Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in February


national-heart-month-american-heart-association-american-heart-monthThere are many problems we can’t individually solve, from a possible mega-drought in California to the entertaining-but-possibly-serious snafus at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. We can’t fix those head-scratching bathrooms in Sochi (!), but we can look around our own communities and find something we can fix, or at least take steps toward a positive resolution. Here are five ways you can help your own community or circle of influence in February.

1. Mend a Broken Heart: This is the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month. The American Heart Association (AHA) is teaming up with Walgreens to offer free blood pressure screenings all during February. According to the AHA, unchecked blood pressure can seriously damage arteries, the heart and other organs. Get checked, and make sure those you love get checked, too. And consider readying yourself to one day save a life by signing up for a CPR course. The AHA offers many levels of training, including the basic “Friends and Family.” The AHA website allows you to search by zip code for classes, and you can even get CPR training online at your convenience.

2. Spread Kindness (and yes, there is an app for that): Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week is Feb. 10-16, providing a whole week of opportunities to share some kindness with others. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s RAK Week page has 10 terrific ideas of how to spread kindness, including using the app Kindr (currently only for iPhones) to send kind messages to others. You can find all sorts of great kindness ideas on one of the most visited pages on this blog, the Be Kind: Kindness Ideas Page.

3. End Slavery of All Kinds: Human trafficking is one of the world’s most insidious problems, and the Bay Area is considered a hot spot in the nation for this scourge. Besides modern-day slaves making our clothes, electronics and other goods, sex trafficking of children and adults is a soaring issue. Learn how you can be a part of the solution at “Freedom for All,” a free dinner and discussion in Sunnyvale on Friday, Feb. 21. The dinner is co-sponsored by Not for Sale and the San Jose YWCA, and hosted by Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. Register for a spot on Eventbrite.

4. Celebrate Black History Month: Honor the important contributions of African Americans by attending one of many events being offered for Black History Month around the Bay Area. One such event features Black Freedom songs performed by acclaimed jazz vocalist Kim Nalley at the Jazz School in Berkeley on Sunday, Feb. 23. The songs have influenced modern American music, as well as inspired peoples around the world seeking freedom. See more Black History Month events on

5. Empower Women and Girls: Join an important discussion about women in society at “Women Hold Up Half the Sky,” on Sunday, Jan. 9, in San Jose. Later in the month, The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is sponsoring its Women and Girls Leadership Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Monroe Middle School in San Jose. Leaders from business, government and the community will speak, and participants will get a chance to interact with girls who attend the school. The event is meant to be an inspiration to girls to consider furthering their education and choosing careers. A portion of the summit fees will go to expand the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program. Register in advance on Eventbrite.