a man hand patterned with an Earth map (furnished by NASA) giving the V sign, as symbol of peace, and the sentence international day of peace

Have fun celebrating all of your September birthdays, anniversaries and festivities! While you enjoy your Labor Day holiday, remember it is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. September also marks the beginning of autumn; although temperature changes are slight for us Floridians, we are still in hurricane season, so be aware of weather patterns and remain prepared in the event of an emergency.

Sept. 21 is International Day of Peace, a day promoting peace among nations and people. The United Nations established it in 1981 and it was first celebrated as a permanent holiday in 2002. On this day, the U.N. urges all hostilities to stop worldwide. So try to do something extra special to celebrate that day.

Thinking about the Day of Peace reminds me of the U.S. Conference of Mayors I attended a couple of months ago in Indianapolis. Frank Ortis, the mayor of Pembroke Pines, was my assigned “buddy” during this enlightening experience; I’d like to thank him for his support throughout the summit. During this four-day conference, workshops spanned from immigration to innovation, but I noticed an underlying theme of compassion. There were many discussions on civility, kindness and understanding. Would you believe that the 14th Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga shared a stage to talk about this topic? The Dalai Lama said, “I hope that this nation can lead to be a compassionate world.” I agreed with his comments and was honored to shake his hand.

I believe that, overall, our residents are compassionate. We live in a great city, and we should continue to strive to keep it that way. We should look out for our neighbors, practice random acts of kindness and help those in need. You can also join the Multicultural Circle to meet new friends and learn about different cultures and traditions. The group meets in the Community Center (1100 Lyons Road) on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Now also is the right time to get to know your local police officers. Our police department offers wonderful programs for our community such as Vacation Watch, Tuesday Tips on social media, department tours and Safe Zone (offering the police station’s front reception area for residents to carry out exchanges from online transactions) to name a few. If you would like to have them speak at a homeowners association or club meeting, call 954.956.1541 to set up an appointment. I’d like to thank them for their courage in keeping our city safe. But remember to do your part, too. Remove your valuables and lock your doors when parking your car, keep your garage doors closed, and shred unwanted documents that show your name and address.

Did you know that smiles are contagious? Keep smiling!