Family prevents suicide with art, walking and love.

The Kennedy family is working hard to prevent suicide and brighten the world.
The Kennedy family is working hard to prevent suicide and brighten the world.

I was deeply moved yesterday. I met a family who is working for suicide prevention with beautiful art, walking and love. Their collective efforts were on display at the House of the Philippines lawn program in Balboa Park. (I posted photos of folk dancing at the event here.)

Elie Kennedy paints smooth rocks that she finds on a beach that her son Anthony loved. She paints those rocks on behalf of her son, who she lost to suicide in 2015. Her healing rocks radiate love. Money that she raises goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She sometimes uses the hashtag #healingrocksforanthony.

The Kennedy family also raises funds for the foundation by participating in the San Diego Out of the Darkness Community Walk. You can walk, too. Such walks take place all around the United States. If you’d like, you can learn more or register for a walk here.

Positive energy flows from each member of this family. It all comes from the heart. Sin Kennedy presses leaves and creates a range of colorful artwork. Check out her Instagram page here.

Please learn more by clicking the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With treatment and knowledge many lives can be saved. The organization also helps those afflicted with a loss, advocates for suicide prevention, and funds scientific research to prevent future suicides.

Every single life is precious.

A story about Elie's son. Painful energy is now used to create something beautiful and positive.
A story about Elie’s son. Painful energy is now used to create something beautiful and positive.
A sample of the beauty that is created.
A sample of the beauty that is created.
Sin Kennedy is also an artist.
Sin Kennedy is also an artist.
Life is precious. Art reminds us of much that is good.
Art reminds us that much in life is good.

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

Join the House of Chamorros in Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park, I spotted this House of Chamorros banner in front of the Hall of Nations, so I had to investigate!
During my walk through Balboa Park, I spotted this House of Chamorros banner in front of the Hall of Nations, so I had to investigate!

I was inspired today during my walk through Balboa Park. The House of Chamorros was showcasing the culture of the Mariana Islands, including Guam, at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Interesting artifacts were on display in the Hall of Nations, and food and entertainment filled the room for the public to enjoy.

Why were these friendly people in the Hall of Nations? Because the House of Chamorros doesn’t have a cottage–not yet!

I learned that efforts are underway to build a House of Chamorros cottage in Balboa Park. A building of their own would greatly enhance their mission to educate and share the Chamorro culture with the residents of San Diego County–and the millions of tourists who visit Balboa Park.

That sounds like a worthy endeavor to me! One that requires vision, dedication and . . . money. To learn more, and perhaps join their cause or make a donation, please visit the House of Chamorros website.

Musicians filled the room with beautiful Mariana Islands melodies while food beckoned from the nearby table.
Musicians filled the room with beautiful Mariana Islands melodies while food beckoned from the nearby table.
Just a few of the artifacts and crafts on display today.
Just a few of the artifacts and crafts on display today.

I also learned the House of Chamorros is having a cool lawn program next weekend at the International Cottages. The event is called the First Annual Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival. It will include music, dance, crafts and food that represent the culture of the Mariana Islands. (In case you’re curious, I’ve learned “hafa adai” means “hello” in the Chamorro language!)

The festival will take place March 5 from 11am to 5pm. It sounds to me like it will be a lot of fun!

The House of Chamorros presents the Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park!
The House of Chamorros presents the Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park!

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

San Diego Padres charity efforts: time to step up!

Tony Gwynn statue with Showley Bros. Candy Factory in background.

The Chargers are leaving San Diego. Not only will local football fans suffer, but so might various charities who have benefited from the past generosity of the Chargers football team.

Time for the San Diego Padres to step up and fill the void!

I, along with thousands of other San Diego residents, would be overjoyed to see our beloved baseball team step up to bat at this critical time. I’m thinking in particular of the very important annual blood drive that has been hosted by the Chargers for many years.

The Padres now have an opportunity to touch even more lives in a positive way, by filling community needs caused by the Chargers’ departure from San Diego. Let’s turn this negative into a positive!

UPDATE!  A summer Padres Blood Drive was announced during the Celebrate San Diego event!  Yay!

Groundbreaking at Balboa Park’s International Cottages!

People gather for an important groundbreaking in Balboa Park. Five new cottages will be the home of nine nations at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
San Diego residents with diverse backgrounds gather for an important groundbreaking in Balboa Park. Five new cottages will be the home of nine nations at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Today was an exciting day in Balboa Park! A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, where nine member nations look forward to eventually moving into five brand new cottages! Because there is limited space in this particular area of Balboa Park, four of the cottages will be duplexes shared by eight nations; the fifth will be home to the House of the Philippines.

Colorfully dressed representatives from the Philippines, Peru, Mexico, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Panama, Korea and Palestine (not presently a nation, but a culture) participated in the groundbreaking. If all goes according to plan, they’ll have their cottages completed by the end of 2017, just in time for December Nights!

As many in San Diego know, several changes and improvements are coming to Balboa Park, including an underground parking garage behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, a very short distance from the cottages. A huge parking lot near the center of Balboa Park will be replaced with grass, gardens, walkways and more beautiful park! Following all of this construction should be quite interesting! Stay tuned!

A gentleman from the House of Palestine stands near a flag where a new cottage will be built that showcases Palestinian culture.
A friendly gentleman from the House of Palestine stands near a flag where a new cottage will be built that showcases Palestinian culture.
Three duplex cottages will be built in this area south of the existing cottages, behind the House of Ukraine and House of the United States.
Three duplex cottages will be built in this area south of the existing cottages, directly behind the House of Ukraine and House of the United States.
Two ladies in colorful dress enter the Hall of Nations Building for a special groundbreaking reception.
Two ladies in colorful dress enter the Hall of Nations Building for a special groundbreaking reception.
The Hall of Nations Building has been used on a rotating basis by member nations who don't presently have a cottage. Today a reception was held inside celebrating the groundbreaking of five new international cottages.
The Hall of Nations Building has been used on a rotating basis by member nations who don’t presently have a cottage. Today a reception was held inside celebrating the groundbreaking of five new international cottages.
Two cottages will be built in this area, north of the House of Iran and the Hall of Nations Building. In this photo a crowd is gathering for the historic groundbreaking ceremony.
Two cottages will be built in this area, north of the House of Iran and the Hall of Nations Building. In this photo a crowd is gathering for the historic groundbreaking ceremony.
The original House of Pacific Relations cottages were built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. Pacific means peaceful, and that was the intent of the cottages--to promote friendship between nations and mutual understanding.
The original House of Pacific Relations cottages were built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. Pacific means peaceful, and that is the intent of the cottages–to promote friendship between nations and mutual understanding.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer addresses those attending the long-awaited groundbreaking. Many dignitaries spoke, and those who are working hard to complete the expansion were honored.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer addresses those attending the long-awaited groundbreaking. Many dignitaries spoke, and those who’ve been working tirelessly to complete the expansion were honored.
Beauty queens from the House of Panama stood proudly with others near the podium.
Beauty queens from the House of Panama stood proudly with others near the podium.
The nine member nations who will be receiving new cottages all participated in the traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Lifting these shovels are representatives from the House of Korea.
The nine member nations who will be receiving new cottages all participated in the traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Lifting these shovels are representatives from the House of Korea.

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

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Three achievements that have touched many people.

smiley-face-widened

I haven’t walked or blogged much in the past few weeks. I’m a bit under the weather. I’ll try to get out on Sunday to find something interesting!

I’ve been thinking differently about Cool San Diego Sights lately. So many hours have been spent–mostly pleasurable ones–in building my blog. But what does all this effort amount to? I enjoy walking and making cool discoveries. It feels good to preserve and share those discoveries. And to spread some sunshine. Happiness in this troubled old world is a good thing.

I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers and people on social media, even if I only sit at my computer for a short while each day.

I enjoy the occasional surprises, such as being contacted by artists and others whose work I’ve documented. That is really amazing!

I’ve also been fortunate in rare instances to do some significant good, or touch people in a way that can make a real difference. There are three achievements in particular that I thought might be worth sharing again.

The first was helping in a small way to uncover an important part of San Diego and United States Navy history. The Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque is on public display on the Greatest Generation Walk, a few steps from the USS Midway Museum, and it is passed by thousands of people every day. But it seemed all knowledge of its origin had been lost. I merely posted a plea: help solve a mystery! And, mysteriously, thanks to the magic of the internet–and perhaps word of mouth–over time information trickled in. Finally I was sent several amazing old photographs of the plaque’s creators and its forging, and a typewritten article revealing the details of its origin. I titled that post Creating a plaque: Navy history in San Diego revealed!

A second achievement, the one that probably makes the biggest difference in the lives of people, was a post I wrote about how to help the homeless in San Diego. I am absolutely astonished at how almost every single day, people coming to my blog click the links to the charities and organizations that strive to assist the homeless. There have been hundreds of clicks. I seldom ask my readers to share anything on my blog, but if you are so inclined, I titled that post 20 Ways To Help the Homeless in San Diego.

And finally, I wrote a short story that seems to have touched many deeply. It has even gone a bit viral in surprising places all around the world. It’s about how to change the world. I titled that post A short story to make you smile and cry. Realizing short stories don’t really fit on a photo blog about San Diego, I created another blog for my short works of fiction. If you like to read, perhaps click Short Stories by Richard.

Thank you all for following Cool San Diego Sights. This blogging thing is a strange, mysterious undertaking. Hundreds of visitors each day, from everywhere around the planet, most coming from search engines, and I have no idea who those people are. The whole experience has changed my life in far too many ways to mention.  For the better!  When I first started the blog, I had no notion that I would arrive here.

Well, hopefully on to more adventures! Have a great rest of the weekend!

How to help special education kids in San Diego!

Special education kids in San Diego are fortunate to have a non-profit school that turns young lives around, helping emotionally disturbed and learning disabled students make their way toward a positive future. This school is called Aseltine.

The awesome people at Aseltine School believe that all children deserve access to the full opportunities of life. They also believe that when troubled kids are encouraged to take purposeful action, they develop self-esteem and overcome self-doubt.

I am privileged to know some of the friendly people who work at Aseltine.  I recently learned that the small school exists due to the generosity of others. Here is their Mission Statement.

When I visit Aseltine from time to time, I see polite students laughing, smiling and learning to live life the way it should be lived–with optimism and gladness.

Please consider offering the good people of Aseltine a little bit of help. There are many different ways to get involved. Click this link to learn more!

Work of art by a student at the non-profit Aseltine School in San Diego. Aseltine helps special education kids make their way toward a bright, positive future.
Work of art by a student at the non-profit Aseltine School in San Diego. Aseltine helps special education kids make their way toward a bright, positive future.

In case you’re in San Diego and you read this in time, Aseltine School’s Festival of the Arts event is coming up on July 13, 2016, and will take place from 5 pm to 7pm at Cafe on Park, which is located at 3831 Park Boulevard. Student poetry and artwork will be featured, and those attending can help the school out with donations, purchases of art, or even by grabbing a bite to eat.

I urge those who enjoy following my blog to check out Aseltine’s website. Can you help?

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

Play and work, sadness and time.

Youth play soccer in San Diego's Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.
Youth play soccer in San Diego’s Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.

As usual, my walk today provoked a whole range of feelings. The four simple words: Play, Work, Sadness, Time . . . they describe a few photos that I took.

Those basic words we all understand.

Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Neymar Jr.'s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Neymar Jr.’s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Recreation on the green grass one promising San Diego morning.
Recreation on the green grass, one promising San Diego morning.
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Containing many pleasures, the Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the Star of India.
Containing many pleasures, the gleaming Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the very old Star of India, where countless lives have been tossed by difficult seas.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the elements.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the eternal elements.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
The weathered old hands of a sleeping homeless man.
The hands of a sleeping homeless man.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.

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

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.