Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in September


housing-one-housing-1000-silicon-valley-homelessness-five-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-september-2013Summer vacation is over and the rush into fall has officially begun. Before you rush ahead too far, consider carving out a little time to help others around you this month. Use one or more of our five suggestions below as a way to get started. Have more suggestions? Tell us in the comments section!

1. Help the Homeless: Cuts to Section 8 housing vouchers this month and sky high housing costs will most likely throw some Bay Area neighbors into homelessness, and will definitely keep those who are already homeless, and want to be housed, on the streets. Consider helping an organization in your community that is making significant progress in working to house people. Housing 1000 is a community campaign in the Silicon Valley that has been working the past two years to house 1,000 people by the end of 2013. As of July the campaign is still more than 50 percent away from that goal, but the efforts continue. You can help by visiting the Housing One website, where you can see stories of people Housing 1000 is helping and donate either toward specific clients, or more generally to the organization. For a sobering look at what we’re up against in the fight against homelessness in the Silicon Valley, see the Business Insider’s recent special report on the issue.

2. Volunteer in Honor of 9/11: Sept. 11 was declared a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009 to honor the fallen from the [Read more…]

Commentary: Time to Show Up and Speak Up For Our Communities


It’s time to show up and speak up. Too many of us have been quiet and inactive for too long when it comes to the dual public health and safety Newtown-ribbon-sandy-hook-12/14/12-speak-up-show-up-for-change-good-neigbor-storiescrises, gun violence, and mental illness. Too many of us have been in a type of waking slumber, waking up occasionally after nightmares like Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, only to fall back asleep after some cry, ‘Too soon! Look away! Nothing will ever change anyway!’

Friday, Dec. 14, 2010, we woke up as a country to a terrible nightmare. The date “12/14” is now our “9/11” when it comes to the realization that we have been inactive for too long in dealing with our gun culture, as well as the very broken system that is supposed to help the mentally ill. The twin towers came down on Friday in Newtown, CT, and nothing must ever be the same.

Each of us as members of our communities, has a responsibility to make those communities strong and safe. We can’t wave it off and say, ‘someone else will do it.’ We all have to show up and speak up. [Read more…]

Still Time to Observe Day of Service and Remembrance


As I hung my flag outside my home this morning, it took me back to that awful day 11 years ago when, after watching the terrible events unfold on the TV, I spontaneously hung the flag outside to show solidarity with my country and the victims of the attacks.

More than a decade later, I am glad that we have more ways to honor the victims than just a symbolic flag raising. Today is officially known as a Day of Service and Remembrance, and many organizations, like HandsOn Bay Area, have designated the entire week a time to serve others.

If you’re looking for ways to make this day meaningful, there is still time to get involved. A few events are happening tonight, and there are some spots left to volunteer with a HandsOn project. Or take the commemoration into this weekend, and sign up for one of numerous service events. You can also get involved less formally by committing to do something kind for someone else today.

Read on for a list of ceremonies, multifaith events, and volunteer opportunities. [Read more…]

Remembering 9/11 Good Neighbors Part 3

9/11 Memorial

By Vincent Desjardin


One more inspirational story of Good Neighbors from 9/11 on this 10th anniversary.

“Sanctuary at Ground Zero”

Remembering 9/11 Good Neighbors Part 2


We’re remembering the ultimate Good Neighbors of 9/11 with links to inspirational stories. Here are a few more stories of  those that stood in the gap on 9/11 and beyond:

Memories of Americorps members who served in the wake of 9/11

Heartwarming story of a blind man’s guide dog that led him to safety out of the World Trade Center

A Millbrae mother urges people to give service on the 10th anniversary to honor heroes like her son, Mark Bingham, of Flight 93


Remembering 9/11 Good Neighbors Part 1


We’re remembering the ultimate Good Neighbors of 9/11 for the next three days with links to stories of hope about people (and animals) that either gave, or are still giving, of themselves to help othersSearch Dog Team at World Trade Center since the events 10 years ago.

Enjoy these inspirational stories as you reflect on the anniversary:

People and dogs who teamed to search the rubble at Ground Zero

Extraordinary journal entries from one Salvation Army member who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11. According to the Salvation Army website, the organization was helping at the scene less than one hour after the buildings collapsed.

Children of 9/11 victims who are healing through helping others

Volunteer Events to Commemorate 9/11


What better way to remember 9/11 then through giving service to others? There are numerous volunteer events happening around the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area to commemorate the 10-year anniversary.9/11 Day of Remembrance

If you’re looking for an event near you, a good place to start is the 911 Day organization’s event locator. Just put your zip code in the box at the top right hand corner, and you will get a list of events taking place near you.

The 911 Day group was started in 2002 by two men — one lost his brother in the Twin Towers — as a way to commemorate 9/11 as a national day of service. This year the group is encouraging citizens to join the 9/11 Tribute Movement, by posting their intentions to help others  this Sunday.

Are you going to volunteer to commemorate 9/11? Tell  us about it in comments!

Remembering 9/11 Heroes: Ultimate Good Neighbors


If you’re like me, there’s a part of you looking forward to September 12. Ten years after 9/11, it’s still painful to remember what happened that day. All the retrospectives going on at the moment are a little hard to face.

9/11 Memorial

By Vincent Desjardin

But I find I can’t stop thinking about the heroes, the ultimate Good Neighbors. To this day I am still struck by the people who, in the blink of an eye, ran inside buildings that were about to crumble. Or the complete strangers that banded together to bring down a plane before terrorists reached their intended target.

Thousands of ordinary people, who when faced with colossal sacrifice, gave of themselves for the sake of rescuing and helping others on that day, and in the weeks and months that followed.

Or the thousands of people in communities across the country who without much fanfare have reached out to help in small ways, either by donating money, or just reaching out to those near and far impacted by the events.

[Read more…]