Furry Good Neighbors at San Jose Airport Spread Cheer

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Kyra Hubis and Henry James at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

“Henry is in the house!”

The shout out rises from jubilant TSA agents on many Monday mornings at Mineta San Jose International Airport, in San Jose, Calif., as regular visitor Henry James makes his way through security into Terminal B.

With a big smile—and a wagging tail—Henry signals his mutual excitement at seeing his fans. The 5-year-old golden retriever is on his way to his volunteer job as one of the airport’s 13 certified therapy dogs, greeting nervous, frazzled and even distraught passengers, and reducing employees’ stress levels. San Jose is reportedly the first airport to use therapy dogs, and inspired up to a dozen other U.S. airports to launch similar all-volunteer programs in the last two years. [Read more…]

Slow Down and Celebrate Earth Day

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Did you miss all the Earth Day celebrations around the Bay Area over the weekend? No worries, since Earth Day is this Wednesday, April 22. You can still celebrate on your own, and I have good news for you: you don’t have to add anything to your schedule, only subtract. I’m re-running this post from April 2011 to explain how.

On this 41st Earth Day I have two words for how to be a good neighbor to the planet: SLOW DOWN.

Here are some ways slowing down will make each of us a better neighbor to the Earth. I start with the more obvious ways, and end with a way that may be a surprise. [Read more…]

‘Nix the Nuts’ Campaign Seeks to Increase Spaying, Neutering

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Nix the Nuts HSSV Spay and Neuter CampaignUsing a very to-the-point message—”Nix the Nuts”—the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is partnering with 20 local veterinary offices to provide reduced spay and neuter services throughout the month of February. Clients can receive up to 40% off the regular price of procedures in some cases.

“Increasing spay and neuter efforts at this time of year heads off hundreds of homeless litters in the spring and summer months,” says Dr. Cristie Kamiya, HSSV Chief of Shelter Medicine.

In addition, HSSV officials say there are a number of added benefits to spay or neuter your pets, like living a healthier and longer life. For example, it can completely eliminate the risk of testicular cancer in male animals and also reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers in females. There is less desire for animals to roam, minimizing the interest to mate, spray or mark territory while also decreasing the chances of an accident with a vehicle and fights with neighboring animals.

The HSSV “Nix the Nuts” webpage, hssv.org/snmonth, lists where to find participating veterinary offices. Appointments can also be made with HSSV directly. Residents in several zip codes may even be eligible for free spaying and neutering services; see the webpage for more information. [Read more…]

Random Acts of Kindness Week 2015: Spread a Wave of Kindness Online

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The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF) is encouraging people to commit 100,000 random acts of kindness by Sunday, Feb. 15, amplifying the kindness by sharing that act online to the world during International Random Acts of Kindness Week.YouTube Preview Image

“Imagine if for one week, all of your social media feeds were flooded with kindness. Uplifting news stories, inspiring quotes, kind comments…for one week everyone united to focus on the positive. That’s the goal of #RAKWeek,” the RAKF website states. The goal is for people to do an act of kindness, and then create a social media post using the hashtag #RAKWeek2015.

Now in it’s 20th year, International Random Acts of Kindness Week began Monday, Feb. 9, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 15. Millions of people around the world participate each year, including classroom students and teachers, community organizations, and individuals. The RAKF highlights dozens of kindness stories from RAK Week, as well as hundreds of kindness ideas, on its website.  [Read more…]

Project WeHOPE Expanding Services to House the Homeless

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Pastor Paul Bains puts out the Warming Shelter sign at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto.

Housing more homeless and at-risk adults in East Palo Alto through its successful Supportive Housing Program is the main goal of Project WeHOPE in 2015, the organization recently announced.

“San Mateo is very fortunate to have a partnership with Project WeHOPE. They do a remarkable job at providing a welcoming place – a warm and safe place to sleep, a nutritious meal, and the company of others who are also going through a rough patch in theirs lives,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum.

“Project WeHOPE lives up to its name. It gives the weary what they need to regroup and in doing so, helps them rekindle the hope they need for a better tomorrow. Thank you, Project WeHOPE,” said Slocum.

Launched in February 2014, the Supportive Housing Program started with a vision to give homeless clients the life tools to help them help themselves. It was well received by clients and the various county agencies involved, and as a result of its success, nearly 100 clients have been helped and over 20 have moved into permanent or supportive housing. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in the New Year

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be-kind-everyone-you-meet-fighting-hard-battle-whoisplatoThe old year is put to bed, and the New Year is still waking up and getting started. As you rise up with it, consider some ways to make this year a little happier for you and those around you. You can make a difference in the lives of the people you come into contact with with only a small amount of effort. Here are five ways you can be a good neighbor this year. Can you suggest more?

1) Seek First to Understand: By now we’ve all seen the Internet memes out there with Plato’s quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard (or harder) battle.” Next time you encounter someone who seems like he or she is about to bite your head off, consider the person might be having a really bad day, or is going through a painful time. If it’s someone in a store or on the road, let them pass and silently wish them well. If it’s a friend, co-worker or family member, save the tart response and ask a few questions. Hey, are you having a bad day? What’s up?

2) Schedule in Chance Conversations: Years ago my neighbors told me it always looked like I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I [Read more…]