Mysterious visions underfoot.

Blue face of a dog, afire with red nightmares, with eyes that are haunting.
A dog’s face–a small work of haunting chalk art.

As I journey through the city I often see mysterious visions underfoot, produced by unknown hands. They are the dreams of wandering souls, made visible.

Dreams of the searchers . . . the restless . . .

Wherever you happen to walk, countless others have walked.

Free Yourself, with a heart.
Free yourself, with a heart.
Grace, on a step among leaves.
Grace, one step up from fallen leaves.

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!

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 online¬†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 lights shine brightly at December Nights.

A fun, illuminated snowman in Spanish Village. Festive lights dazzle at 2017 December Nights.
A fun, illuminated snowman in Spanish Village. Festive lights dazzle at December Nights.

Tonight I headed into Balboa Park to enjoy 2017 December Nights.

When its buildings, fountains and gardens are brightly lit after dark, Balboa Park is magically transformed. During the holidays the park seems like a storybook wonderland.

My camera managed to capture a small bit of that magic.

Strings of lights radiate from the center of Plaza de Panama during December Nights.
Colorful strings of lights radiate from the center of Plaza de Panama during December Nights.
The Bea Evenson fountain in the Plaza de Balboa is brightly lit for December Nights.
The Bea Evenson fountain in the Plaza de Balboa is brightly lit.
One of many beautiful Christmas trees on the Spanish Village Art Center outdoor patio.
One of many shining Christmas trees on the Spanish Village Art Center patio.
Dozens of vendors sell gifts throughout Balboa Park during the big annual holiday event.
Dozens of vendors sell gifts throughout Balboa Park during the delightful holiday event.
Roasted nuts are among the traditional holiday treats that visitors enjoy.
Roasted nuts are among the traditional holiday treats that visitors enjoy.
One of many youthful dance groups performing at the Casa del Prado.
One of many youthful dance groups performs at the Casa del Prado.
San Diego's Portuguese community contributed a Christmas tree and royal robe to the December Nights Festival of Trees inside the Casa del Prado.
San Diego’s Portuguese community contributed a Christmas tree and royal robe to the December Nights Festival of Trees inside the Casa del Prado.
The Old Globe Theatre created this very stylish Christmas tree.
The Old Globe Theatre created this very stylish Christmas tree.
The center of December Nights is the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where joyful entertainment continues into the night.
The center of December Nights is the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where joyful entertainment continues into the night.
A choir performs holiday songs for a large December Nights crowd.
A choir performs holiday songs for a large December Nights crowd. A scene of amazing beauty.
Getting something to eat or drink at the Gingerbread House.
Getting something to eat or drink at the colorful Gingerbread House.
Scene of Jesus with children in the Nativity along the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Scene of Jesus with children in the Nativity along the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Graceful dancers perform at the International Cottages.
Graceful dancers perform at the International Cottages.
The fun zone in the Palisades area of Balboa Park features brightly lit rides for the kids.
The fun zone in the Palisades area of Balboa Park features brightly lit rides for the kids.
Getting more treats ready.
Getting more treats ready.
The bright Christmas tree at the Old Globe draws the eyes of old and young alike.
The very merry Christmas tree at the Old Globe draws the eyes of old and young alike.
In the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Santa Claus brings a child joy.
In the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Santa Claus brings a child magic and joy.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A happy story about youth and gratitude.

I believe I finally got it right. My latest short story. For a while it seemed wrong, incomplete.

Returning the Ball is a happy story about youth, youthful optimism, and a heart’s gratitude.

This quick read is likely to make you smile. Perhaps even wipe a tear. Click the above link to read it.

Need something to read this Labor Day? I’ve gradually built a collection of short stories (and a poem) at my blog Short Stories by Richard. These small works of fiction are ideal for a beach read. Or half an hour by the pool.

Enjoy your day and thank you for supporting Cool San Diego Sights! I plan to head up to Balboa Park! What will I discover today? I don’t know!

Richard

Cartoon Network character balloons take flight!

A whole flock of Cartoon Network characters take to the sky! Fun balloons fly over the fountain at Children's Park during 2017 San Diego Comic-Con!
A whole flock of Cartoon Network characters take to the sky! Fun balloons fly over the fountain at Children’s Park during 2017 San Diego Comic-Con!

Fourteen of seventeen Cartoon Network character balloons have been inflated so far for 2017 Comic-Con. You can see them soaring above the fountain at Children’s Park on MLK Promenade! I learned this morning two more balloons will be added tomorrow, and one final balloon on Friday!

Do you recognize some of these characters? If you do, feel free to leave a comment!

This helpful sign appeared on Thursday!

The Cartoon Network balloon characters include: K.O., Ice Bear, Four Arms, Richard, Robin, Darwin, Buttercup, Cannonbolt, Panda, Steven Universe, Beast Boy, Gumball, Raven, Omnitrix, Grizz, and Steven's Shirt!
The Cartoon Network balloon characters include: K.O., Ice Bear, Four Arms, Richard, Robin, Darwin, Buttercup, Cannonbolt, Panda, Steven Universe, Beast Boy, Gumball, Raven, Omnitrix, Grizz, and Steven’s Shirt!

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!

Fill a red shoe online for Ronald McDonald House!

Your online gift to Ronald McDonald House will sponsor a meal, buy supplies for a student, support a night's stay for a family with a hospitalized child.
Your online gift to Ronald McDonald House will sponsor a meal, buy supplies for a student, or support a night’s stay for a family with a hospitalized child.

Today was Red Shoe Day. If you drove about San Diego, you might have seen smiling, unselfish people holding up big Ronald McDonald shoes at major intersections. Perhaps you were in traffic and didn’t have a chance to make a charitable donation.

Well, here’s your opportunity. Make your donation online (or learn about Ronald McDonald House) by clicking here!

Help support Ronald McDonald House. Fill the red shoe with an online donation!
Help support Ronald McDonald House. Fill the red shoe with an online donation!

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

Young champions fight childhood cancer!

A huge crowd of families and young heroes converged on Embarcadero Marina Park North for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!
Families, generous supporters, and many young heroes converged on Embarcadero Marina Park North this morning for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!

During my walk along the Embarcadero this morning, I encountered a legion of amazing young heroes! Courageous children who are fighting cancer–and those who have defeated cancer–were gathering with their families for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!

I learned the emotionally moving event is in its 22nd year. ¬†It features young cancer battlers passing a simulated torch, from one hand to the next, as participants run a very short distance. Money raised supports Rady Children’s Hospital’s social, psychological and emotional support programs.

Parents of brave children who lost their battle with cancer also attend the event, in a tribute to loved ones whose smiles and hopeful hearts were in this world too briefly.

Please visit the Celebration of Champions website to learn more–and perhaps provide helping a hand.

Heading to the annual event, which honors young people who fight and have fought childhood cancer.
Folks head to the annual Celebration of Champions event, which honors young people who are fighting and have fought childhood cancer.
A youthful honor guard arrives before the ceremonies begin.
A youthful honor guard arrives before the ceremonies begin.
Later in the day, many young cancer-fighting champions will carry a simulated torch around the grassy park at the edge of beautiful San Diego Bay.
I learned that later in the day, many young cancer-fighting champions would carry a simulated torch around the grassy park at the edge of beautiful San Diego Bay.
Some very young children were excited to be greeted by princesses!
Some very young children were excited to be greeted by princesses!
Young champions would hand off a torch as they completed running a small length of the park's looping walkway.
Young champions would hand off a simulated torch once they finished running a short length of the park’s looping walkway.
Go Champions!
Go Champions!

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