Let’s Be Helpers: Wise Words From Mr. Rogers in the Face of Tragedy

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who Fred Rogers With Kidsare helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mr. Rogers

Let’s be helpers.

Tell Friends About Good Neighbor Stories, Enter to Win a 2013 Datebook!

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You could be a winner in our end of the year promotion contest! To enter, ask your friends on Good-Neighbor-Stories-2013-Datebook-inspirational-calendar-contest-Pam-Marino-Reach-and-TeachFacebook or Twitter to “like” our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter. Make sure you tag us (@goodneighborstories for Facebook; @gnstories for Twitter). Double your chance to win by doing both! The contest ends at 12 midnight, PST, on Friday, Dec. 28.

For helping introduce us to more new neighbors, you’ll be entered to win a copy of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! The datebook features uplifting stories and photos from the Good Neighbor Stories website, as well as inspirational quotes, and reminders for all the major holidays. Use for yourself as a calendar, or perhaps a gratitude journal, or give as a gift to make someone’s New Year bright.

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December

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It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!

Jacob-Goeders-The-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Christmas-fund-drive

Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]

The New Datebook is Here! The New Datebook is Here!*

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On Friday I got to hold in my hands a printed copy of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook. It was an exciting moment, the culmination of a lot of discussions and work over the past year.

The datebook looks really beautiful, thanks to Design Action Collective in Oakland, and Inkworks Press in Berkeley, brought on board to the project by publishers Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi at Reach and Teach.

We printed a limited number of these books, so don’t get left behind! They make awesome holiday gifts for folks who still use paper calendars (you can probably think of some of them right now).

Beyond acting as a calendar, the datebook would also make a wonderful place to write down goals and intentions, or as a gratitude journal. It’s full of upbeat, positive stories and photographs, which will brighten anyone’s day.

By buying the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook, you’re also supporting Bay Area-based small businesses, and you’re helping to spread the word about the terrific people and organizations featured within.

You can find out more, as well as order copies, at the Reach and Teach website.

* A nod to Steve Martin’s “The Jerk”.  

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor at Thanksgiving

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It’s the Thanksgiving edition of our “Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor” series, with five suggestions of how you can be be a good neighbor in honor of one of America’s most treasured holidays. What better way to show how thankful you are by paying it forward to someone else?

1. Donate a Turkey – Today!: The latest news is that there is a serious turkey shortage at food banks and organizations around the Bay Area that provide the traditional bird to families in need. On Tuesday, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced it was nearly 6,000 turkeys short of its goal of 12,000 donations. Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose said it needed nearly 4,000 more turkeys. To donate, buy frozen and deliver (still frozen) to the agency of your choice. See the bottom of this post for a list of groups asking for donations. And don’t forget these agencies also need non-perishable fixings to go with the turkey, so consider an additional donation of some canned goods.

2. Invite an “Orphan” to Dinner: Set an extra place at the table for someone you know is going to be alone this Thanksgiving. Make them feel welcome and part of the celebration.

3. Mend a Relationship: Don’t go through another holiday harboring hard feelings toward a family member, close friend or neighbor. Offer a sincere apology, if necessary, and work toward forgiving past transgressions. Don’t try to control the outcome of your interactions; just focus on the good, and let go of any expectations. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November

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There are many, many ways to be a good neighbor in your neighborhood, larger community, and the world, in the month of November, but I’m focusing on just five here. Two have a military theme, another two encourage supporting local crafters and artisans, as well as small businesses, and the fifth shines a light on World Kindness Week.

Before I do, this November is a big presidential election month; check out earlier posts on how to be a good neighbor at election time. Number one is voting, and next is getting along with others both online and off while discussing political viewpoints.

I also shared a short list of where to donate to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, another good thing to do in November. Later this month, look for a post on “Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor at Thanksgiving.”

In the meantime, here are the five general ways I’m suggesting this month.

  1. Honor Our Veterans: Sunday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day; show you care by attending a local Veterans Day parade or event. The largest Veterans Day parade in Northern California is in downtown San Jose. A special ceremony takes place “at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street, in honor of the 1918 Armistice of the “War to End All Wars.” The Parade begins at noon, traveling [Read more…]

Top 10 Reasons To Buy Our 2013 Datebook

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The Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook is officially off to the printers! Here are the “Top 10” reasons why you need to buy this datebook from our friends at Reach and Teach.

  1. Lots of feel good stories to brighten your day. You’ll enjoy seeing the uplifting stories throughout the datebook when you check or note appointments.
  2. Colorful photos that will make you smile all year long.
  3. Inspirational quotes to encourage and motivate.
  4. Plenty of room to write down your appointments or special days.
  5. Don’t use a paper calendar? Our datebook is perfect for use as a place to write goals and intentions, or as a gratitude journal to keep track of what you’re grateful for each day.
  6. It’s good for the Earth. Be satisfied knowing the datebook is printed on paper made from recycled materials, with soy ink.
  7. Great reminders of holidays and other important days from a wide variety of perspectives. If you’re not celebrating a particular holiday, chances are some of your neighbors are. Extend good wishes to them, or get a conversation going and promote cross-cultural understanding.
  8. Helps spread the word about wonderful and worthy nonprofit organizations featured within in the book.
  9. Supports small business. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re supporting all local businesses.
  10. The perfect gift! Great for family, friends, teachers, caregivers, neighbors—practically anyone. It’s non-fat and zero calories, fits all sizes, is extremely useful, and will lift the spirits of those who use it. They’ll think of you and your thoughtfulness all year!

 

 

 

Avoid Kicking Yourself Later Like I’ve Done Many Times at Costco

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If I learned anything from being a Costco customer for more than two decades (it was Price Club when we joined) it’s that if you see something you’re really interested in, buy it now, because it probably won’t be there the next time you come. I kicked myself many times for not grabbing some widget, tchotchke, or tasty specialty item on an earlier visit.

To help you avoid facing a similar fate, I’m here to give you fair warning: only a limited number of  the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook are slated for printing. The best way to insure you get a copy is to pre-order one by Friday, Oct. 19.

“Start everyday feeling good about the world,” is the motto my datebook co-creators at Reach and Teach like to say when describing it, and it’s extremely apt. You’ll start every day with loads of inspiration from the uplifting photos and stories, as well as the encouraging quotes.

The datebook is the perfect holiday gift under $20 for anyone you know who could use some good news throughout the year. It’s also great for anyone adamant about sticking to a paper calendar to keep track of dates and appointments.

Speaking of paper vs. digital calendars, if you’ve made the switch to digital, I make the case in an earlier post that the datebook is great for other uses, such as a place to keep track of goals and intentions, or used as a gratitude journal, listing those things you feel grateful for at the end of each day.

For lots more details about the datebook, see the post introducing it, and/or read all about it and see a low resolution PDF at the Reach and Teach website.

So skip kicking yourself ! Order a copy (or more, for gifts) as soon as possible. And if you miss the pre-order deadline there’s still a chance you’ll be able to snatch up copies, since an additional number beyond the pre-orders will be produced.

 

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in October

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Like those fun Russian nesting dolls, tucked inside each one of our five ways to be a good neighbor tips are even more ideas on how to Pink for Octobermake your community a much better place. Take a peek, see what ideas pique your interest, and do good!

Know some more ways? Leave ideas in the comment section, or drop us a line and let us know about ideas in October, November, and beyond.

1. Go Pink: If you’re noticing pink ribbons cropping up everywhere, it’s because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Nonprofits, health groups, government agencies, and businesses are banding together to promote awareness of the disease, raise funds for research, and provide greater access to diagnosis and treatment. Events are taking place all month, like El Camino Hospital’s Girls’ Night Out on Oct. 23, in Los Gatos, or the TREK Breast Cancer Awareness Ride on Oct. 13, in Los Altos. You can even bowl for breast cancer awareness in a special league in Milpitas; proceeds throughout the month go to fund Susan G. Komen For the Cure. On Oct. 27 the American Cancer Society is presenting the 5th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, in San Jose. For even more ideas, check out this local Patch.com story. For early detection cancer screening for low income women, see the Every Woman Counts page on the California Department of Health Services website.

2. Walk On: Speaking of walking, besides the aforementioned breast cancer walk, there are a number of charity walks happening in the Bay Area this month. Consider raising money for a good cause, while at the same time meeting friendly people and getting some exercise along the way. Upcoming charity walks include the Bay Area Leadership Foundation Fourth Annual Walk for Leadership in Oakland on Oct. 6, to benefit deserving youth going to college, the Walk for Farm Animals in San Francisco on Oct. 13, promoting compassionate treatment of farm animals, and the Bay Area Walk/Run for Food Allergies in Memory of BJ Hom, also on Oct. 13, in San Jose, to support the Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). On Oct. 14 walkers can support the American Diabetes Association at the  Step Out: Walk to End Diabetes  in San Jose. And on Oct. 20 it’s the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, in San Jose.

3. Be Festive: Fall seems to bring out the festivals, so take advantage of the chance to make new friends in your community. [Read more…]

Three Good Reasons to Buy Our Paper (Gasp!) Datebook

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The Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook is printed on good old fashioned (recycled) paper, and before you roll your eyes and say, ‘that’s as passe as the iPhone 4′, hear me out on three reasons why a paper datebook is a good idea.

1. It’s a great gift for anyone still firmly in the paper calendar camp. If you’ve made the switch to digital, you probably know a few people in your life who are clinging to writing down appointments and important events with pen and paper. The Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook is a convenient carry-anywhere size at 8 1/2 x 5 1/2, with a generous amount of room to write in the box of each date. It’s spiral bound, so the datebook lies flat when you need to write something down, or want to display specific pages for quick reference. The full-color illustrations, positive stories, and inspirational quotes will brighten anyone’s day.

2. Makes a great location to write down your goals, dreams, and intentions. Instead of using it as a way of  keeping track of places you are supposed to be, why not use it as a way of dreaming about the places you want to be. Use the uplifting stories and colorful photos as inspiration for your own ideas about living a better life and becoming a better neighbor to the world. Keep track of your goals and intentions as you travel through 2013, and mark your progress. Make sure to celebrate your successes along the way!

3. Keep track of what you are grateful for.
Many motivational experts recommend spending a few minutes at the end of each day writing down things you are feeling grateful for. The Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook makes a great gratitude journal, where you can jot down the people and events which blessed your day. At the end of the year you’ll have an amazing list of what makes your life so special to, and you can refer back to it anytime.

The Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook is available for pre-order now, and will come in plenty of time for gift giving at holiday time. [Read more…]