Peninsula Book Stores Collecting Books for Women Prisoners

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Former state assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Reach and Teach co-owner Craig Wiesner.

Several Peninsula independent book sellers are asking people to donate new and slightly used books and magazines to give women in state prisons some positive and engaging material to read.

The stores, along with a Palo Alto real estate office and Sunnyvale City Hall, are currently collecting books through May 15. Boxes at seven locations are available for people to drop off donations (click on “more” link below).

“More than two-thirds of the women in state prison are non-violent offenders and more than two-thirds are mothers. Any reading material that engages the mind and broadens horizons will help,” according to Craig Wiesner, co-owner of Reach and Teach in San Mateo.

Books needed include how-to books, quality fiction from diverse writers, and biographies. Paperbacks are strongly preferred. Only paperback textbooks are accepted, and only if they are less than three years old and in good condition. Current, quality magazines, also in good condition, are also being accepted.

Especially needed are children’s picture books, easy reading books, young adult, and teen classics for youth, women with lower reading levels and children during visitation, as are unopened boxes of Crayola crayons and packs of construction paper. [Read more…]

Funds Needed for Poster Asking Us to See, Not Watch, Our Neighbors

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see-my-neighbors-not-watch-poster-Micah-Bazant-Reach-and-Teach-Indiegogo-crowdraising“I don’t watch my neighbors. I see them.”

So starts a poster recently created by San Francisco Bay Area artist Micah Bazant, to promote seeing our neighbors with compassion, rather than suspicion. The team at Reach and Teach in San Mateo, and Bazant, are partnering to promote the poster on Indiegogo, a crowdsourcing platform for raising money and awareness for charitable causes.

Reach and Teach is seeking $2,000 to fund the first print run of posters, to be sold for $10 each. A portion of the sales will go to Bazant, and another portion will go to the Oakland organization, Justice for Families, which originally commissioned the poster. Fundraising started Aug. 14, and ends Sept. 20. The project had raised more than $1,100 as of Sept. 11. [Read more…]

Reach and Teach’s Grand Re-Opening at New ‘Jewel of a Spot’

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Craig Wiesner (left) and Derrick Kikuchi

The unique peace and social justice education store, Reach and Teach, is celebrating its grand re-opening at an all new location in San Mateo starting at 11 a.m., this Saturday, June 22, with live music, games, snacks, door prizes, storytelling, and more.

In addition to the books, toys, educational tools, fair trade products, jewelry, and gift items Reach and Teach sells, the new location at 144 W. 25th Ave. features a travel section with resources for world-changers and anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of other cultures.

Reach And Teach was founded as an online company in 2004, opening  its first brick-and-mortar shop in San Mateoin 2010. Owners Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi recently moved the store from its former location at 178 South Blvd. to the new storefront  in the heart of the city.

“We’ve learned so much and have become so wonderfully connected to the people of San Mateo that we were thrilled to be able to find a jewel of a spot on 25th Avenue where more people will get to know us and where we’ll be able to expand our offerings of books, fair-trade gifts, toys and games,” Kikuchi said in a press release. [Read more…]

‘There is Nothing to be Afraid of,’ Pastor Says in New Book About Islam

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ben-daniel-search-for-truth-about-islam-book-reach-and-teach-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesYou wouldn’t think the bastion of American TV motherhood, Donna Reed, would play into an impassioned argument in favor of people being less afraid of their Muslim neighbors. And yet, she does, as the role model and aunt of San Jose Presbyterian pastor Ben Daniel.

Daniel is the author of the recently released book, The Search for Truth About Islam; A Christian Pastor Separates Fact From Fiction. He told an audience in San Mateo on Saturday, May 4, that his Aunt Donna hired writers for her 1958-1966 show who were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era.

It was a bold move, since in the era of heightened fears about Communism, Reed exposed herself to being labeled a Community sympathizer, and possibly shut out of a career in Hollywood.

Just as his Aunt Donna’s brave actions helped allay America’s fears of Communists, either real or suspected, Daniel wants to allay the fears of today’s Americans.

“I want to be someone who is able to calm our fears. And that’s one of the most important things I hope comes out this book,” he said. “I hope I’m able to calm Americans’ fear of about Islam. Because, we are afraid of Muslims, and there is actually a lot of correlation between our fear of communism in the 1950s and our fear of Islam today.” [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”.  

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.

 

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…]

Introducing the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook

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I am very proud to announce that pre-sales are underway for the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! Now you can start every day feeling good about the world using the inspirational stories and photos from this very blog.

“Be a good neighbor, share good stories,” has always been at the heart of what I’ve encouraged here, and my hope is that the datebook will motivate users to do both each day of 2013.

Throughout the datebook you’ll see some of the wonderful volunteers and organizations featured on the website, like Yasmine Davis of Make a Birthday Wish, the teen who throws birthday parties for less fortunate kids, and Dave Severns, who before he passed away raised thousands of dollars for the hungry through his amazing Christmas light display, plus many more.

You can see a low resolution preview PDF of the datebook here.

The datebook would not have happened without my friends Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner at Reach and Teach. We became friends two years ago after I featured their peace and social justice learning company on this blog. Derrick proposed the idea of the datebook over lunch one day, and we have been working together since then to pull it all together. Orders for the book are on their Reach and Teach website. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in July

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Celebrate America’s independence by being a good neighbor this month! Here are five ways to give back to the community during July.

1) Party With Your Neighbors: If you’re home this Fourth of July plan an impromptu block party by inviting neighbors over for a barbecue or simple potluck. Or, find out what your city is doing to celebrate, and make a point of joining in the fun and getting to know more people from your community. For example, in Cupertino there’s a pancake breakfast, children’s parade, and concert in the park from 7 a.m. to noon at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd. Then in the evening there’s fireworks, with music and games from 6:45 until the big show starts at 9:30. Catch all the fun at either Creekside Park, 10455 Miller Ave., Hyde Middle School, 19325 Bollinger Rd., or Sedgwick Elementary, 19200 Phil Lane.

2) Sort Food for the Hungry: Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties has a brand new warehouse in San Jose to facilitate getting more food out to those who need it most as quickly as possible. The 75,000 square foot facility at 4001 N. First St., is called [Read more…]