Giving Back Q&A with Steven Ketchpel

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What’s the biggest mistake people make when donating?Giving-Back-book-Stephen-Ketchpel-volunteering-donating-good-neighbor-stories

I had an inkling Steven P. Ketchpel, Ph.D., Bay Area author of Giving Back, would have a very good answer. His well-written and thought-out guidebook helps readers through the process of figuring out their passions and interests, as well as through the planning, implementation, and follow-up of any donation or project.

As a follow-up to my review of his book, he agreed to answer that question and a few more about donating and volunteering.

Good Neighbor Stories: What’s the feedback from readers been like for the book?

Ketchpel: I love hearing back from readers (ketchpel@giving-back.info), and have heard stories of action inspired by the book:  starting to volunteer on a new project, having a discussion about values with their family, or making loans through Kiva.  I’ve also heard from experienced volunteer/leaders who love the book—one described it as a “yellow brick road” with “simple, easy steps we can take to create something important.”

What’s the biggest mistake people make when making donations? What’s the number one thing they can do to avoid mistakes in the future? [Read more…]

Rooted In Justice: MLK Day Tree Planting in East Palo Alto

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About 90 volunteers descended on two schools in East Palo Alto today to plant a variety of fruit trees as a way to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The nonprofit group Collective Roots organized the event at the East Palo Alto Phoenix Acadamy and the East Palo Alto Charter School. Volunteers came from all over the valley. There were high school groups, families with small children, Americorps volunteers, and residents from the neighborhood. Together they planted about 40 citrus and avocado trees around the playgrounds and parking areas of the Phoenix Acadamy, and another 25 on the grounds of the charter school, where Collective Roots operates an educational garden.

According to Executive Director Kris Jensen, the group will maintain the trees while they become established, and later will help coordinate harvesting fruit from the trees. In addition to running a creative hands-on learning program, Collective Roots also maintains the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market and the Backyard Gardener Network. [Read more…]

My Favorite MLK Quote: ‘Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate’

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Editor’s Note: This is a reprise of a 2011 post to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther  King Jr. Day, I offer one of my favorite MLK quotes from his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community:   

“Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

When I think of what Rev. King and his contemporaries accomplished by combating hate with love, I am in awe. Our basest instincts when hurt are to lash out. But King, who drew upon the teachings of Jesus, called all of us to a higher way of living. He asked us to love, even when love seems like a ridiculous response.

What I love about the quote, is the contrast between dark and light. Violence and evil exist in darkness. Love shines a light on evil, exposing it for all to see, and allowing us to stand up to what is wrong in order to bring about what is right.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share the love light that shines when people help others, making this world a brighter place. We all have the capability to make the choice for love, not hate. By sharing stories of that love choice, it’s my hope we will all be inspired to make a similar choice in our own neighborhoods and communities.

The Christian Science Monitor is featuring a list of 10 favorite MLK quotes today. One quote talks about “good neighbors” so I had to share it here:

“The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” – Strength to Love

What are your favorite MLK quotes? Share them with us! Also, if you are doing anything in honor of today – like participating in a special service event, or just your own special action – please share that, too.

MLK Day of Service Events Around The Valley

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Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. Visit MLKDay.gov.

Although Monday, Jan. 16, is a national holiday and for many a day off, the National Day of Service organization is encouraging us to make  it a “day on” by volunteering to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are several organized volunteer events around Silicon Valley on Monday—or create your own service event right in your own neighborhood. Even something as small as picking up trash, or performing an act of kindness for a neighbor or stranger, can be your own way of remembering Dr. King.

Below is list of organized events we’ve heard about. Use our contact form or comments section if you’ve heard of other events. And if you do your own act of service, share that with us, too!

United Way Silicon Valley – San Jose

Would you like to help local children get a quality education? Want to help teachers? [Read more…]

Continuing King’s Legacy All Year: Take the MLK 25 Challenge

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After last week’s sadness over the violence in Tucson, it was good to watch thousands upon thousands of people pour their hearts into service yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am one who believes the good news far outweighs the bad, if we pay attention. Yesterday was a day to pay attention to the people who are committed to their communities, and want to leave a positive stamp on those communities.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the people behind the National Day of Service have come up with a terrific way to extend the day into a whole year. The Corporation for National and Community Service is challenging all of us to commit to 25 acts of service in 2011. It’s called the MLK 25 Challenge. From simple acts like donating to  your local food bank, to more involved things like becoming a mentor, anything that helps make your community a better place can be part of the challenge.

If you’re scratching your head for ideas, the organization’s website has a handy checklist to get you started. See this blog’s posts from last month, when I listed 30 ideas for being a good neighbor at the holidays and beyond.

The group is encouraging anyone who takes the challenge to post their actions throughout the year on Twitter, using the #MLK25 hashtag.

Although the focus is on the Day of Service here in the U.S., Martin Luther King Jr. transcends this country. Anyone, anywhere on the planet could participate in this challenge. It would be amazing to see a Twitter feed with thousands of posts from all over the world, marking acts of kindness done in memory of MLK.

To help me remember the challenge, I’ve posted a sticky note on the side of my computer screen that says “#MLK25”. I’m starting with a small goal of remembering to take reusable bags to the market. Another small act I realized I did yesterday: I momentarily helped a neighbor try to locate a missing pet. Little things, I know, but sometimes when we start with the little things, it leads to bigger actions down the road. I like to think that even a small act, like a small raindrop in a pond of water, sends out ripples far beyond what we may even realize.

Yesterday I posted my favorite King quote:

“Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Think of each act of kindness – no matter how small – as a light against the darkness. When thousands of us shine our lights of love together, the darkness cannot triumph.

What about you? Will you take the MLK 25 Challenge? What ideas do you have to help others this year?

“Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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In honor of Martin Luther  King Jr. Day, I offer one of my favorite MLK quotes from his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community:   

“Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

When I think of what Rev. King and his contemporaries accomplished by combating hate with love, I am in awe. Our basest instincts when hurt are to lash out. But King, who drew upon the teachings of Jesus, called all of us to a higher way of living. He asked us to love, even when love seems like a ridiculous response.

What I love about the quote, is the contrast between dark and light. Violence and evil exist in darkness. Love shines a light on evil, exposing it for all to see, and allowing us to stand up to what is wrong in order to bring about what is right.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share the love light that shines when people help others, making this world a brighter place. We all have the capability to make the choice for love, not hate. By sharing stories of that love choice, it’s my hope we will all be inspired to make a similar choice in our own neighborhoods and communities.

The Christian Science Monitor is featuring a list of 10 favorite MLK quotes today. One quote talks about “good neighbors” so I had to share it here:

“The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” – Strength to Love

What are your favorite MLK quotes? Share them with us! Also, if you are doing anything in honor of today – like participating in a special service event, or just your own special action – please share that, too.