and low-income clients, but also provide job training, as well as a friendly place to belong.

Every Saturday in a makeshift bicycle repair shop covered by bright red canopies near the Diridon Station (the clinic has since moved to a warehouse at 345 Sunol St., San Jose), loud cheers of welcome greet returning volunteers who come from all over the South Bay Area and Peninsula. As people line up with their bikes to be fixed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—between 30 and 40 every week—each person is greeted with friendly smiles and treated with great care and respect.

There is no charge for the repairs. The clients are considered the same as paying customers, and the volunteer mechanics strive to perform the same quality work as a professional bike shop.

While it may look like Good Karma Bikes is one more nonprofit providing free services to the community, founder and Executive Director Jim Gardner insists it’s something more. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June

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Time to kick off the summer with five ways to be a good neighbor in your community.

1) Duck!: The 5th annual Silicon Valley Duck Race is Sunday, June 10. The El Camino Hospital Foundation will launch 15,000 rubber ducks into Vasona Creek at Vasona Lake Park, 333 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos, as part of a fundraising race. You can adopt a duck for $5, a family of ducks for $25, a club for $50, and a flock for $100. The first five ducks that reach the finish line in Lake Vasona win prizes, and one duck may even win $1 million. The monies raised go to El Camino Hospital Los Gatos, a not-for-profit, acute-care, full service hospital that serves the communities of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and San Jose. The race is accompanied by a festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with lots of activities, food, information booths, and more.

2) Share Your Lunch: Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is once again urging us to share our lunches with local children who are at risk to go hungry this summer. Officials estimate that one in five children need some sort of support through the summer months, when they don’t have access to free or subsidized school lunches. [Read more…]