Faith In Action Celebrates Six Month Anniversary With Youth Dance


The Faith in Action Silicon Valley Rotating Shelter is marking its first six-month milestone with a special dance and mixer just for Bay Area high school students on Friday, Sept. 28, in Cupertino.

The shelter launched in March as a collaboration of more than 20 South Bay churches, individuals, and companies, to provide meals, shelter, and other supportive services for 15 homeless men at a time, for a period of up to 90 days.  Each month a different church or synagogue houses the shelter, with volunteers providing meals. According to shelter organizers, more than 45 men have been served so far, with 18 moving into permanent housing situations.

To celebrate its success and raise funds at the same time, the Faith in Action nonprofit is throwing the dance for up to 300 high school students from 8 to 10 p.m., at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd., Cupertino. In addition to music and dancing, the event will include refreshments and opportunities to learn more about how students can make a difference in the community.

Tickets are on sale now for $5 if students RSVP in advance, or $10 at the door. All proceeds benefit the rotating shelter. To RSVP, email program intern Kelsey Haynes at

“We want to see a lot of high school students at our benefit dance,” said Haynes, a senior at the Middle School program at De Anza Community College, and organizer of the dance. “It’s a great chance to invite your friends and meet new people while making a real difference in your local community.”

The convergence of youth and community to support the rotating shelter was an original vision of founder and unpaid executive director Cathey Edwards, she told Good Neighbor Stories in March. [Read more…]

Three Good Reasons to Buy Our Paper (Gasp!) Datebook


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…]

Got Weekend Chores? We All Do on Coastal Cleanup Day


The weekend chores around our homes can wait. The sea is calling. And the bays, creeks, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The collective “we” left our trash behind in our waterways, and it needs to get cleaned up on Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

The great thing about this chore? We get to do it amidst the natural beauty of our shorelines, side-by-side with thousands of neighbors.

Around the world on more than 20,000 miles of coastline, a half a million people are expected to pick up millions of pounds of trash on Coastal Cleanup Day, always held on the third Saturday in September. Last year volunteers recovered more than 9 million pounds, including 2 million pounds of cigarette butts, 1.1 million pounds of caps and lids, just over a million pounds of plastic beverage bottles, and just under a million pounds of plastic bags, according to the Ocean Conservancy.

In California we’re celebrating the 28th anniversary of Coastal Cleanup Day, billed as the largest single volunteer event in the state. According to state officials, more than 82,000 residents took part in 2010, picking up more than a million pounds of debris.

And here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a lot of cleanup to do: Save the Bay is expected to release its annual list of “trash hot spots” on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, with five waterways listed as the dirtiest in the region. Number one on the list is San Jose’s Coyote Creek, followed by the Damon Slough near Oakland, Baxter Creek in Richmond, San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara, and the Hayward Shoreline. [Read more…]

Still Time to Observe Day of Service and Remembrance


As I hung my flag outside my home this morning, it took me back to that awful day 11 years ago when, after watching the terrible events unfold on the TV, I spontaneously hung the flag outside to show solidarity with my country and the victims of the attacks.

More than a decade later, I am glad that we have more ways to honor the victims than just a symbolic flag raising. Today is officially known as a Day of Service and Remembrance, and many organizations, like HandsOn Bay Area, have designated the entire week a time to serve others.

If you’re looking for ways to make this day meaningful, there is still time to get involved. A few events are happening tonight, and there are some spots left to volunteer with a HandsOn project. Or take the commemoration into this weekend, and sign up for one of numerous service events. You can also get involved less formally by committing to do something kind for someone else today.

Read on for a list of ceremonies, multifaith events, and volunteer opportunities. [Read more…]

Introducing the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook


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 September


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…]