Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in January


Happy New Year! The world didn’t end in 2012, and the even better news is we get a fresh start in 2013. How will you make this new year better than the last for yourself, andNational-Mentoring-Month-Five-Ways-to-be-a-Good-Neighbor-in-January-2013 for the community? Here are five suggestions to make the world just a little nicer in the month of January. Try one, and let us know what happens!

1. Be a Mentor: January is National Mentoring Month, a time to highlight how important it is for every child to have a caring adult in his or her life. The awareness month is spearheaded nationally by the Harvard School of Public Health; Bay Area Mentoring is leading local awareness efforts. Thursday, Jan. 10, is “I Am a Mentor Day”, when all mentors are encouraged to go on social media to tell their stories, and inspire others to become mentors. Thursday, Jan. 17, is “Thank Your Mentor Day,” for anyone helped by a mentor in childhood to share his or her story. Keep up with the latest on the National Mentoring Month Facebook Page. To find out how to become a mentor in the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to visit the Bay Area Mentoring website.

2. Donate Blood: January is National Blood Donor Month, established in 1970. The holiday season usually means less blood donations, because of holiday schedules, travel, bad weather, and illness. January becomes a critical month for blood banks to replenish dwindling supplies. Somewhere in America people need blood every two seconds, and more than 400,000 pints of blood are needed each year, according to FEMA. Donating blood is completely safe, and could save someone’s life. Find out how you can become a blood donor by contacting your nearest Red Cross office: Red Cross Silicon Valley or Red Cross Bay Area.

3. Dig Those Dahlias: The Dahlia Society of California needs help digging thousands of Dahlia tubers out of the ground from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 12, and Sunday, Jan. 13, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Dr., in Golden Gate Park. This event is held rain or shine. The society provides a pizza lunch, but potluck appetizers, salads, and desserts are welcomed. Training is provided for anyone who is willing to apprentice for most of a day. The Dahlia Dell is located east of the conservatory, and you can park near it on Saturday; Sunday the park is closed to cars, so park near McLaren Lodge at 501 Stanyan St., and walk in. See the San Francisco Parks Alliance website for more details.

4.  Volunteer on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: This year’s day commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. is Monday, Jan. 21, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. The White House declared Saturday, Jan. 19 as the day, so let’s call it the Weekend of Service. In any event, plans are underway for volunteer projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit the MLK Day of Service website, and use the search function to find a service project near you. Like to sing? The Musician Corps will be deploying Song Squads to neighborhoods all over San Francisco on Monday, singing songs honoring Dr. King to the homeless, in convalescent homes, soup kitchens, and more. Other Day of Service events include shoreline restoration, assembling backpacks for the homeless, and much more. Or do your own act of service in your neighborhood, like helping a neighbor, picking up trash, etc. See our Be Kind: Kindness Ideas Page for ideas.

5. Stop Human Trafficking: The 2013 Freedom Summit is taking place Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26, at Harbor Light Church, 4760 Thornton Ave., Fremont. The primary focus of this annual conference is to bring to light the persistent problem of human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area. California is considered to be one of the top three states active for human trafficking, according to the California Emergency Management Agency, and the Bay Area is considered one of the nation’s worst areas for child sex trafficking, according to the group California Against Slavery. Conference participants will learn how they can help end this terrible practice happening in our communities from national and local leaders dedicated to stopping human trafficking. Cost of the two-day conference is $95, $50 for students.