Friday, January 20, 2012

BonaResponds Update for Spring Semester

SOOOO many things going on this semester.  Seriously do not even know where to start.

Boring first:  SHORT meeting on Wednesday at 5:20 in Murphy to lay out the semester.  It will be short as classes start at 6:00pm and I HATE MEETINGS!

More exciting:

1. International Service Day (a day of good deeds around the world!)  on March 31.  This is going to be big.  We have people all over the place signed up.  All you need to do is help.  No tie to SBU needed (but it is a great excuse to get together with Bona Alums).  Big groups in Buffalo, Dallas, Chicago, Orange County California, Olean NY, and many many many smaller groups.  From Pakistan to Seattle and retty much everywhere else.  Get involved.  Help a neighbor, share your good deed.  It will be very motivating to all involved to see how much good is being done.  See for more or to sign up.    oh and here is a BV article about it:

 (dull disclosure,no idea why Cameroon is listed...I do not know of anything going on there, but hey, maybe :) ).
If you know someone who lives outside the US and could ask them to get involved it would be particularly appreciated!  Or if you know of anyone who lives more than 1 mile from SBU.  Or if get the idea :)

Most of our leaders from SBU will be working in Buffalo that day with Villa Volunteers from Villa Maria (thanks Kim) but we will have an event in Olean as well!

 (BamBam and I need more help on this, so we'd love to get you involved!)

2.  Collections

2a. Collections of school supplies for both Haiti and poor areas in the US continue.  Pens, pencils, notebooks, calculators, lap top computers, hand sanitizers, books (although market is limited as ENglish is not widely spoken in Haiti, some books may be shipped to other countries where we have contacts/former BR volunteers living etc.

 New or used.  We have shipped to many schools and orphanages in Haiti. Our next shipment will be in Early February.  Drop off upstairs in Murphy, at the Allegany Park and Shop, or contact us for a pick up if needed.

2b. Collections of other items.  In addition to school supplies we are also collecting small toys, soccer balls, etc for the schools and orphanages.  

Specific requests for items from Haitian schools include: music items (sheet music, used instruments) for a school on Gonavies Haiti, carpentry and plumbing tools and supplies for a vocational school in Leogane, and additional medical supplies for a medical clinic in Port au Prince and toothbushes (uh new only!) for distribution in Leogane.

 Again most items can be new, or lightly used.

Student contacts: Jess and Jen T.

3. Local work days:  almost every weekend day (as in both Saturday and Sunday) we will be having work jobs locally.  We are literally swamped.  The Department of Aging sends us way more jobs than we can do and we also get many requests from the web site as well as word of mouth referrals. So there is a lot of work!

This long long list of jobs can be very frustrating (impossibly long), until you take a step back and consider that like after a disaster, we can not help everyone, but we can make a real impact in those we do help.  Better not perfect.  The difference locally is that if we don't help, they may not get the help.

We generally leave the Murphy parking lot between 10 and 11. Stay tuned for more details on a weekly basis...this weekend it is 10:30 each day. (and most of the work is inside)  (you can come as often as you like.  Ideally we have people volunteer to be student leader--mainly organizing sign-ups and transportation for at least one day a month.  Contact Steve Ross (Banger) for more information.  (and follow us on Twitter

Look for a coming post on the importance of this local work through the eyes of someone we built a ramp for soon.  I will summarize it as saying a ramp is more than just a porch outside of a door.  It is a way of giving mobility and independence back to a person who might otherwise be home bound.  The more ramps we do, the more I become convinced they may be the most important thing we do. 

BTW we have not been reimbused on several local ramps so if you have money buring a hole in your pocket, we do accept donations :)

4. Earth Week cleanup --traditionally we help with trail clean up this weekend.  Kathy H does a great job of organzing local groups on this effort and we fully expect to continue this.  BUT (and I am excited about thiis) additionally this year I THINK (maybe be saying more than I know), we will be helping to organize a river side clean up as well. So get your canoes and Kayaks ready!

(and a note to local teachers, this would be a GREAT way to get your classes involved as well as to teach about the environment).

5. While we do not yet have a date, the annual No Child Left Inside/"what is college like?" day is also planned.  This is when we bring "at risk" students to campus for small tours and to sit in on a class, tour a dorm room, see the library, etc.  Many of these students come from family's with no "college experience" so this can be a big learning experience for them.  After lunch we take them outside either to hike the trails or to take part in some other form of physical exercise.   (would love to have some student leaders on this!)

ok, I will stop there...even though I didn't even get to talk about the new online course program we are starting for Haiti.  I predict in a year or two it will be the biggest thing we do.  Has HUGE upside as a means of helping people.  Stay tuned.

If you want to get involved in any of these efforts or others, please do not hesitate to ask.  We especially would love you and all your friends and all your enemies and those you barely know and those you do not yet know and your cousin's nephew and anyone else you can think of involved on March 31st.  You do not want to miss it!

thanks everyone!


PS I will try to keep people better informed this semester.  (yeah I got a nasty email last night saying it is impossible to know what is going on since we don't send out many emails--hello twitter!!!  ;)  )
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Notice Board Announcement

BonaResponds will be having two work days this weekend: Saturday and Sunday. Work is primarily inside, but not completely, so dress for the cold.
Work includes: installing a new floor in Salamanca, fixing a drop ceiling in Hinsdale, readying 40 computers for shipment to various charities and schools in the Northeast, fixing a wheelchair ramp in Olean, and more. We will be meeting behind Murphy at 10:30 a.m. each day.

Sweet home Alabama - Features - The Bona Venture

Sweet home Alabama - Features - The Bona Venture:

An article on our most recent (the article says "last" but I think the author may want to reword that?) trip to Alabama:

" The summer trip focused on cleaning up debris, while the winter trip focused on the lives of those who survived. During the summer, students volunteered in Tuscaloosa, one of the communities hit the hardest by the tornadoes.

"We went from cutting trees, hauling debris, removing waste, finding belongings and clearing out lots for trailer homes to building wheelchair ramps for those left without suitable means to leave their homes," said Jennifer Thomas, a junior psychology major, about attending both trips.

Here are some pictures of the trip:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

At a glance: Haiti - Four Haitian filmmakers explore conditions for children two years after the quake

School Supplies for HaitiImage by Bona_Responds via FlickrUNICEF - At a glance: Haiti - Four Haitian filmmakers explore conditions for children two years after the quake:

Need a reminder why we are still working for Haiti long after it has departed the news headlines? Watch this video:

“This film project is all about listening to the Haitian voice and understanding children's lives,” said Thomas Nybo, coordinator of the project. “We issued a call for short-film proposals, either fiction or documentaries, and we chose four filmmakers, three of whom are from Cine Institute” – Haiti’s only film school, located in the Southern city of Jacmel.

The short films feature some of the biggest challenges facing Haiti’s children: losing parents to the earthquake; the plight of a girl working as a restavek, a domestic servant; and the challenges, especially economic, confronting families when they send their children to school.

If you want to help:
  1. Donate to help pay shipping of school supplies:
  2. Donate school supplies (new or used) that will be distribued to schools in Haiti.  So far we have send over 50 pallets of supplies and are looking forward to our next shipment!  Supplies, books, lap top computers, etc. can be dropped off at the Allegany Park and Shop, or 231 Murphy on SBU campus, or with Jenifer Spencer the upstairs business secretary in the Murphy Building on SBU's campus (far west side).
  3. Donate new or used light construction equipment for a vocational school in Leogane.  They would love just about anything, but their list is here "Hammers , raboteuse, Saws Braces and Boring Tools Planes Mortise, Tenon and Dovetail, drill, compass saw, smoothing plane, rabootez firmer chisel, brace and bit, screw driver,square, making gauge, hands screw, nails, sawing table.  Pipe wrench, strap wrench, chain pipe wrench, adjustable spud wrench , hack saw, tube cutter, tube flatering tools, pipe threader, Sink Auger,toilet Auger, Plunger, Snake, tape, Plumber's Putty, duct tape, plumbing fixtures."
  4. Donate musical instruments, sheet music, and the like to a music school in Gonnaives.  Again, you donate, we will ship  (no pianos ;) )  Must be able to fit in our barrels.
  5. Donate to HaitiScholarships.  This is a Spin-off of BonaResponds that helps to pay for Haitians to go to school in Haiti!
  6. Get involved with the soon to be launched (sometime this semester) online program we have named Voyager Academy.  It will be an online program" that allows Haitians free access to some of the best teachers and professors we can find in a video format with French and Creole Subtitles.
  7. Not sure what to do?  Just get involved!  We have jobs for everyone on this one!!!  From wherever you are!
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