Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in September

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September is the “Other New Year”, when the slower-paced summer comes to an end, and a new busier season starts to ramp up. In a way it’s another fresh start, with all new opportunities to be better neighbors in our communities and the world. Here are five ways to be a good neighbor this month.

1. Support Kids With Cancer: In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, get educated about what children and teens diagnosed with cancer and their families experience, and find out how you can help. According to The Truth 365, a volunteer organization that created a documentary and social media campaign to educate the public about pediatric cancer, more than 13,500 youth under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of those, approximately 2,500 succumb to their cancer; the average age of a child who dies from cancer is 8. Most causes of pediatric cancer remain a mystery, and there is no known way to prevent it. Find out more by visiting The Truth 365. While there you can sign a petition demanding more funding for pediatric cancer research, or even donate money toward research. Or, check out and donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which also supports childhood cancer research. Another great way to stay on top of the issue and show support for Jacob Goeders, a Bay Area boy known as “The Leukemia Slayer”, and his family, is by “liking” his Facebook page. The family is posting items about childhood cancer all month.

2. Take a Week (or just a day) to Show You Care and Remember: Sept. 11 was declared a National Day of Service and Remembrance [Read more…]

Free Tax Help Available in Bay Area; Use Our Interactive Map

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Hundreds of volunteers are being deployed throughout the San Francisco Bay area to help the region’s poorest tax payers prepare their taxes this year, thanks to regional United Way agencies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and local nonprofits and businesses.

The tax help for those making less than $50,000 a year is available at 200 locations. Below is an interactive map created by Good Neighbor Stories showing locations in Santa Clara County. Clicking on the map links to a page that includes a full list on the left-hand side of the page.

According to the Earn it!Keep It! Save It! program led by United Way of the Bay Area, less than five percent of those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are not taking advantage of the free tax preparation. Many turn to commercial tax preparers paying between $150 and $300, which officials estimate costs $2.2 million annually in the Bay Area alone.

“Unfortunately, thousands of low-income taxpayers are not taking advantage of our free, expert tax preparation,” said Kelly Batson, director of Earn It! Keep It! Save It! [Read more…]