‘It’s Up to Us’ to Create Postive Change in Silicon Valley

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Santa-Clara-County-Assessment-Carole-Leigh-Hutton-United-Way-Silicon-ValleyThree cheers to Carole Leigh Hutton, president and CEO of United Way Silicon Valley, for the new focus of her organization on helping community members “actively engage in improving their lives.”

In a commentary published in Monday’s print edition of the Mercury News, Hutton outlined results from the 2012 Santa Clara County Community Assessment, which concluded in part that positive change in the lives of county residents must come from the residents themselves.

“There is little trust in institutions—government, nonprofits, faith-based—to solve community challenges. There is a strong sense that only residents themselves can create change,” she wrote.

In an executive summary of the report, one phrase heard from residents stood out: “It’s up to us.” [Read more…]

How to be a Good Neighbor at Election Time, Online and Off

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In my last post I looked at why being a good neighbor/citizen means exercising the right to vote. Today I list ways to be kind to others during the election season, when emotions may run high.

There’s that old admonishment to “never talk about religion or politics,” but during a highly contested election it can be difficult to sidestep the topic of politics altogether. Especially with how interconnected many of us are on social media, we now find our news feeds filled with well-meaning (or not) family and friends expressing themselves with frequent clicks.

Here’s my list of  ways to be a good and kind neighbor in the public space (in person and online) during the election. It’s not always easy; I admit it’s challenging for me to follow my own advice, and I’ve stumbled a number of times. Here’s to all of us elevating civility and focusing on the greater good at election time.

During an election a good neighbor:

How to be a Good Neighbor at Election Time; Why it’s Important to Vote

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Note: Today I give reasons why good neighbors vote. Join me next time for a list of ways to be a good and kind neighbor to our family, friends, and fellow citizens throughout the election season.

I spend a lot of time at Good Neighbor Stories working to inspire people to be better neighbors, not just in the literal sense of proximity on our own blocks, but in the global sense of how our actions ripple out through our communities and the rest of the world. What we do—or don’t do—has very real impact, even if we don’t perceive it. And while I haven’t said it explicitly, I do imply in my writings that being a good neighbor equals being a good citizen.

In this age of  up to half or more of the eligible voters not exercising the right to vote, this may seem like a bold, or even naive, claim: good neighbors/citizens vote. It is a right, but it’s also a responsibility. And with that responsibility comes some preparation so that the vote you make is an informed one.

If you have not registered to vote, or moved since you last voted, you have until Monday, Oct. 22, in California (postmarked or turned in at an official site) to register. You can register right now onlineOnce registered, take some time to do a little research before voting. In my next post, I’ll go into more detail on that aspect.

In the meantime, here are several basic reminders of why it’s important to vote: [Read more…]