Superheroes walk and race for autism!

This morning thousands of generous, compassionate people are walking and running to support local autism programs! The Race For Autism is taking place in Balboa Park as I post this blog!

I wanted to get a taste of the event so I walked up Sixth Avenue from Cortez Hill. I saw so many smiling superheroes I knew at once that those who experience autism are in powerful caring hands.

You can support the National Foundation for Autism Research’s work, particular people, or Race For Autism teams by checking out the donation page here!

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Southern California’s largest rummage sale!

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Flyer contains details of The Thursday Club's 2018 Rummage Sale in Balboa Park.
Flyer contains details of The Thursday Club’s 2018 Rummage Sale in Balboa Park.

Get ready! The largest rummage sale in Southern California is taking place this weekend! It’s open free to the public and it’s going to be epic!

A simply enormous selection of antiques, clothing, books, housewares, sporting goods and more will be descended upon by eager bargain shoppers once the doors open. The Thursday Club’s annual Rummage Sale will be held March 10 and 11 inside the spacious Balboa Park Activity Center at 2145 Park Boulevard.

Proceeds from this fun event will support a host of local beneficiaries, including Balboa Park, Goodwill, the Ronald McDonald House, the San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Zoo Global. Over the years, the Thursday Club rummage sales have raised almost $2 million dollars for Balboa Park and a wide variety of charitable organizations.

To learn more, including the hours of the 2018 Rummage Sale and directions to the Balboa Park Activity Center, check out the flyer. Feel free to share it!

UPDATE!

I ventured up to the Activity Center on Sunday to take a quick look around on the final day and was surprised at all the good stuff still available–all at half price! Make sure you put this on your calendar for next year . . . and the year after that! All proceeds go to charity!

Just for fun, I took some photos while I walked about and browsed the various tables…

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Help raise awareness for World Rare Disease Day.

World Rare Disease Day is February 28, 2018. Show you care by spreading the word.
World Rare Disease Day is February 28, 2018. Show you care by spreading the word.

I learned something important today. This coming Wednesday–February 28, 2018–is World Rare Disease Day.

I wouldn’t have known this had I not walked through Mission Beach’s Belmont Park and met some smiling volunteers. They are working to raise awareness about rare diseases. They had a table set up near the carousel and told me a little about this often overlooked problem.

Rare diseases are usually caused by faulty genes, and about half of the people affected by rare diseases are children. Almost a third of these children will not live to see their fifth birthday.

Sadly, about half of all rare diseases do not have a specific foundation supporting or researching the condition. As you can see, it’s critical for many kids that we spread the word and provide support for those who are sick, and fund research in the search for effective treatments.

Two websites where you can learn more and perhaps help are here and here.

Please click my photo of the information chart, and it will enlarge so you can read it. Feel free to share any of these images.

These cool volunteers at Mission Beach's Belmont Park were informing the public about rare diseases.
These cool volunteers at Mission Beach’s Belmont Park were informing the public about rare diseases.
Rare diseases are often caused by faulty genes. They impact more people than cancer and AIDS combined. Only 5 percent have an FDA approved drug treatment.
Rare diseases are often caused by faulty genes. They impact more people than cancer and AIDS combined. Only 5 percent have an FDA approved drug treatment.
Help fight rare diseases by learning more and spreading the word.
Help fight rare diseases by learning more and spreading the word.

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8 Ways to Fight Human Trafficking in San Diego.

Rachel Thompson of the Junior League San Diego introduces District Attorney Summer Stephan during the Fifth Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally.
Rachel Thompson of the Junior League San Diego introduces District Attorney Summer Stephan during the Fifth Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally.

Today I walked up to Balboa Park to experience the 5th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally. The event was organized by the Junior League of San Diego, and brought together most of the key players in San Diego’s fight against human trafficking.

While legislative progress has been made in the fight, the terrible problem of human trafficking persists. I learned San Diego sees far too much of this type of crime because of our city’s proximity to the Mexican border and its status as a popular tourist destination.

Many tables were set up at the event containing literature about how concerned citizens can take action. Everyone was encouraged to spread the word and increase awareness and involvement throughout the community.

I thought my blog could possibly provide a bit of help. Here are eight things that you can do to learn about and fight against human trafficking in San Diego:

1. Learn how to recognize victims of human trafficking. The following three photos contain vital information that you can use and share.

A flyer from the Office for Victims of Crime provides key information on human trafficking, including warning signs. (Please click this image to enlarge for easy reading.)
A flyer from the Office for Victims of Crime provides key information on human trafficking, including warning signs. (Please click this image to enlarge for easy reading.)
Information from Homeland Security's Blue Campaign explains the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling.
Information from Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign explains the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling.
A checklist of human trafficking indicators. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
A checklist of human trafficking indicators. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

2. Support the Alabaster Jar Project. This organization empowers survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They provide a safe living environment and transitional housing, plus an array of support services and educational opportunities. Located in San Diego’s North County.

3. Become involved with CAT, or Churches Against Trafficking, a network of churches in San Diego that together provide service, resources and prayer to help solve a difficult problem in our community.

Churches Against Trafficking is a network of churches that provide service, resources and prayer in San Diego against human trafficking.
Churches Against Trafficking is a network of churches that have joined together to provide service, resources and prayer in San Diego against human trafficking.

4. Support the Lynch Foundation For Children. They are working to prevent human trafficking through education. They also assist in locating and recovering runaway children, and support victims’ services.

5. Learn about and possibly volunteer with the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC), an alliance of government and nonprofit agencies in the United States and Latin America convened along the U.S.-Mexico Border Region to combat slavery and human trafficking. Their 24-hour Emergency Trafficking Hotline is 619-666-2757. The hotline serves victims of trafficking, community clinics and doctors, social service agencies, concerned citizens and law enforcement personnel.

6. Visit the Sex Trafficking Resource Center page of the San Diego Public Library website and learn more facts about this difficult but very important subject. The web page includes a variety of resources, including helpful links specifically for youth.

7. Visit the San Diego District Attorney’s human trafficking onlineĀ page. It’s a resource that contains a good deal of vital information, including Signs of Human Trafficking, What You Can Do, Community Resources and Safety Tips.

The FBI had literature available concerning human trafficking. The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.
During the event, the FBI offered literature concerning human trafficking. The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.
Can you see her? It's time to open our eyes. Victims of the sex trade, domestic servitude, and forced labor have been invisible, until now.
Can you see her? It’s time to open our eyes. Victims of the sex trade, domestic servitude, and forced labor have been invisible, until now.

8. Check out these other local shelters and organizations. They need mentors, volunteers and resources:

Children of the Immaculate Heart

Generate Hope

Mary’s Guest House

North County Lifeline

PLNU Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund

Shining Stars

Salvation Army’s Door of Hope

San Diego Youth Services

These citizens are working to stop human trafficking. Will you join them?
These citizens are working to stop human trafficking. Will you join them?

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Holiday food drive in Hillcrest to help special kids.

Aseltine School's 2017 Holiday Food Drive takes place Wednesday, December 6, 530 pm to 730 pm, at Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest.
Aseltine School’s 2017 Holiday Food Drive takes place Wednesday, December 6, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, at Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest.

If you’re in San Diego, please consider participating in the Aseltine School’s 4th Annual Holiday Food Drive. It will be taking place on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest, which is located at 1236 University Avenue.

Bring non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, canned chicken and tuna, cereal, canned fruit and vegetables, soup and pasta. The food you bring will support students and families in need.

Aseltine School is a supportive, positive place where K-12 students are helped to overcome a variety of difficulties. Their innovative program transforms young lives. Learn more at Aseltine’s website.

Your generosity will be greeted with lots of big smiles!

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Remember Me Thursday love in Balboa Park.

A best friend.
A best friend.

Every year, the lives of almost 3 million shelter animals are terminated. It’s a colossal, heartbreaking tragedy that defies understanding–because it needn’t happen. Remember Me Thursday is a global event that shines a light on the plight of shelter animals, and on the positive choice of animal adoption.

Here are a few photos from the special Remember Me Thursday candlelight vigil held this evening in Balboa Park. Those who participated gathered near the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. The annual event was created five years ago by Mike Arms, President and CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Remember Me Thursday has spread worldwide and now hundreds of animal welfare organizations participate.

This evening in Balboa Park, hearts were lit for innocent animals in San Diego and around the world waiting for adoption. Like you, they simply want to live and be loved.

Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted--and those who lost their lives.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted–and those who have lost their lives.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A banner invites messages of hope and love.
A banner invites messages of hope and gratitude.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A few loving words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
A few powerful words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a moving video and hear the reading of Mike Arms' poem.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a thought-provoking video and hear the reading of Mike Arms’ poem.
Many candles were then lit.
Many candles were then lit.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Support the House of Puerto Rico disaster relief effort.

Donations were collected during the House of Puerto Rico's lawn program in Balboa Park to assist with disaster relief.
Donations were collected during the House of Puerto Rico’s lawn program in Balboa Park to assist with disaster relief.

Here’s an opportunity to help the people of Puerto Rico who’ve been thrown into a terrible crisis by Hurricane Maria. The devastation brought by this natural disaster is unprecedented. Every bit of help is vitally important.

By sheer coincidence, the House of Puerto Rico had their International Cottages lawn program today in Balboa Park. A collection jar was there for donations, and proceeds from food sales went to hurricane relief.

I also learned that there’s a donation button on the House of Puerto Rico website, which you’ll find here.

Please consider providing these good people with a bit of support.

Puerto Rican food at the special event included Arroz con Gandules, Pastel de Masa and Alcapurrias.
Puerto Rican food at the special event included arroz con gandules, pastel de masa and alcapurrias.
If you missed the event, click the link I've included to visit the Hurricane Maria donation page.
If you missed the event, click the link I’ve included to visit the House of Puerto Rico website. There you will see a Hurricane Maria donation button.
Among the many displays inside the House of Puerto Rico cottage are panderetas, cencerros and other musical instruments.
Among the many displays inside the House of Puerto Rico cottage are panderetas, cencerros and other musical instruments.
Students inside the Balboa Park cottage learn about the special economic challenges of Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated U.S. territory in the Caribbean.
Students inside the Balboa Park cottage learn about the special economic challenges of Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated U.S. territory in the Caribbean.
Many people have loved ones in Puerto Rico. Heroic efforts are underway to help those affected by Hurricane Maria.
Many people have loved ones in Puerto Rico. Heroic efforts are underway to help those affected by Hurricane Maria.

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.