Writing to Change the World: The South Bay Blogging for Good Meetup


South Bay Blogging for GoodA few months ago I started The South Bay Blogging for Good Meetup in Cupertino. We’re an eclectic bunch of bloggers coming from different perspectives, but with one goal in mind, to make the world a better place through blogging.

Making a positive impact has always been the foremost interest of this blog, Good Neighbor Stories. I launched it to share inspirational stories and helpful information for anyone wanting to contribute to the community.

It has been a wonderful experience getting to know so many awesome people and organizations through reporting for this blog, but it’s also a challenging one. Although blogging has been around for about two decades, it’s still an emerging medium, with lots of different ways to go about it. Starting a blog and maintaining it can lead to a lot of quandaries and questions.

I thought it would be helpful to bring together bloggers like me, folks who wanted to make a difference, so we could encourage and support one another in our blogging efforts. So far it’s been a great experience, and I think we’ve been able to share good information about blogging with each other.

The group is open to anyone in the South Bay who is blogging, or thinking about blogging, on topics that seek to make a difference. We meet the first Monday evening of each month at a Cupertino restaurant. Our next meeting is at 7 p.m., April 1. To find out more, join the meetup. It’s completely free.

If you know of anyone who might be helped by this group, please send them a link to this post.


Last Chance to Donate to Our Virtual Food Drive


There are just a few days left in the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Second Harvest Food Drive 2012Counties. You can help feed Silicon Valley families facing the challenge of hunger and food insecurity by donating to our drive today. It’s quick and easy, and for every one dollar donated, Second Harvest is able to provide two healthy meals.

Thanks to our readers who already donated to the drive. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!





Give an End-of-Year Donation to Our Virtual Food Drive to Combat Hunger


As the clock ticks away toward the end of 2012, we all have an opportunity to make some last minute end-of-year tax deductible donations. There Second Harvest Food Drive 2012are thousands of great causes out there to support, but I’m asking you today to consider combating the challenge of hunger in the community by making a donation to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

This is the second year I’ve sponsored the virtual drive to feed hungry families in the Silicon Valley. I support Second Harvest, because I’ve seen firsthand the work the organization does. It delivers healthy food throughout the valley in a very efficient manner. According to Second Harvest leaders, each $1 donated provides two healthy meals.

Even better, in December each $1 donated translates into $2, or four healthy meals, because of a grant from the Westley Foundation and Koret Foundation, up to $89,000.

Online giving to Second Harvest is very fast and easy. Consider making an end-of-year donation to the GNS virtual food drive today! Help me reach my goal of $1,500 in donations to combat hunger. Thank you!



Avoid Kicking Yourself Later Like I’ve Done Many Times at Costco


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


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


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…]

Enter to Win Our Mister Rogers Book Giveaway in Honor of ‘Neighbor’ Day


In honor of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Day on Tuesday, March 20—the day that marks Mister Rogers’ birthday—Good Neighbor Stories is giving away copies of The World According to Mister Rogers in a special drawing. We’re asking our readers to help us meet more neighbors by introducing friends to the website!

To be eligible to win a free copy of the Mister Rogers book you either need to ask your Facebook friends to “Like” Good Neighbor Stories, or ask your Twitter followers to follow our Twitter account. When you do either of those things between 8 a.m. PDST, Friday, March 16, and 12 midnight PDST, on Tuesday, March 20, your name will be entered into the drawing. You can increase your chances of winning by doing both. Don’t forget to tag us in your status update so we know you’ve promoted the site. We’ll pick two winners on Wednesday, March 21.

In the meantime, think about how to meet some new neighbors yourself this week as a way to remember America’s best neighbor ever.


Got a Story to Share? Passionate About an Issue? Guest Blog With Us


Are you passionate about an issue of social importance to the Silicon Valley? Do you care deeply about your neighborhood? Belong to a group that’s making a difference? We want to hear from you.

Good Neighbor Stories is looking for guest bloggers to post on our site. Our goal is to feature voices from around the valley, and from a wide array of communities of interest. Our site is here to highlight stories about Silicon Valley people making a difference in the world. But we can’t do it alone.

Blog posts need not be long or eloquent. They will be proofread and approved before being posted for public view. They just have to be about people or organizations helping others. It’s a fantastic way to get the word out about your community or organization.

If you are interested, or have any questions, contact editor Pam Marino. Or submit a brief story to our Share Your Story page for consideration.


Our First Virtual Food Drive Is A Smashing Success!


Thank you to everyone who donated to our first virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties! Together we raised $1,390.90 in less than one month, nearly $400 more than our original goal!

Second Harvest calculates that each dollar provides two meals, which means we provided more than 2,700 meals for hungry people in the Silicon Valley! Although our virtual food drive is over, the holiday food drive continues through Jan. 20, and of course donations are needed year-round.

Holiday Food Drive


Virtual Food Drive: Your Donation Doubled Thanks To Generous Matching


Every dollar that you donate to our virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is doubled, thanks to the Koret Foundation and a generous individual Food Donation Barreldonor. But don’t wait, our drive, and the matching donation program, ends Dec. 31.

Second Harvest officials say that every dollar donated means two meals for hungry families. With the matching program, that means for every dollar you donate by the end of the month, four meals are made possible!

Our goal is to raise $1,000 by Dec. 31, and it’s exciting to think that could mean $2,000 to combat hunger in our community. Help us meet that goal by donating today. Thank you!