Update: Super Volunteer Weekend Includes ‘Giant Sweep’ Event in SF

Share

Giant Sweep EventEarlier this week I told you about what I’m dubbing as the Bay Area’s “Super Volunteer Weekend”, with numerous volunteer and charity walks taking place all over the region. Beautiful Day and Compassion Weekend alone could attract more than 10,000 volunteers. Now add a “Giant Sweep” event on Saturday, April 27, sponsored by the San Francisco Giants, the City of San Francisco, and Starbucks.

I don’t normally visit Starbucks, so I”m not surprised I missed the news that the company declared April as the “Global Month of Service,” and Saturday, April 27, as the “Global Day of Service”. It’s all part of a community service initiative of Starbuck’s to rack up 1 million hours of community service amongst participating staffers and patrons by the year 2015.

On Saturday the company is partnering with the San Francisco Giants and the City of San Francisco for a Giant Sweep anti-litter event. The public is invited to meet at 8:30 a.m. at the U.N. Plaza, 1150 Market St., for a kickoff ceremony, followed by clean up events located all over the city. [Read more…]

Bay Area’s Super Volunteer Weekend Approaches; Sign Up to Make a Difference

Share
Beautiful-Day-volunteer-events

From Beautiful Day 2012.

A wave of kindness and compassion is about to wash over the Bay Area this weekend. Are you ready to dive in?

Numerous nonprofit and faith-based groups are sponsoring large-scale volunteer events all over the region April 27 and 28, and they’re counting on you, along with thousands of others, to swing hammers, pull weeds, paint homes, beautify schools, and take long walks all in the name of helping our communities.

The biggest events of the weekend, Beautiful Day and Compassion Weekend, could draw as many as 10,000 people to projects from San Francisco to Hollister.  National Rebuilding Day takes place on Saturday, when even more thousands of volunteers representing four local chapters of Rebuilding Together will refurbish dozens homes. There are a few more Earth Day events taking place, and several charity walks are slated.

UPDATE (4/25/13): Giant Sweep, a collaboration of Starbucks, the San Francisco Giants, and the City of San Francisco, is also taking place on Saturday, April 27, in what the coffee giant is calling a Global Day of Service. Up to 1,000 volunteers are needed to clean up litter and make improvements around the city from 8:30 a.m. to lunchtime.

Below is a rundown of all the major events happening in the region this weekend, with links to online registrations. Consider joining your neighbors in making the Bay Area a better place for all.

Did I miss an event? Please share the information in comments! [Read more…]

Earth Day Events Flood Weekend Calendar

Share

volunteer-cleans-up-creekGet ready to love the Earth this weekend, there are dozens of Earth Day events happening all over the San Francisco Bay Area, mostly on Saturday, but other events are taking place Sunday, and even into next week.

The biggest, and perhaps most well-known of the events, is Earth Day San Francisco, taking place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Civic Center Plaza in the downtown area. The main stage features “edutainment”, with music and other live performances throughout the day. There are hands-on exhibits, an entire area dedicated to electric transportation, eco fashion shows, eco art, sustainable/solar powered beer and wine gardens, Earth-friendly vendors, an “Eco Youth Zone”, and two children’s playgrounds.

Across the bay in Oakland there are more than 80 volunteer projects scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. You can download a complete list of project locations from Oakland’s website. Bring your own tools, gloves, hats, and sunscreen. [Read more…]

Louder Than Words: Beautiful Day Looking for 6K+ Volunteers to Take Action in April

Share
beautiful-day-san-jose-westgate-church-2013-volunteer-event

Credit: Beautiful Day Instagram

This year’s Beautiful Day logo is a megaphone blaring the words, “Louder Than Words”, and there’s maybe nothing louder than the action of more than 6,000 volunteers engaged in making a positive impact on Santa Clara County, the week of April 22-28.

The nonprofit group collaborates annually with dozens of churches, agencies, nonprofits, companies, and individuals, for one week in April to fix up schools, homes, centers, parks, neighborhoods, and other public spaces. Last year an estimated 3,500 people volunteered during Beautiful Day week; 2,400 volunteered the year before.

“I think this year, more than ever, we’re seeing the volume—and by volume I mean the loudness—of a collective expression of service and compassion that’s amplified for the world to see,” said Beautiful Day Director Jon Talbert.  He said this year’s event will demonstrate that, “when you unify and serve together, you make a significant impact in your neighborhood, and that’s what we hope to see happen.”

Talbert estimates there are between 6,000 and 7,000 volunteer slots available for almost 50 projects happening all over Santa Clara County. “And they’re filling them,” he said. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in April

Share

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…]

The Push is On: 2,000 Habitat Volunteers Needed for Carter Work Project This Fall

Share
habitat-for-humanity-east-bay-silicon-valley-mike-rico-americorps-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-stories

Mike Rico of Americorps and Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley readies a volunteer project.

Former President Jimmy Carter could use some help on an important “To Do” list of community work projects in Oakland and San Jose this October, which is why the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley staff is busy at the moment rounding up approximately 2,000 volunteers.

Carter, who will turn 89 on Oct. 1, and his wife Rosalynn, 85, are coming to Oakland on Sunday, Oct. 6, to kickoff Habitat’s Carter Work Project (CWP),an annual major service and fundraising event now in its 30th year. This is the first time a CWP has come to the San Francisco Bay Area.

After an opening ceremony in Oakland on Sunday, the Carters will work with volunteers on Monday at the nonprofit’s Brookfield Court Development in Oakland, and on Tuesday in the Dorsa-TOCKNA neighborhood of San Jose. They will then fly to projects in Denver, and finally New York City, where the first CWP took place in 1984. Work will continue on projects in the Bay Area through Friday, Oct. 11. [Read more…]

New Resource: The Kindness Calendar

Share

Kindness-Calendar-annual-events-service-volunteers-community-good-neighbor-storiesAfter nearly three years of covering all sorts of volunteer service events, as well as special days for kindness and general do-goodery, I decided to put all the ones that happen on an annual basis into a single handy resource list, the Kindness Calendar.

Scratching your head as to when Random Acts of Kindness Week or Make a Difference Day is? It’s on the calendar. Planning a service event for your organization and wondering if you can piggyback on a community-wide event, or want to avoid a conflict? Double check on the calendar. Need a link for more information about an organization sponsoring a specific day? Go to the calendar!

There are more than 30 special days/weeks/awareness months listed on the calendar. Most of them have links to organizations or information pages that relate to each one. Share the calendar with your friends and colleagues who may be interested.

You can always find the Kindness Calendar on the drop-down menu below the Community Calendar button at the top of the page. Which reminds me, list your own community event for free on the Community Calendar page at anytime.

Did I miss an annual awareness event? Please tell me in the comments section!

 

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December

Share

It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!

Jacob-Goeders-The-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Christmas-fund-drive

Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor at Thanksgiving

Share

It’s the Thanksgiving edition of our “Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor” series, with five suggestions of how you can be be a good neighbor in honor of one of America’s most treasured holidays. What better way to show how thankful you are by paying it forward to someone else?

1. Donate a Turkey – Today!: The latest news is that there is a serious turkey shortage at food banks and organizations around the Bay Area that provide the traditional bird to families in need. On Tuesday, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced it was nearly 6,000 turkeys short of its goal of 12,000 donations. Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose said it needed nearly 4,000 more turkeys. To donate, buy frozen and deliver (still frozen) to the agency of your choice. See the bottom of this post for a list of groups asking for donations. And don’t forget these agencies also need non-perishable fixings to go with the turkey, so consider an additional donation of some canned goods.

2. Invite an “Orphan” to Dinner: Set an extra place at the table for someone you know is going to be alone this Thanksgiving. Make them feel welcome and part of the celebration.

3. Mend a Relationship: Don’t go through another holiday harboring hard feelings toward a family member, close friend or neighbor. Offer a sincere apology, if necessary, and work toward forgiving past transgressions. Don’t try to control the outcome of your interactions; just focus on the good, and let go of any expectations. [Read more…]

It’s World Kindness Day! What Will You do to be Kind?

Share

Today around the world people are celebrating World Kindness Day, part of World Kindness Week, Nov. 12-18. What will you do to be

Courtesy of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

kind to someone else today, or during this special week?

Here are five ways to show kindness today, and throughout the week:

  1. Do something simple today, like smiling at people you pass by, letting someone in on the roadway, contacting a friend going through a tough time to offer a cheery “hello”, or offering to pay the meal of the person behind you in the drive through lane. For even more kindness ideas, see the Good Neighbor Stories Be Kind: Kindness Ideas Page.
  2. Donate food for a holiday food drive, or support a local hunger program. Look for donation barrels for Second Harvest Food Bank at area stores and businesses, or consider donating a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving.  The Front Door Ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of San Jose serves bag lunches to around 45 homeless people each day.  You can help by donating things like paper and plastic bags, or individual-sized lunch items like sandwich cracker kits, fruit cups, bags of nuts, etc. [Read more…]