Thursday, September 04, 2008

BonaResponds September Newsletter

BonaResponds Fall 2008: September newsletter

Executive Summary:

This Saturday small work day in West Clarksville (11 to 4)

September 13 and 14th Local Service Weekend: (10-5:00 on Sat, 12:00 to 5:00 on Sun.)

October 4: BonaResponds workday and New Orleans Jazz Concert.

October 10-14 Fall break Trip

Still to be determined: dates of several other local days TBA .

We wanted to start off the school year with a fast update of what is happening with BonaResponds to keep you all “in the loop”.

Looking back: This summer BonaResponds went on two emergency deployments with HODR (Hands On Disaster Response The first was in May when we worked in Newton County Missouri which had been hit hard by tornadoes and in July a larger group went to Iowa to help gut homes after the June floods in and around Cedar Rapids.

Details of each with pictures and videos can be seen on our website

Locally we also had several days of working on trails and a day on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation.

On August 23rd as part of SBU’s Welcome Days we had our first local service day that was made up almost entirely of incoming students with little or no experience. While only a small handful of leaders were back yet, the day was a success with the new volunteers stepping up and getting a great deal done. Overall we did not have as many volunteers as we expected, but did have volunteers at 10 sites, in 3 counties, and two states.

Pictures and videos are available here

Leaders: As in the past we have had turnover in leaders as last year’s leader (Carrie) graduated and moved on to work in NYC. This years’ student leaders are Laura McDowell and Emily Ciraolo. Also in the spirit of many hands make light work we have many other students who have expressed a willingness to help out as leaders. These include the usual suspects from the past but also many new ones who promise to keep BonaResponds fresh and exciting for years to come.

A few of the leaders that we will be have back Patrick, Steve, Jerry, Jen, Jen, Pat, and Caitlyn. They will no doubt provide the solid base that we can build off. Additionally John, Lauryn, Matt, Mike, Emily, and Allison have signed on as new leaders. As always, we are constantly looking for leaders, so if you want to help organize and lead please let us know. No experience or tie to SBU is needed! Just a willingness to work!

Looking ahead: Even before any disaster (as this is written there are a series of Hurricanes and tropical storms that will no doubt try to take priority), the Fall semester promises to be a busy year.

This fall we have a local service weekend planned for September 13th and 14th. For those of you who have never experienced a BonaResponds weekend you are in for a treat. Two days of hard work with friends (many of whom you just met). Our days are modeled after abbreviated days in disaster recovery zones. In the spring we had about 125 volunteers and we’d love to beat that this semester.

As all BonaResponds events, the local service weekend is open to everyone. We will meet in Murphy at 10:00 on Saturday, break into groups and work until about 4:00 or so at sites around the area. On Sunday the same happens, but the day starts a bit later at 11:00. We will provide a free BBQ after each day. Come dressed to work and ready to both make a positive difference and have a lot of fun!

Among the jobs we have lined up are working on building two homes in Allegany County, working at the SPCA, helping out at Archbishop Walsh, painting at several locations in the area (fire hydrants to hospital rooms!), gutting a house in S Olean, and much more. It will be a great opportunity to help!

On October 4th, there will be a big event for BonaResponds. A jazz band from New Orleans is coming to give a concert to thank us for the work we have done in the Gulf following Katrina. Since it is for past volunteers, many of whom have graduated, we will make a day of it. There will be a local service work day, followed by a mass, the concert, and then fireworks in conjunction with Francis Day celebrations. Plan on coming. It should be a fun day!

In addition to these planned days, we will no doubt other local days. One of our main priorities locally this semester is to get both families into their new homes by winter and there is a great deal of work on both homes needed.

The first house is in Friendship. Donna and Ed are both on disability and have had some bad luck. They have lived the last year in a camper. There lot was cleaned up by our volunteers this past weekend and we will continue to work with them over the future weekends.

The second house is in West Clarksville. The family’s previous house burned to the ground on January 3rd of this year. Mark, the owner, has had serious health issues (transplants and diabetes) and can use all the help we can give him.

The Fall break trip is currently scheduled for Iowa from October 10-14. We are in desperate need of drivers. The cost of the trip will be $100 and includes transportation. BUT as stated, we really need drivers who can drive University Vans. If you can make it we’d love to have you come. We plan on working in Cedar Rapids with Hands On Disaster Response ( We have worked with HODR many times in the past and they are simply wonderful. (They are in every way the model for BonaResponds). This July we worked with them gutting houses in Cedar Rapids, now we will be helping to rebuild and hanging drywall etc. It will be a nice to see the progress.

Alumni? Gone from campus? Meet us in Cedar Rapids. We can pick you up from the airport or you can drive. Either way it is a great way to spend a long weekend and get away from boring work for a while!

Other things are still being worked out, but we will be making a winter trip (exact dates and locations still being determined) and a Spring break trip as well. In the spring we would like to have another Buffalo Service day this time in coordination with volunteers from VillaMaria some of whose volunteers will be accompanying us on our winter trip.

Other points:

* We are looking to buy a small school bus for local days. The bus would look like the one in this link and cost less than $2500. If you can help donate to this, it would be a great help!.

(hey we’d LOVE to have a large bus too, but can not currently get it approved. If we do, it would make trip planning so much easier and cheaper. Any ideas or suggestions? Let us know. )

* Alumni, faculty, and community members are needed as leaders and role models. One of the things missing on recent big trips has been the leadership, maturity, and know-how of the non college aged volunteer. If you can come on a trip, your efforts are doubly appreciated!

* for local days we are always in need of skilled volunteers. We’d love to have anyone with carpentry skills, but can also use those who can work on bicycles to help with the SBU re-cycles program.

* Money is always an issue and donations are always appreciated, but if we had to choose, we’d rather have you come volunteer.

Ok, well that is longer than anticipated. Hope to see many of you at upcoming events. Remember BonaResponds is only a great idea without your help. We can help thousands of people, but can not do so without hundreds of volunteers. So please come out and help.


No comments: