Monday, October 20, 2014

Join us!! BonaResponds Ebola Meeting

Online or in Swan....join us at 9 PM tonight!!

Join us here....

Or in Swan.

See also or follow us on Twitter @BonaResponds for updates.

Notice Board Announcement

BonaResponds'  "Let's Go Viral to Fight Ebola" meeting

Super excited to announce a plan to help the many thousands of people affected by Ebola.  We will be launching a program where people across the country can help raise money for groups working on the front lines in the war on Ebola.

We are teaming up with local schools and CYC (the Christian Youth Corps) from Machias and Bradford to rake leaves for people.  In return, we will request a donation made to one of the organizations working in West Africa.

* Doctors Without Borders* Doctors Without Borders
* Partners in Health 
* Catholic Relief Services
* Kids for Christ / Christian Youth Corp - Monrovia Liberia (an orphanage/children's camp)

We think this could (and should) go viral.  Challenge your friends to raise $100 or else donate $5 themselves!

But we need help.

1. Leaders to help make a new website ASAP. (needs to be up and running by late Wednesday)
2. People to spread the idea to their local schools, churches, friends, etc.  (think Ice Bucket Challenge for cool autumn weather!)
3. People to volunteer to help rake leaves and more
4. People to be leaders!
5. Did I mention people to spread the word?   :)

Why? Simply because it is the right thing to do.  The heroes fighting this battle need our support.  The suffering must end.  The children who have lost their parents and all the people who are losing loved ones, need our support.  We can't go there.  But we can help.  And launching a viral attack on a killer virus just seems right!

There will be two immediate meetings:

9 pm (yes it is late and yes there is MNF, but come anyways) on Monday in the Swan Atrium.
and 5:15 PM on Tuesday again in the Swan Atrium (the 5:15 Tuesday is subject to change: follow BonaResponds on Twitter for updates.

See BonaResponds.orgSee for more info

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An interview with Larry Orsini

YES!  Larry nails it.  Great stuff.  From his time right after Katrina to how BonaResponds is truly life changing.

The audio has some hiccups, but the content is so good. Larry has been with BonaResponds from the very start and totally "gets" it. THANK YOU LARRY!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The BonaResponds Story: an interview with important people in BonaResponds History

BonaResponds started after hurricane Katrina.  In the time since then we have worked with many people who have had valuable experiences and stories.

Anthony DiMario begins the series of interviews with what the early years of BonaResponds were like.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Mid semester report card

Departments of Haiti
Departments of Haiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mid-term break thoughts:

1. First the numbers:  Five ramps, several clean up jobs, a painting job, handrails, two new steps, cleaned pumpkins, painted our trailer, and a large shipment to Haiti.

2. A great group of first-year volunteers have stepped in to help.  Turnout was great at the start of the year but has dropped off in recent weekends.

3. We are still looking for more student leaders who could head up a weekend work day, as well as help with some work during the week.  (ESPECIALLY if you have a vehicle!)  This is a pretty big need.  We are missing Greg and Reed from last year.

4. Our efforts in Haiti have been good.  New contacts throughout the country have made our work in Haiti more enjoyable and I believe more effective.  From schools, solar, garden programs, orphanages, and even soccer programs, I believe there are many ways where we can make measurable improvements in the lives of people and the environment in Haiti.

5. WarmSnugglyBlanket is a definite area of emphasis for the rest of the school year.  It has been a weak point since school has started.  We have not been giving out nearly as many blankets, we have fewer blankets in inventory than at any point since 2013, and have done no fundraising.  That said, we have received some wonderful thank-you's from blanket recipients and have some new potential leaders and helpers to make this better.  Look for a large blanket making day later this school year.  (Note we did have a tentative blanket making day planned where we were going to make 100 pink blankets (estimated cost of $800, but the would-be sponsor was unable to do it, so we postponed it.  If you or your business/church group would like to sponsor such a day, please let us know!)

6. Another failure was the lack of an actual fall break trip.  I had hoped to go to Detroit, but only 3 others signed up, and with a heavy local workload (to say nothing of school work), our fall break trip will be to Western New York this year with work locally Sat, Sun, and Monday.  A good reminder that we are a group whose mission is to help, not to travel.

7. A big "THANK YOU" to those who have donated!  You are the best and are allowing us to do what we do.  Without you, BonaResponds is just a good idea.  Remember that.  Be proud of yourself for giving!   That said, if we are to be fully transparent and honest, I have done an awful job in this area.  (I do have many excuses if you want to hear them:  a marketing class was going to do it, I reached out to potential leaders from the community and never heard back, etc., etc.).  But in the end it is just another in the continuing ways "Jim let us down".  Thanks to those of you who give in spite of my poor fundraising skills we have not yet been unable to help, but it is a trend we need to fix.  Not only for local projects (ball bark number is each ramp costs $1,000) but for Haiti and food packing.  Several requests for people to help in this area have failed and, as a result, a spring food packing event looks VERY unlikely.  If you would like to help in this, please contact me (Jim). We need to raise about $25,000 to do it.  To date we have a pledge of $4000 if we go ahead with the day.

8. PositiveRipples is progressing but at glacial speed.  We have filed for incorporation are are waiting for state approval.  We can not really do much until we get that.  Waiting teaches patience?

9. Much like the videos we shared on who we are helping in Haiti, we will be making a series of short videos on the history of BonaResponds and interviews with some of our leaders (past and present).  These will appear sort of as a vlog to start.  Look for them soon.  I am interviewing Larry and Bonnie Orsini this week!

10. To sum up: we have had a very good, but not perfect semester so far.  We need more help in many areas, but we are progressing on many fronts.  We would love to have you get involved!  Remember we are open to all and you do not need to make a long term commitment.  We meet almost every Saturday at 10:30 and Sunday at 11:15 (although watch for a possible Time change after the clocks change).  

You can always donate to us at

and if you want to get involved: PM us, come volunteer and we can talk, or email Jim at  We'd love your help and there are people who need your help.  Volunteer and Change the world!!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Update from today's notice board

Today's notice Board announcement:

BonaResponds Announcements

1. Today is the last day to sign up for the POSSIBLE fall break trip to Detroit. IF we do not get enough interest, we will be working here and on projects for Haiti. Sign up at:

2. We will be working Saturday and Sunday this weekend (like normal  ). Saturday will be local and a shorter day. Sunday will be in Machias and we really need volunteers for Sunday! (Sat 10:30, Sunday 11:15 from the trailer behind Maintenance)

3. We are still looking for more leaders. You must be willing to be a team leader at least once a month and work a couple of hours during the week.

4. Do you have any books laying around that you want to get rid of? We are collecting them for a few reading programs in the US and for some libraries in Haiti. (We'd especially like children's books, dictionaries, How-to/DIY books, and any books in French.) You can bring them with you if you are coming to volunteer, or drop them off outside Jim's office in 104B Swan.

The following was not part of the notice board but should have been:

5. We are also again looking for children's shoes. An orphanage in Haiti has requested them as well as a program in Costa Rica.
6. One of the jobs this SATURDAY will be to be cleaning 200 pumpkins forThe Pink Pumpkin Project. Many hands make light work! Come help this great cause to help local women fighting cancer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Break trip --Detroit. MAYBE

We are getting close to committing to a trip to Detroit to help All-Hands with flood recovery.  HOWEVER, we need to see how much interest there is in going (alternative is to stay here and work on ramps etc locally).  So, if you are interested in going to Detroit, please fill out the following:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Much progress!

Mike collected over 20 soccer balls and many shirts and socks for Haiti!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Haiti shipments moved up. You can help!

Scheduling issues with the trucking company have led us to move up the shipment of items to Haiti. Items will have to be packaged this weekend.

My plans not working is par for the course, so I guess none of you should be surprised that the plan to ship items to Haiti in October changed.  LOL...

Why?  The trucking company that takes our supplies to Brooklyn before they can go to Haiti is booked throughout October. So they will be picking up items September 25.  The good news is that it means the items will (in theory) get to Haiti sooner!

This means we have to hurry! If you have any school supplies, soccer balls, small toys, shoes, or just want to donate to help pay for the cost of shipping, now is the time!  Ideally you bring them to SBU (the semi trailer by the baseball field at 10:30 on Saturday.)  If you can not, you can donate online at or send items via Amazon--see below).

We are working with numerous groups across Haiti.  From schools, orphanages, to soccer clubs working with the youth of Haiti).  (note this is different than PositiveRipples which will be be working more with Haitian Businesses)

We are helping at several schools (books were given to over 20 schools on our last shipment) as well as orphanages throughout Haiti (From Gonaives, Port au Prince, and two new ones (for us) in the Lascahaboas and Mayer region.  We have also given 3 small solar units out to schools (2 in Leogane, one in Gonaives---but they need larger ones).

Want to know more?  Here are some of the interviews we have done with the people we are helping:

Jeudy Djemson:

Manno Sanon video explaining his soccer program:

Robinson DixyBand Pollyanna Michelot on his school:

 Occeant Jean on his orphanage:  (here is a link to his orphanage page:

Don't know how to help?  Here is an amazon wish list than can give you some ideas and will ship directly to us!    We will be packing and labeling this weekend, so to make it for Christmas now is the time!

If you have any questions, just ask!  Thanks for your help!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First ever meeting!

Very excited to be taking part in the newly formed (actually still forming PositiveRipples!)

This is our NoticeBoard submission from today:

“PositiveRipples Ground floor meeting

PositiveRipples is a new group aimed at improving Economic and educational opportunities locally and around the world via both traditional charity and business development.  This is a PRELIMINARY (think pre start-up) meeting that will lay out our initial plans and the steps needed to achieve theses goals.  The basic idea is that by there are times that giving a "hand-up" can be better for the recipient than a "hand-out".  It can also be more sustainable and a better learning experience for both sides.  

PositiveRipples will combine elements of Embrace it Africa, BonaResponds, Enactus, SIMM, as well as online and in-person learning that will be made available for in class or out of class use.  The plan will be start this exciting program in stages in Uganda, Haiti, and the US.  

Want a few examples to get the creative juices flowing?  A student helping a Haitian Internet cafe create financial statements for the first time, or developing lesson plans and working with teachers in Uganda (or Haiti), or small micro investments in businesses.  (BTW: all three of these have already happened but not as part of a formalized program)    

This evening's meeting to introduce this exciting new program and to gauge interest and get leaders is at 5:30 in the Swan Atrium.  (depending on numbers interested we may go into Swan 100 or another room so look for us if you do not see us immediately).  The meeting should be quite short (ideally less than 30 minutes so that those with 6:00 classes can attend).  

As a personal note, I am totally sold on this and can easily imagine a program where we will be helping start positive ripples (where one good event leads to every more as the benefits expand) literally around the globe.  Come and see if you want to get involved. "

and here is where the meeting can be watched online:

Want even more?  Here is the basic framework of what participants on our side will be learning.  The basic idea is that we need to truly understand the situation before loans and investments are made so that it can be a "win, win" situation for all involved.

 The PostiveRipples Path on Helpified

Monday, September 08, 2014

BonaResponds 9 minute update

Hey everyone, I don't have time for a real newsletter but want to give you a very fast update (have to leave in 9 minutes!)

  • Great weekend of work this past weekend--scraped a house to paint soon, built a ramp, scouted several jobs, and volunteers delivered a new battery for a woman's wheelchair/scooter.  THANKS to everyone!
  • Great new group of volunteers and leaders this year!  From freshmen to seniors a great group has been coming out to help!  Excited to be working with them and have very high hopes for BonaResponds!
  • 5:30 this Wednesday will be the PositiveRipples meeting.  In the Swan Atrium (or nearby). It is going to be huge!  Get involved now.  Give a helping hand up rather than just a hand-out.  Microfinance and more to help people through education and economic development.  Don't live near here or want to participate online?  here you go:
  • Haiti continues to be an area of great emphasis.  Big needs this week were from an orphanage with 100 children.  Hard to imagine a group more deserving of a helping hand.  Our goal for the year for them is to send school supplies and $1000 to help pay for teachers (they get $67USD per month!), get them solar electric, and help with their buildings.  (See below for an example of one of their current shelters (this is where they cook now for 100 children.)
  • No location has yet been selected for our Fall Break trip. Stay tuned. 
  • Ryland was hired as our first true employee in the US!  He will be working 5-8 hours a week. This is in lieu of the graduate assistant we have had in the past.  NOTE: this is in addition to his role as a regular volunteer student leader.  Thank you to the School of Business and the Pacioli Scholar program for making this possible.
  • MANY jobs coming up: painting, ramps, sidewalk, grab bars, and drywall to name a few.  We are also almost out of WarmSnugglyBlankets and our hope to have material for 100 donated fell through this past weekend, so look for a blanket making day soon.
  • From Facebook: Thank yous: Always very very dangerous to thank some people as undoubtedly I will miss some, but this week we have received much "behind the scenes" help so I would like to mention and publicly thank at least some (and I apologize in advance for missing others). But a partial list of those who helped this week includes: The Khairullahs, Todd PalmerMike Kasperski, Sue Miller, Jerry Godbout, Joe Coate,Mary Jo Stetz Brockel, Father Dan Riley, John Brad Stevens, Pierre Balthazard, Kate HimesMichael Russell, and Mike Muffoletto. THANK YOU!  Thanks also to Jen for updating the website and to Sarah for running a marathon (NYC) as a fundraiser for us!  Here is where you can donate to that:
  • Want something funny to end the update?  Our new BR  upperbody/AB/Back/shoulder workout:  (DON"T TRY IT!!)
  • 10:30 Saturday, 11:15 Sunday.  Come on out!
  • HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!  Make the world better for someone whenever you can :)  Jim
  • Shelter where food is prepared for 100 children at an orphanage near Lascahobas, Haiti. We want to make this better.  We can make this better.  We need your help to do it. 

    Volunteer and Change the World!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First BonaResponds meeting of Fall 2014 and sign up form

Great first meeting!  It was a great first meeting with a big turnout and many new leaders!

Here is the audio of the meeting (the video is not really worth watching, but the audio is really good.

Here is the sign up form.  Remember if we don't get 500 people to sign up, Eric fails finance.  So please sign up :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome back!!

And we are back!  To school that is.  As a working group, BonaResponds worked all summer, but with students back our jobs can grow!

Some fast updates:

  1. There will be a BonaResponds informational and leader meeting on Thursday  (August 28) at 5:30pm in the Walsh Auditorium (in DLR). We will give an overview of what BonaResponds does internationally, nationally, and locally. We will also discuss upcoming events and the very big need for leaders. We will also discuss possible internship positions (for both BonaResponds and HaitiScholarships). We will also be having a special guest via video: Lamarre from Leogane Haiti!
  2. Great opening weekend with many volunteers for Welcome Days!  We painted, moved things, packed about 40 boxes for Haiti and met some great new volunteers!
  3. The first of three solar units were installed this week at schools in Haiti.  They may not be as powerful as we would like, but they are a start! Here is a picture of Robinson in Gonaives Haiti.  
  4. Want to see why and who we are helping in Haiti?  We have started a series of interviews to help others meet our Haitian friends and co-workers.  Here is a video of Djemson's interview.
  5. It promises to be a very busy fall semester!  Painting, sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, and drywall are but a few of the jobs in September alone!  GET INVOLVED!   This Saturday at 10:30 and Sunday at 11:15!  (and don't forget the meeting at 5:30PM on Thursday)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Finals week Update

Hi everyone...

a short fast update before graduation

* We are looking into a possible trip to help with tornado clean up.  If you are interested in going, please let us know.

* There are opportunities for a summer marketing intern (could grow into a longer position) to help BonaResponds and HaitiScholarships.  For more info see our Fb page or search for us on

* We still have about 15 glass roses that would make a perfect Mother's Day/Graduation gift!  See Jim or any of the other BR leaders.   (along similar lines, if you are graduating and want to buy a BR shirt or hoodie before leaving campus, let us know!)

* REALLY would love someone local with a pickup truck that could take our generators and mowers in for a tune-up before busy season.

* If anyone with ties to high schools and an interest in helping:   We will be collecting school supplies for Haiti:

From Our Facebook page:
 "With schools ending soon for the summer it is a GREAT time to set aside slightly used school supplies for Haiti! We will be shipping again over the summer, so the sooner we get the supplies the better  (notebooks, pencils, calculators, crayons, chalk, laptop computers, as well as soccer balls are always in great demand!" 

* There are many local jobs queued up for the summer.  With 95% of students gone, we are really going to need the local community to help.  (rule of thumb is we work every Saturday and Sunday)

* Had a great HaitiScholarship meeting last night.  For less than a dollar a day you can allow a student in Haiti to go to school.  Donate at

* One of our goals for the summer is to install 3 solar electric systems at schools in Haiti.  The cost is about $3000 each.  We'd LOVE you to help.  Want to sponsor one?  Or have a fund raiser?

* We only worked once this past weekend (and had very few volunteers) due to finals at SBU.

THANKS EVERYONE and congratulations to all of the students who are doing well on their finals!

Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What is happening? A BonaResponds update

A fast update since I have been remiss on getting newsletters out.

  1. We are SWAMPED with wheelchair requests.  Could really really use some more volunteers.  As I just this morning told a woman (Barbara), we can get 4 requests a week and it takes 2 weeks often to do a ramp, so there is a significant waiting list :(  Want to help?  Want to donate for one?  Each ramp costs about $1200 or so. 
  2. Saturday we will kick of the first Haitian tutor session.  VERY exciting!  Have rented out an internet cafe for two hours so they can have internet access.  We'd love to have you involved!Yes you can.  It is not rocket science (although if you want to teach rocket science, maybe it can be arranged too!)  It can be done from anywhere.  Locally, a group will be meeting in the Swan Business Building to walk do it together for the first time.  Come help! 10:45 on Saturday!
  3. Also on Saturday we will be finishing Karen's ramp! :)
  4. Sunday is a trail day.  11:15 meetup.  Garbage pickup and cutting downed trees in Bob's Woods.  It has been a rough winter!
  5. Shoe collections this week leading up to Barefoot Bonas day on April 29th.  We are also selling raffle tickets to help fund the shipping costs.  Shoes will go to SolesForSouls.
  6. BR-Dallas had a great weekend last week.  They worked at a the Circle R picnic for the Kids day.  Here are some pictures.
  7. BonaResponds has been helping in Pakistan.  Shaheen reached out to us and we are helping in there.  Last week he fed (partially with our donation) 300 people.  Amazing.  This is an area with many poor and now homeless people.  Want to help?  Donate and make a huge difference.  Each hot meal is about 80 cents. 
  8. Speaking of meals.  We got word this week from Feed My Starving Children that the 108,846 meals we packed are on their way to Guatemala!  
  9. More Good News from Haiti!  In addition to the tutoring program, we heard from the solar installer.  He can install solar electricity into schools for $2500 USD.  It is not as large of system as we had hoped, but it is all we can afford right now.  Goal: 3 schools by fall semester.  (What a great program for a class or business to sponsor!  Electrify a school and learn about solar energy at the same time!)
  10. Starting a new 501c3: (site will be built soon).  It will tie together many of the areas that have evolved since the founding of BonaResponds.  For instance it will work with Haitischolarships, BonaSIMM, Enactus, and Embrace it Africa on microfinance and education.  VERY excited about it!!
  11. Got a truly heart felt request from Jessie in Haiti.  He volunteered with All Hands back after the earthquake.  He is without a job and his house is in great need of repairs.  We are looking to help him.   The initial estimate for home repairs is just under $1000.  The tools we left (ok, the tools JustRespond left there in January) can be put to good use.  Anyone want to help sponsor this building project?
  12. looking for a summer intern position?  Send your resume to Jim.  It is non paying, but will look great on a resume and you can be helping people at the same time!  Would be partially for BR and partially for
  13. JustRespond may be making a trip to Haiti this summer but it is still uncertain.  SO many reasons to go, but money is tight and can only be send it so many directions.  Still deciding.
  14. Tired of reading?  Here is a soundcloud update (3 minutes of what is happening with BR). 
  15. Thanks this week to John and Anne, Zane, Lisa (another great Creole-English dictionary--Amazon only has 5 more.  Pretty cool!  Lets corner the, and Exxon-Mobil for donations!  It takes both volunteers and donors to make this work. 

Thanks everyone!  Hope you are having a great week.  jim

Looking to donate? click here! :)
Want to buy another dictionary for our tutoring program?  Click here :)
Want to volunteer?  SHOW UP!  :) It really is that easy.
Want a summer internship?  Email
Want to make a difference?  Do one or all of the above!