Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in April

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Earth-Day-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-April-2013As the weather warms up, so does the calendar: there are an increasing number of activities going on in the Bay Area in April. Lots of opportunities for cleaning up the environment, charity walking, service projects, community events, and more, are available.

Every month I list five ideas of how you can get involved in the community and make a difference to those around you and the rest of the world. Consider incorporating at least one of these suggestions into your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, check out my new Kindness Calendar, which lists special service and awareness days/weeks/months that happen annually. There are eight listed for April alone! And for even more community events, keep an eye on the GNS Community Calendar (or list your own events there!).

1. Love Your Mother (Earth): April 22 is Earth Day, but the entire month of April is in essence, Earth Month, with all the events happening around the Bay Area designed to beautify, build awareness of, and celebrate, the care and protection of our planet (it is, in fact, Keep America Beautiful Month, and Arbor Day is April 27). The first weekend in April kicks off Earth activities. Saturday, April 6, the City of Cupertino is [Read more…]

How to Organize a Great Block Party

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Yesterday I posted about how neighbors in Cupertino are strengthening their neighborhoods through throwing annual block parties. Today I’ve got a list of ideas on how to organize a great block party in your own neighborhood.

Live in an apartment building or condominium complex? Don’t let that stop you from getting neighbors together. A common area or local park can be used to gather people together with food and activities to facilitate conversations and connections.

Cottonwood Drive resident and professional party planner Lianne Hatcher, who helped organize this year’s 50s themed block party for her neighborhood, said it’s important to have one person play the role of block leader, who can then organize interested neighbors who want to be on the planning committee.

Plan the party one to two months in advance, and make sure the party date does not conflict with major events, like graduations or holidays where people will likely be traveling. [Read more…]

Block Parties Bring Neighbors Together

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Want to make your neighborhood a little nicer and safer? Do like the neighbors on Cottonwood Drive in Cupertino do, and break out the hot dogs and Samosas.

Every summer the residents along the street gather together for an annual block party, a day of food, games, and friendly chatting. More than just a fun festivity, the popular event serves as a way to knit the neighbors together just a little tighter, and make the neighborhood just a little nicer all year long.

“It’s a good community project. The more you know your neighbors, the better for your street,” said Nanette Domitrowich, as she put the final touches on preparations for Cottonwood’s 2012 block party last month.

The yearly party started several years ago, helping to lift morale; since they began Domitrowich said neighbors say “hi” to one another a little more.

Her co-block leader, Sujit Roy, called the tradition a nice way for neighbors to catch up with one another, since normally, “We drive in our cars and we don’t get to see anybody.”

This year Domitrowich and her neighbor a few doors down, Lianne Hatcher, planned a 50s theme for the event; they played pop tunes from the era, added a few decorations, and Hatcher even donned 50s garb.

Like most Silicon Valley neighborhoods, Cottonwood is a mixture of long-time residents—some homeowners have lived there more than 50 years—and newer transplants from around the world. [Read more…]