Monday, November 26, 2007

Quotes from recent interviews

Just to increase those getting all of this, I figured I would take a page out of Mark Cuban's playbook and post directly to the blog as well...From various interviews...and just some quotes I have used today in telling people about BonaResponds:

On the December 14th art auction
* "Clarence gave us the paintings as a means of showing how grateful he was for the assistance. He did not know we were going to give him some of the proceeds. In fact he did not even know we were going to have an auction."

* "Of course we want to help Clarence. But we also want to help the Whavers. And we want to help any of the thousands of families still waiting for housing across the Gulf. And we want to help more locally as well. Unfortunately, this all takes money. We have to strike a balance between all of these. I confess one of the hardest things I do is to say "no, I am sorry, we can not help on such and such a project" because we can not afford to do it. That is not a position I want to be in. Events like these, and I would add the Online shopping through GoodSearch as well, are designed to assure that we do not need to say that much."

*"Working with others, here or where ever we are helping, is a great great thing. I am unable to put it into words, but on so many levels it is beneficial. It helps the victim, the volunteers, the community. The victim is helped back to his/her feet, the community is improved. As for the volunteers, the students mature while older volunteers stay young. It really is a win, win, win. Donating to encourage this is a no-brainer."

* "The art auction (Dec. 14) is a great way to buy some great artwork while also helping to fund future BonaResponds events. When you are buying a donated piece of art all of the money will be put to a good use. Whether it is helping Clarence to add insulation to his house, or to pay for breathing masks in the Gulf coast, the money will have a lasting impact."

"The art auction as well as the "adopt a family" program are really a means of you helping us to help others. Without your help, we can not help others."
On the Adopt a family program.
*"If you are not excited about this one, check your pulse. We are basically trying to get a family into a house. The Whavers are from Pass Christian. A grandmother, a mother, and two children. Still living in a FEMA trailer two years after the storm.

The story is probably longer than you want to hear now but the Cliff-notes version is that the mother works as a security guard and makes less than $10 an hour and they need a house. Sure they probably made some questionable decisions--they started rebuilding without having enough money to finish it and they are building a larger house than most charitable agencies will pay for, but is that reason to leave them? I think not. At some level stepping in and helping people like this are why I think there will always be a need for grass roots volunteer agencies. We can actually investigate on a case by case basis and not merely go by a formula that says who does or does not get help. They clearly need the assistance. To be able to help and to not at least try is something that I am not willing to do. "
* "We hope to raise $25,000. When people tell me it is a lot of money I have to correct them. It is a lot of money if we were asking just one person to pay it, but if we get many people, then it is really a very little amount of money. When we are in the field working, I often remind the volunteers that "many hands make light work". The same is true with respect to fund raising. Getting more people involved will allow us to have a big impact. We all can afford to donate a dollar or two. If we all do that, then it just becomes a matter of getting more people involved. Suppose we get the entire Olean metro area involved? Or better all of WNY. It is literally pennies per person. And those pennies can have a big impact."

On the need for fund raising in general:
"If you think about this from a economic perspective, burdening student volunteers with costs is not an optimal strategy. It is not something that I want to do. I think rather recovering from a disaster is a case of everyone pitching in to help. Some people have the ability and desire to help with manual labor, others to be there to cook, drive, or just listen to the victims. Still others, be it for job, family or time issues, can not volunteer on every trip. But these people play an important role too. They can help fund the trips.

I really am a big believer that the volunteers should not have to shoulder the whole burden. We are asking them to give up their time, the least we can do is to assure that they have a place to stay and food to eat. Your donations and purchases assure that we can continue to respond to people in need; locally or across the country."

* "many have the mistaken idea that we are funded through the university. We are not. We are all volunteers, no excuse me, I think 3 or 4 students are paid a small amount--I think for 4 hours a week, plus our two student leaders get funded some through the Journey Project. But other than that we are all volunteers. We have to pay for supplies, tools, gas, etc."
On other things:
* "Why don't more faculty/staff get involved? I really do not know. Some are too busy, some do not think they would like it, or could be any help. They are wrong of course. Everyone can do something. And almost all of it is fun. If for no other reason than you can actually see something accomplished. "

Question: what one thing could anyone do to help BonaResponds more than anything else?
Answer: One thing? ok, but I am going to cheat. In the short run, we need drivers. Or money that can purchase an insurance rider to let more people drive. It has become a big problem. Getting drivers is huge. So probably that is in greatest demand right now.

But before I shut up, I want to add to my answer. The longer and better answer is to get involved. I do not even care how, but get involved.

From helping on the ground on our next trip (planned or unplanned), to helping with fund raising, to donating a painting, to fixing our van for free, to agreeing to pay gas for a single stop, to making a video for us, to donating a GPS system, to donating money, to you name it.

I really do not even care. Just get involved. You will migrate to where you are needed most. But just be open to helping and show up for some of our events. Or email us. I do think you will get out of it more than you put in.

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