Sunday, November 29, 2009

Save the date! December 12 in Machias!!

From Pete:
"December 12th Saturday, will be a big day all involved and anyone interested in seeing the final project completed in Machias, NY. Everyone is invited to "Move-in Day" with the Eisenhardts. Be a part of the big day, Open House from 8am to Noon come tour their new home just before they move-in. Then at 1pm a line of volunteers will proceed from Eisenhardts old apartment to their new home approx 1/2 mile north on rt 16 lead by the boys getting a ride in Daltons wish, a big red fire truck. Delivering all their furniture and belongings moving them in, in one very short amount of time.
Be part of the big day and enjoy this event as a community that has come together for these two boys and their family!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

GA flood recovery to last months - Disaster News Network

GA flood recovery to last months - Disaster News Network:
"Asked how people outside of Georgia can help with response efforts, “Go through the disaster response organization that is connected to your church synagogue or mosque.” Tribble advised. “If you coordinate your volunteer desire through an existing organization you can do a tremendous help to the (survivors) here, and you can do that that no matter what state you’re in,” Tribble said."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Machias pictures

Dalton and Rob
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Over three hundred pictures from our work in Machias.

I was just reminded that some of you do not follow us on Twitter, so I should also bog it.

(update 11/26--Link fixed, thanks)

My guilt trip

Note the date This is about My Guilt Trip, the trip of last Tuesday evening.

Tuesday November 17th.

I did not want to go volunteer today. I had plenty of reasons to say no. I was tired from two days in Machias this past weekend. I had too much to do--I wanted to run, to go to the YMCA, to eat dinner, do laundry. Oh and I had things I "had" to do as well: go to the store and make a test.

So when I got an email from Pete Andrews the head of the Christian Youth Corps in Machias asking for any available volunteer to come help get ready for tomorrow's drywallers, I mentally dismissed it with a simple "I can't, I am too busy".

That said, I figured the least I could do was pass the request on to other volunteers who might not be as busy and might be able to go. So I tweeted the request. I did not expect much, if any response: SBU played St. Johns in the first big game of the year, I was giving them almost no notice, and it was a school night the week before Thanksgiving break so there would be many mid-term exams to study for and papers to write. "No, no one will be able to go. I am in good company by not going. They are all busy too. "

But then, something happened. Within an hour I got a call saying that one of the people who had read the tweet wanted to go and could drive. "OK, I will contact Pete and tell him you are coming, but I still can not go. I am too busy" I told her.

Then I got a text, and then another, and then another. More and more people wanted to go. I was feeling more and more guilty. The other volunteers, by their great example were guilting me into going. So I began to think I might go, but my heart was not really into it. I felt guilty about my weak excuses, I felt guilty about not wanting to go. I felt selfish for wanting to do my own thing before responding to this call for help.

In the end, I decided to go, but it was far from an easy decision.

Upon our arrival in Machias we all got to work. The main tasks for the evening were to clean out the upstairs and then help to wire and insulate the basement so that the dry wallers could do their thing starting at 7 AM the next morning.

I warmed to the job but felt somewhat "out of it". The other volunteers clearly had good work and were working with the electricians etc, but my jobs were more of the "what can he do without messing up too much" variety.

So I swept up and located tools for the other volunteers. But as I did I occasionally suffered from cognitive dissonance and found myself thinking more and more that I should have stayed home. I had work to do, the drive made the trip uneconomical. If I had wanted to do BonaResponds work, I had many projects online that needed doing without the added time spent on the drive. I should have stayed and done them.

As person voted "most likely to mess up on the job", one of my jobs was to make sure the others had tools when they were needed. On one of my tool locator walk-arounds I went outside looking for Pete, when suddenly "the boys" came around the corner of the house. I am not sure who saw who first, but Wyatt and Dalton waved and the smile on their faces almost matched the smile on mine.

Suddenly the trip, and even the promised late late night of test making was worth it and then some.

The next few hours flew by. the work, which only minutes before has seemed trivial and meaningless was terrific and important. I could not even believe I had not wanted to do this.

So to the BonaResponds volunteers who guilted me into going tonight, thank you. You not only made their house, you made my day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wordle - BonaResponds

Well I can not get this to link correctly, but it is the Wordle from our blog. Check it out. Pretty cool:

Community gives the gift of a new home |

Note their shirts! :)

Community gives the gift of a new home |
"In Machias, people come together to build a new home for the boys in an effort to make their lives more comfortable....

The American Legion and Christian Youth Corps have been leading the effort.

The work being done is made possible by an extended family opening its collective heart and wallet.

'Small donations come together to do this. Probably our average donation is around $25.00,' Pete remarked.

On this day, the boys as they are known in the community, have fun with the volunteers."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Students reach out to family in Machias - Features

From the BV: Students reach out to family in Machias - Features:
"'We wrapped the house and basement in Tyvek, insulated, poured cement, removed nails, readied the house for drywall and helped move a fence,' Mahar said.

But for the student volunteers, the trip was much more than just construction.

'We're not just building a house, we're working on these boys' lives,' said Rob Ryer, a junior physical education major....'It was emotional,' said Emily Deragon, a sophomore journalism and mass communication major. 'It's not just their house - it's their school and the place of their physical therapy.'"
and later:
"BonaResponds [will] return to the Eisenhardts on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interested volunteers should meet behind the Murphy Professional Building. For more information, pictures and video, visit the BonaResponds blog at"
And later (a slightly corrected ending--from Steve)

"Just go...," Gearhart urged. "You'll feel good and have a good time, but most importantly you will help some good people, and that's the main point."

MACHIAS update- have vans for

MACHIAS update- have vans for Sunday. . leaving back of Murphy at 10, back by dark. open to all. work=painting

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New pictures from Machias....from Pete

Christian Youth Corps Inc.:
"This week we had new volunteers coming in ...[from] starting on Sunday BonaResponds from Olean made the trip up to pitch in and lend a hand at the project...."
It goes on to list the scores of organizations who have helped. All deserve a big round of applause!

BTW: I have hundreds of pictures to put up. Just need to get some school work done first.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BonaResponds Machias (the Eisenhardt project)

First the important stuff:

BonaResponds is going back to Machias. This Saturday and Sunday.


We will be again helping the Christian Youth Corps on their "Eisenhardt project." Dalton and Wyatt Eisenhardt have a rare (and serious) genetic problem (the transmutation of chromosomes). Due to medical expenses (for instance they need nursing care around the clock), the family could not afford a house and were renting a house that needed much work. After examining the case, the CYC decided it was better to build a new house than to repair the existing dwelling. So on October 14th, they broke ground. With help and donations from throughout the area, the progress has been amazing and it is hoped to have the family in their NEW house by Christmas.

The American Legion, Christian Youth Corps, and many many many others are but some those tht have gotten together to build them a new house on the grounds of the First Christian Church in "downtown" Machias. BonaResponds was fortunate to be allowed to help and our workday last Sunday was great (pictures, video).

It was such good work that we are going back this weekend. Both days we will leave at 10:00 AM from behind Murphy Building on the SBU campus.

Other things:

Here is the Buffalo News Article on the family.

Here is the link to the Christian Youth Corps. It was our first time working with the Christian Youth Corps and it was GREAT. Amazing well organized and have volunteers from all walks of life helping. GREAT GREAT GREAT. Hope we get to work with them many times in the future. Pete, you are doing great work! BTW here are some of their YouTube videos.

Our announcement that will be on the SBU Notice-Board

BonaResponds Machias

The great success of last week's trip to Machias means we are going back. The main crew will leave 10:00 Sunday from the back of Murphy. We will return about 4pm. Due to high demand, we will also be taking a group on Saturday at 10:00 (same time and place). You can attend either or both days. You will have fun. You will make a huge difference in the lives of Dalton and Wyatt both of whose smiles you will never forget.
for more information (including videos and pictures of last weekend's work day) see the BonaResponds blog at

If you know when and if you are coming, please email so we can have an idea on food and work schedules.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

BonaResponds-October 2009 video

A video of SOME of the work we did in October 2009.

Yes I cut the length of this. One section of the original version (still available here) was repeated.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Foundations-an essay on BonaResponds from Phil

Foundations by Phil Penepent

My first experience with BonaResponds was on Spring Break during my freshman year (Spring 2008). I went with a group of nearly 100 volunteers to Pearlington Mississippi and assisted in building new houses for Hurricane Katrina Victims. On our way we stopped in Pass Christian to drop off a dozen of our people for the week.

Everyone got off the bus at the base camp there to take a look around. I began wandering and ended up across the street. What I found was an eerie sight at first: a whole foundation, no house attached, with the words “don’t demolish, will rebuild” spray painted to the front. That foundation wasn’t the only one I saw that week that still didn’t have a house on top of it in Mississippi. While I worked on rebuilding houses I reflected on that first foundation I saw. Those unmovable foundations made me realize that if you build a strong enough foundation in life, nothing will be able to rock it and you can always rebuild.

This lesson has become a driving force for me back here at Bonas. I do whatever it takes to get the most out of the education I receive in order to build a solid foundation for the rest of my life. I am lucky to have taken away a lesson like this and be able to make it into a mission statement for this unique period in my life.

A solid foundation for me has meant achievement in the classroom, studying abroad in Italy last semester, obtaining valuable internships, and being actively involved in my community.

In retrospect, that barren foundation had a big effect on me so far. I had not even begun volunteering with BR at that point and I was already learning life lessons. By being involved I have recognized that BonaResponds is part of my extraordinary story and I continue to take an active role in the organization. BR allowed me to break out of my shell as a freshman while making some very close friends. Since my first Gulf Coast trip I have become a leader on numerous local service days in Buffalo, Olean, Friendship, and Salamanca. I really enjoy recruiting people to volunteer with us and talking about my experiences!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What are you doing this Weekend?

There are many opportunities to volunteer!

1. You could help in Machias building a new home for the Eisenhardt a family that has had almost unbelievably bad health issues.

2. You could Go to Friendship and help Ed and Donna move items to finish their floor. (BTW they have qualified for a NYS Conservation Assistance program and will be getting a new energy efficient furnace plus more insulation.)

3. You could take part in hunger walk leaving from the Warming House.
"This Sunday - Olean Area Walk for Hunger Relief

Please consider walking in the

Olean Area Walk for Hunger Relief this Sunday, Nov 8, at 2 p.m., to aid local emergency food providers. The three mile walk begins and ends from the Warming House. Get information, including pledge sheet, in the RC from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, or contact Trevor Thompson, X2601"

4. Weather permitting, you could go put on the final coat of paint on the wheel chair ramp and back porch for Jim and Beverly in East Olean.

5. You could help BonaResponds help others, by putting together our shelves and organize our storage room (note: drywall screws do not go with signs and clothing!)

6. You could work on the Trails through Bob's Woods. Need dirt laid down, some branches clipped back, and for the really ambitious, some signs made.

7. If you are in Buffalo you could help Buffalo ReUse take down a house in 24 hours. Yes, they are working late night! From Buffalo Rising:
"ReUse will begin deconstruction on Sunday, November 8th, the day after the announcement. They're calling for volunteers on Sunday from about 10am until midnight, but the greatest need will be from 10am-4pm"

So get out and do something! Life is too short to sit around and watch TV. (and besides, the Bills are on a bye week ;) )

For information on these opportunities come to our meeting at 5:15 on Thursday in Murphy Aud C, or watch the blog and Twitter updates)