|Departments of Haiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
1. First the numbers: Five ramps, several clean up jobs, a painting job, handrails, two new steps, cleaned pumpkins, painted our trailer, and a large shipment to Haiti.
2. A great group of first-year volunteers have stepped in to help. Turnout was great at the start of the year but has dropped off in recent weekends.
3. We are still looking for more student leaders who could head up a weekend work day, as well as help with some work during the week. (ESPECIALLY if you have a vehicle!) This is a pretty big need. We are missing Greg and Reed from last year.
4. Our efforts in Haiti have been good. New contacts throughout the country have made our work in Haiti more enjoyable and I believe more effective. From schools, solar, garden programs, orphanages, and even soccer programs, I believe there are many ways where we can make measurable improvements in the lives of people and the environment in Haiti.
5. WarmSnugglyBlanket is a definite area of emphasis for the rest of the school year. It has been a weak point since school has started. We have not been giving out nearly as many blankets, we have fewer blankets in inventory than at any point since 2013, and have done no fundraising. That said, we have received some wonderful thank-you's from blanket recipients and have some new potential leaders and helpers to make this better. Look for a large blanket making day later this school year. (Note we did have a tentative blanket making day planned where we were going to make 100 pink blankets (estimated cost of $800, but the would-be sponsor was unable to do it, so we postponed it. If you or your business/church group would like to sponsor such a day, please let us know!)
6. Another failure was the lack of an actual fall break trip. I had hoped to go to Detroit, but only 3 others signed up, and with a heavy local workload (to say nothing of school work), our fall break trip will be to Western New York this year with work locally Sat, Sun, and Monday. A good reminder that we are a group whose mission is to help, not to travel.
7. A big "THANK YOU" to those who have donated! You are the best and are allowing us to do what we do. Without you, BonaResponds is just a good idea. Remember that. Be proud of yourself for giving! That said, if we are to be fully transparent and honest, I have done an awful job in this area. (I do have many excuses if you want to hear them: a marketing class was going to do it, I reached out to potential leaders from the community and never heard back, etc., etc.). But in the end it is just another in the continuing ways "Jim let us down". Thanks to those of you who give in spite of my poor fundraising skills we have not yet been unable to help, but it is a trend we need to fix. Not only for local projects (ball bark number is each ramp costs $1,000) but for Haiti and food packing. Several requests for people to help in this area have failed and, as a result, a spring food packing event looks VERY unlikely. If you would like to help in this, please contact me (Jim). We need to raise about $25,000 to do it. To date we have a pledge of $4000 if we go ahead with the day.
8. PositiveRipples is progressing but at glacial speed. We have filed for incorporation are are waiting for state approval. We can not really do much until we get that. Waiting teaches patience?
9. Much like the videos we shared on who we are helping in Haiti, we will be making a series of short videos on the history of BonaResponds and interviews with some of our leaders (past and present). These will appear sort of as a vlog to start. Look for them soon. I am interviewing Larry and Bonnie Orsini this week!
10. To sum up: we have had a very good, but not perfect semester so far. We need more help in many areas, but we are progressing on many fronts. We would love to have you get involved! Remember we are open to all and you do not need to make a long term commitment. We meet almost every Saturday at 10:30 and Sunday at 11:15 (although watch for a possible Time change after the clocks change).
You can always donate to us at https://netcommunity.sbu.edu/netcommunity/donation-pages/support-bonaresponds
and if you want to get involved: PM us, come volunteer and we can talk, or email Jim at Jim.Mahar@gmail.com. We'd love your help and there are people who need your help. Volunteer and Change the world!!