Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in April


Earth-Day-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-April-2013As the weather warms up, so does the calendar: there are an increasing number of activities going on in the Bay Area in April. Lots of opportunities for cleaning up the environment, charity walking, service projects, community events, and more, are available.

Every month I list five ideas of how you can get involved in the community and make a difference to those around you and the rest of the world. Consider incorporating at least one of these suggestions into your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, check out my new Kindness Calendar, which lists special service and awareness days/weeks/months that happen annually. There are eight listed for April alone! And for even more community events, keep an eye on the GNS Community Calendar (or list your own events there!).

1. Love Your Mother (Earth): April 22 is Earth Day, but the entire month of April is in essence, Earth Month, with all the events happening around the Bay Area designed to beautify, build awareness of, and celebrate, the care and protection of our planet (it is, in fact, Keep America Beautiful Month, and Arbor Day is April 27). The first weekend in April kicks off Earth activities. Saturday, April 6, the City of Cupertino is having its 5th Annual Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. A week later, on April 13, both the Oakland Zoo and the Chabot Space and Science Center are hosting events. The zoo is throwing a Party for the Planet all day, and the Chabot center has a series of exhibits and activities planned. The big day in the Bay Area is Saturday, April 20, when organizations around the region are hosting dozens of clean-up events, presentations, and celebrations. The largest celebration of them all is Earth Day SF at Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Francisco, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The huge event includes music, an eco fashion show, demonstrations, a kids area, and more. The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park kicks off an entire week of activities on the 20th, ending Saturday, the 27th.

2. Walk to End Hunger at Home and Around the Globe: Besides celebrating Earth Day the weekend of April 20 and 21, 11 communities are participating in the Bay Area Hunger Walk 2013. The annual walks, also called CROP Walks, are organized nationally by Church World Service, and although numerous faith communities participate, anyone is welcome to walk in the fundraising events. The first CROP Walk was created in 1969, and is thought to be the “granddaddy” of charity walks everywhere. Originally the money raised was sent to fight hunger overseas, but today up to 25 percent remains in the community where it was raised. There are three walks on Saturday, April 20, in Brentwood, Oakland, and Pleasanton. On Sunday, April 21, the walks take place in Alameda, Berkeley, Pittsburgh, Antioch, Fremont, Marin, Sonoma, San Jose, and Vallejo.

3. Hug a Volunteer: April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week. It’s a time for nonprofit organizations to say “thank you” to the volunteers that make everything possible, and who make our communities better places to live and work. Many groups plan special events to show appreciation for their volunteers during this week.

4. Beautify the South Bay: If it’s April in Santa Clara County, it must mean it’s time for Beautiful Day, the annual major service event hosted by the nonprofit by the same name. This year nearly 40 projects are taking place all over the county from Monday, April 22, to Sunday, April 28. Opportunities to serve include sprucing up schools and neighborhoods, fixing up homes, encouraging single moms, disabled teens, and senior citizens, and much more. Sign up on the Beautiful Day website. And check out past GNS stories about the event.

5. Love a Community Neighbor’s Home: Another annual April event in the Bay Area is National Rebuilding Day, on the last Saturday of the month. This year the day is on April 27, and several Bay Area affiliates of the national Rebuilding Together organization are organizing volunteer events to help refurbish homes belonging to people who struggle caring their homes on their own due to illness, age, and economic challenges. To find an affiliate near you, see the Rebuilding Together website.


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