Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in September

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September is the “Other New Year”, when the slower-paced summer comes to an end, and a new busier season starts to ramp up. In a way it’s another fresh start, with all new opportunities to be better neighbors in our communities and the world. Here are five ways to be a good neighbor this month.

1. Support Kids With Cancer: In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, get educated about what children and teens diagnosed with cancer and their families experience, and find out how you can help. According to The Truth 365, a volunteer organization that created a documentary and social media campaign to educate the public about pediatric cancer, more than 13,500 youth under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of those, approximately 2,500 succumb to their cancer; the average age of a child who dies from cancer is 8. Most causes of pediatric cancer remain a mystery, and there is no known way to prevent it. Find out more by visiting The Truth 365. While there you can sign a petition demanding more funding for pediatric cancer research, or even donate money toward research. Or, check out and donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which also supports childhood cancer research. Another great way to stay on top of the issue and show support for Jacob Goeders, a Bay Area boy known as “The Leukemia Slayer”, and his family, is by “liking” his Facebook page. The family is posting items about childhood cancer all month.

2. Take a Week (or just a day) to Show You Care and Remember: Sept. 11 was declared a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009 to honor the fallen from the tragic events of 2001, and two Bay Area organizations are using the opportunity by planning big volunteer service weeks between Sept. 9 and Sept. 15. HandsOn Bay Area is organizing what it’s calling “9/11: From Remembrance to Change”. There are 30 projects to choose from, with most of the projects happening either Sunday, Sept. 9, or Saturday, Sept. 15, and a few happening each day during the week. The organization is putting a special emphasis on helping veterans at some of the events, although other projects range from helping the homeless, to serving children or seniors, to participating in gardening projects. A calendar provides all the details of when and where projects are happening, as well as how to sign-up in advance. Also happening that same week is the “Week of Caring”, organized by the United Way of the Bay Area. Although registration has passed for companies and large groups to participate, you can contact the United Way to find out how to volunteer as an individual.

3. Provide Birthday Cakes for Kids in Need (While Enjoying Yummy Cake Yourself): Did someone say cake?! Cake4Kids is a Bay Area nonprofit that makes sure that kids who are either in need, at risk, or in foster care get a special birthday cake baked and decorated with love by volunteers. On Saturday, Sept. 15, the group is hosting its annual fundraiser, “Cake-Off4Kids 2012”. Guests will get to taste and score 50 different cakes during the event held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Domain Hotel, 1085 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale. Tickets are $25 a piece; only 250 will be sold.

4. Celebrate a Day of Peace: Every Sept. 21 around the world people observe the International Day of Peace, as well as a Day of Ceasefire, be it political or personal. The United Nations and the nonprofit Culture of Peace Initiative are urging everyone around the world to take one moment of silence at 12 noon in each time zone. Light a candle, say a prayer, or just sit in silence and dream of a peaceful future. Consider a “ceasefire” of all caustic or negative thoughts and comments for one day (especially in this election season!). You can also celebrate with others by attending an event through the Oakland Peace Center’s “Ten Days of Peace”, which begins Sept. 11, and ends on International Peace Day, Sept. 21. Check out the center’s website for more details.

5. Be a Good Neighbor/Honor the Good Neighbors in Your Life: It’s National Good Neighbor Day on Friday, Sept. 28! Consider doing something nice for a neighbor or your neighborhood that day (lots of ideas on our “More Ways to Be a Good Neighbor” page, or our ” Be Kind: Kindness Ideas” page). Or, maybe you know of someone in your neighborhood who is always doing something nice for others. Take a moment to thank him or her for making the neighborhood a nicer place.