Thursday, August 31, 2017

Welcome back!

The new school year began this week and we welcome our many new volunteers.

Some fast updates:

  1. THIS weekend: a wheelchair ramp on Saturday at 10:45 for a woman who is having major trouble leaving the house.  On Sunday at 11:30 we will be painting in Olean for a family whose father is fighting advanced cancer.  (Meet at the BR trailer near baseball field both days.  Both are great jobs and we would love your help!  No skills or experience needs.  A good attitude is needed :)
  2. Monday 5:30 in Swan 101 we will have a meeting.  Topics include local work days, new pen pal program, books of local children, work in Haiti, and Bonas and Beyond (when Haitians will be coming to SBU (Sept 26-Oct 8). 
  3. SAVE THE DATES!  Feb 23-March 3: BonaResponds to the Gulf Coast to help with the clean up and recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  Alumni?  come on!  Community members?  Come on!  Faculty?  Come on!  Students?  Come on!  
  4. We are collecting wheelchairs for the people of Texas.  We shipped 46 of them today (August 31). 
  5. We really need some leaders to help on many of our projects.  Open to all.  Volunteer and Change the world! 

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Haiti Humanitarian Needs Overview 2017 - Haiti | ReliefWeb

Haiti Humanitarian Needs Overview 2017 - Haiti | ReliefWeb:

Haiti is still in need of assistance:

"With only 46 per cent of the $139 million Flash Appeal funded for the urgent response until the end of December 2016, hurricane-related needs will remain acute in 2017. Before the hurricane, humanitarian needs throughout the country were already quite significant, notably due to the cholera epidemic, the El-Niño-induced drought, the bi-national migration crisis, and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) following the 2010 earthquake. The hurricane added, and exacerbated existing needs. As a result, it is estimated that 750,000 people will require food assistance and 200,000 farmer households will need agricultural assistance, countrywide in 2017"

'via Blog this'

Friday, February 03, 2017

This Saturday

From Today's notice Board (Super Bowl Weekend)

This Saturday
 BonaResponds will be returning to the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift shop in Olean to finish cleaning and painting the main floor's shopping area.  Last week's before and after was a huge difference!

Additionally, we will be fixing handrails for an elderly woman in Olean (request came via Olean Police Dept).  
Come out and make the world a little better!!!

10:45 by the BonaResponds trailer (lower parking lot by baseball field). We'd love if you could drive! Hint hint :)

No work Sunday as we need some time to work on a. school work and b. some exciting Haitian initiatives. 
(Tutoring, penpal, and more!) c. It is Super Bowl Sunday

thanks everyone!

Next week we will be in West Clarksville and ??? 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas in Haiti

From our podcast.  I think you will like it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

BonaResponds Wish List

Instead of buying more "stuff" this Christmas season why not "invest" in the betterment of the world! Our wish list (please pass it on to Santa!):
In Haiti and Liberia:
* $3,000 water well that will help a whole neighborhood for years
* $1,500 a solar electric system for a school in Haiti or Liberia
* $1,000 Schooling for 50 Liberian "Ebola" orphans FOR a year!
* $800 to hire a Haitian teacher for a ten month school year
* $600 to start a small school/community library
* $500 start a garden program in Liberia (this would be big!)
* $400 composting toilet to help prevent spread of Cholera
* $360 for a Christmas present and 3-day "camp" for kids in Liberia.
* $300 tree planting day (250 trees + food/transport for vols)
* $250 two used computers for schools in Haiti
* $240 a scholarship to a HaitiScholarships student
* $200 for a traditional toilet in Haiti (including digging hole and cement)
* $180 notebooks and pencils/pens for 53 Liberian Ebola Orphans
* $160 a water filter that will filter 6000 gallons for a school (less than 3 cents a gallon vs tablets at 25 cents a gallon)
* $150 to fund a soccer program for kids (2 months)
* $120 fixes a roof for people still recovering from Hurricane Matthew
* $110 buys a new/better battery for solar electric system
* $100 a two months of English classes for teachers in Leogane
* $80 cement blocks to build a "toilet" stall for increased privacy
* $50 a microloan to a woman in Les Cayes Haiti (Tout Moun Se Moun)
* $45 a weekly meal for all students at primary school in Leogane
* $40 notebooks and pencils for a class of 25 students
* $30 food and water for volunteers in Les Cayes doing Matthew cleanup.
* $25 a month of internet for a classroom in Haiti
* $20 transport and water for a class field trip to Leogane Library
* $10 two books (books purchased in Haiti) for library.
* $5 for 5 trees in Haiti
* $2 for a Treeangelsfor Haiti booklet on importance of Reforestation
* $1 for Chalk for a day at a school.
($= US dollars)
Start a PositiveRipple! Invest in the future of the world!
Donate at

Monday, October 24, 2016

Updates from Les Cayes Haiti

Updates on the work ongoing in Les Cayes

1. First our hearts go out to the region. It was devastated by Hurricane Matthew and then when hit with a second round of flooding and heavy rains again this past Thursday-Saturday. Life is not fair sometimes.

2. The work is still going. The area has been our main focus since Matthew. We are working with Tout Moun Se Moun (All people are people) a group we have worked with on microloans and HaitiScholarships before. It is a group many of you are familiar with as Pierre Alex Dorziere was on campus as part of the BonasandBeyond program.

3. Work has been on such things as reroofing, street clean ups, cleaning out storm gutters, and of course house clean ups.

4. This (from Jean Emmanuel Verdier) - The best thing is that Tout Moun Se Moun/ BonaResponds is working in the most difficult area . It is an area where the government and most NGOs will never go; a forgotten area. We know the field very well and that is why a lot of young people want to join us.

We are still working to implement a Tout Moun Se Moun/BonaResponds team in each borough of Les Cayes. I will come with another plan too and will explain it to you so that you can explain it to the BR committee. For now so far we are doing great. We are the only youth group working [That we know of that has been working] since after the second day of the hurricane until now. Congratulations to the BonaResponds staff. Your work is paying off.

5. There are several large jobs this week. The week starts with cleaning the soccer fields (I will include pictures later). Then the biggest job: cleaning the flooded hospital area. Then back to the storm channel. Work will be going on other jobs as well.

This week's work schedule:
Monday (10-24-16)
Cleaning the soccer field.( Park Mr Henry Isaac)
Tuesday (10-25-16)
Cleaning the Hospital.
Wednesday (10-25-16)
Cleaning and create path in a dangerous canal.
Thursday (10-26-16)
Possible food and water distribution for the HaitiScholarships Parents.
Meeting with some community leader to listen to their needs and complaints.

6. Rochelin reports a great need for seeds and trees. He and his group are looking to open a nursery to get the area's farmers back on their feet. (The NY Times said recently that Matthew will put the agricultural community around Les Cayes back a decade). He reports shortages of seeds and tens of thousands of trees destroyed. We hope to partially fund this.

7. Access to clean water is a growing problem with several reports of increased case of cholera. Purification tablets are costing about $25 for 600 gallons (expensive). A longer-term solution is of a community well costs roughly $3500-$4000 USD.

8. Reginald Rosembert reports that things are awful in the Lacorriere area (10 minutes by moto) from Les Cayes. He and another friend distributed food kits last week. They are looking to do more.

9. The Tout Moun Se Moun/BR tee shirts are in hot demand. 60 more ordered. I THINK that takes the number to above 200 now.

10. With obvious exceptions, things in Leogane are getting back to normal. Indeed, Wesly reports the hiring of an English teacher and we have gone back to planning tutoring and class connections there.

11. The class connection with Robinson DixyBand PollyannaChris Michelot and Carrie Howland Grace (St. Francis School in Cleveland) is this week I THINK. The conversation with a class from Olean was postponed until things settle down some there.

12. So many people to thank. Alex (Dorziere), Manno, the volunteers, the BR leaders, and of course the donors to PositiveRipples who are making this response possible. It is a bad situation, but without your help, it would be much worse.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Bonas and the bigger world

St. Bonaventure University Logo
St. Bonaventure University Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bonas is no longer just a small campus in Western New York (indeed, I question whether it ever really was "just" that but I digress).

We are everywhere. You know that. You have worn a Bona shirt and been stopped all around the world by alumni, by parents of current students, by friends, and even by former co-workers who wanted to say hi to a fellow Bonnie. Indeed we pride ourselves on being a big family.

It is one of the things I like about #Bonas. We are at once welcoming, trusting, and "one".

As the world changes and the grows more interconnected, the so-called BonaBubble (a term I have never liked) becomes more permeable. Online classes, service programs around the world, and study abroad programs have put Bonas in the center of everything. Put another way, the family aspect of Bonas has remained, but the isolation that comes from being on a small campus 90 minutes from a major airport has largely disappeared.

With online classes, University sponsored programs in the UK, Italy, and Brazil, and Bona people working in Haiti, the Bahamas, Liberia, Costa Rica, Uganda, and in so many other places in the world, the Bona Bubble and the Bona Family has grown to encompass much of the world. Something that happens anywhere really affects us all. There is no longer an us and a them, but just us.
While it is sunny and dry in Western New York, #HurricaneMatthew is already hitting Bonas.

Three stories. Each with Bonaventure ties.

1. Let me start with last night. I had an online class (MBA 517 for those of you keeping score), and a student had to miss class because he was in process of evacuating his family. He lives on the SE coast of Florida. (oh and he is a SBU alum too...class of '99). At times like that an MBA class sort of loses its importance. (BTW Thanks to Mike Hoffman it was recorded so he will not actually miss the class assuming power is not lost for long.)

2. Next story: The Bahamas. For what will be 14 years this coming January,Todd Palmer and his St. Bonaventure University Enactus crew have done great work there. This past January, I was fortunate enough to be a very small part of their program (basically I was a driver and a person who made all the others appear to be on time by my tardiness).
I have heard from a few people from that trip: Tony ( St. Bonaventure Alumni) and from some we helped and from those that have worked with the Bonaventure students for over a decade. They are hunkered down hoping their homes do not flood. Praying for #Matthew to leave. They are family.

3. My last story for now. As most of you know, for the past few weeks we have had Haitian friends on campus as part of BonasandBeyond. I am biased, but they were a great group. A wonderful group. People who are leaders in Haiti. People who are out helping others.
In the world view of some, bad things only happen to bad people. I completely and totally disagree. Bad things happen to all people at some time. If you ever doubt that, here is exhibit A. The people of Haiti. They are some of the best people I have ever met. Some of the most giving people I have seen. And yet they were hit hard by disaster after disaster. Not due to any fault of their own but that they were born in a country whose past violence and corruption have created an impoverished nation that is unable to withstand repeated natural disasters.
As I promised a story and not an economics lesson, let me tell you of Pierre Alex Dorziere He is pictured below while on campus. Indeed, he may have sold you a shirt if you were at Bonagany or he may have worked at your home (when the Haitians were here they worked at 4 homes in the local area as part of BonaResponds). He is a great guy. He heads our efforts in Microloans in Haiti and is the Les Cayes head ofHaitiScholarships. He left me his size nine boots as they were too heavy to carry on the plane when he left. He told me to give them to someone who needed them.
He almost didn't come to SBU because his wife is 8 months pregnant. Below are pictures of both Pierre and his wife. Look closely, you might notice the roof of their home is missing. He is family. The shirt he is wearing? Says that all people are people. Tout Moun Se Moun.
We can not help everyone that is affected by the hurricane. We can not help all who are affected by poverty. But we can help some. With your help we can help more people.
Let me end this post with a quote from Stephany Desgranges. She should have been on campus, but was unable to get a visa. Next year I hope she is on campus. She is a very smart woman from Petit Goave Haiti. This morning she sent some pictures and this quote that is says it better than I can:
"We're coming back from this thing. Hurricanes come and go.But the Haitian fighting spirit can never be defeated, No rains hard enough, no winds strong enough, no thunder loud enough. We rise again and again every time... with a wink and a smile. I am so proud of my people."
(note: we are also collecting school supplies, Tools, gardening tools, and soccer equipment for Haiti so if you do not want to donate money (first choice since easy to send and it helps the Haitian economy), please get involved in some way).
Don't want to give short term needs? Donate to HaitiScholarships and get more people in school so they can prevent future disasters.
It is too early to know if we can do a larger group trip to #Haiti. I expect to be going personally. Also remember the storm is not over yet. We still have the US coast line to worry about. Right now it is all too much uncertainty to know what the future holds.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Come hear Fr. Joseph on campus Sunday September 25th

Fr. Joseph Philippe will be speaking in the Murphy Aud at 6:30PM on September 25th.) 

The Huffington Post described him as: 
"Father Joseph Philippe has the kind of vision and indomitable spirit that might earn someone a Nobel Peace Prize or an Academy Award. But his name probably isn’t one many have heard before."

some background: 

He started Fonkoze (a microloan program in Haiti)

here is the first part of a video they made about him. 

and a recent Huffington post story on him: 

You will definitely want to attend!!! 

This Weekend's work

Jobs are really backing up.   

We have everything from trailer cleanouts, wheelchair ramp requests, trail work, and much more. 

This Saturday at 12:30 in Swan 101 there will be a WarmSnugglyBlanket making day.  

Sunday 11:15 we will make our first wheelchair ramp of the new semester.  Meet by the BR trailer in the lower parking lot by the baseball field. 

Come Volunteer and change the world!!!

open to all!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

BonaResponds Sign up form 2016

We are ALWAYS looking for leaders and volunteers!  
Volunteer and change the world!

Monday, August 29, 2016

BonaResponds Kickoff meeting!

THURSDAY September 1 5:30PM-6:30PM (this Thursday). BonaResponds general interest meeting. MURPHY AUD
We will lay out upcoming work days, trips, BonasandBeyond (when we will be hosting Haitians on campus for classes and more)

We will also be discussing:

  1. Upcoming local work days! (MUCH work ahead!!) Trail work, ramps, clean-ups, tutoring, and more!
  2. A Possible/probable Louisiana fall break trip for flood clean up
  3.  WarmSnugglyBlanket--blankets of people with cancer (and other challenges) 
  4.  HaitiScholarships -which has 41 students studying this year in Haiti 
  5. BonasandBeyond -which just started this spring and now has over 7700 people following us on Facebook! Mainly from Africa and SE Asia and Haiti. 
  6. PositiveRipples--the umbrella over much of our international work. , tutoring in Haiti, how we can help bring more unity to the world and more!

The meeting will be as short as possible (and come even if you have a 6pm class!
5:30 Murphy Aud. Hope to see many of you there! 
Come join us to make the world better and more united!

Love ALL!  Serve ALL!  Volunteer and change the world! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Building bridges--Literally!

Our small donation to our group in Haiti is definitely changing the world!

                   In the wake of a recent flood in the Bino Lapoint area of Leogane Haiti, we initiated a project to help
Haitians help other Haitians.  Lamarre and Wesley have been doing great work leading a team of people in cleaning up after the flood and working to reduce additional flooding.

To date 25 volunteers working with members of the community have:

  • Distributed 75 cleaning kits 
  • helped cleaned in and around several homes
  • dug a channel (think drainage ditch) to hopefully prevent future flooding
  • begun cleaning out the second channel to allow the water to flow and not back up causing more flooding. 
What still needs to be done:
  • finish digging the new drainage ditch
  • clean out existing channel
  • build three small bridges over the new channel
  • Install cement floors into homes that currently have dirt floors

Update from Lamarre: 

The work would make an impact on more than 100 houses,but that doesn't mean we will repair or restore 100 houses.We could just restore some of them--the most vulnerable. 
The work for the canal is also taking longer than we thought. There are two types of canals that need to be made. The one that we are digging along the road and another that has water but which is full of trash. It will need to be cleaned as well to create space and make it free for water to pass when it is raining.  
We will also need to make some small bridges on the canals side close to the houses entrance.

These improvements SHOULD reduce future flooding and make the homes safer.  There are 100 people (approximately 300 people) living in this area. 

Digging channels by hand and pouring cement in a hot climate is exhaustive and often thankless work, so additionally we do feel a need to feed the volunteers and provide water.  In a perfect world ,we would also provide BonaResponds shirts and footwear (many are working in flip flops). 

We began with a small investment.  But we will need to invest upwards of $2000 more to complete this (Roughly the cost of a ramp and a half in the US).

Approximate cost for cement is $30USD per house (we will assume $40 since costs are almost always greater than initial estimates).  Cement for the small bridges will run $70 each and some lumber and steel will be needed as well Estimated cost $250 per bridge.  

6 Homes * 40 for cement floors     $ 240
Food for two weeks of volunteers  $500

3 bridges                                         $750
Transportation                                  $60 

Tools                                                  $200 * 

Rudimentary footwear                      $100
BR Tshirts (30*5)                              $150
Estimated Total cost                         $2000 USD

*tools would be saved to used for future projects as well

 Is it worth it?  We think so!  But we want your opinion:  Do we continue?  Do we invest in the lives of these 300 people?  At a cost of less than $7 a person?  We vote yes.  But please let us know your opinion.  Vote now!   

If you do want to donate: 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Want to change the world? Improve Education!

Education wins!  Better education will lead to better govenment, better technology, better food, and longer life expectancies.  WINS all around!

Want more good news?  Money donated for scholarships goes to pay teachers in the country and not donations of goods that can ruin markets in those countries.   More WINS!

More good news?  Better education is sustainable and expanding.  Better educated parents teach their children more.  Even more WINS!

Here is an example from a recent applicant to the HaitiScholarships program (we partner with HaitiScholarships on many many projects).

In Liberia, for about $40 a year a young child can go to school (remember these are the orphans whose parents have died from Ebola).  In Haiti, the costs are a bit higher, but for less than a dollar a day ($200 for primary, $350 for High School, $800 for College)

Don't think if it as a donation (although it is a taxable donation), think of it as an investment in a better world!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bonas and Beyond

In addition to the online economics class that we are running, we have started a Facebook page for Bonas and Beyond!   We will be sharing educational material that can make a difference in people's lives around the globe.  We'd love you to "like" the page and to share it with your friends!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mid-March podcast

Listen up to what is going on with BonaResponds!