Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The letter sent to site leaders of our March 27th International Day

Hi and thanks for signing up (or at least expressing interest!),

I am writing to give you 4 pieces of information.

1. Outline of the day
2. How to order shirts
3. How to share your day afterwards
4. To convince you to share the day with friends

As you know the day is open to everyone. You do not need a tie to St. Bonaventure, but if you do all the better! We have groups in over 10 countries plus about 35 cities in the US. All we ask is to help someone.

Some of the groups involved include VillaVolunteers (from VillaMaria), The National SBU Alumni Board, The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, and of course BonaResponds itself. As you can see we don't discriminate in any way shape or form so if you want to help, let's do it!

But seriously this will be bigger than all of us, we can not micromanage it, so won't try. Just get involved and have an open mind about it. It is going to be great. Jim

1. I think you will find the International Service Day to be REALLY cool. The basic idea is to help people. The jobs can be as large as 150+ people getting together to clean parks, tear down old houses, or build a school. On the other hand your event can be as small (in size, not importance) as helping an elderly or handicapped neighbor to the store.

All we want people to do is to help each other.

The day is based on the simple belief that every person can make a positive difference in the world. Moreover when we take a second to see how much gets done we will find that little things really do add up.

We currently have about 50 sites (that we know of, and I hope many more that have just not signed up). It is our first year doing this and expect it to grow. And we are very very used to late sign-ups (we once rerouted a bus to respond to a tornado while we were already in transit elsewhere so if you have not signed up yet, relax. ).

Do not worry about size, about importance, or about how it will look. You are helping. You are making the world better. It will make a difference. You will be that difference. So start with something small. You really can not mess up on this. Just help someone! If you can get others to help someone too, even better!

2. If you listed yourself as a site leader, you should have received (or will in the near future) an email from http://www.undergroundshirts.com/ explaining how to order etc. The shirts will be shipped directly to all leaders in the US. If you are outside the US, please email BonaResponds@gmail.com if you would like a shirt. They are $5 plus shipping.

3. Post-work “meeting”

One of my favorite parts of most BonaResponds days is the post work meeting. It is here when the size and the scope of the work really comes out. Each team shares what they did, how it impacted others, and sometimes how it changed the volunteers as well. Whether they are called all-hands meetings, recap meeting, a reflection, or simply dinner, these are often very good and an important part of our days. (Indeed especially after disasters we have had numerous volunteers tell me that they cried and that the meeting put the day in perspective.)

We encourage all sites to have their own post work meeting. Again you can do this in anyway you want. In Buffalo (where I will be), we will all be getting together and each team that goes out will talk about the day quickly and a fast video of the day will play before we eat (at Villa Maria). But do what works for you. There are very few rules to this! Order a pizza, go for ice cream, or just sit on a park bench (or debris pile!) and quickly discuss the day. But try to take a second to do this. It really will help.

The challenge to do this of course is that we will be spread across the globe and across 24 hours. Technology to the rescue! As easy as ABC

A. We are asking you to upload pictures of your day (the more the better!), or even a small video (with a description please!) to the Flickr account we have set up for the day:

Account Bona_Responds Password: EMAIL ME FOR PASSWORD

Goto http://Flickr.com , sign in, hit upload and pick your pictures, add a description, and there you have it! Nice and easy.

You can email us at BonaResponds@Gmail.com

B. We’d love a description of your day, so if you want, write up a short essay (a couple of sentences to pages, your choice) or even better--have someone you helped add their input and email to BonaResponds@gmail.com (or BonaResponds@SBU.edu)

C. We will be doing a VOICE Quilt. This is really cool! (http://VoiceQuilt.com) A week before the event we will be sending out a toll free number to call where you will leave a recorded message. (it is only good for 10 days, so hence we are waiting). This recording will be merged with others from around the world (in whatever language they use), to make the soundtrack for a video we will be making.

If for some reason you miss that email, you can also leave a message on our google voice account (but the VoiceQuilt is SO SO SO much nicer, only do the google option if all else fails) 585.376.0231

We need to have your email to send the password for VoiceQuilt out, so please make sure you have signed up at http://BonaResponds.org/nsd.html

4. Ok, now the important part. DO IT! Really. Just get out and help someone. Look around and you will find hundreds of jobs that need to be done. From cleaning trash at a park, to helping at the local hospital, to traveling to Haiti, or Chile, or any of a thousand other places that need help.

You can be the difference in someone’s life. Someone who is miserable and just hanging on will be so grateful for your help. Or in a park, you can keep it clean which may allow children to play safer, or maybe, just maybe get more people to the park and scare away drug dealers etc. The benefits of your work may not be known for years, but they will be there.

So please share this email. We want as many people involved as possible. We are doing it with a budget that is $50. Seriously. That is all we have spent on PR for this and more than half of that was for the VoiceQuilt. So spread the word!


Jim Mahar

PS. Please realize that you are all volunteers and that by volunteering you do assume risks. The waiver forms on the http://bonaresponds.org/nsd.html site should be signed for all volunteers you get to work with you. But in the absence of the forms, it should be noted that St. Bonaventure, the leaders, the Alumni Association, and BonaResponds itself are not responsible for your actions. So please be careful! We want you to be healthy so you can help more in the future. Additionally, realize all pictures you submit may be used in our video and other marketing efforts.

PPS. Can’t find a job to do? Why not try a fund raiser for Haiti? We are trying to feed over 200,000 people and would love to have any and all support. See http://FoodForHaitiNow.org

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