Still Time to Volunteer For Valley’s Largest Service Event

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Sign ups are strong for this weekend’s Beautiful Day service event, but there are still openings for last minute volunteers who want to join Jim Buchanan of Beautiful Day costructs scaffolding.in on all the community beautifying action.

At 26 sites around Santa Clara County, project leaders are busy with last-minute preparations before more between 4,000 and 6,000 volunteers show up for various shifts through Sunday.

Project leaders Jim Buchanan and Bob Froese on Thursday were hard at work constructing scaffolding on the back of a handball court at Biebrach Park in the Gardner Neighborhood, where volunteers will repaint an older mural of an Aztec calendar that is much beloved by residents.

The two men are overseeing refurbishing projects all over the Gardener and Burbank neighborhoods on Saturday and Sunday. They said sign ups are strong so far, and they’re expecting last-minute sign ups, as well as people who simply show up.

Other Beautiful Day projects in need of volunteers include a school beautification event at Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill, sprucing up different elementary schools in San Jose, and many others dotted around San Jose. Complete information and registration forms are available on the Beautiful Day website. [Read more…]

Thousands of Volunteers Converging in Silicon Valley This Weekend

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Roll up your sleeves, Silicon Valley. This weekend, April 27-29,  is possibly the biggest weekend for volunteer service projects, with an estimated 7,000 people expected to donate their time talents for local nonprofit organizations.

Volunteers are refurbishing, renewing and refreshing dozens of homes, neighborhoods, schools, and parks, as well as packaging food for the hungry and more, for groups like Beautiful Day, Rebuilding Together, 4Others , and Youth Community Service.

Add to those events the National MS Walk in San Jose on Saturday, as well as numerous other smaller events, and this is turning out to be a huge weekend for volunteerism in the valley. Continue reading for more information on how to get involved. [Read more…]

Master Organizer Puts Tools Into the Hands of Thousands of Volunteers

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Get ready Silicon Valley. You’re about to get a makeover, thanks to more than 100 gallons of paint, 441 pieces of lumber, 113 pounds of nails, and a lot of sweat and elbow grease from thousands of volunteers.

It’s all a part of the large-scale April 21-29 service project called Beautiful Day, coordinated by the nonprofit group that goes by the same name. Organizers are working to recruit up to 6,000 volunteers to refurbish homes, neighborhoods, parks, creeks, freeways, an elementary school, and much more. Most of the projects will take place the final weekend, April 28 and 29.

As the recruitment effort goes on, one team within Beautiful Day is working to put the materials and tools into the hands of the volunteers. The Acquisitions Team is lead by a volunteer affectionately known as the “Master Shopper”, Wendy Laugesen.

Laugesen laughs at the reference, and adds that she likes to call herself the “Master Organizer”.

Master Organizer, indeed, as she and her team pull together more than 600 items on a master inventory list. Each line item may have multiples of each item, translating into thousands of materials and tools needed during the week.

From nametags to napkins, to tanbark and tetherballs, Laugesen has it on her list. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: March 25-31

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Some of the Bay Area’s best neighbors are tweeting all sorts of positive and interesting information. We keep track on our Twitter list, “Silicon Valley Heroes”. If you’re on Twitter and spreading good news, let us know. We might list you in an upcoming “Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week” list.

Here are some top tweets for last week.

Sunday, March 25

Save The Bay (SF) ‏ @saveSFbay

Looking for #environmental #policy experience? Volunteer with @SaveSFBay_Wonks this summer: http://bit.ly/GWuXKf

Monday, March 26

Peninsula Family Svc ‏ @PeninsulaFamily

Photos: Oracle Volunteers with the Young and Elderly – Redwood City, CA Patch http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/oracle-volunteers-with-the-young-and-elderly [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…]

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…]

Good News To Me: Jan. 6, 2012

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“Good News To Me” is an ongoing feature that highlights good news from the media. If you see some good news, use our contact form to send us the link.Home for Holidays Pet Adoptions

Pets Go ‘Home for the Holidays’

Some good news for local animals  this week: the six local shelters trying to find homes for 1,000 pets during December as part of a “Home for the Holidays” program exceeded their goal. Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 they adopted out 1,128 dogs, cats and other small animals. One local animal shelter officer wrote a “giant thank you” to readers for the overwhelming response to the program.

Shepherd Tending Her Flock

What a treat to read about LilyAnn Brannon in the Mercury News. Brannon is 90 years old, a one-woman nonprofit who helps anyone in need in the South Bay. Her organization is called Tending The [Read more…]

Remembering 9/11 Good Neighbors Part 2

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We’re remembering the ultimate Good Neighbors of 9/11 with links to inspirational stories. Here are a few more stories of  those that stood in the gap on 9/11 and beyond:

Memories of Americorps members who served in the wake of 9/11

Heartwarming story of a blind man’s guide dog that led him to safety out of the World Trade Center

A Millbrae mother urges people to give service on the 10th anniversary to honor heroes like her son, Mark Bingham, of Flight 93

 

Remembering 9/11 Heroes: Ultimate Good Neighbors

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If you’re like me, there’s a part of you looking forward to September 12. Ten years after 9/11, it’s still painful to remember what happened that day. All the retrospectives going on at the moment are a little hard to face.

9/11 Memorial

By Vincent Desjardin

But I find I can’t stop thinking about the heroes, the ultimate Good Neighbors. To this day I am still struck by the people who, in the blink of an eye, ran inside buildings that were about to crumble. Or the complete strangers that banded together to bring down a plane before terrorists reached their intended target.

Thousands of ordinary people, who when faced with colossal sacrifice, gave of themselves for the sake of rescuing and helping others on that day, and in the weeks and months that followed.

Or the thousands of people in communities across the country who without much fanfare have reached out to help in small ways, either by donating money, or just reaching out to those near and far impacted by the events.

[Read more…]

Beautiful Day: Retired Cops Out to Change Lives in Alviso Find Their Own Lives Changed

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Retired police officers Bob Froese and Jim Buchanan once looked upon the small low-income San Jose area of Alviso with hardened cops’

Jim Buchanan (left) and Bob Froese

eyes: a place with a few rough characters, and all the social ills that come with being a neighborhood of people living on the margins of society.

But recently, when the two found themselves leading possibly one of the largest community service projects ever in Alviso, their hearts melted and they began to see the neighborhood with softer eyes.

“After our experience here we have a passion for the people of Alviso,” Froese said. He said the stereotypes he once held for the community have completely disappeared. “Our opinions have been changed 180 degrees. We have a deep love and affection for the people now.”

With all the precision of a major police operation, the two marshaled the forces of 600 volunteers last weekend for the “Awaken Alviso” project, one of 17 projects worked on May 16-22 by a San Jose coalition of churches, nonprofits, businesses and governmental agencies called Beautiful Day. [Read more…]