Share Your Thoughts

There is no science to being a good neighbor, just good actions – caring for each other, leading by example, and supporting the needs of the whole community.

The winter months are a great reminder to uplift your neighbors experiencing loss or who are in need of necessities, such as food, clothing, medical attention, and more. The Santa Clara County community can count on the kindness of their neighbors as individuals or through community-based organizations to provide resources.

In the spirit of the Giving Season, the Santa Clara County Office of Education is highlighting local organizations with opportunities for volunteering or donations that benefit the children, youth and families throughout the county. Organizations with opportunities include Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Family Giving Tree, and Sacred Heart Community Service.

Studies have shown, that giving back to the community is connected to positive physical and mental health effects, such as lower blood pressure and decreased stress. Assisting your neighbors in need can also serve as a way to keep Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay. It also creates a sense of community when people gather for a cause.

The relationships built with others are ties that bind during times of emergency. During December, I encourage everyone to participate in Hi Neighbor Month. This month is an opportunity to build relationships with your neighbors, as they can be an important source of assistance before, during and after emergencies. According to the CDC, social contacts are an important part of dealing with emergencies. Making a concerted effort to meet your neighbors can go a long way to building strong and supportive communities.

This can also be a great teaching moment for children and youth when families practice giving back to their community together. Children and youth learn core principles such as empathy, generosity, and recognition. No act of kindness is too small to serve as a teaching moment for them, which they can in turn teach to their peers. No matter how you choose to teach children about giving back, you can guarantee the benefits of volunteering and the lessons they learn will stay with them for a lifetime.

Regardless of the holiday season, it is important to treat each other with dignity, respect and kindness.